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Is 25 Mbps Good for Gaming?

by stacy

We discussed how fast 25 Mbps is and what you can achieve with that level of speed in one of our previous posts. We even mentioned online gaming with 25 Mbps in that piece, but we still believe there’s a lot more to say about online gaming.

Gaming with 25 Mbit/s is the main topic of today’s article. You will find out what you can expect from different types of online games at 25 Mbps. Also, you’ll learn how to enhance your gaming experience.

Is 25 Mbps Good for Gaming?

What can I do when I have 25 Mbps available? 

You can theoretically do anything with 25 Mbps, but there’s a catch: you can’t execute two bandwidth-intensive tasks at the same time. There’s another catch: some activities, such as 4K Netflix streaming, require your entire bandwidth to be committed to them. Any attempt to do otherwise will result in video deterioration or buffering. Buffering will occur even if you don’t know anything else and your throughput is inconsistent.

You should not have to worry about less demanding activities like email checking, browsing, video calling over Zoom or Skype, and music streaming. Most of the activities could be done simultaneously.

FCC Speed Guide states that 25Mbps is the minimum required for 4K streaming, telecommuting, or studying at home. This means that 25 Mbps should be allocated to each activity if they are occurring simultaneously.

Recommendations: Is 30Mbps good for gaming?

While 25Mbps may be sufficient for most common online activities when done one at a time, we don’t believe it is sufficient for an ordinary family with many connected devices. It is barely sufficient for one person. My Wi-Fi allowed me to connect a PC, laptop, two phones, and a Smart TV at the same time. Even if these devices aren’t in operation, some background programmes will require some bandwidth. So, unless you disconnect all other devices, you won’t be able to access the full 25 Mbps. Even then, 25 Mbps may not always be available.

Online gaming is another option. Is it possible to get more than 25 Mbs? Are you able to play online with less than 25 Mbits? Is it possible to play online games with a sustained throughput of less than 15 Mbps? Let’s find out.

Online Gaming: Speed requirements

The good news is that online gaming does not necessitate a large amount of data transfer. It’s less taxing than watching Netflix videos in 1080p. Traditional internet gaming is less taxing than Zoom/Skype video conferencing. But before we speculate, let’s look at the official speed requirements for various sorts of games and platforms.

Traditional Online Gaming

Online gaming is what many people still prefer. Your PC has a game installed. Your computer renders the game. The only data that is exchanged between you, your game server, and your PC are your commands, your position and movement, as well as communication between players. That’s not a lot of data – there’s no video streaming involved, so you don’t need high download or high upload speeds. Upload and download speeds should be sufficient to access all the listed data.

FCC-recommended speeds

FCC recommends that you only use 3 Mbps on most gaming consoles, and 4 Mbps to play multiplayer online. Ideal upload speeds will be the same, but you might be able to access some games with as little as 1 Mbps.

We found that the FCC recommendations seemed a little too low so we checked other official sources. These recommendations were correct, it turned out. Some games consoles may require speeds less than 3Mbps. The minimum recommended speeds for Xbox are 3 Mbps download and 0.5 Mbps upload. PS4 must download at least 2 Mbps. Nintendo Switch requires 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Online multiplayer games use around 4 Mbps. The FCC recommendation in this instance is also correct. MMO games are the only type of game that might require more bandwidth. You need to get the information about each player’s position.

It is possible to play traditional online games with 25 Mbps. Downloading and updating games could prove to be a problem. If your internet speed is only 25 Mbps, this will take some time. To download a game that is 40 GB in size, it will take you almost 4 hours (under ideal conditions) to do so. It may take longer depending on how fast you are uploading. Once you’ve downloaded the game, all updates have been installed and you’re able to play online with 25 Mbps. This assumes that you’re getting at least 3Mbps upload.

Game streaming

You’ll need extra upload on top of the upload you’re already utilising for gaming if you wish to stream your game using some popular streaming platforms (like Twitch).

Twitch released the official recommendations. For broadcasting a stream at 720p 30fps, the minimum bandwidth is 3 Mbps. 4.5 Mbps is required for 720p 60fps. HD streaming (1080p 60fps), requires 6 Mbps. You will need to download 4-6 Mbps for Twitch live streaming.

Twitch

You will need to have at least 3 Mbps download speed and at least 4-5Mbps upload to be able to stream the game online.

Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is still a new phenomenon, although it’s becoming more mainstream. Cloud gaming is very similar to video streaming. Cloud gaming doesn’t require you to install any games on your computer. The whole game is run on a server, and then live streamed to your device.

Traditional gaming will have a lower data transfer rate than traditional gaming. This means you will need to upload the same amount of data, but you must receive more data.

3Mbps is not sufficient in this instance. The video must be received and depending on its quality, you may need to download it all at once. Below you will see the minimum recommended download speeds of a few cloud gaming services like Google Stadia, PS Now and Vortex.

Min Required Speeds

These recommendations indicate that 25 Mbps should be sufficient to play games in 720p using any of the cloud gaming services. 25 Mbps is the recommended speed to play PS NOW or GeForce Now games in 1080p. But, we think you can barely get 1080p 60fps without experiencing lags. If you are interested in trying a cloud gaming service with 25 Mbps download and you have a plan, we recommend that you stick to the lowest quality video (720p) unless you’re playing PS Now.

What is a good gaming speed?

For a great gaming experience, there are important factors (besides download/upload speeds)

This was all you need to know about the recommended speed for online gaming. But this is not the end. Online gaming is very different to other online activities. It does not depend on upload and download speeds. You should be aware of the other factors that can affect your internet connection. While we don’t deny that online gaming is affected by other factors, they are less so than online gaming. We will be focusing on latency,jitter, and packet loss.

Latency (aka Ping)

Latency is the most important factor of all. It’s even more important than high download and upload speeds. Online gamers will prefer lower latency speeds, so they can choose between 25/3 Mbps and 100/10 Mbps download speeds with less than 30ms delay. What is latency?

Latency refers to the time it takes to get a response back from the server from the moment you send data. Latency refers to the time required for an online command to be executed. Latency can be measured in milliseconds, and we want it as low possible for online gaming.

Ookla Speedtest says that a 100 Mbps latency is acceptable. A latency below 60ms is considered unacceptable. If it’s between 130 and 200ms, the game will be more or less playable but with occasional lagging. If it’s over 200ms, you can just stop trying. Latency should be less than 30ms.

Speed Test Recommended Latency

System Latency Explained

Jitter

Jitter is a measure of the consistency and variability in your latency. If the jitter level is high it could indicate that your latency changes a lot. In one instant, it could be as high as 23ms. The moment after, it’s much higher (100+ ms). High jitter is when packets of data are sent from your computer to the server in the wrong order. This can lead to screen stuttering. The game will stop running smoothly because of high jitter.

Jitter refers to the standard deviation of the mean latency for a given time. It is measured using the same measurement unit as latency, in ms. Jitter below 30ms is acceptable for gaming. A smooth gaming experience requires a high level of latency combined with low jitter.

What is Jitter?

You can lose your packet

The concept of packet loss is fairly self-explanatory. When you play an online game or engage in other online activities, packets are sent back and forth between your device and the server. If your internet connection is unable to handle all data packets (i.e. it cannot send or receive all of the packets), then it will drop some packets and these packets are called packet loss.

A packet loss rate of less than 1% is acceptable. We prefer 0%. Many things can cause packet loss. The most common causes of packet loss are network congestions (combined to low internet speed), network hardware problems (your modem or router), and poor internet infrastructure. It is important to note that packet loss is much more common with Wi-Fi connections than when connecting via Ethernet cables.

What Factors Impact Latency?

Latency is affected by many factors, including the location of your server, your internet speed, your internet connection type and the quality of your ISP’s internet infrastructure. It also depends on your network hardware. Latency is caused by latency at every station and component along the path of a data packet.

Distance between you and your game server

This is an obvious one. It takes more time for data to reach destination if it is farther from the server. This causes the latency to be higher. The latency of data reaching the server will be lower if it is physically close to your location.

Type of Internet Connection

Different internet connections make use of different technologies to provide access to the internet. Every technology has some latency, but not all technologies are equally effective. Fiber is the most popular (lowest latency) technology. DSL and cable are also very good. While fixed wireless internet is slower than the others, it can still work well for gaming. Satellite internet is the ultimate champion in latency. Or, rather, a loser.

Satellite internet is an absolute champion when it comes to latency

FCC research shows that satellite internet latency can be as high as 600ms. Fiber connection delivers the lowest latency at 11-14ms. While cable connection is slower than fiber, it still provides acceptable latency. DSL has a slightly higher average latency than cable, but it’s also perfectly acceptable for gaming.

Satellite is the only recommended connection type for gaming. It doesn’t matter if your speeds meet the required minimums or the recommended speeds. You can forget about gaming if your speed is 25 Mbps via satellite.

Satellite Internet: Is it Good for Gaming?

How to Enhance Gaming Experience

You can improve your gaming by doing many things. These tips will help you get better throughput, lower latency and jitter, as well as no packet loss. Your gaming experience will be smoother if your computer and internet connection are optimized.

Use Ethernet Cable

Wi-Fi is not as reliable as wired internet, especially for gaming. Wi-Fi has lower speeds and longer latency. Ethernet cable also provides more consistent speeds. The connection is less stable and it’s susceptible to interference when using Wi-Fi.

If you can’t run an Ethernet cable to your PC, you should at least try using the 5 GHz band for gaming.

Wi-Fi VS Ethernet Cable – Speeds and Gaming Experience

Router Restart

If speeds aren’t satisfying or packet loss is increasing, restart your router and modem. You can also restart your computer. A simple reboot will give you a fresh start, and it will also eliminate any background-running processes.

Optimize your Internet Connection and PC for Gaming

Start optimizing your computer and increasing throughput with simple tasks: stop downloading, close all programs running in the background and disconnect Wi-Fi devices not being used.

Once you’ve completed the basics, it’s time to move on to more complicated tips. Many unnecessary Windows and Microsoft services are running in the background. They can eat up your bandwidth and cause latency. You should close all of these services. Also, you will need to adjust the Ethernet adapter settings and Wi-Fi adapter settings. This will optimize these settings for gaming. Please see the video for more details.

VIDEO TUTORIAL – Optimizing PC and Ethernet adapter for Gaming

Choose the nearest server

Server proximity can impact latency as was explained previously. It is important to choose the server nearest you. The latency of servers that are closer to you will be lower.

Update drivers and firmware

Regular updates should be made to all gaming equipment. Although driver and firmware updates can sometimes be difficult to notice, they could make a significant difference in the overall performance of your network.

QoS Settings – Prioritize Gaming Devices

Sometimes people are afraid to change the settings on their routers. You don’t need to be scared – there is no way to cause irreparable damage and you can always return the settings back to factory defaults.

We want you to change the router’s settings to give gaming devices higher priority. Each person has a few WiFi devices at home that consume a little of our bandwidth. Even though they don’t consume a lot of bandwidth it can cause disruptions to your gaming experience. You don’t have to disable all of them, but you can give your gaming PC a higher priority or all gaming-related traffic to your console or PC. This can be done by using QoS settings. Please see the video for more details.

How to Prioritize Gaming Devices Using QoS

Avoid Peak Hours

Cable internet is more vulnerable to slowdowns during peak hours than other connections. Congested networks can lead to slower speeds and longer latency. My speed is significantly lower during peak hours, particularly when I am downloading at 70 Mbps.

Final Verdict: Is 25Mbps Good for Gaming?

Traditional online gaming with 25 Mbps is possible, unless you are using satellite internet. Cloud gaming is possible, but only at 720p. You won’t have a smooth gaming experience even though 25 Mbps is enough to meet the minimum requirements for cloud gaming in 1080p.

As we’ve already said, you need to be aware of packet loss, latency and jitter. These values are unplayable in any game. It doesn’t matter what speed you have, 25 Mbps or 250Mbps.

FAQ

Q: Is 25 Mbps internet fast?

A:With 25 Mbps, you can do a lot of things, even the most bandwidth-intensive activities like 4K streaming, but you can’t do two of them at the same time. In fact, you won’t be able to do much else if you’re watching Netflix in 4K. Even casual browsing might cause buffering. We don’t believe this speed is enough for an ordinary American family with 10 or more connected devices unless it is the fastest available in your location.

Q: Is 25Mbps enough for Xbox?

A: Yes. 25 Mbps is sufficient for most game consoles. You will need 3 Mbps for download and 1 Mbps for upload to most consoles. For the latest consoles, you may need up to 5Mbps download.

Q: Is 25Mbps enough for PS5?

A: PS5 needs at least 3Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, just as its predecessor. So, yes. PS5 gets 25 Mbps.

Q: Are 25 Mbps sufficient for 4K?

A:Almost all video streaming providers require a minimum of 25 Mbps for 4K streaming. Because 25 Mbps is the bare minimum for 4K streaming for some services (Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+), you may not get the best movie-watching experience when streaming in 4K, especially if the Netflix device is not the only device connected to your network, or if bandwidth-consuming processes are running in the background.

For 4K streaming, streaming services like YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime use greater video compressions, so you don’t need to devote all of your bandwidth to it – you only need 15-20 Mbps. If your internet speed is at least 25 Mbps, these services will provide smoother streaming and a better experience.

Q: Gaming at 25 Mbps is it possible?

A: Yes, 25Mbps upload is sufficient for online gaming. Online games can be played with lower upload speeds. Assuming your download speed is good and your latency is low, 2 Mbps might be enough.

Q: What is the best Internet speed for gaming?

A: Most experts recommend at least 20-25Mbps download and 2-3Mbps upload for traditional online games. That isn’t to say that you can’t play online games with a connection speed of 10 Mbps or even lower, but higher download speeds are preferable.

Q: Is Wi-Fi available for gaming?

A: You certainly can, but you should not. Wired connections are more dependable, have more consistent speeds, have less interference, and have lower latency.

You can still use Wi-Fi to play games if you connect your gaming computer, laptop or phone via Wi-Fi over 5 GHz and use QoS to optimize the network.

Q: Does faster internet means better gaming experience?

A: Yes, to an extent. 25 Mbps is more reliable than 5Mbps. You may have a better gaming experience with 100 Mbps than you do with 25 Mbps. You will not notice any difference in gaming performance between 200 and 500 Mbps. Although online gaming does not necessitate exceptionally fast rates, having a little extra bandwidth for other activities and connected devices is always great. However, high download and upload speeds are useless if your latency is excessive.

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