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Do you have the right speed for gaming? How to give yourself an edge in online battles

BY Taylor Gadsden | Thu May 16, 2019
Do you have the right speed for gaming? How to give yourself an edge in online battles

Modern video gaming is about focus, collaboration, dexterity and above all, speed. Although quick thinking and even quicker hands are definitely a must, sometimes it’s your internet speed that can make or break your gaming experience.

Take a look at how your internet speed affects game performance and some minimum speed recommendations based on game type.

Minimum speed recommendations by video game type

1st person shooter (FPS)

First person shooter games, or FPS, are played from the POV of the main character. This genre of video game typically shows the character’s arms toward the bottom of the screen carrying their weapon of choice. FPS games like Doom Eternal require faster ping rates in order to keep players on pace with real-time action.

  • Recommended for Doom Eternal on Google Stadia
  • Download speed: 30 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 1 Mbps
  • Ping rate: 16 ms

Real-time strategy game

Real-time strategy games are time-based and make players use available resources to defend their base and defeat an opponent who has the same goals. A real-time strategy game which features a constantly evolving game state can be played on a PC, but a gaming console like the Xbox 360 can help maximize slower internet speeds and ping rates.

  • Recommended for Anno 1800 on Xbox 360
  • Download speed: 3 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 0.5 Mbps
  • Ping rate: 150 ms or less

Role-playing games (RPG)

RPGs or role-playing video games allow gamers to control a fictional character and complete a quest in a fantasy world. RPGs typically include levels or stats that can be improved, a menu-based combat system and a quest that drives the storyline of the game.

  • Recommended for Xenoblade Chronicles on Nintendo Wii U
  • Download speed: 1.5 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 1 Mbps
  • Ping rate: 150 ms

Massively Multi-Player (MMO)

Massively multi-player video games take place in a fictional world where millions of players just like you are playing in a role-playing environment. The goal is not to “complete” the game, as in standard RPGs, but to build up a character’s experiences, skills and resources. Communication within the game via Skype requires more bandwidth.

  • Recommended for FortNite Battle Royale on Xbox One
  • Download speed: 3 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 0.5 Mbps
  • Ping rate: 150 ms or less

Pro tip: Gaming systems and services often give minimum internet speed recommendations for optimum performance. These suggestions are usually based on a single player and are most helpful as a starting point. If your household has multiple gamers, multiply these speeds by the number of users that will utilize your connection.

How fast is your internet speed?

Are you always just a split second behind the rest of your team in a high-speed campaign, even though your hands are doing the work? Test your connection today to find out if your internet speeds can keep up with your gaming. Remember to pause any online activity during the test as this may skew your results.

Powered by openspeedtest.com

Why internet speed matters in gaming

When gaming with slow internet speeds, lag, or slow computer response, may be your biggest opponent. After all, the ideal gaming experience allows for real-time movement and action between players. If your gaming is lagging, you may experience a “buffering” effect to your activity. While others are immersed in a fast-paced battle, your computer may finally load for you to find that not only have you been hit, but the game has moved on without you.

Although many resources will provide a general speed recommendation for different types of gaming, it’s best to look at upload speed, download speed and ping rate, as these factors contribute to game lag the most.

Download vs. upload speed

When you initially purchase your internet plan, you’ll commonly see an “advertised speed” that will serve as your internet download speed. However, both your download and upload speed contribute to the quality of your gaming experience.

Download speed measures how long it takes for information to travel from your server to your gaming device. Upload speeds refer to how long it takes for information to travel from your gaming device to the server. The best upload and download speed for you will depend on how many players are online at any given time, however, it’s advised to get the highest speeds for flexibility.

Ping rate

Ping rate, also known as latency, is also important to your gaming performance and refers to the speed in which your device communicates with the internet server. Measured in milliseconds (ms), higher ping rates mean slower gaming even if you have the internet speeds to back up your activities. A ping rate of 20 ms is ideal, but you can game with slower speeds as well.

Frequently asked questions about gaming speeds

Does internet connection type affect my gaming speed?

Yes, some internet connection types are more compatible with high-speed gaming than others. Fiber and cable internet connections are best suited for avid video gamers as they typically provide faster internet speeds and transmit data at much higher rates. DSL and satellite connections are least suited for gaming — satellite internet plans often come with data caps and distance-related latency issues.

What’s my ping rate?

Ping rate is the measure of how quickly you receive a response from your game once a request is made. In other words, if you press “jump,” how quickly does your character actually jump. Ping rate is measured in milliseconds (ms) and higher numbers correlate with slower response times. Typically, if you can find out a game’s required frames per second, or FPS, you can convert that number to learn a recommended ping rate as well.

Shop the speeds you need for gaming

The internet speed you need is closer than you think. Follow our experts for more tips and tricks on how to maximize your internet speed during your favorite online activities.

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