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Internet for gaming: what you need to know

by | Mar 10, 2021


As gaming technology continues to emerge and evolve, efficient internet connection is more important than ever. Options such as CenturyLink fiber internet can help provide you with a fast, reliable connection to improve latency in gaming, as well as facilitate quicker downloads and uploads. Whether you’re honing up on your survival skills in Fortnite, or building a world of your own in Minecraft, give yourself the leverage of a strong internet connection to improve your gaming performance.

When it comes to the internet for gaming, fiber internet from CenturyLink can provide you with a fast and reliable experience.

Why internet speed matters

In the past, people hit the stores and searched the shelves for new video games to add to their collection. Now, we have the convenience of downloading games directly to your gaming console from the internet—no trip to the store required. As we leave the days of video game discs behind, there are new considerations to take into account, including internet speed. Games with large download files or games that require frequent updates can be a pain to manage if you don’t have the appropriate internet speed.

Another factor to consider when it comes to internet speed is multiplayer games. Even though multiplayer games don’t usually require large downloads, quick and reliable internet connection can help ensure you’re on level playing ground with your opponents when you’re ready to make your next move.

What internet speed do you need for gaming? You can likely get away with internet speeds ranging from 3 to 4 Mbps for gaming. However, this recommendation applies only if one person is using your internet. If you have multiple people online, you may want to get a plan with 25 to 50 Mbps for gaming for enhanced performance.

How gamers use the internet

The quality of your internet can directly impact the quality of your gaming experience. Here’s why: systems such as Xbox Series X, PS5, Wii, and PC will run more effectively when the internet connection is strong and reliable, especially if your game is fast-paced. You can also use the internet to chat with other gamers you’re competing against or playing with, making the game more competitive and/or interactive. Lastly, buying and downloading games is much easier when you have a quick internet connection.

Internet bandwidth & gaming

Bandwidth is an important part of the gaming experience. Often confused with internet speed, internet bandwidth actually refers to the maximum capacity of your internet connection. Basically, it’s the volume of information that can be sent over your connection in a specified amount of time. The higher the bandwidth, the better your gaming experience will be. A number of factors can affect your bandwidth, such as:

  • Multiple users using a single connection
  • Background internet usage, such as automatic software or operating system updates
  • Quality and proximity of the router in relation to your device

Choose an internet option with high bandwidth and be mindful of external factors that affect bandwidth to make your gaming the best it can be.

Internet latency & gaming

In addition to bandwidth, latency in gaming is another factor to consider. Latency, also known as ping, is how fast you can send a command to the game and have the game show what happened. It helps determine how fast your gaming system sends data to the corresponding server and back to you. Having lower latency helps pave the path to an improved gaming experience. A few factors that cause high latency include the following:

  • Certain internet types (satellite tends to have higher latency than fiber internet)
  • Long distance between your router and the server you’re requesting information from
  • Old, slow routers

Latency is important in fast-paced multiplayer games, as a small amount of lag on your side could give your opponent the upper hand immediately.

Internet for next-generation gaming systems

New gaming systems emerging on the market rely on good internet connections. Many next-generation gaming consoles, such as PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox Series S, no longer have a disc drive. That means online downloads are necessary if you want to acquire new games. Other systems, like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud, are based in the cloud and allow you to stream games, which requires an internet connection. And as video games grow more complex, you may encounter larger file downloads. Depending on you what type of internet you have, larger downloads can be as quick as 2 hours or take as long as 24 hours. That’s why choosing a fast internet connection is so important.

Selecting an internet plan for the best gaming experience

How do you select an internet plan for gaming? Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your plan:

  • Factor in download speed. A download speed of 3—6 Mbps is enough to keep your game operating smoothly.
  • Factor in upload speed. Upload speed, or the speed at which your game sends information to servers, should have 0.5 Mbps at a minimum. Fiber internet allows you to upload and download information at symmetrical speeds, which is why it’s a good option for gamers.
  • Opt for a plan with unlimited data. Gaming technology can use up a lot of storage, so it may be worthwhile to ask your provider about an unlimited plan.


After you select an internet plan that suits your gaming needs, take a look at your hardware—especially your router—to make sure they’re up to scale.

  • Make sure your router is up-to-date. If your router is old, it can negatively impact your internet connection and hence your gaming.
  • Assess the location of your router. Routers may work better is some areas of the house than others, so test the location of the router to find the place that gives you the strongest signal.
  • Keep an Ethernet cable on hand. A wired connection can be more reliable than a Wi-Fi connection, so it can’t hurt to keep one at home to plug in if all else fails.

Good gaming requires a strong internet connection. If you need a new internet plan for gaming or want to upgrade your service to get better speeds, browse internet plans from CenturyLink today to find one that best suits your gaming needs.

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