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For gamers who simply cannot put down their controllers, investing in a reliable high-speed internet connection is a must. An essential to winning battles, it ensures you get a seamless online experience using which you can integrate fully into the cyber realm. However, it is easier said than done.
Depending on your location you are likely to have 2 or more wireline services, high-speed DSL, Cable, or Fiber, available in your urban or suburban neighborhood. And it can become confusing as to which internet type, provider, and plan may serve your purpose the best. So, what can you do?
Well, in-depth research is key here. Sure, it requires time and effort but it is worth it. To help you out, we have vetted top provider offerings so you can find the best fit for your gaming needs. But first, let us take a look at what aspects you must look into when you are in the market for the best internet for gaming.
Before you go browsing internet plans and pick one to fulfill your gaming needs, it will do you well to arm yourself with the knowledge of exactly what you need. This way you can better screen the available packages, and shortlist the ones that carry the potential of making a good fit for your gaming. Here are some factors to keep an eye on:
When it comes to speed, it all depends on the kind of game you want to play, and the quality of gaming experience you are looking for. While the FCC recommends a 3-4 Mbps connection, that is the bare minimum benchmark. For a seamless experience of casual gaming, you will need a 20 Mbps download connection, and if you are into competitive gaming and tournaments, 50 Mbps download power is a must.
Of course, that is not all that the internet may be used for. With housemates streaming movies and scrolling social media, smart security doing its thing, and any other connected devices running in the background, you will need to get at least a 100 Mbps connection. Then again, if there is another gamer in the house or someone who streams 4K content on a daily basis, you may have to do some more calculations.
For most online activities upload speed is rarely a concern. With gaming, though it is one factor, you will not want to ignore it, especially if you are into multiplayer, and first-person shooter games. Time is of the essence here, and your fast reflexes and reaction time means nothing if you do not have the required upload speed. For casual gaming 5 Mbps upload speed is a must and for competitive gaming, we suggest you get at least 10 Mbps. And, if you like to live to stream your online adventures on platforms like Twitch, the bare minimum recommended upload speed range is 6-8 Mbps.
The ping time or latency refers to the time it takes your computer to send and receive data from the game server. If the connection depicts a high latency level, you will experience a lag between when you fire a shot, the command is received, and the shot fired. For multiplayer games especially then, you do not stand a chance of winning with a longer lag time. What is more, you may be booted out of the game, or ‘lag out’ as they call it. Nobody wants that, but what can you do?
Well, for starters getting the right type of internet connection can help. Satellite internet has the highest latency, which falls between 594 and 612 ms, and makes it unfit for gamers unless you are looking to download and play single-player titles.
On the other hand, latency for a DSL connection ranges from 24–42 ms, for Cable it is 15–27 ms, and for Fiber 10–15 ms. Meaning these wired service types should serve your gaming needs well. Especially Cable and Fiber connections which are likely to deliver internet with latency lower than 20 ms.
Even if you plan on getting Cable, make sure to ask around and find out how much lag is common in your area. If possible, get a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial service, which is more affordable and more widely available than fiber internet, but gets you Cable internet backed by Fiber.
Gaming is a data intense activity, but then again how much data is used per hour varies with the kind of games you play. While games like Starcraft 2 will use 20 MB per hour, Dota 2 will consume 120 MB per hour, and Destiny 2 will take 300 MB per hour.
So unless you can get your hands on a plan which offers unlimited data, you must look for one that allows you at least 1 TB every month. After all, other household usages besides gaming will also have to be taken into account, and you will not want to end up being billed data overage fees.
For the best results in the gaming realm, in addition to a near-perfect internet connection, you must also take other steps to optimize the output of your connection. For regular gamers these tips and tricks are not new, but if you are not as well-versed in what a seamless gaming experience requires, here is what you can do to optimize your setup:
Here are the top internet providers which deliver reliable high-speed internet across the U.S., via a Fiber or hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network. Given the widespread availability of services from Xfinity, Spectrum, AT&T CenturyLink, and Cox in urban and suburban regions, chances are you will be able to subscribe to the one serving your area. Others like RCN and WOW! have coverage limited to fewer states, but if available their plans also get you fast internet for gaming at appealing price points.
Xfinity Internet offers a range of speed-based plans. You can go for a 50 Mbps download speed if you are into casual gaming and only have 1-2 people sharing the connection. Or go all out and get the 1200 Mbps connection which is perfect for a big household where many are into gaming and streaming while smart home security devices are also hooked to the network. And since Xfinity delivers internet speeds up to 1200 Mbps via its hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network, you can rest assured latency will not be an issue. According to the FCC 8th Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report Xfinity Internet service depicted a latency level of just a little above 20 ms.
As for data, in most markets Xfinity Internet plans come with 1.2 TB allowance which is good for all standard household usage, and allows you to enjoy a stress-free gaming experience as well. While the xFi Gateway for $14/mo., also gives you an opportunity to take advantage of the best WiFi for gaming.
SELECT in California
Up to 100/5 Mbps download/upload
for 12 months with a 1-Year Term Agreement. AutoPay & paperless billing are required.
SELECT in Connecticut
Up to 400/10 Mbps download/upload
for 24 months with 1-Year Term Agreement AutoPay & paperless billing required
SELECT in Florida
Up to 800/15 Mbps download/upload
for 12 months with 1-Year Term Agreement AutoPay & paperless billing required.
AT&T offers high-speed IPBB and fiber services in 21 states, and while its Fiber footprint covers a little over 30% service locations, it is the most appealing option. Especially so because AT&T offers one of the fastest starting speeds i.e. 300 Mbps at one of the lowest promo rates in the market i.e. $35/month, making it a deal you cannot ignore.
Add to that, unlimited data, breakthrough Wi-Fi 6 speeds, and ultra-low latency, it is hands down the best internet for gaming. Plus you never know when you are able to grab a bargain deal with perks such as a 6-month Stadia Pro Pass all included in the price!
Albeit AT&T is fast expanding its footprint to more service locations, the only thing standing in your way could be its availability. Call at 1-855-925-2541 to determine offer availability in your area.
Up to 300 Mbps equal upload and download speeds
plus taxes & equipment. fee* Autopay & Paperless bill required. *$10/mo equip. fee applies
Up to 500 Mbps equal upload and download speeds
plus taxes & equipment. fee* Autopay & Paperless bill required. *$10/mo equip. fee applies
Spectrum is one of the safest you can bet on when it comes to the best internet for gaming. Delivered via a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network, the service is widely available in 40 states. And, you can enjoy reliable download speeds up to 200 Mbps pretty ubiquitously in Spectrum service locations. Spectrum Internet plans also offer quite a high upload speed. Even the 200 Mbps plan gets you up to 10 Mbps uploads. So, streaming your online game should be no trouble at all. While the latency level is not as low as that of Xfinity Internet service, it is reported by FCC at just under 30 ms, which is good.
The starting Spectrum Internet plan costs $49.99/month and gets you quite a few perks such as unlimited data, a FREE internet modem, and antivirus software. You can enjoy these perks with higher speed tiers i.e. Spectrum Ultra and Spectrum 1 Gig as well, which cost $69.99 and $109.99 per month (for 12 months) respectively.
Up to 400/10 Mbps download/upload speeds
for 12 months with Auto Pay
The CenturyLink internet service offers both high-speed DSL and a pure fiber optic connection across 35 states. While the provider Fiber network is fast expanding to serve more communities under its coverage, availability is rather limited at this time. With that said, if available at your address the CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit comes with all the power you need to win games!
For $65/month you get symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps and unlimited data. So there will be little to complain about. Plus the service does not require an annual contract, rather you pay month-to-month, and cancellation does not make you incur an early termination fee.
Up to 940 Mbps download/upload
speeds via a wired connection
Cox Internet service is delivered over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network that spreads out in 19 states. Cox offers a myriad of speed-based plans starting from 25 Mbps up to 1 Gig. But, if you are a gamer in a small family you will be better off going with its most popular plan i.e. Cox Internet Preferred which delivers up to 150 Mbps downloads. All Cox plans get you a 1.25 TB allowance every month, so you are good at the data front as well. As for latency, FCC reports it to be around 25 ms which is yet another aspect making Cox Internet a worthy choice for gamers.
The best part is Cox gives you an ingenious way to reduce the lag further and win more. The Cox Elite Gamer is designed to keep you ahead, as its intelligent routing feature finds a faster path to the PC gamer server, optimizing your connection. There are fewer ping spikes, and your gameplay improves drastically with a 32% reduction in lag time.
Up to 150/10 Mbps
Add the Panoramic WiFi Gateway & get
Elite Gamer at no added cost!
While RCN and WOW! are more limited in terms of network coverage relative to the ISPs we have talked about earlier, that by no means implies you cannot have a great gaming experience with RCN or WOW!. Both providers make use of a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network and deliver speeds up to 940 Mbps. The best part is you can grab a real bargain deal from either if you are located in the right area.
RCN Internet is available in the DC, Boston, Chicago, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and New York areas. To determine offer availability in your neighborhood you can call at 1-844-343-1374 anytime.
The WOW! Internet service is delivered to cities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana. And to check for availability at your address you can call at 1-844-343-1373 anytime.
There you go! Armed with the knowledge of what you must look for in an internet service when buying a plan to fuel your gaming sprees, you should be able to find a great fit for yourself. Explore more plans from the top providers we have discussed, if need be. Or call the experts at 1-855-349-9328 to determine offer availability and also get pro advice on the best option. That may just get you the answer to the nagging question in your head: “how do I find the best internet for gaming in my area”.
Xfinity Internet service gives you the opportunity to experience WiFi 6 with its Gen-3 xFi gateway device which is available with plans 300 Mbps and above. And with the fastest internet for gaming from AT&T Fiber as well, you can enjoy whole-home connectivity with WiFi 6. An optimized WiFi setup paired with reliable and fast fiber or hybrid Fiber-Coaxial internet can greatly enhance your gaming experience.
For a good gaming experience, you will need up to 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed at the very least. Because you will have other family members also using the internet, and the bandwidth is going to get shared. In a multi-user scenario in particular, if you are subscribed to Cox Internet with Panoramic WiFi, the Cox Elite Gamer can drastically enhance your game with less lag and fewer ping spikes at no extra cost.
For gaming, make sure the ping time or latency is below 50 ms. Anything around 20 ms is considered great. That is why hybrid Fiber-Coaxial connections from the likes of Xfinity from Comcast and Spectrum, and Fiber from AT&T are ideal choices. All are reported to deliver internet with latency lower than 50 ms.
If you are looking for the best internet provider for gaming, DSL is probably not the best option. DSL internet cannot reach the high download and upload speeds that multi-player gaming requires unless it comes powered by newer technologies as used by the likes of AT&T and CenturyLink. Both services can get you up to 100 Mbps fast downloads and 20-30 Mbps upload speeds, depending on your location. According to FCC in terms of latency AT&T IPBB and CenturyLink Internet fall in the 30-35 ms range. Meaning high-speed DSL can get you a decent gaming experience, but traditional DSL may fail to deliver short of expectations.
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