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What is a good internet speed for gaming?

Sep 14, 2020 · 4 min read

What is a good internet speed for gaming?

Online gaming is the perfect pastime. It’s a group activity you can do home alone — provided that your internet connection is fast enough. In this article, you’ll find out what’s the best internet speed for gaming on PC, PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

How many Mbps do I need for gaming?

It depends on your console and the type of game you’re playing. Here are the general guidelines provided by many ISPs and tech experts.

The minimum internet speed for gaming:

  • Download speed: 3 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 0.5-1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 150 ms.

The recommended internet speed:

  • Download speed: 15-25 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 5 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 50 ms.

Download speed, upload speed, and ping rate explained

The smoothness of your online gaming depends on your internet bandwidth, which indicates the maximum amount of data you can download and upload at a given time. Put simply — bandwidth measures how much data your internet connection can handle.

Bandwidth is calculated in Mbps (megabits per second). Mbps is self-explanatory — it shows how many megabits per second you can download or upload.

The ping rate, also known as latency, is measured in ms (milliseconds). It shows how long it takes a data packet to travel from its source (for example, your console) to the destination (game server) and back again (your console).

In other words, ping rate shows how quickly the action you take shows up on the screen. If your ping rate is 27 milliseconds, it takes 27 milliseconds for your character to shoot in-game after you press the left mouse button.

So bandwidth is the amount of data sent per second, while the ping rate is the amount of time that information travels.

When your ping is very high, most games will register other players’ moves first. That means you might suffer a headshot before getting a chance to react.

When it comes to ping rate, the rule of thumb is:

  • Less than 50 ms is very good.
  • Less than 100 ms is average.
  • 150ms is the threshold at which lag problems start.
  • Above 150 ms is definite lag.

How much internet speed you need for Playstation 4

The minimum requirements are:

  • Download speed: 3 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 150 ms.

Playstation does not provide minimum requirements for internet speed, so these numbers are based on general guidelines.

The recommended requirements are:

  • Download speed: 16 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 4 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 50 ms.

Playstation’s support page provides only the recommended download and upload speeds. The recommended ping rate is based on general guidelines.

How much internet speed you need for Xbox One

The minimum requirements according to Xbox’s support page:

  • Download speed: 3 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 0.5 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 150 ms.

The recommended requirements are:

  • Download speed: 15-25 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 4 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 50 ms.

Xbox does not provide a recommended internet speed for gaming, so these numbers are based on general guidelines.

How much internet speed you need for Nintendo Switch

The minimum requirements are:

  • Download speed: 3 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 150 ms.

Nintendo’s support page provides only the minimum download and upload speeds. The minimum ping rate is based on general guidelines.

The recommended requirements are:

  • Download speed: 15-25 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 4 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 50 ms.

Nintendo does not provide any recommended requirements for internet speed. These numbers are based on general guidelines.

How much internet speed you need on PC or Mac

The minimum requirements are:

  • Download speed: 3-6 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 0.75-1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: 100-150 ms.

The recommended requirements are:

  • Download speed: 15-25 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: 5 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: Less than 50 ms.

These numbers are based on general guidelines. Your experience will vary depending on the computer you have and the game you’re playing.

Other factors that impact your online gaming experience

Finding out how many Mbps you need for online gaming isn’t an exact science. It depends on internet usage in your household.

If 3 members of your household are avid gamers and often play at the same time, your bandwidth needs multiply by 3. If your family members stream videos or download huge files while you’re engaged in a digital battle royale, your ping will increase significantly.

Every device that’s continuously online (like your smart fridge or smart lock) and every online activity or service running in the background takes up your bandwidth. Too many shared connections can prevent you from achieving a good download speed for gaming.

Insufficient bandwidth isn’t the only thing that can impede your gaming. Gamers are alluring targets for cybercriminals because they seldom employ basic cybersecurity measures. Hackers take over gamer accounts, spy on private chats, reuse login details to break into other accounts, or sell their details on the dark web.

8 tips to improve your online gaming connection

  • Use a wired connection. An ethernet cable usually provides a faster and more reliable connection. Here’s how to set up a wired home network.
  • Move your console closer to the router. Or buy Wi-Fi extenders, which boost your signal.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi. Someone may be piggybacking on your Wi-Fi and slowing down your home network.
  • Use a VPN. Usually, a premium VPN will marginally decrease your internet speed. However, your internet service provider may reduce your connection based on your online activity — potentially including gaming sessions. This is called bandwidth throttling and a VPN can prevent it. You can also set up a VPN on your router and secure the traffic of all your home devices.
  • Free up your bandwidth. Some apps, web pages, or services could be hogging up all the bandwidth. Close them when you’re gaming.
  • Reset your router. Occasional resets will keep it running at optimal performance.
  • Adjust game settings. Pretty visuals take up more bandwidth. Dial down your graphics a bit if the game isn’t running smoothly.
  • Upgrade your internet connection. There are many paths to take: get a faster internet plan, buy a newer router, or upgrade to a fiber optic internet.

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Stephen Levine
Stephen Levine successVerified author

When Stephen's not busy being a news junkie or playing with the latest gadgets, he loves to blog about tech and cybersecurity issues. He hates the idea of anyone collecting excessive data about him or his two cats.


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