I totally believe that all living beings are made equal, but internet connections – not so much. Every Internet Service Provider (ISP) is famous for something unique. For example, Spectrum offers are famous for being widely available throughout the country, Optimum’s internet prices are quite reasonable considering the brilliant speeds offered, and Frontier internet plans are available in lightning-fast fiber-optic speeds.
Some internet connections are surely better than others, especially when we are talking about gaming needs. Understanding which one will work best for you is not as straightforward as we would like it to be. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss all the factors to take into consideration when choosing the internet connection for your gaming requirements. In addition, we will also cover a few tips to help you optimize your network and get the most out of it for your money.
Speed VS Ping
When we talk about gaming, the most important thing is ping. Low latency is much more important than having high speed. You must be wondering what this ping is. Well, in simple words it is a measure of the lag you face. The time it takes for data to be transmitted between your device and the distant server and it is measured in milliseconds (ms). Therefore, the lower the ping the better.
When playing online games you’re competing against other players and even a one-second lag could result in you losing the game. So what this means is that even if you have 2 Mbps Symmetric DSL connection with a latency below 100 ms you will have no problem playing the majority of real-time online games.
The only problem here is that ISPs advertise their internet packages and plans with the download and upload speed. There is never any mention about ping since it can vary between areas making it difficult to quote a single figure. Therefore, if possible try to check out one of your neighbors’ connections to see what ping they receive. If that can’t be done then just get the connection and if it doesn’t deliver what was promised, you can simply cancel it within the first week.
To be honest this completely depends on your usage. A casual gamer can live happily with a speed that’s around 25 Mbps but a serious gamer would prefer to get a 1 Gbps plan or at least the closest to it. It’s the same with data plans, the minimum requirement could be anywhere from 50 GB to 100 GB as per your usage. However, it is better to get an accurate estimate of your usage through a usage reading software and then buy the required data accordingly. This will prevent any overage fees by the end of the month.
Gameplay VS Downloading Games
Gaming does not require a lot of data nor bandwidth. To make things clearer just know that when you’re shooting people online you’re using the same amount of data your Mom uses while browsing through her Facebook. So any internet connection besides a dial-up would be fine for you.
However, the efficiency of your network and the distance between you and other players do play a role in your gaming experience. You can’t do anything about the distance but we will tell you some tips to optimize your network.
Downloading games is a whole different scenario. Game files are usually around 50 GB which takes a lot of juice when being downloaded. With downloads like these, you can quickly use up all your data. That’s why you need to consider how many games you download each month on average so that you can decide upon a data plan to sign up for. If you download often then you should preferably go for an unlimited plan but at least a 500 GB plan may be required.
Gaming Router Features
A router can be the difference between an amazing gaming experience and one that has you pulling your hair out. Nowadays there are gaming specific routers available, but all high-quality routers work just fine for gaming. However, you need to look out for features like gigabit Ethernet ports, network prioritization/ QoS and ensure that it is dual-band. This will guarantee an optimal gaming experience every time.
As promised above, here are a few tips to optimize your router, and thus your network performance overall.
- Ethernet cables work well at maintaining consistently high speeds and low latency and avoid signal loss, unlike a Wi-Fi network that is prone to signal dropouts due to interferences leading to unreliable speeds and latency. Therefore, to have the ultimate gaming experience use an Ethernet cable to stay connected.
- If you’re not a fan of wires and prefer to use the Wi-Fi network then make sure you’re sitting close to the router to avoid any obstructions. There shouldn’t be any other electric machines around the router that can interfere with the signal. Also, ensure that the router is placed in the center of the house so that it disperses signals to all directions equally. If that’s not possible then you can get external antennae to boost signals.
- An unlimited data cap is preferable, but if that is not an option then you need to keep an eye on your usage to avoid a huge bill at the end of the month. You may also face throttling once you’ve used up your monthly data allowance, which truly is a gamer’s worst nightmare. It is a good idea to install a data usage firmware in your router that will meter and control your data usage.
It is recommended that gamers get fiber-optic or cable internet for the optimum gaming experience. Satellite, wireless, and DSL internet connections should be avoided if that is possible.
Knowing and monitoring your usage is important if you are getting a limited data plan to avoid throttling as well as a huge bill.
Lastly, no matter which internet connection you have, using an Ethernet cable to connect your gaming devices to the router will provide maximum speeds and minimum ping possible for your connection.