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What is a good internet speed for gaming?

What’s the best internet connection speed for gaming on PC, PS4/PS5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch? Find out how to improve your internet speed with these 8 tips.

Stephen Levine

Stephen Levine

Oct 25, 2021 · 6 min read

What is a good internet speed for gaming?

How many Mbps do I need for gaming?

While the best internet speed for gaming depends on the console you're using, most video game console manufacturers recommend at least 3 Mbps of download speed, and 0.5 Mbps to 1 Mbps of upload speed as “good internet speed”.

The minimum internet connection speed for gaming:

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

The recommended internet connection speed for gaming:

  • 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 if you’ve got an important match on League of Legends or need to be running smoothly for a battle royale in Fortnite or PUBG Lite, lower ping is desirable.

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.

What is a good connection speed for different devices?

The speed you need for playing depends on your device and the minimum system requirements. For example, what is a good internet internet connection for PS4/PS5, might not be enough for a PC. Let's analyze how much speed you need for gaming on certain devices.

What is a good connection speed for PS4/PS5?

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.

What is a good connection speed 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.

What is a good connection speed 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.

What is a good connection speed for 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.

Improving your gaming experience

The best internet connections for gaming online

As you might guess, your online gaming experience depends on the speed of your internet connection. 4G LTE networks will provide you with less speed than broadband or fiber. When 5G will be fully implemented, it will be able to provide speeds up to 1 Gbps. As for now it only works in certain regions and it will take a while for it to replace 4G.

When you’re playing online games at home, you probably rely on wireless internet, which should provide you with enough bandwidth for low latency.

If you’re looking for the best internet connection, look no further than fiber optic cable. It can provide users with speeds up to 2 Gbps, guaranteeing low ping rate and smooth gaming experience.

How much speed do you need for different game types?

There are thousands of different games and they all consume different amounts of network resources. Throughout the years games have evolved: they require more internet speed and more powerful computers and gaming consoles to play them. But how many Mbps for gaming do you need?

First-person shooters (FPS)

First-person shooters are played through the eyes of a protagonist, and revolve around a central shooting mechanic. Since FPS games involve a lot of quick action, they require more speed than some other types of games if they’re being played online.

  • Download speed: >30 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: >1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: 20 milliseconds.

Role-Playing Game (RPG)

While many RPGs can be played without being online, others still rely on a connection for updates and additional content. Also, an increasing number of people are playing games through cloud systems; you could essentially stream an RPG through a desktop app. Since there usually isn’t a competitive multiplayer element to these games, of course, you can usually rely on a slightly slower connection.

  • Download speed: >1.5 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: >1 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: 150 milliseconds.

Massively multiplayer online game (MMO)

Massively multiplayer online games are similar to RPGs, but they run almost entirely online, drawing content in real-time for remote servers.

  • Download speed: >3.5 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: >0.5 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: 150 milliseconds.

Real-time strategy games

Real-time strategy games allow players to play simultaneously in real-time, yet they don’t require blazing speeds.

  • Download speed: >3 Mbps.
  • Upload speed: >0.5 Mbps.
  • Ping rate: 150 milliseconds.

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.
  • 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. Less graphically-strenuous games like Minecraft and Roblox should not run into this issue.
  • 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. If you’re using a service like Origin that relies on staying connected online 24/7, it might be worth upgrading your internet.
  • 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. A VPN can prevent bandwidth throttling by hidng your online activity from your ISP, so they can't intentionally slow you down. You can also set up a VPN on your router and secure the traffic of all your home devices.

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