Man playing a game in his bedroom

A guide to the best broadband for gaming in 2024

Lets see what fibre broadband is available to you

By Trevor Linney | Date published: 29th April 2024 | 5 min read

Whether you love the adrenaline rush of Fortnite battles, the battle of League of Legends, or the otherworldliness of Elder Scrolls, one thing unites all gamers. A hatred of bad internet.

So what can you do to perfect your connection and ensure that your quests remain uninterrupted and your name stays firmly at the top of the leaderboard?

Read on to discover our guide to the best broadband for gaming.

Why should I check what my upload and download speeds are currently?

When trouble occurs you really need to know the broadband speeds you usually get. So get in the habit of taking regular measures by googling ‘speed test’, selecting any of the resulting test sites and noting your upload and download speeds. Then whenever you have an issue, you can re-test and compare.

What is a ping time and how does it affect gaming?

Whenever you do something in a game, like click or press a button, your computer sends a message to the game server, the server then responds with its own message, performing the intended action, whether that’s picking up loot or simply moving.  The time it takes for this message to reach the server is the ping time which is named after the Unix command and inspired by sonar analogy.

The longer these messages take to do their round trip (to the server and back), the more latency or lag you will experience. So if you think you are lagging while trying to play Call of Duty or Fortnite, you should probably check your ping time.

Many games display this number in the corner of the screen and in settings, but if you can’t spot it there, speed test sites like Ookla will give it to you alongside your other results.

What is the best ping for gaming?

For a smooth gaming experience, you need your ping to be 20-30 milliseconds or less, so if yours is higher than this, you’ll want to try some of our tips below.

Review your router

It’s easy to overlook the importance of how and where your router is working. Try updating its firmware and moving it closer to where you’re gaming and you might be pleasantly surprised.   

You should also check which Wi-Fi version you are using and the frequency band. The 5GHz band offers significantly higher speeds, but it is a shorter range and might not be supported by older laptops or consoles. So, it's crucial to ensure compatibility to maximise your gaming experience.

And of course, if problems persist, you can always try connecting to it using an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi.

How does bandwidth affect my broadband speed for gaming?

Bandwidth refers to the quantity of data that can be transferred through your internet connection at one time. The greater your bandwidth, the quicker you can get started and download the latest patches or new content drops. Some of these downloads can reach sizes of tens or even hundreds of gigabytes, which, on slower connections, can take hours upon hours to complete.

Although bandwidth is relatively fixed in relation to the type of broadband you have, it’s shared with anyone else using your network. So, if you’re having problems with lag, it’s worth limiting the number of other devices using your connection and scheduling big downloads for times when you don’t have champions to control and bases to destroy.  

Also, choosing a wired connection can greatly help with this issue, as it provides a dedicated and reliable link to your router.

Boy sitting on the floor in front of TV in the living room

Ethernet vs Wi-Fi for gaming?

Ethernet is the recommended option for gaming. This is because Ethernet provides a guaranteed bandwidth and a low latency connection to your device through a direct cable. Wi-Fi enables devices to connect wirelessly to a network, providing similar access without the hassle of cords, but it can experience interference and have reduced performance.

How much broadband speed do I need for a PS5 or an Xbox?

For Xbox, you need a minimum download speed of 3 Mbps (or 3,000 Kbps) and a minimum upload speed of 0.5 Mbps (or 500 Kbps). For a PS5 console, you need 5Mbps or higher.

How much broadband speed do I need for cloud gaming?

Cloud gaming such as Xbox cloud gaming or Geforce NOW runs the game on a server and streams the video to your device.  Depending on the service and quality, this will need 10Mbps or could be as high as 45Mbps for 4k at 120Hz.

What about streaming my gameplay?

If you want to stream your gaming performance to sites like Twitch, you need upstream bandwidth with Twitch recommending 6 Mbps for 1080p60 (frames per second).  If you prefer to capture and upload your content to sites like YouTube, the more upstream the better.

Find out what broadband connection you have

The main factor that influences broadband speed and reliability, is what the cables that deliver your connection are made from. Copper is slower and because it is easily damaged by weather, it’s less reliable. Fibre on the other hand is faster, more stable and better at handling multiple demands.

So check in with your broadband provider, and see what kind of connection you have.

If you’ve got Standard Broadband it’ll be made entirely of copper, and deliver speeds that are better suited to browsing than battling and round trip latency can be up to 40 milliseconds (ms). Definitely not the best broadband for gaming.

Superfast Broadband, also known as Fibre to the Cabinet, is speedier and the latency is generally lower as its partly made from fibre optic cable. However, as there’s still copper between the cabinet and your home it can be vulnerable to damage and become overloaded if a lot of people use it at the same time; not ideal if you need to complete a crucial sneak attack while others at home are uploading videos or downloading big files.

The best broadband for streaming games

Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband, also known as Fibre to the Premise, is where the real magic happens. Made entirely from fibre optic cable, it delivers a super reliable connection, capable of incredible speeds of up to 1.8Gbps. That means no laggy laps or untimely deaths due to cutouts at crucial moments.

It's easily the best broadband for gaming. To find out if you can get this next-gen connection, simply head over to our Ultrafast Full Fibre postcode checker and see if it is already available in your area or sign up to receive updates on when it will be ready to order. 

Written by Trevor Linney

Trevor is a Chartered Engineer with a successful career dedicated to inventing, developing, and implementing cutting-edge network technologies. Currently serving as Openreach's Network Technology Director, he oversees the design and advancement of all Full Fibre (FTTP), Ethernet, Optical, and superfast platforms that connect millions of people across the UK. Outside of work, Trevor is an avid gamer!

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