Three aspects of your internet connection will affect your online gaming experience the most: upload speed, download speed, and ping rate. Each gaming system has its own requirements for these capabilities, but if you have a download speed of at least 3 Mbps, an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps, and a ping rate under 150 ms, you should be covered for most online games.

Keep in mind that these numbers are for a single player only. For multiple players using the same internet connection simultaneously, multiply the requirement by the number of players using the internet connection in your home. For example, if you have three players in your home, you’ll likely need internet with a download speed of at least 9 Mbps. Be sure to check the specific requirements for your gaming system below before making your calculations.

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The speed and ping rates we recommend are based on what’s currently available for the top gaming devices. Earlier versions of similar devices, like a PlayStation 3 instead of a PlayStation 4 Pro, should work well under these same recommendations, and many could get by with even less. Because latency, which is measured by ping rate, is so essential to a good online gaming experience, we’ve also included ping rate recommendations where possible.

You can test your internet speed and your ping rate by clicking the button. Your ping rate will be displayed on the Details tab of the results display and listed as Round-Trip Time.

How Much Speed You Need for:

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XBox One internet speed requirements

Unlike most of the gaming systems on this list, Xbox One makes its speed requirements clear and easy to find. It even includes a maximum ping rate so you can make sure your games run smoothly.

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Playstation 4 internet speed requirements

The speed requirements listed for PlayStation 4 in the official manual simply state that it requires a broadband connection and doesn’t work with dial-up internet. Sony seems to be using the laxer definition of broadband rather than the official FCC definition, which states that an internet connection needs at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) to be considered broadband. The manual, however, doesn’t give a specific number for download speed, upload speed, or ping rate.

With the recommendations from the other major consoles being so similar, we recommend using the same parameters for your PlayStation connection. While they may not be exact, they should get you close.

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Nintendo Switch internet speed requirements

Nintendo doesn’t state its internet speed recommendations directly, but in its troubleshooting guide it does ask gamers to test their speeds to see if they meet 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. If the gamer answers “yes,” the guide assumes the speed is not the issue. If the gamer answers “no,” the guide explains that “you may need to upgrade your service.” Given this information, we can infer the speeds the guide uses as a benchmark are the minimum recommended speeds.

Unfortunately, making a similar inference on a ping rate is problematic because Nintendo doesn’t give any indication of what an acceptable ping rate might be.

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Nintendo Wii U internet speed requirements

Nintendo’s core website doesn’t outwardly list speed recommendations for gaming on the Wii series. But, just like with the Switch, we dug around in the troubleshooting guide, where it says “services operate best with a download speed of 1.5 Mbps.”

Upload speed and latency were not addressed in the troubleshooting guide, but because the Wii and the Switch are both made by Nintendo, we can piece together a recommendation. The download speed requirement for Nintendo Switch is higher than for the Wii, so the upload speed and ping rate recommended for Nintendo Switch should also be more than enough to handle online gaming on the Wii.

While Nintendo doesn’t provide speed recommendations for online gaming on the Wii, it does provide download speed recommendations for streaming video on the Wii: 1.5 Mbps for standard definition; 3–5 Mbps for high definition.

How Much Speed You Need for Online Xbox on a PC/Mac?

Online gaming internet speed requirements

Personal computers (PCs) vary widely, and the games people play on them vary even more. This variation makes giving speed recommendations difficult. However, based on our research, we recommend the following minimum parameters for PC gaming online.

Other Network Elements That Could Affect Your Network Experience

Ping Rate (Latency)

While internet speeds are important for a good online gaming experience, Internet Service Providers generally provide enough speed to handle most games. Slow and/or disruptive gameplay is usually caused by high latency.

Also referred to as “lag,” “ping rate,” or simply “ping,” latency refers to the time from when a message is sent from one location on the internet to another and back. Latency can be affected by the physical distance between servers and individual internet connections as well as the amount of traffic on a particular network.

For more details on latency and ping, see our “Guide to Internet Speed” and click on Latency in the table of contents.

Because live online gaming requires a quick response time in relation to other players, latency affects it more than other online activities. For example, imagine you’re playing a combat game and you push the attack button. Your gaming system sends a signal to the game’s online server telling it you want your character to attack. The higher your latency, the longer the signal takes to reach the game server.

So, if you and an opponent push the attack button at the same time, the signal coming from the player with lower latency will reach the game server first and consequently gain the advantage in the attack.

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slow upload speeds

Wi-Fi

For online gaming, hardwired internet connections generally work better than wireless connections. Wireless connections are more susceptible to interference, which can cause slowdowns and thus disrupt gameplay.

If a wired connection isn’t possible, you’ll get a better gameplay experience with a strong Wi-Fi signal. If the Wi-Fi signal is in your home network, you can boost that signal to keep your games running smoothly.

For tips on choosing a high quality Wi-Fi signal booster, check out our  “2017’s Best Wi-Fi Extenders” review.

More about Your Internet Speed Needs

These recommendations are for one person gaming online at a time. If you have multiple people in your household using the internet simultaneously, you will need a higher internet speed. For a more comprehensive speed recommendation, try our handy How Much Speed Do I Need? tool.

How much internet speed you need button

If your internet speed isn’t fast enough to cover your online gaming needs, we can help you find a faster service. Just enter your zip code in the box below, and we’ll show you a list of Internet Service Providers in your area. Then you can compare packages and find one that will help you pwn some noobs the next time you fire up your gaming system.