You Need High-speed Internet and Bandwidth to Game Properly - Myth
Many people assume that you need ultrafast internet to be able to game properly. But this isn’t necessarily the case. While it is very important, it also depends on how many devices and activities you or someone else will be conducting via the same connection at the same time.
Let’s break this down by defining what bandwidth is. Bandwidth is defined as “the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted via an internet provider over a certain period of time”. So, it’s how much of your data can be transferred from the internet to your computer/console and back again at any given time. The higher the bandwidth, the more data can be transferred.
So, is it safe to assume that more bandwidth means faster internet speed? Not necessarily. More bandwidth merely means your broadband connection can handle more internet/online activities at once.
Surprisingly, gaming doesn’t actually require that much bandwidth - usually not more than 0.1MB. After all, people used to be able to game on a 56K modem so if you’re only gaming, you won’t need much bandwidth to be able to play seamlessly and without lag. It won’t make your game any faster.
However, if you or someone else in your household is going to be performing large online activities, such as streaming videos on Netflix and YouTube or video chatting on Skype, your game will severely lag unless you have a higher bandwidth. This is because downloading and streaming requires more data to be transferred while gaming doesn’t require much at all. Streaming will take up much more “space” and this will affect your game speed.
So what actually matters when you’re gaming, broadband-wise? Ping rates. Ping rates are incredibly important for gaming because it’s the speed at which information is sent from your computer/console to the game servers and back again. The lower the ping, the faster the speed and the smoother the gameplay. Bandwidth won’t help with this.
Gaming Requires a Lot of Data - Myth
This is related to the above myth about bandwidth. Many people assume that gaming requires a lot of data so if you have more than one person gaming in your house, you should expect some lag, right?
Surprisingly, no. Gaming uses very little data and takes up very little bandwidth so you can actually have more than one person in your household gaming at the same time and the gameplay will still be smooth.
What you do have to watch out for are downloads and streaming. Remember the above point when we talked about bandwidth? You can have multiple people gaming seamlessly in your household but if someone comes and starts streaming a video or downloading a patch, you’re going to see a difference. This is because downloading requires a lot of data.
So, while you won’t need a lot of data for gaming, you will need it if you’re downloading new games, patches or streaming videos.
The Type of Connection You Have Affects Your Gameplay - Truth
This one’s true - different broadband connections affect your gameplay. The three most common types are digital subscriber line (DSL), cable and fibre optic.
DSL uses your phone line to provide high-speed internet but unlike dial-up, it uses different frequencies for phone and internet so you can use both at the same time.
Compared to the other two types of broadband connections, DSL is usually the slowest. Download speeds range from 1Mbps to 6Mbps, which means you can perform basic tasks like web browsing, emails and stream music and videos. You can game with DSL but if there are other devices connected to your WiFi, your gameplay will be affected.
Cable internet service uses cable wires, not telephone wires like DSL, to deliver high-speed internet. Cable is typically faster than DSL, offering maximum download speeds of 100Mbps to 300Mbps. However, this is usually much faster than normal households need, even with multiple devices connected, so lower speed tiers (starting around 15-25Mbps) are sufficient.
Fibre optic cabling is the future. It uses light and glass fibres transmit data much faster and more efficiently than traditional copper cables. Unfortunately, fibre is not as widely available as copper cabling, particularly in rural communities.
In the UK, there are currently two types of fibre optic broadband offered.
The first, most common option is FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet). This method uses fibre optic cabling to the little green cabinet and will then use outdated copper cabling to deliver broadband to your home. This method produces inconsistent speeds and will vary depending on the distance from the cabinet to your home. This type of broadband, due to the copper wiring, will also produce asymmetrical speeds, meaning that the upload speed will be significantly slower than the download.
The second type is FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises) and this involves fibre optic cabling all the way to your property. This option is known as pure fibre broadband as it doesn’t use copper wiring. This type of broadband produces symmetrical average download and upload speeds of 900mbps - nearly 10 times faster than FTTC.
So, how does this affect your gaming experience? Imagine your internet connection dropping out right at the match winning moment because it’s peak time and you have an unreliable FTTC connection. Think about that.
And of the two fibre optic broadbands, FTTH/P is much faster because it offers a pure fibre optic connection directly to your property. In contrast, FTTC uses part-copper wires, which are fast but aren’t as good at transporting data as the optical fibres.
Then, there’s also your own connections in the house. For instance, wires that connect your router to your gaming station ensure a stable internet connection but the wires themselves are clunky and get in the way. Wireless connections are convenient but they’re highly susceptible to interference (e.g. from other electronics or wireless signals) which can cause lag. The distance your computer/console is from the router can also have a negative effect.
You Can’t Fix Lagging in Your Game - Myth
In-game lag (slow gameplay and graphics) can be caused by a variety of things, including hardware and software issues or problems with your connection. However, it’s usually because of the route your ISP (internet service provider) is taking to get to the game server. The more optimal the route, the faster the game response.
But the internet isn’t built solely for gaming so, usually, most providers tend to take longer routes. Or, it encounters congestion along the way (such as other people draining the internet due to watching Netflix or downloading music). This hits your game performance and you’ll lag.
This can easily be fixed by finding an optimal route that can handle more congestion. Better broadband can help with this. By improving the quality of your broadband, you can experience better internet stability, faster speeds and a connection that can handle multiple devices without affecting your gameplay.
Enhance Your Gaming with Better Broadband
Lagging and patchy, unstable connections - these are just two of the things that gamers hate to experience. If you want the best, most seamless gaming experience, you’re going to need better broadband. Our free guide, Gaming and More, will show you how broadband quality enhances the gaming experience and what you can do to improve it.