What is a Good Upload Speed for Gaming? | Just How Fast Does Your Internet Have To Be for an Awesome Gameplay Experience?

A good internet speed depends on what you need it for, so if you're planning to join eSports or begin your journey as a game, your first questions should be: "What is a good upload speed for gaming?" and ''How many Mbps do I need for gaming?''

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers 12 to 25 Mbps to be good internet speed for most families with multiple internet users and devices. Many people only consider an internet speed "fast" when it is around 100 Mbps.

What is the Good Internet Speed for Gaming, Work, Streaming, and other Activities?

The fastest internet speed today is 2,000 Mbps (or 2Gbps), which is offered by Xfinity. Just for comparison, these are the recommended internet speeds for most activities:

  • Streaming - You can stream SD videos with only 3 Mbps speeds, but this requirement goes higher with higher-quality videos. For example, HD videos need at least 5 Mbps, while 4k videos need up to 25 Mbps.
  • Working from home - Sending an email to your boss requires less than 1 Mbps while taking a Zoom call takes only 2Mbps. In most cases, you won't need faster internet if you're just going to perform non-demanding activities
  • Online gaming - Playing online games would require at least 2 Mbps connection speed. Of course, this internet speed requirement would significantly change based on household-to-household factors. The more people are playing online games at a time, the more speed you need to accommodate everyone's game needs.
  • The guide below focuses on a gamers' need for the best internet connection suitable for gaming.

    Best Internet Speed: Upload vs. Download Speeds

    Internet speed is measured by how much data your internet connection could transfer per second.

    Data here refers to images, videos, text, files, audio, and other content. The data goes in two directions - upload (data going out) and download (data going in).

    speed test capture

    What is Upload Speed?

    Upload speed  graphic icon

    Upload speeds (measured in megabits per second or Mbps) refers to how quickly information from your network is sent to external networks. It defines the time it takes you to send data to others.

    Uploading occurs whenever you attach and send big files on e-mail, or while video-chatting your friends. So if your job requires sending out large files on a daily basis, finding high-speed internet with good upload speeds is necessary.

    What is a Good Upload Speed?

    Recommended upload speeds for most uses are around 3 Mbps.

    In online gaming, you are continually sending information from your computer (or other gaming devices) to the server as you play. Having an internet connection that could support this amount of outgoing data is necessary for most online games. Most gaming companies require only 0.5 Mbps to 1 Mbps.

    What is Download Speed?

    Download speed graphic icon

    Download speed, which is also measured in megabits per second or Mbps, refers to how quickly your router (internet connection) receives information from external sources. In most cases, download speeds is used more heavily and is the cause why people believe their internet is either fast or slow. Online activities like streaming Netflix, listening to music on Spotify, and playing games all require good download speeds.

    What is a Good Download Speed?

    Recommended download speeds for most uses are around 25 Mbps.

    The FCC recommends at least 25Mbps, but you might need to upgrade depending on the number of users, the number of devices connected, and activities being done online by all those who are connected to the same internet service. Moreover, you can increase the speed using these quality options for gaming purposes, or these recommended picks for general usage.

    When it comes to online gaming, most video game console manufacturers recommend at least 3 to 6 Mbps of download speeds for smooth gameplay.

    Latency, Ping Rate, and Data Caps

    If you plan to play games online, latency, ping, and data caps are other considerations aside from the download and upload speeds.

    • Latency (or lag) is the delay in sending or receiving information. Latency is affected by internet service speed, router performance/quality, or distance information has to travel.
    • Ping is the measure of latency (measured in milliseconds) for how long it would take information to be sent from your system to game servers, and then make it back.
    • A quick speed test online could give you your latency/ping details. The result could help you determine if your connection's high latency or ping rate is affecting your games.
    • For gaming, your goal is to have low latency (around 20ms to 40ms), since high latency (150 ms or above) could negatively affect your gaming experience.
    • Sometimes, just moving your router from one spot to the next could help with the lag or latency issues. If you've transferred the router already and the speed isn't improving, then you could try buying a new router. If that still doesn't work, then you might have to switch to another internet plan.

    Aside from the ping rate, make sure to check the data caps of a plan. Most internet providers have a 1TB-cap, which is enough for most users. But if you're streaming HD/4K videos, or playing fast-paced games that eat up bandwidth, that 1TB of data will be gone so quickly.

    Speeds for Gaming FAQs: What Speed Do I Need?

    Now that you know the recommended upload and download speeds, let's know focus on the internet speed for gaming. How much do you really need?

    Is 7 Mbps Upload Speeds Good for Gaming?

    Casual gaming with minimal reaction time only requires 3 to 6Mbps. Competitive gaming would require fast internet (with a minimum speed of at least 25 Mbps).

    Let's take a look at it this by comparing gaming systems:

    • A computer requires a maximum ping rate of 100ms, minimum 3 to 6 MBps download speeds, minimum 2 Mbps upload speeds and a total minimum speed of 40 to 60 for a typical household
    • Xbox, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch require a maximum ping rate of 150ms, minimum 3 MBps download speed, a minimum of 1Mbps upload speed, and a total minimum speed of 40Mbps for a typical household. Does that answer your 'Do you need internet for Nintendo Switch?' question?
    • Is 10 Mbps Good Enough for Multiplayer Gaming?

    Like 7Mbps, a connection with speeds of 10Mbps will be sufficient for most games, but if you're starting to play a game competitively, or you'll be participating in a multiplayer game regularly, you might have to upgrade your internet.

    As a general rule, take the number of players and multiply it by the internet speed requirement of the game. If you have 6 people playing and the game requires your connection to be at least 2Mbps, (6 x 2 = 12Mbps), so the answer to your question is No (10Mbps is not enough for this scenario).

    Obviously, the more players use the same connection, the more bandwidth you'd need to avoid lag. There is no quick-fix here. You just have to find a better internet speed for gaming with multiple players.

    Choosing the Type of Connection Suitable for Gaming

    The type of internet connection and service providers - here's the review of our top picks - are also important factors in ensuring internet speeds are suitable for gaming.

    For example:

    • Fiber Optic (available at Google Fiber Optic, Verizon, AT&T) offers 50Mbps to 2Gbps download speeds with 11–14 ms latency.
    • Satellite Internet (available at Viasat, HughesNet, etc.) offers 12 to 100Mbps download speeds with 594–624 ms latency. 
    • Cable internet (available at Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, etc.) offers 15Mbps to 1Gbps download speeds with 15–35ms latency.
    • DSL internet (available at CenturyLink, Frontier, Verizon, etc.) offers 1Mbps to 100Mbps download speeds with 25–43ms latency.
    • Wi-Fi, 4G/5G (available at providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.) can accommodate 4Mbps to 1Gbps download speeds, but it is generally not recommended to use Wi-Fi for gaming due to its unstable nature. Wired connections (those that are installed with ethernet cable) are more ideal, but if you do use the Wi-Fi, check out the best wireless extenders out there.
    Different Types of Connection

    When comparing internet services, the information above could really help you choose the plan with the best bandwidth, latency, and overall service.

    A Note on Livestreaming

    If you're a gamer who live-streams his games on YouTube, Twitch, and other similar products and services, understand that your internet requirements would be a bit more demanding.

    Streaming requires a low-latency connection with a consistently steady upload speed.

    A gamer livestreaming

    Wrap Up

    One's internet connection can really be a huge factor when you play games that require connectivity for uploading and downloading data. The bandwidth demand of games isn't as light as when you stream a video on Netflix and YouTube, or when you send e-mails to your boss.

    Lag or delays in a game can even lead to a loss when you're competing on eSports. If you're planning to become a professional gamer and practice at home, then go for the best plan you can find that would suit your preferred games based on factors like the type of gaming system, up/download speeds, latency, data cap, and if you're participating in multiplayer games.

    FAQs

    1. What is a good Mbps for gaming?

    The minimum internet speed for gaming is three to six megabits per second (Mbps), and this is only suggested for recreational games with fast reaction times. You'll need at least 25 Mbps for competitive gaming.

    2. Do upload speeds matter for gaming?

    While upload and download speeds are vital, latency (or ping rate) is also critical for getting the most out of your gaming experience. Even if you have lightning-fast internet, the latency of your server may cause you to endure gaming interruptions.

    3. Does higher upload speed reduce ping?

    Yes. With a faster connection, you can transmit and receive data more quickly, minimizing your ping. A slower connection speed, on the other hand, can result in a high ping, making lag more evident when playing online games.

    4. Whats a good upload speed?

    What constitutes a satisfactory upload speed? In general, 5 Mbps is a good upload speed to aim for. However, most of the time, upload speed isn't a factor to consider when picking an internet subscription. Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) typically provides upload rates of up to 1.5 Mbps, but cable internet upload rates can range from 5 to 50 Mbps.

    5. How can I speed up my upload speed?

    - Use a wired connection if possible.
    - Delete any temporary files you may have.
    - Other devices should be removed from your network.
    - Malware must be removed.
    - Change the DNS settings on your computer.
    - Drivers for devices should be updated.
    - Upload at off-peak hours.

    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 me.

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