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Best internet providers for gaming

Ari Howard

Aug 31, 2022 — 8 min read

Find out which internet provider and speed plan best suits your internet needs for the cheapest price.

Boy gaming on computer

If you’re a gamer, you likely know that live-gaming requires a better internet connection and faster speeds than most other online tasks. Without a proper connection, you end-up enduring internet lag and buffering, which makes gaming impossible. 

Due to the high-demand of gaming, you need an internet provider and an internet plan that offers some of the best download speeds, upload speeds, reliability, data allowance and latency available. With these five criteria in mind, we have broken down the top 5 internet providers for gaming that are most widely available throughout the country. 

What should you look for in a good gaming connection?

  • High speeds – Determine what speeds you need for your gaming experience, but make sure to factor in both download and upload speeds because both are essential for preventing buffering and lagging.
  • Low latency – the best latency is the lowest latency. If your latency time is too slow, you will experience lag when gaming, so look into what technology your provider uses to find out latency speeds. 
  • Data caps – Live gaming uses a significant amount of data and overage fees can become expensive, so make sure your plan provides enough data for your gaming needs.

How to choose an internet speed plan for gaming

A good rule of thumb to follow when selecting an internet plan is to divide the number of devices you will have connected to the internet at a time by the speed plan you are considering (speed plan/number of devices). For heavy gamers, you will want the result of that equation to be between 40 and 75 Mbps. Therefore, if you plan to have four devices connected to the internet, all performing heavy-bandwidth tasks, you will want a plan around 300 Mbps (300/4=75). 

Expert tip: Some providers that say they offer unlimited data will still throttle your speeds

Before committing to an internet provider and plan, make sure you ask about internet throttling. A handful of providers, especially in more rural areas, will throttle (slow down) your internet speeds if you have reached a certain data limit for the month. It’s worth asking your internet provider if internet throttling is a possibility, therefore, even with an internet plan with unlimited data.

#1 internet provider for gaming: AT&T fiber 

Overall, AT&T received first place for best internet provider for gaming because it offers a reliable internet connection for some of the best prices around. A symmetrical download/upload internet plan is key for a good gaming experience because otherwise there will be lags and buffering issues when interacting with other players online. AT&T’s fiber plans offer symmetrical upload/download speeds ranging from 300 Mbps to its 5 GB plan. AT&T also has some of the lowest latency, with a median latency of 12 ms, which helps prevent lags.

What we like

  • Symmetrical download/upload speeds

  • Uses fiber optic technology 

  • No data caps

  • Low latency

  • Competitive prices

Things to consider

  • Fiber plans aren’t available everywhere

  • Price increases after 1 year

  • Additional fees

Recommended plan: AT&T 300 unless you live in a larger household 

If you plan to live-game and stream from more than four devices at a time, then you will want to upgrade to the AT&T 500 or 1000 plan. However, for the average household, the 300 Mbps plan is more than sufficient for all of your gaming needs.

#2 Verizon Fios 

Verizon Fios is another great option for gaming, offering fast and reliable speeds for affordable prices. Additionally, Verizon offers exceptionally low latency scores of 7 ms and below for all of its fiber optic plans and symmetrical download/upload speeds. This means you will not have to worry about buffering and lagging with any of Verizon’s plans. Verizon Fios also leads the pack in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) satisfaction benchmarks, ahead of other major providers like AT&T and Xfinity.

What we like

  • Symmetrical download/upload speeds

  • Low latency

  • No data caps

  • Positive customer service ratings

Things to consider

  • Limited availability

Recommended plan: Verizon internet 500 

The 500 Mbps Verizon plan will guarantee you and your family members are able to live-game from multiple devices at a time. If only one person in your household games or uses the internet heavily (live-streaming, working from home, etc.), the 300 Mbps plan is fine. You only need Verizon’s Gig plan if you have more than four devices at a time that are using the internet heavily.

#3 Frontier FiberOptic

Frontier FiberOptic offers three fiber internet plans that range from 500 Mbps to its new 2 GB service. Like AT&T and Verizon, Frontier also offers symmetrical download/upload speeds so that no matter what task you are performing online, you will have equally fast speeds. Frontier has a median latency of 8 ms, making it a great option for gamers.

What we like

  • Symmetrical download/upload speeds

  • Good value

  • Low latency 

  • No data caps

Things to consider

  • Limited fiber optic availability

  • Low customer satisfaction ratings

Recommended plan: Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps plan 

Frontier’s 500 Mbps plan is best for households that are using the internet heavily on more than four devices at a time. If you have more than 10 devices connected at a time, you will want to upgrade to Frontier’s Gig plan.

#4 Xfinity internet 

West region

Central region

Northeast region

Xfinity is one of the most widely available internet providers in the country and offers the fastest speeds out of any provider. Xfinity is primarily a cable provider; however, its fastest plan uses fiber optic technology. Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro (3,000 Mbps) and Gigabit 6,000 plans are the only plans that offer symmetrical download/upload speeds that would be best for gaming. Xfinity ranks highest in consistency at 90.7% and has a median latency of 14 ms according to the Global Speed Index

What we like

  • Fastest max speeds available

  • Multiple plan options

  • Low latency

  • Ranks high in consistency

Things to consider

  • Slower upload speeds

  • Data caps 

Recommended plan: Xfinity 600 Mbps internet 

Xfinity offers a 600 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed plan in each available region. You will likely not want to go below this plan since you want at least 10 Mbps in upload speeds for live-gaming. Xfinity also offers plans with 900 Mbps download speeds if you are worried about not receiving the speeds you need. Although Xfinity offers multi-gig plans, they are likely not worth the expensive monthly payment if you are not living in a smart household with multiple people gaming, working, streaming or learning at once.

#5 Spectrum internet 

Spectrum is a major cable provider throughout the U.S. that offers plans up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary). Its upload speeds are on the slower end, ranging between 10 and 35 Mbps, which makes live gaming slightly less reliable. However, Spectrum ranks in the top 5 because it’s widely available, offers unlimited data, doesn’t require any long-term contracts and has a small equipment fee. The Global Speed Index also ranks Spectrum second in consistency at 90.6% and as the third fastest provider in the U.S. It is ranked below other top providers in latency but at a median of 16 ms, it is still low enough to be suitable for gaming experiences. 

What we like

  • Fast speed options

  • No data caps

  • Ranks high in consistency

Things to consider

  • Price increase 

  • Slow upload speeds

Recommended plan: Spectrum Internet Ultra (500 Mbps)

In order to get the best gaming experience possible, we would recommend going with Spectrum’s 500 Mbps or 1,000 Mbps internet plan. The 500/20 Mbps plan is likely sufficient for most households, but if you are connecting more than four devices at a time to game or to heavily use the internet, you may want to consider the 1,000/35 Mbps plan.

Our methodology

In order to determine the top 5 internet providers for gaming, we assessed a total of 16 internet providers based on speeds, reliability, latency, data caps, number of plans, customer satisfaction, value, affordability and availability. The five providers chosen are some of the most widely available internet providers in the country that offer great speeds at an affordable rate. 

In order to determine the top 5 internet providers for gaming, we assessed a total of 16 internet providers based on speeds, reliability, latency, data caps, number of plans, customer satisfaction, value, affordability and availability. The five providers chosen are some of the most widely available internet providers in the country that offer great speeds at an affordable rate. 

Providers that offer symmetrical download/upload speeds and used fiber optic technology were ranked the highest since these two factors provide the greatest likelihood of a fast and reliable internet connection without any lags or buffering. We also didn’t include any providers that impose data caps lower than 1 TB/mo. or that didn’t offer a Gig speed internet plan. You can be sure, therefore, that whichever provider you pick from this list, you will have at least one plan available that meets your gaming needs.

Learn more about our methodology
Ari Howard

Written by:

Ari Howard

Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team. She primarily writes about broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-related technology and the digital d… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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