Good internet speeds needed for online gaming

The best online gaming speeds fall between a minimum 20Mbps (megabits per second) and a maximum of 1Gbps (gigabits per second), depending on your area. Anything lower this, and your game won’t run smoothly, causing lag, disconnection and most crucially the inability to play your favourite online games.  

Read on to find out exactly why gamers - from amateurs to professionals, need good internet speeds, what these speeds are, and how you can improve your internet connection. 


Why do we need high internet speeds for online gaming? 

A high internet speed keeps your online games running smoothly, without lag or disconnection. Your game will be at its optimal performance, but you and your family will also be able to do extra things online such as stream content, download patches, and watch Netflix without connection issues.   

If you have the best internet speed, you probably won’t notice it when you’re scoring your tenth goal on Rocket League. But if you have a bad internet speed, it can feel like the end of the world. Those extra mbps gives you an edge above the competition that could clinch the win.

Internet gaming jargon explained

All of these terms are incredibly important when it comes to keeping your gaming experience up to scratch. If you have a high latency, a low download speed or a low upload speed, your gaming experience will be affected considerably. 


What is download speed?

Download speed is how fast your internet can retrieve data, and is what’s required to download your games and apps on your console. It’s especially worth having a high download speed if you’re downloading large games (such as Call of Duty) or taking advantage of next-gen streaming services.  


What is upload speed?

Upload speed is how long it takes to get information from your devices (or console) to the server. Games are constantly sending data to the server, especially when playing online. Things such as messages and in-game actions require a minimum upload speed of 0.5 Mbps. Whereas upload-heavy things such as streaming require 5Mbps or more.   


What is ping?

A ping is a test signal sent between your PC/Console and the server to show how good your latency is. The ping is the action, the latency is the number you receive back. A lot of first person shooter games let you check ping in game, and of course, the lower the better. 


What is latency?

Latency is the time it takes to send data to the gaming server, and then receive it back to your game. The longer the latency, the longer it takes for you to perform an action in game. This delay between your server and the game is known as lag; it makes all the difference when you’re a millisecond from shooting an enemy or scoring a goal.   

Best internet speeds for online gaming

It’s recommended to have a speed of above 20mbps to have a smooth online gaming experience. You’ll also want to look at your ping, which is ideal between 10ms and 50ms.  

Internet gaming speeds if you live in a rural area

Not all providers will get you good gaming speeds in a rural area. You may be struggling with both downloading and uploading, and it may be squashing your quality gaming time. If you live in a rural area such as Cornwall, you have Wildanet as an option. 

Our broadband gives you the ability to have uncompromised gaming time, whilst everyone else in the family can get on with their streaming, listening and watching too. Enter your postcode into our eligibility checker to see if you could get superfast broadband in your home.

Ways to improve your internet speed for gaming

Upgrading your internet may not be the first available option when it comes to improving your gaming experience and reducing latency. Here are some easy hacks you can do to boost your internet speed. 

Disconnect other devices

It’s a well known fact that overloading your wifi will slow it down. Imagine it like a conversation. When two people are talking, the conversation moves quickly. However when multiple people are talking, there’s often breaks in the conversation, people interrupt each other and some people have to repeat themselves. It’s the same for your internet connection, so make sure you’ve not got a lot of devices connected at once. 


Set up an ethernet connection

Ethernet is considerably stronger than WiFi, and is the best option for low-latency internet gaming. Ethernet offers a theoretical speed of up to 10Gbps, with a realistic speed of 100Mbps, so you’ll have the best reaction times when facing competitors. If you’re a serious gamer, an ethernet is for you.  


Reboot your router

The old ‘turn it off and on again’ hack. Whether you want to call it rebooting, resetting or just unplugging, it’s known to work. When you reboot your router, you’re removing excess cache and information from the hardware–letting the hardware and software talk to each other in sync again.  


Change your server or game settings

There’s also options in game that you can take to improve your gaming experience. If you’re on PC, you’ll be able to lower the resolution to improve your games speed. If you’re playing an online game such as Apex Legends, you should be able to look through your servers and change to a closer location to get a better ping.   


Play at off-peak times

Now this isn’t a viable option for everybody; people have work, school and other responsibilities which means playing in your down time is the only option. When playing at peak times, an online server will be loaded with lots of requests. This can affect the quality of the game for everyone, never mind someone with a poor internet speed.  

Minimum speeds for your favourite consoles

Nowadays, internet providers are good at exceeding minimum requirements speeds for online gaming. However it’s good to know the minimum speeds required to have a steady online gaming experience, but it’s always better to have the optimal speeds listed above to keep your experience in tip top condition. 

Console Min Upload Speed Min Download Speed Ping of less than
Xbox Series X1 0.5 Mbps 3 Mbps 150 milliseconds
Playstation 5* 1 Mbps 3 Mbps 150 milliseconds
Nintendo Switch2 1 Mbps 3 Mbps n/a
PC (Steam)3 1 Mbps 1 Mbps n/a

*Playstation 5 does not have recommended minimum speeds. This number is based on average minimum speeds