Gaming is a fantastic way to get away from day-to-day stresses, decompress, have fun and maybe chat with friends. But only if you have a good connection. There is nothing worse than experiencing lag while trying to complete an important gaming challenge. A frustrating and stressful situation, that you will want to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to make having this experience far less likely. Below we quickly explain what type of broadband connection you need to be able to play at your best.
Faster is usually better
Without a doubt, when it comes to gaming, speed matters. There is no point in trying to play a First-Person Shooter (FPS) game like Counter-Strike or Valorant with a connection that has upload speeds of less than 1Mbps or a download speed of less than 30Mbps.
Whereas if you mainly play World of Warcraft, which is an MMORPG the balance between upload and download speeds is different. For MMO games an upload speed of 1 Mbps is also necessary. But you can typically get away with a download speed of as little as 5Mbps.
For Real-Time Strategy (RTS) like Age of Empires or Command and Conquer, upload speeds of 1 Mbps and only 3Mbps will normally be adequate. If you live in an area with limited internet capabilities, these are usually the best type of games to play.
The importance of ping rate
However, for gamers, speed is only a part of the equation. Your ping rate is just as important, if not more so. Ideally, for both RTS and MMO games you need a connection with a ping rate of 100ms or less. Although you can just about get away with 150ms.
For players of FPS games, the ping rate needs to be much lower at an absolute maximum of 100ms. Or better still 30ms or below. For some games e.g., Modern Warfare rates of 15ms or less are desirable. The lower your ping rate is the faster and smoother the gameplay will be, regardless of what type of game you like playing.
You need to tick all three of the speed and ping rate boxes
It is vital that the contract you sign provides you with the right ping, upload and download speed rates. To have a good gaming experience, you need to tick all three boxes for the types of games you are playing.
Even if you have a connection that offers you 1Mbps upload and 8Mbps download if the ping rate is not also 30ms or below you will still struggle to play an FPS like Counter-Strike. This great guide on gaming broadband explains how to make sure that you are signing up with the right ISP for the types of games you want to play. Including covering the subject of working out which provider has the speed and ping rate that you need.
Having contracted a connection with a low ping rate you need to make sure you take full advantage of it by turning off everything that negatively affects ping. At least, while you are playing. This YT video explains how to do that regardless of the set-up you are using or the type of broadband you have.
High latency leading to lagging
For gamers, high latency rates are a huge issue. If your ISP is not managing traffic effectively, you will experience pauses in your game. So, in an FPS, if you shoot at another player, by the time your bullets reach them the chances are they will have moved. In addition, other gamers will be able to see you well before you can see them, greatly increasing your chances of getting killed. Something that makes continuing to play all but impossible.
In many countries, latency is not the issue it used to be. But it can still happen, especially if you have a high ping rate. Speaking to your ISP usually helps, but it may not completely solve the problem. So, you will have to do all that you can to improve the situation. Simple changes like moving your gaming computer closer to the router or connecting it via a cable are usually sufficient. The subject of reducing latency is covered in-depth, in this article.
Jittering interrupting gameplay
Jittering is closely connected to latency. It is best described as an inconsistency in service. Again, you will need to speak to your ISP to solve the problem. But they will take some convincing, so before you do it is best to run some monitoring software. For example, Paessler´s PRTG Network Monitor allows you to test for both jitter and latency.
Before signing a broadband contract that ties you to a service for 18 months or 2 years pause. Do your research. Use a broadband comparison site to find the best deal. But, check the details to make sure that the speed and ping are fast enough and read through a few reviews.