Internet speed is often reported in complex, misrepresented terms.
In online gaming, internet speed affects the gaming experience. It can mean the difference between a won and lost game.
Understanding the best online gaming internet speed can help you understand if you are in a position to compete online.
That is why we are going to dive into the best online gaming internet speed, and how you reach this number.
For online gaming, a good benchmark internet speed is going to be a standard WiFi connection. This connection is going to have a speed of about 10 - 20 mbps. To understand what this number means, we will need to look at how to calculate it.
Internet speed is calculated with network latency, bandwidth, and network throughput. We are going to look at how all these factors contribute to the online gaming experience.
The first consideration we need to make when looking at online gaming internet speed is network latency. Network latency is the factor of how fast data packets move through the internet. Latency can be determined with a simple ping test, which will generate a result in milliseconds (ms).
The ms result is the time it takes for your PC, console, or mobile device to communicate with the gaming server. This will play a role in time-to-play considerations in gaming, as well as live gameplay.
Minimizing the network latency will improve the performance of your online game, as data packets begin to move faster. In improving the speed of loading and gameplay, there are three ways to do this.
- Cause data packets to move faster between server and device
- Send less data packets for loading, which is creating lighter games
- Send more data packets at a time
The third consideration is what we will discuss next. That is bandwidth.
The next element of online gaming internet speed is the available bandwidth. Bandwidth, if we think of the internet as a road, is the number of cars you can fit on a specific road. It is the size of your internet pipe.
Bandwidth, as reported by you internet service provider (ISP), is measured in bits/second. The tells you how many data packets can be fit into a single internet pipe. Increasing this number means you can increase the amount of data sent at a specific time. This is great for online gaming when a user is installing a game, or loading the time-to-play data.
As network latency is a crucial factor in real-time gaming, bandwidth is an important factor in loading levels within games. Also, bandwidth is important in the loading of the games themselves. It is the crucial factor in all data intensive aspects of online gaming.
After considering both network latency and bandwidth, this bring us to how these add up to make our internet speed. This is throughput.
The concept that will determine your internet speed is network throughput. Throughput is a factor that includes both network latency and bandwidth. Although network throughput is measured in megabits per second (mbps), it differs from the bandwidth measurement.
Bandwidth is the theoretical internet pipe size. Network throughput is the actual internet speed. If you look at an internet speed test, throughput is going to be the speed reported. This is the consideration needed when determining your online gaming internet speed.
When internet speed is rated, the number you are given is the throughput number. Throughput is given as “54 mbps”, which would be a fast WiFi connection.
As we look at actual internet speeds for gaming, network throughput is the number we are going to be considering.
The last factor that can affect online gaming speed is the geographic distance from you to the gaming server you are requesting from.
As data has to travel distances over the internet, distance plays a factor in internet speed. The closer the server is to you, the lower the network latency. Distance affects how fast the speed of light can travel a given distance.
For this reason, online gaming players rarely play against players on different continents. The latency is to great based on geographic distances. That means Europe will typically play within Europe, the US within the US, and Asia within Asia. Unfortunately, there is no way to overcome these distances.
That is why game developers have to place game servers in strategic locations. Locate them where their users are most densely populated.
How Your Users Perceive Your Games
Internet speed is going to affect how users perceive your games while playing. Internet speed effects the user experience.
Thus, considering the four factors above can help control more of the user experience. With poor internet speed, your online game is subject to network congestion, packet loss, and jitter. All contribute negatively to the user experience.
Address network latency, bandwidth, and distance to your servers, and you can help improve the internet speed for your users.
The Best Online Gaming Internet Speed
The best online gaming internet speed would obviously be as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this is not realistic. We need a concrete benchmark.
Most games should allow you to run sufficiently on a normal WiFi connection. A normal WiFi connection is going to be 10 - 20 mbps. When gaming, it is always best to run over a wired connection. This should give you around 100 mbps for most well-connected countries.
A great speed would be 54 mbps, which is the high range of WiFi, and an attainable internet speed for most.
There are many tools to check your existing internet speed, which I have used SpeedTest. The results of my internet speed over a WiFi connection are below.
Network latency from the ping test was 19 ms. My download internet speed is 46.56 mbps and my upload internet speed is 9.87 mbps.
Understanding the necessary internet speed for online gaming can provide leverage in choosing your internet package. Also for game developers, this allows for better planning and designing of your game.
Internet speed effects the gaming user experience. Planning for various speeds can provide increased control over your user experience.
To learn more about online gaming performance solutions, download the Online Gaming Performance Solutions Whitepaper.