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How to Get the Best Internet for Gaming

Our experts have researched internet service for years, and they’ve got the answers to all your gaming internet troubleshooting questions.

What is a good internet speed for gaming?

We recommend at least 100 Mbps download speeds for online gaming. But good internet speed isn’t necessarily the only thing you’ll need for a smooth gaming session.

Read on to learn how internet speed, latency, jitter, packet loss, and internet connectivity affect your video game experience. Or if you’re ready to get a new internet plan, head over to our review of the best internet providers for gaming to see which providers have the fastest speeds and lowest latency.

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Internet speed

Conventional wisdom might lead you to believe slow internet speeds are the cause of all your gaming problems. In reality, the only time gaming requires something faster than your average broadband internet (25–50 Mbps) is when you’re downloading a new game or update.

Even a fast-paced video game like Apex Legends requires only a 512 Kbps internet connection. But at the same time, internet speeds still matter if you’re not the only one who needs the internet.

Think about download speeds like a birthday cake: splitting a 50 Mbps internet connection between two people means you both get a generous share, but when your household has five or ten people taking video calls or watching movies, your slice of cake will be split and split until it’s a pile of crumbs.

We’d suggest at least a 50 Mbps internet connection if you’re getting internet for yourself. For larger households and families, upgrade to plans with a minimum download speed of at least 150 Mbps. With faster download speeds, your home internet can easily support more Zoom calls or Netflix sessions without running into performance issues.

But even if you have a fast internet plan, it’s no guarantee that you’ll have a smooth gaming experience. Latency, jitter, and packet loss are equally important factors to consider for online gaming.

Upload speed

Your internet plan’s upload speed isn’t incredibly important for online gaming. Most online games need upload speeds of only 1 Mbps to properly run.

But if you’re regularly streaming games on Twitch or coordinating strategy on a Discord server with friends, you’ll get your money’s worth from a plan with fast upload speeds. In either case, we’d recommend an internet plan with a minimum upload speed of 5–10 Mbps.


Boring definition: Latency measures round-trip time (RTT), or how long it takes for a packet (bundle of information) to get from your device to the internet network, then back to your device. A program called ping can measure your latency, which is usually expressed in microseconds (ms).

Make sense? No?

Well, let’s break down the jargon. Hold onto your ergonomic gaming chair—it’s analogy time:

  • You’re playing ping-pong with a friend.
  • Your ping-pong ball is a packet, holding the data of that no-scope headshot you just took in Fortnite.
  • The time it takes for your ball to get from you to your friend and back to you is latency.

Ping rate vs. latency vs. download speed

Latency, which is measured using ping rate, is different from download speed. The former measures the time it takes data to travel back and forth, while the latter measures how much data your internet can download at once.

Think of a 100 Mbps download speed as your friend serving back a wave of 100 ping-pong balls at once, instead of just the one with the results of your headshot. Super cool, but not vital to your Fortnite performance.

Ideally, your RTT latency will be as close to 0 ms as possible. Any speed under 100 ms is okay, and under 40 ms is excellent. Too long, and your opponent will have escaped unscathed before the network can process your perfect headshot.

Pro tip: Wondering what’s the best internet speed for gaming? You can check your current latency at Click Start Speed Test, Test Upload Speed, and then Share Your Speed Test Results. Don’t worry—you won’t actually have to send your results to anyone.

Best ping rates for gaming

Ping rate Gaming experience
1–40 ms Excellent and lag-free
40–100 ms Decent, but there’ll be some lag
100+ ms Poor with significant lag

To bring your latency down, try to get as close to your Wi-Fi router as possible for a strong wireless signal. If your gaming PC or console is close enough to your router, we’d recommend hooking up the device with an Ethernet cable. Ethernet cables offer the strongest internet connection by eliminating wireless latency issues.

Fix your latency problem

If your latency is regularly higher than 100 ms, a new internet provider could solve your gaming problems. Enter your zip code below to see your local internet options:

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Jitter is how much your latency varies over time. This little change in tempo can make a big difference in your gameplay. You might experience it as visible choppiness or merely a feeling that your rhythm’s been thrown off.

Get rid of the jitters

Often, lousy jitter comes from a poor in-home internet connection. To get the best Wi-Fi for gaming, you’ll want to upgrade your router. Or you can go the old-fashioned-but-reliable route—wire your system with an Ethernet cable.

Packet loss

Imagine you’re playing ping-pong with your friend again. They hit that ball/packet back at you, and suddenly, it disappears.

No worries, they’ve got a magic copy of it, and they hit that at you instead.

Packet loss is like that. Sometimes information bundles get lost or deleted on the way back to your computer, usually due to network congestion, spotty Wi-Fi, or outdated software.

Sometimes the network sends the packet again, like it does if a picture doesn’t load right in your browser. But for real-time video or audio, that doesn’t do any good. The information would come out of chronological order, making your video or audio even more confusing.

Instead, you’ll have a moment of frozen or glitchy video and audio.

In short, packet loss is the enemy of Discord voice chats everywhere. Any packet loss over 2% can cause enormous problems for call quality. As with latency and jitter, you can reduce packet loss issues by upgrading your router or using an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet.

Sick of high packet loss?

If you know it’s time for you to switch providers, we’ve got your local options covered. Just enter your ZIP code below:

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How to get the best internet performance for gaming

If your Fortnite or Call of Duty sessions are getting brought down by constant packet loss, jitter, and high ping rates, you can solve most of these problems with a little network troubleshooting.

Switch to an Ethernet cable

Home Wi-Fi is handy, but everything from other devices to the number of walls between your PC and router can affect your wireless connection.

If your gaming PC is near your router (or you don’t mind running cabling through the house), use an Ethernet cable to get the best internet connection for gaming. Ethernet cables offer consistent internet performance since they use a wired connection that isn’t affected by wireless interference.

Configure your Wi-Fi router’s settings (or buy a new one)

Wi-Fi routers typically have Quality of Service (QoS) features that help them direct network traffic.

Exact QoS features vary by router (check your manual for full instructions), but generally, you’ll want QoS settings that prioritize gaming in order to reduce lag. If you’re playing on a gaming console, you’ll also want to configure your NAT settings.

If you’re a hardcore gamer and still running into network problems, you could also upgrade to a gaming Wi-Fi router. While they aren’t cheap, gaming routers have gaming-specific QoS features that let you further tweak your network performance.

Connect to the fastest server

During online matches, most games will automatically connect you to the closest server near you. But if you’re playing a game with manual matchmaking, make sure you’re connecting to a server with a latency of under 100 ms.

Update your hardware and reboot your router

Routine driver and firmware updates help ensure that hardware like your router or Wi-Fi receiver are working as fast as possible and that they’re up-to-date. Weekly router restarts also keep your wireless network in peak condition.

If you’re unsure about where to start with your router troubleshooting, check out our guide to modem and router lights. With our guide, you’ll understand whether your wireless antennas or Ethernet devices are working correctly.

Is a good internet speed important for gaming?

The right internet connection is essential for a top-notch online gaming experience. Now that you know how internet bandwidth, latency, and jitter affect your experience, check out our recommendations for the best internet providers for gaming.

Internet for gaming FAQ

What is a good Mbps for gaming?

Most games can run just fine on 3 Mbps download speeds, since your computer or console does most of the heavy lifting. But we recommend most homes have at least 100 Mbps internet speeds. And you should make sure that your latency is good and that you don’t have other devices competing for the internet while you’re gaming.

What kind of internet do I need for gaming?

We’d recommend fiber internet because it offers excellent internet speeds and low latency. If fiber isn’t available, you can still get excellent gaming performance with a cable or DSL internet connection.

Is satellite internet good for gaming?

Unfortunately, satellite internet isn’t a great choice for online gaming because the latency is so long. The data sent over satellite internet has to travel from your house to a satellite in outer space to the network hub back on earth—and then the whole process in reverse.

Even though satellite internet can do all that in only a few seconds, it can’t support the quick response time online games require.

What is the best router for gaming?

The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is our pick for the best gaming router. It supports two 5 GHz frequencies and one 2.4 GHz frequency. Plus, its six antennae and eight Ethernet ports make it a superb router for almost any gaming setup.

Which TV is best for gaming?’s top pick for gaming TVs is the LG C2 4K Smart TV, but if you’re on a budget, you might want to try the TCL 6-Series ROKU Smart TV if you’re worried about your budget. Check out our “Best Smart TVs” article for all the deets.

What is the best internet for gaming?

Fiber internet is the best internet for gaming because of its fast download speeds and high reliability. Cable internet will be the second-best internet for gaming—it’s not as fast or reliable as fiber internet, but it’s still widely available and offers great performance for most users.

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