How Many Mbps Do I Need for Gaming? |All You Need To Know About Bandwidth, Upload and Download Speed

"How many Mbps do I need for gaming?" is an often asked question. So, let's talk about what speed you need to enjoy the best gaming on the internet?

The internet is home to all the information we require in our everyday lives. It is especially useful for various people who work from home who require fast internet speeds to meet their goals.

Besides being a rich source of information, the internet is also home to incredible games. Gaming enthusiasts enjoy their wins on the internet and sometimes face defeats. Unfortunately, some defeats come about due to lagging as a result of slow internet.

Some online activities such as streaming videos like 4K and HD videos and online gaming can push your internet to the limit. As such, you need the perfect internet speed to ensure you enjoy even when playing high-action games.

So, what is the perfect internet speed for gaming?

Before we can determine how much speed you want, let's first understand some terms that you will come across regarding the internet.

Bandwidth 

Bandwidth refers to how much information an internet connection can accommodate.

You can think of bandwidth as a highway. The more cars you have on the highway, the more crowded it is. In the same way, bandwidth is affected by online activities,

If you have several people in your home using multiple devices for bandwidth-intensive online activities, it will significantly affect your bandwidth. If your roommate is streaming the latest HD movies, you can experience difficulties carrying out other online activities as it eats up the bandwidth.

Mbps 

Mbps is the lifeblood of your internet connection. How many Mbps (megabits per second) you require for your household or office depends on what you use the internet for.

If you stream the latest TV shows and movies in 4K format, you may require more Mbps of download speed.

On the other hand, if you browse the internet leisurely and sometimes check your email, you may be fine with 1-5 Mbps. However, if you download the highest-definition media and play fast action games, you may need 200 megabits or more.

Ping and Packet Loss

World of Speed game

Ping and packet are also popular terms in the gaming communities.

Ping is measured in the online games within the view of other gamers. It helps the other gamers know what the internet connection for other gamers is. It helps them to know if other gamers are having internet connection issues that might cause performance issues.

Ping, also known as ping rate, latency, lag, etc., refers to the time it takes for a message to be sent from one location of the internet to the next and back.

Ping goes together with packet loss, where the information that took too long to arrive at its destination disappears.

With lag, you don't lose the information. At least you end up performing an action in-game, even if it is slow and the information is delayed.

Upload and Download Speed In Online Gaming

As mentioned earlier, some online activities are bandwidth-intensive, and they push your internet speed to the limit.

While online gaming is demanding, it is not the most bandwidth-intensive online activity. Unlike streaming online, which you stream directly over your internet connection, the picture in a video game is not streamed directly from the internet. The pictures are streamed by your game console and the graphics card on your PC.

The only information that travels through the internet during gaming is the buttons and keys players press. That means that even modern games with high-definition graphics may not require a lot of Mbps to play. You will be fine to play online games if you have a download speed of about 3 Mbps.

You also need to consider the upload speed since games are interactive. The upload speed also includes the speed at which information from your PC travels to a remote server. The upload speed you may require could be as little as 1-2 Mbps.

Even with a poor connection, you can achieve such low upload speeds.

a gamer playing online

If your internet connection can offer the basic upload speed and download speed requirements, you can play your games online.

However, if you wish to enjoy the best gaming experience, you may want to have a better connection than the basic download speeds and upload speeds.

Since the internet speeds requirements for online gaming are low, games and gaming systems don't give specific requirements for gaming. Most of the games require you to have a broadband internet connection which the Federal Communications Commission puts as the national internet limit.

The broadband connection has a download speed of 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps which is enough to have several gaming consoles simultaneously.

If you are unsure your internet speed meets the broadband connection, you can take a speed test to ascertain.

Dial-up Internet 

Some people use a dial-up internet connection due to various reasons such as the unavailability of broadband, and some claim they cannot afford to upgrade.

The internet connection is slow, and it may take longer for an image to open in front of your eyes.

If you are using the dial-up connection, you may be paying the same amount per month that you'd be using for modern connections.

Internet Service Providers 

Internet service providers (ISP) sell you access to the internet. They open your device to the internet to allow you to carry out various activities such as online gaming, browsing, etc. Here are the reviews of all top internet providers out there.

You utilize some internet cable companies such as Verizon and Xfinity to offer you internet. They come with various packages offering different internet speeds for gaming and other activities.

Internet Speed For Gaming 

Internet speed for gaming

If you are shopping around for an ISP with the best internet speeds for gaming, what should you consider?

What is good internet speed?

If you wish to have a great experience, you are better off with a connection that clocks a speed of 3 Mbps upload speed and 25 Mbps downloading speed. 100 Mbps and above should offer you fast internet quality for seamless online activities.

200 Mbps internet speed is enough to stream 4K videos and play demanding video games.

Low Latency Offers Incredible Gaming Experience

As mentioned earlier, latency refers to how long it takes to send a signal to a remote server and back. If you experience high latency while playing online games, you will experience lag.

Latency is affected by various factors, including the distance between you and the server. That is why you get regional servers for online games. Your latency also ties to the number of routers the signal will pass through and the type of connection.

Latency is different from your bandwidth and download speeds. For instance, it will take longer to download a file over a 5 Mbps DSL connection than a 50 Mbps satellite connection. However, when it comes to internet speed for playing online games, the DSL connection will be more responsive. The high latency in a satellite connection can slow you down to make it almost impossible to play fast-paced games.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need? 

Before you can settle on any package from any internet service provider, it's vital that you decide how much internet speed you need. How much internet speed you need depends on what you intend to use the internet for.

For instance, if you intend to stream a 4K video or movies, play online games, download huge files, etc., we recommend you go for 500 to 1,000 Mbps.

The Best Connections for Online Gaming 

If you are in search of the best internet speed for gaming, a fiber-optic connection like Verizon Fios and Google Fiber is the best.

Cable internet also offers incredible internet speed for gaming, with some 5G networks offering low latency and stable connections.

You can also get other connections such as the 4G LTE with a download speed of between 4 Mbps to 100 Mbps which offer a smooth gaming experience.

a gamer in action

How to Reduce Lag 

Lag can be a significant hindrance to a smooth gaming experience. As such, it will be best to try and reduce it. There are several methods you can employ to reduce lag.

For instance, instead of using a Wi-Fi connection and/or Wi-Fi extenders like the ones reviewed here, you can decide to plug your device using an ethernet cable. Wi-Fi connections have delays that you bypass when you plug using the cable - check out the best ethernet cables for gaming  and the top of the shelf ethernet cables in general. 

Also, ensure that you turn off unnecessary devices that may be eating into your bandwidth. Using multiple devices simultaneously can affect your internet speed. Also, ensure that no one is using bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming 4K videos when you want to play fast-paced games.

It will also help if you can update the drivers of your hardware. Updating the hardware ensures you use the latest security features, and it also improves your firmware's performance. The updates can also deal with incompatibility issues that may be affecting your connection.

You can also avoid gaming during peak hours due to network traffic, and you can also ensure you use the closest server.

controller for gaming

Conclusion

How much speed do I need for online gaming? Your internet speed need will depend on various factors, including what you need to use the internet for. With a broadband connection at 25 Mbps, you can enjoy some smooth gaming, but you can experience some latency. However, if you are playing fast action online games, you might consider more Mbps.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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