A Guide to Internet Speed for Gaming

By Eric Hamilton , Feb 03, 2020 11:57 AM EST
(Photo : A Guide to Internet Speed for Gaming)

Are you an avid gamer? Then you know how frustrating it can be to suffer slow internet speeds when you're just trying to get to the next level. With the right information and equipment, you can optimize your internet speed for gaming and play for hours without experiencing a lag in game play. 

In this guide, we'll provide you with recommendations on the best gaming speeds based on the number of players, the type of games, and other factors. Read on for more. 

Factors that affect internet speed

Latency and ping rate

Most Internet Service Providers offer adequate internet speeds for gaming. But, a lag in gameplay is often produced by high latency. Latency is known as ping rate or lag and it refers to the amount of time it takes for a message to rendezvous from one part of the internet to another. 

Factors that affect latency include server distances, network traffic demand, and the individual quality of your internet connection. Live online gaming is very demanding and requires rapid response times. 

For instance, if you're playing a racing game and you push the reverse button, a signal is sent from your gaming system to the game's online server with a reverse command. High latency means that you'll experience a lag between these two actions, thus negatively affecting your gameplay. 


Ask any gamer and they'll tell you that WiFi is not the best option for online gaming. Most people prefer hardwired internet connections because then you don't have to worry about potential network interference that'll slow down your connection. 

If you don't have Fiber powered home internet, then a strong WiFi signal is the next best thing. 

How to figure out the right Internet Gaming Speed for You

The minimum requirements for single-player internet speeds is anything between 15 to 25 Mbps. At this speed, you can expect faster load times and game downloads. If there are several players relying on a single internet connection, then you'd have to multiply the single player internet speed requirement by the number of players present. 

 It's important to figure out what your gaming system's requirements are as well. We did a few experiments to help you along, and the following is what we discovered.

Xbox One Gaming Speed Requirements: 

The minimum download speed required by an Xbox One is 3 Mbps, and it has a minimum upload speed of 0.5 Mbps or 500 Kbps. This console also comes with a maximum ping rate of 150 milliseconds (ms) which is essential to ensuring overall smooth operation. 

The great thing about Xbox is that they make all of their speed requirements available upfront. 

Playstation 4 Speed Requirements:

The Playstation 4 doesn't have minimum download or upload speed requirements. But, if we were to guess, we'd say that its minimum upload speed would be 1 Mbps, while the download speed probably starts at 3 Mbps. We estimate the maximum ping rate to be 150 milliseconds. 

According to PlayStation, a broadband connection is all you need to play with their console. Of course, that's bad news for anyone with dial-up, but at least Sony's definition of broadband is anything above 25 Mbps, which is quite reasonable when compared to the authorized FCC definition. 

We figure it's best to follow internet speed recommendations from competitor console companies for your PlayStation. They won't be precise, but they shouldn't be too off the mark either. 

Nintendo Switch Speed Requirements

Similarly, to Sony, Nintendo doesn't offer any direct guidance on what it's minimum download or upload speeds are. But, with a bit of research we were able to deduce that the minimum upload and download speeds for its console is 1 Mbps and 3 Mbps respectively. The maximum allowable ping rate is estimated at 150 milliseconds since the company doesn't provide one. 

This company's troubleshooting guide states that you should test your speed to make sure it meets the minimum speed requirements mentioned above. If not, the recommendation is usually to "upgrade your service." Therefore, it stands to reason that these figures are representative of the console's minimum ping, download and upload speeds. 

Online gaming speeds:

The minimum download and upload speeds for PC online gaming are 3-6 Mbps and 0.75-1 Mbps respectively. The maximum acceptable ping rate is between 100 and 150 milliseconds.

It's important to use these figures as a guide only, realizing that PCs come in all types of different varieties and the type of machine you use will affect your minimum online gaming speed requirements.   

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