Streaming video games is something four out of 10 people with an Internet connection play. If you want to participate in gaming online, the right Internet speed is essential. Without it, your video may stall as it streams, and/or you could experience lags. Both situations take the fun out of gaming, but they are easily avoided with the right Internet speed.
What Internet speed do I need to stream video games?
According to the FCC’s Broadband Speed Guide, 1 Mbps is the minimum download speed needed for online gaming. But, this recommendation is based on running only one online activity at a time, and again, it’s the “minimum” speed. Considering the typical American household has roughly six Internet-connected devices, many gamers will need more speed to enjoy a quality gaming experience.
To stream video games in a household where three or more users may be online at once, the FCC advises a minimum of 6 Mbps. If users are running high demand applications, like streaming HD movies, video conferencing, or they are also online gaming, an Internet speed of 15 Mbps or more is suggested. When deciding how much speed you need, keep in mind that graphically intense, fast games like Call of Duty require more speed than strategy or puzzle type games.
Note: Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps), which refers to the speed at which data is downloaded from, or uploaded to, the web. You can find out what Internet speed you’re getting by performing a simple speed test at Speedtest.net.
What can I do if my Internet speed isn’t fast enough?
If your Internet connection isn’t fast enough for streaming online games, you might need to upgrade your Internet plan to a higher speed tier or switch providers to one that provides faster Internet. An easy way to find out what Internet service providers are available in your area is to use an online tool that allows you to search and compare. If you use a wireless router, there are things you can do to help improve your router’s performance, which may increase Internet speed without having to upgrade your plan.
How does ping rate impact video game streaming?
In addition to Internet speed, the quality of your video game stream will depend on your Internet’s ping rate, which is the speed data is sent from your computer to the game server and back again. Also referred to as latency, ping rates are measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the ping rate, the faster data will update, and the smoother your game-play may be. For most games, you will want a ping rate of less than 100ms. For optimal online gaming, aim for a ping rate that’s less than 30ms. You can check your connection’s ping rate using a free online service like Pingtest.net.
What Internet connection type is best for streaming online games?
Cable, DSL, and fiber are the preferred types of Internet connections for video streaming; dial-up and satellite are less than ideal. A dial-up connection is too slow for gaming, and the low ping rate of satellite Internet can cause a problem with video games online.
What are some popular video game streaming sites?
If you’re just getting started with online gaming, sample a variety of sites to get an idea of what’s available before you sign up for one. HitBox, Twitch, Ustream, and Dailymotion are a few popular gaming sites you might want to take a look at.