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How to compare broadband for gaming

It's important to look at broadband speeds, optimised features and more.

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From a gaming perspective, you’ll generally want the fastest plan with a good amount of data these days. But there are other factors to consider. Let’s take a look.

How fast does my connection need to be?

We recommend a connection faster than 20Mbps for general-purpose gaming in 2020.

With games getting so big, the time between clicking the buy button and actually playing your purchase can be agonisingly long, especially if you don’t shell out for a suitably fast connection.

If you intend to download a lot of AAA games, and you don’t want to leave your console or PC downloading overnight, shelling out for a premium broadband plan can be a worthwhile investment. If you’re okay with waiting, or your interest lies in smaller indie games, a more basic connection may suffice – and it’s typically a lot cheaper.

How much data do I need?

We recommend a plan with unlimited data for the vast majority of gamers.

When sizing up data with potential plans, a big warning size is a small data allowance and/or excess data charges. Fortunately, most plans nowadays come with unlimited data for downloads and uploads. Still, be sure to read the fine print before signing up.

If you plan on downloading most of your games, you’ll want an unlimited data cap or something in the 500GB/1000GB territory at least. Even if you buy your games on disc, game patches can weigh in at 10GB or more, putting serious strain on your monthly data allowance. To be safe, it’s worth springing for at least a 250GB cap even if you’re sticking with physical copies.

How low does my ping need to be?

There’s not a whole lot you can do to reduce ping other than sticking with games that support local servers and making sure your network is properly configured for online play.

Fast download speeds are good and all, but they don’t mean much if you find yourself getting constantly gunned down in Call of Duty thanks to a high ping. For those unfamiliar with the term, ping is a measure of how long data takes to travel from your console or PC to a game’s server. The higher the ping, the longer it takes for an online game to register your input, resulting in instances where your perfectly lined-up shot misses its mark or an enemy appears to shoot you through a solid wall.

What other factors could affect the quality of my gaming?

Before you start comparing broadband plans, it’s important to note your personal circumstances. That’s because connection quality and speeds are dependent on multiple factors. These include: location, local infrastructure, your home network and cabling, and network congestion.

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