Best Internet for Gaming 2020

Our pickLowest average latencyFastest advertised speeds
Google Fiber RCN Xfinity
Google FiberRCNXfinity
Speeds up to 1,000 MbpsSpeeds up to 940 MbpsSpeeds up to 2,000 Mbps
View plansView plansView plans

What internet service is best for gaming?

We recommend snagging Google Fiber service if you can get it. It has the best speed scores nationwide in our independent Fastest Internet Providers 2020 report.

But not everyone can get Google Fiber. Thankfully, there are several internet service providers (ISPs) that offer the speed you need to get that Play of the Game

Highest-ranked internet providers for gaming

DistinctionServiceWeighted speed scoreAverage latencyDownload speeds up to Get it
Our pick Google Fiber 99.3666.2 ms1,000 MbpsView plans
Lowest average latency RCN 67.4861.7 ms940 MbpsView plans
Fastest advertised speeds Xfinity 65.9770.5 ms2,000 MbpsView plans
Great upload and download speeds Verizon 91.5369.3 ms940 MbpsView plans
Affordable fiber gigabit plans AT&T 52.1786.1 ms940 MbpsView plans
DistinctionOur pick
Service Google Fiber
Weighted speed score99.36
Average latency66.2 ms
Download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
Get itView plans
DistinctionLowest average latency
Service RCN
Weighted speed score67.48
Average latency61.7 ms
Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
Get itView plans
DistinctionFastest advertised speeds
Service Xfinity
Weighted speed score65.97
Average latency70.5 ms
Download speeds up to 2,000 Mbps
Get itView plans
DistinctionGreat upload and download speeds
Service Verizon
Weighted speed score91.53
Average latency69.3 ms
Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
Get itView plans
DistinctionAffordable fiber gigabit plans
Service AT&T
Weighted speed score52.17
Average latency86.1 ms
Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
Get itView plans

Weighted speed score: we ranked the best internet service providers for online gaming based on results from our Fastest ISPs 2020 report. We collected data from more than 2.4 million speed tests taken between January 1, 2019 and Feb 24, 2020 to score internet providers based on tested download speed, upload speed, and ping.

Download speed is how quickly information gets to your device from the internet. It affects how long it takes your online games to load and how long it takes to download a patch.

Upload speed is how quickly information gets from your console or PC to the game server. It’s particularly important for livestreaming or interaction-heavy games like VR.

Ping is a measure of latency, which is the time it takes from when you input an action—like shooting an opponent—to when the game registers and displays the outcome (the opponent taking damage).

All three are vital for a good gaming sesh. You can read more information on how we ranked our recommended internet providers in the methodology section.

Can you get the best internet for gaming? Compare prices and speeds for every ISP in your area to find a connection that can keep up.

Google Fiber

Our pick
  • Weighted speed score: 99.36
  • Download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • Average tested latency: 66.2 ms

Google Fiber is the gold standard for internet speeds right now. Its plan offers 1,000 Mbps with symmetrical upload and download speeds, and its price lines up with other fiber gigabit providers. Unfortunately, it has pretty limited availability across the US.

Though the fiber ISP is available in only 18 cities in the country, it still comes out on top of our internet recommendations for gaming because if you can get it, you should.

Its tested average upload speeds, download speeds, and ping were the best on a national scale and in several regional comparisons. Those speeds can give you an edge in your next League of Legends match.

Pros

  • Top tested performance
  • Symmetric upload and download speeds
  • Fiber internet connection

Cons

  • Limited availability

RCN

Lowest average latency
  • Weighted speed score: 67.48
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 20 Mbps
  • Average tested latency: 61.7 ms

RCN offers both cable and fiber (but mostly cable) internet services with plans ranging from 25 Mbps all the way up to gigabit speeds. This ISP also has inexpensive introductory rates for its gigabit internet plans.

And of course, RCN has some of the lowest average ping rates in our tests, both on a national level and in the Northeast and Midwest regions. So check it out if you want to stop lagging out.

Pros

    • Inexpensive gigabit plans
    • Lowest average tested ping

Cons

  • Slower upload speeds than download speeds

Xfinity

Fastest advertised speeds
  • Weighted speed score: 65.97
  • Download speeds up to 2,000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 2,000 Mbps
  • Average tested latency: 70.5 ms

Xfinity offers cable internet speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. But to be completely frank, the ISP’s gigabit internet plans are a little pricey compared to other providers.

That’s not saying that Xfinity has bad plans. The provider actually has a great variety of internet plans that are suitable for gaming, so you can find a great speed at whatever price point fits your budget.

Xfinity’s cable internet network is also more widespread than most fiber networks. So you’re more likely to be able to sign up for Xfinity than Google Fiber or Verizon Fios. That makes it one of the best options for gamers who can’t access a fiber network.

Pros

  • Wide availability
  • Multigigabit speeds

Cons

  • Expensive gigabit plans

Verizon Fios

Great upload and download speeds
  • Weighted speed score: 91.53
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 880 Mbps
  • Average tested latency: 69.3 ms

Verizon Fios (not to be confused with Verizon Wireless or Verizon’s DSL internet services) offers speedy fiber-optic internet packages perfect for keeping your Call of Duty: Modern Warfare KD ratio nice and low.

Its availability is mostly in the Mid-Atlantic, and it has download speeds up to 940 Mbps. While Verizon Fios’s upload speeds aren’t quite symmetrical, they’re pretty darn close and much faster than uploads provided by cable internet.

Verizon Fios performed right behind Google Fiber on the national level and ranked first in the Northeast region (where Google Fiber doesn’t offer service). So if you’re in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, or Washington, DC, Fios is going to give you the best internet performance.

Pros

  • Best performance in Northeast
  • Fast upload and download speeds

Cons

  • Only regional availability

AT&T Fiber

Affordable fiber gigabit
  • Weighted speed score: 52.17
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 35 Mbps
  • Average tested latency: 86.1

Despite using fiber infrastructure that should definitely be able to handle symmetric upload and download speeds, AT&T caps uploads at 35 Mbps on gigabit plans. That’s still a good upload speed, but it doesn’t compare to most fiber providers, which offer much faster upload speeds.

Still, AT&T is worthy of a place in our recommendations because it’s affordable. The first 12 months of it’s fiber gigabit plan are only $50 per month (at the time of writing, not including taxes and fees). That’s $10–$50 less per month than other gigabit plans on this list.

Pros

  • Low introductory price for one year
  • No-contract plans

Cons

  • Asymmetric upload/download speeds

How to choose internet for gaming

You should look into availability, speeds, and price when shopping for any internet plan.

But you want to pay special attention to upload and download speeds, reliability, internet type, and latency if you’ll primarily be using your connection for online gaming.

Speeds

Ok, you know that you need speedy internet for gaming. But how many Mbps are enough?

You can get by with much slower internet speeds than you’d probably guess. Most game consoles require only 3 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed to function.

Let’s be clear here—those are minimum requirements. And that’s per device. So if your internet speeds are 3 Mbps/1 Mbps and you try to game AND chat on Discord, that’s not going to fly. And let’s be real, you’re probably multitasking between Fortnite matches.

As a general starting point, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload for most households. But that recommendation hasn’t been updated since 2015.

We recommend those speeds for each person in your household. That way, you have enough bandwidth to play uninterrupted even if someone else hops on your connection or there’s some fluctuation in service.

Pro tip:

Do you have the speed you need to stay at the top of your game? Take a speed test to find out.

Take a speed test.

Low latency

Latency or ping isn’t something most people think about when considering internet speeds, but it’s very important for gaming, especially in fast-paced competitive games like CoD, Halo, or Overwatch. If you and another player shoot each other at the exact same time, whoever has the lower latency gets the kill.

You can’t necessarily control your latency. Physical distance from the network hub, the equipment used in your provider’s network, and your own home network equipment can affect your ping.

There are a few things you can do to keep your latency nice and low though. Choose cable, fiber, or 5G internet connections. These have lower latency than DSL or satellite internet.

How internet connection type affects gaming

Our top five internet services for gaming are all either fiber internet or cable internet. These are the two best types of internet connections for online gaming now. That’s because these two types can carry the most internet speed. Fiber is better than cable (it generally has lower latency and higher reliability), but high-speed cable internet is still a very good option.

DSL internet can also handle gaming, but its max speeds top out around 100 Mbps in the best case scenarios. That’s fine for gaming, but DSL’s reliability and ability to actually deliver its top speeds aren’t as good as cable and fiber, according to the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America reports.

Pro tip:

Connect your PC or console to your router with an Ethernet cable to get the most out of your internet speeds.

While you can game on Wi-Fi, the signals are less reliable and don’t carry the same speeds as plugging in.

Our verdict

If you live in a city with Google Fiber, get it. It averaged the best performances across 2.4 million internet speed tests, and its high speeds paired with low ping rates will pave the way for you to pwn your enemies.

If Google Fiber isn’t available in your area, look for local fiber internet providers, Verizon Fios, or any of our other ISP recommendations.

Find the best internet for gaming in your area.

Methodology

We used data from our Fastest Internet Providers 2020 report to find the best providers for gaming in the US.

We ranked dozens of providers with a weighted speed score based on tested average latency, upload speeds, and download speeds (not speeds promised by the ISP). These averages were pulled from more than 2.4 million speed tests taken between January 1, 2019 and February 24, 2020.

For our national rankings, we wanted to focus on providers that are available throughout the US. So we narrowed down our national recommendations to ISPs that are available in at least five states and offer speed packages of at least 100 Mbps. Smaller providers are showcased in the regional breakdowns.

Instead of ranking straight up and down according to speed scores, we showcased providers that both perform well in our internet speed tests and that cater to specific gamer needs—like low latency.

Gaming internet FAQ

What is a good upload speed for gaming?

You need a minimum of 1 Mbps of upload speed for one gaming connection.

Ideally, you want 3 Mbps or higher upload speeds for online gaming.

If you’re streaming your gaming session on Twitch, aim higher, as streaming video can use up to 6 Mbps of upload bandwidth by itself.

Is 300 Mbps fast enough for online gaming?

A 300 Mbps internet plan should be more than fast enough for online gaming.

Online gaming actually requires surprisingly little bandwidth, which makes sense because game companies want everyone to be able to play, not just people who can afford the best internet plans.

That said, having a faster connection than the bare minimum requirement gives you an edge. If you’re working with something like 20 Mbps, you could see your load times dramatically increase when your roommate decides to marathon-watch all the Star Wars movies on Disney+.

What is the best type of internet for gaming?

The best type of internet for gaming and generally any online activity right now is fiber—Google Fiber if you can get it. But if you regularly use bandwidth-hogging applications like online games or video streaming, get any fiber internet that you can. It’s more reliable, has lower latency, and has the potential for faster upload and download speeds than other types of internet.

The second-best option is cable internet. Cable is more widely available in the US than fiber, and it offers comparable download speeds.

Other internet types include DSL, satellite, cellular, and fixed wireless. And while all of these connections are capable of handling online gaming to some extent, each has some distinct disadvantages compared to cable or fiber internet.

For example, DSL offers lower top speeds and is often less reliable because of the age of infrastructure, and satellite internet has pretty high latency since your data has to travel to space and back.

Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

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