Best Internet Speed for Online Gaming

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Minimum Internet Speeds for Online Gaming

Short answer: 5 Mbps download speed is the minimum amount you need for online gaming. But as always, there are a few things to keep in mind that may require more speed than that. First, here are the minimum download and upload speed requirements for gaming online:

Download Speed: Minimum 5 Mpbs
Upload Speed: Minimum 1 Mpbs

Internet Speed Considerations

While minimum speed requirements for online gaming are relatively low, there are many things that can diminish the speed of your internet connection. Consider the following to help determine the ideal speed for your needs:

Shared Internet Connection

Are there other people and multiple devices that connect to the internet in your house? More connections cause network congestion, which slows down your overall speed. Our suggestion is to figure 25 Mbps per person in a multiuser, multi-device household. To find an internet plan tailored to your lifestyle, it’s crucial to test your internet speed requirements.

Gaming Video Resolution

As you can guess, the higher the native resolution in a game, the more internet speed you will need.

Internet SpeedHD (720p)Full HD (1080p)4K (2160p)
Download3 Mbps5 Mbps25 Mbps
Upload1 Mbps1 Mbps5 Mbps
Internet SpeedDownload
HD (720p)3 Mbps
Full HD (1080p)5 Mbps
4K (2160p)25 Mbps
Internet SpeedUpload
HD (720p)1 Mbps
Full HD (1080p)1 Mbps
4K (2160p)5 Mbps

Downloading Games

Game files are huge and only getting bigger as game design and technology improve. The faster your download speed, the quicker your downloads will be. Keep in mind that modern games come with substantial updates and downloads. These not only require space on your hard drive but also a fast enough download speed. Waiting hours for a game update or new release to download can be frustrating, so a speedier connection can save you time and get you back in the game sooner.

Live Streaming and Gaming

You will need more internet speed If you like to live-stream your gaming session on Twitch or YouTube. It will have more of an impact on your upload speed, but as a general rule, double the minimum speed requirements if you plan on live streaming your game.

Latency and Online Gaming

More important to online gaming than overall speed is internet latency. An internet connection with low latency (or ping rate, lag, or delay) will provide for more stable, responsive, and fluid gaming, as well as give you a competitive edge during critical matches.

Lower latency is more beneficial to online gaming than faster internet speed

Latency is the measurement of how fast your internet connection can transfer a packet of data from your device to your provider’s nearest network access point, and then back to your device. It is measured in milliseconds and is a bragging point for many gamers.

You want this to be as fast as possible for optimal gaming performance. And it’s not just about the speed at which data travels; it’s how swiftly your in-game actions are reflected on the server. In fast-paced games like first-person shooters, a lower ping rate, say around 20 milliseconds, can mean the difference between victory and defeat. The ideal latency will mostly depend on the type of game you’re playing. First-person shooters or anything that requires a fast response will benefit most from low latency. A ping rate of 50ms is decent, but again, the faster, the better. Write out the suggested placements for my article based on the tone and style of my article:

Test Your Internet Speed

Now that you have the minimum speeds needed for online gaming, try testing your internet connection. Use the tool below to see where your internet connection stacks up on download speed, upload speed, and latency.

Best Internet Connection Types for Online Gaming

Some types of internet are better than others for online gaming. Check out the table below of connection types ranked by speed and latency to find the ideal solution for your gaming needs.

TypeSpeedsAvg. LatencyProviders
Fiber Internet500-5000 Mbps10-25msEL, Frontier
Cable Internet100-1000 Mbps20-40msXfinity, Spectrum
DSL Internet25-150 Mbps30-50msCenturyLink, Kinetic
Fixed Wireless Internet25-100 Mbps30-50msRise, Verizon
Satellite Internet25-150 Mbps500+msViasat, HN, Starlink
TypeFiber Internet
Speeds500-5000 Mbps
Avg. Latency10-25ms
ProvidersEL, Frontier
TypeCable Internet
Speeds100-1000 Mbps
Avg. Latency20-40ms
ProvidersXfinity, Spectrum
TypeDSL Internet
Speeds25-150 Mbps
Avg. Latency30-50ms
ProvidersCenturyLink, Kinetic
TypeFixed Wireless Internet
Speeds25-100 Mbps
Avg. Latency30-50ms
ProvidersRise, Verizon
TypeSatellite Internet
Speeds25-150 Mbps
Avg. Latency500+ms
ProvidersViasat, HN, Starlink

Each type of internet connection brings its unique traits to your gaming experience. For instance, fiber internet isn’t just about high speeds; it’s known for having significantly lower latency, often between 10-25ms, making it a top choice for gamers. On the other hand, while DSL might offer a decent speed, its latency can hover around 30-50ms, which could impact reaction times in gaming

Minimum Internet Speed for Top Video Game Genres

It’s also worth noting that different game genres have varying demands. Action-packed first-person shooters and real-time strategy games may need more bandwidth for quick data processing compared to more laid-back strategy or puzzle games. Here is a look at the top online gaming genres and their minimum speed and latency requirements. 

FPS (First-Person Shooter)

Games like Halo Infinite and Call of Duty require a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps and an upload speed of 1 Mbps.

RPG (Role-Playing Game)

RPG games, like Diablo, Neverwinter, and Baldur’s Gate, work best with a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps and 1 Mbps upload speed.

RTS (Real-Time Strategy)

Company of Heroes and Warhammer will need at least 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)

For MOBA games, like League of Legends and Smite, a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps and an upload speed of 1 Mbps is recommended.

Battle Royale

Popular multiplayer games like Fortnite and Apex Legends do well with at least 10 Mbps download and  2 Mbps upload.

MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)

Games in this category, like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, require a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps and an upload speed of 1 Mbps.

Sports Games

FIFA and NBA 2K23 do well with a minimum of 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

HOWEVER…

Just like the latest and greatest hardware will improve your gaming and online experience, so too will more speed. While these numbers are pretty low by today’s standards of internet providers, the more speed you have, the more stable and less jittery your games will be.

Minimum Internet Speeds for Gaming Consoles

There’s not a lot of difference in speed requirements for gaming consoles. Here’s a quick reference by console and minimums needed to get going with your gaming experience:

Console SystemMinimum Download SpeedMinimum Upload SpeedPing (Latency)
Xbox & Xbox Game Pass3 Mbps0.5 MbpsLess than 150ms
PlayStation and Playstation Plus3 Mbps1 MbpsLess than 150ms
Nintendo Switch3 Mbps1 MbpsLess than 100ms
Console SystemXbox & Xbox Game Pass
Minimum Download Speed3 Mbps
Minimum Upload Speed0.5 Mbps
Ping (Latency)Less than 150ms
Console SystemPlayStation and Playstation Plus
Minimum Download Speed3 Mbps
Minimum Upload Speed1 Mbps
Ping (Latency)Less than 150ms
Console SystemNintendo Switch
Minimum Download Speed3 Mbps
Minimum Upload Speed1 Mbps
Ping (Latency)Less than 100ms

Tips to Improve Your Online Gaming Internet Speed

If you’re noticing that your internet isn’t performing as well as you’d like, there are a few things you can do to improve speed, latency, and reliability.

Use a Wired Connection

The quickest and easiest way to improve your internet speed is to connect your computer or gaming console directly to your internet router with an ethernet cable. Cables provide a far more stable and reliable connection than WiFi connections.

Use Dual-Band WiFi

If you can’t connect your device with an ethernet cable, then use a router with dual-band capability. These types of routers manage connections automatically, prioritize traffic for devices with more demand, and minimize other signal interference.

Move Your Router

While the ideal spot for your router may not be the most visually appealing, optimizing WiFi performance in your home requires positioning it centrally and at least 4 feet above the ground. Avoid placing it inside cabinets or on cluttered shelves. Minimize obstructions to maximize signal strength.

Optimize Router Settings

Adjusting the Quality of Service (QoS) configurations on your WiFi router enables efficient connection handling and reduces latency for demanding tasks such as online gaming. Check your router’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for instructions on fine-tuning these settings.

Router Maintenance

Like computers, routers can get overwhelmed with tasks that cause poor performance. A simple restart clears its cache and improves its processing capabilities. Additionally, check to see if your router needs a firmware update. Again, the manual or website will have instructions.

Minimize Network Congestion

Reducing the number of users and devices sharing your internet connection will free up more bandwidth. You can also disconnect any unnecessary devices and pause any other tasks on your computer that require the internet to free up resources.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a casual gamer, you can get by just fine with an internet speed of 5-10 Mbps. Keep in mind, though, that what matters more to an epic online gaming experience is your latency. Some providers, like Spectrum internet, offer plans with low lag specifically designed for gamers. If you’re an elite gamer that’s constantly frustrated by internet connectivity issues, we’re here to help. Let us know your zip code and we’ll begin your search for internet providers near you.

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Nick Welch
Nick has spent years navigating the ever-evolving terrain of the telecom and privacy security space, leveraging his extensive knowledge to create insightful content that addresses common internet-related queries and challenges. Away from work, Nick enjoys spending time outdoors with family and his dog. On weekends you can find him hiking local trails or taking on new running routes.