What is the best speed for internet gaming?

Any online gamer worth their salt knows that a reliable high-speed internet connection is key to ensuring victory, regardless of what game you play. 

From MMOs and RTSs to first person shooters and sports games, your connection to the online world is what allows you to succeed. We're going to break down what you need to consider while you try to find the best gaming internet possible.

What is a good speed for internet gaming?

There are a number of factors that go into determining what internet speed you may want to use for online gaming. Below are the minimum internet speeds for gaming you should consider, based on which gaming platform you use.

Platform Download Speed Upload Speed
Xbox One single-player 3-4 Mbps 0.5 Mbps
Playstation single-player 3-4 Mbps 0.5 Mbps
PC 3-6 Mbps 0.75-1 Mbps
Online multiplayer 4 Mbps 1.5 Mbps

While these speeds may be enough to get you by, we recommend choosing a more robust plan to get an optimal gaming experience. With many game publishers pushing online game purchases and the ability to stream games on the horizon, having a faster download speed comes with several advantages.

You will be able to download new games quickly, download updates in a timely manner (that means you won’t have to wait hours for the latest patch), and take advantage of game streaming from services like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud.

All things considered, we recommend at least 25 Mbps and suggest increasing your internet speed based on how many devices you have in your household. There is nothing worse than lagging out of a match just because someone starts streaming their favorite TV show while you're in the middle of your game. 

While upload and download speeds are important for gaming internet, there is another aspect of your connection that you should pay close attention to, and that’s “ping” or latency.

What is "ping" and how does it affect online gaming?

Ping — or latency — is how quickly information is sent from your gaming platform to the gaming server and back. This has a direct effect on in-game lag and can drastically affect your performance in an online video game, particularly in multiplayer shooter games. To ensure the best ping possible, we recommend a fiber-optic connection, as fiber internet tends to perform better when it comes to both latency and lag. Additionally, if you plan on streaming your play time through a service like Twitch, a fiber connection can offer much faster upload speeds than a cable connection, meaning you will be able to provide the highest quality stream to your viewers that doesn’t stutter or tear.

Other gaming internet considerations

Here are a few other things that can affect your online gaming performance.

Wireless vs. wired connection

Generally, a wired connection is more reliable and quicker than a wireless (WiFi) connection. This is why we recommend directly connecting your gaming device to your router using an Ethernet cable. If this is not possible, optimize your wireless connection by ensuring your game system is as close to your router as possible and that the router is placed away from walls or other items that may interfere with your signal.

Your modem and router

Technology progresses quickly. While routers and modems can last you years when properly taken care of, we typically recommend you start shopping for updated equipment once your current modem/router is more than 5 years old. Keep in mind that while your equipment may still function, progress in various technologies may render your equipment obsolete and you may not get optimal performance out of your internet connection. This can be particularly important if you are using WiFi to access the internet through your router.

Number of devices in your home

While gaming itself does not require a significant amount of bandwidth, having multiple devices on your network can quickly “clog the pipe” and have a negative effect on your online gaming speed. If you know you’re going to have a lot of devices on your network while you game, consider opting for a plan with a higher download speed.

If this isn’t an option, many routers and modems allow you to set a “priority device” using QoS settings (available on most newer modems). This can help ensure that your system gets the high-quality connection it needs for online gaming. 

The last word

There are quite a few things to consider when deciding what you need to get for the best online gaming experience. When in doubt, keep in mind latency, how many devices you will have on your home network while you game, and your equipment. All of these elements will have an effect on your online gaming experience.

Check to see what internet speeds CenturyLink offers in your area. If you're already a customer, you may consider upgrading or adding a second internet line exclusively for gaming.

Was this article helpful?
Top Tools
Internet Speed Test
Service Troubleshooter
Service Appointment Manager
Where's My Technician?
Modem Compatibility
Manage My Services
Find Product Availability