How important is Internet speed for gaming?

Fast download and upload speeds are very important for a comfortable gaming session. The connection should be stable with low ping and an unlimited data plan. Let’s dive deeper and find out if you have an Internet connection that is good enough for gaming.

What are the most important factors in terms of Internet speed for gamers?

  • high download speed
  • high upload speed
  • low ping
  • high stability
  • no data limits

High download speed is crucial when you want to download a big AAA game from your Steam library or you want to play Call of Duty: Warzone and there’s a weekly update that weights just 60 GB.  For online gaming 50MB/s speed should be enough in most cases, but that’s if you use a cable connection. If you connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi then, depending on the distance to the router and amount of walls between, the speed can be much lower, halving and becoming even worse. So it’s worth getting a faster Internet speed if you want to use a Wi-Fi connection on a regular basis. Something around 200MB/s should be enough.

High upload speed also plays a key role in online gaming, especially if you stream your gameplay via Twitch.tv or stream to friends. 30-50MB/s should be enough in these cases, but if you stream regularly and you want a high-quality video output, then definitely try to get as fast upload speed as possible from your Internet provider’s offer. You can easily check your download and upload speeds using a website like  www.speedcheck.org – it will give you results like this:

In this case, the download speed is quite low at 17.8Mbps and ping is quite high at almost 50 ms. These are definitely the reasons I’ve been having issues playing Rocket League at times and getting “packet loss” and lags.

15 to 20 Mbps is generally fine for gaming, but that’s only a download speed we’re talking about and there’s more to it.

Platform/Type of GameRecommended Download Speed
Casual online gaming3-6 Mbps
PC gaming (Steam, Epic Games, EA app)10-25 Mbps
Console gaming (Xbox, PlayStation)15-25 Mbps
4K game streaming (GeForce NOW, Parsec, Xbox Cloud, etc)35-50 Mbps
Virtual Reality gaming50-100 Mbps
How much Internet speed is fast enough for gaming?

Ping (or latency) is the time it takes for a small Internet data to be transmitted from your gaming device to a server on the Internet and back to your PC/console again. Low ping (less than 50-60) is very much mandatory for the gaming experience to be enjoyable and fair. If you connect from the US to a European server then the ping is always going to be pretty bad and above 100 ms, because of the geographical distance between the server and your PC. But in normal cases, it’s dependent on a solid Internet connection without any interruptions.  Ping can also be affected by lots of applications running in the background, Wi-Fi interferences, and old or slow routers. Make sure the router is capable of transferring as much data as the Internet provider can.

High Internet stability is also very important because the high download or upload speed means not much if the connection is unstable and you cannot play a whole match in a game. It brings a risk of getting kicked out of the server and losing. Make sure your Internet is stable in different hours throughout the day.

No data limits – downloading a huge game from Steam can make your bandwidth limit disappear quickly. Online gaming usually doesn’t require that much data to be transferred over and over, unless you’re downloading some mods, new maps or other content.

Generally, it is not recommended to use a VPN while gaming because it can introduce latency, reduce connection stability, and potentially lead to slower download and upload speeds, all of which can negatively impact your overall gaming experience.

Cable or mobile Internet?

Nowadays the mobile Internet can be really fast. 4G/LTE technology allows for download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and uploads of up to 50 Mbps. 5G can be a lot faster, but it’s not available worldwide as commonly as 4G. These speeds can be enough for comfortable gaming in most cases but be vary of ping and unstable connection. Internet via a cable is usually much more stable with download speeds up to 1000 Mbps, but make sure that your network adapter is capable of handling these speeds.

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