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What internet speed do I need for gaming?
The download and upload speed requirements for online gaming are quite low, but there are other reasons to consider faster internet for a better gaming experience.
Not long after the advent of the internet, gamers have been looking to the World Wide Web as a way to download, update and play games online. Fast-forward to more recent times and broadband is a whole lot faster than its dial-up internet origins. While most online games don’t need a whole lot of bandwidth—the finite amount of download and upload capacity users have as part of their internet plans—there are some key considerations when it comes to picking the right internet speed for gaming.
Before we delve into that, below is a daily updating list of popular NBN plans from our comparison engine.
Here's a broad breakdown of the speeds you'll need for various online activities:
What internet speed do I need for online gaming?
Technically, you can use any available internet speed for gaming today. For example, games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive only reportedly need around 70Kbs of download and upload bandwidth for a smooth experience. Something like Apex Legends requires 512Kbps, Destiny 2 uses up to 1Mbps of download and upload, while GTA Online recommends 7.5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. Note that cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming uses between 10Mbps and 20Mbps of download speed.
With these numbers in mind, entry-level plans like NBN 12 are technically good enough to meet the minimum requirements for online gaming. But there are some disclaimers. The first is bandwidth. NBN 12 plans only have up to 12Mbps download capacity and up to 1Mbps upload bandwidth.
If anyone else is using an NBN 12 connection while someone is trying to play games online—particularly if they’re streaming or downloading files—it will result in a shaky and inconsistent online experience for the gamer. The solution, then, is to treat NBN 25 as the real absolute minimum for online gaming because it has up to 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload bandwidth.
Here’s a look at popular NBN 25 plans from our database.
From NBN 25 onwards, what you’re really investing in is faster download speeds and opening up the opportunity to stream games to platforms like Twitch. NBN 50 plans, for instance, offer a lot more versatility with download speeds up to 50Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps. Here are some popular NBN 50 plans from our database.
It’s a similar story with NBN 100 plans, which offers up to 100Mbps download speeds and up to 40Mbps upload speeds. Note that most NBN providers tend to offer NBN 100/20 plans, which tap out at a max of 20Mbps upload speed. Admittedly, 20Mbps is still plenty of bandwidth for gaming, even if you want to stream to platforms like Twitch, which has a 6Mbps upload requirement for 1080p streaming. Check out popular NBN 100 plans below.
Homes connected via Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) or Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) can sign up to faster NBN plans. NBN 250 offers download speeds up to 250Mbps and upload speeds up to 25Mbps. Here’s a look at popular NBN 250 plans from our comparison engine.
And for no-compromise downloads, NBN 1000 plans offer download speeds up to 1,000Mbps and upload speeds up to 50Mbps for eligible FTTP and HFC homes. Below is a daily updating list of popular NBN 1000 plans from our database.
What internet speed do I need for downloading games?
While internet speed requirements for online games aren’t particularly extreme, it’s worth considering a faster internet plan if you want to download games faster and play them sooner. This is particularly relevant today when massive game updates seem to roll out at the most inconvenient times. Larger games can weigh in at 100GB+ and the same is true of certain updates. Basically, the faster your download speed, the quicker you’ll get to play a new or updated game.
For context, the table below breaks down the time it would take to download 10 of the most popular games on Steam at the time of writing (all of which can be played online).
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||12.9GB||2 hours, 23 mins||1 hour, 8 mins||34 mins||17 mins||7 mins||2 mins|
|Dota 2||21.8GB||4 hours, 2 mins||1 hour, 56 mins||58 mins||29 mins||12 mins||3 mins|
|Apex Legends||63.8GB||11 hours, 49 mins||5 hours, 40 mins||2 hours, 50 mins||1 hour, 25 mins||34 mins||8 mins|
|Grand Theft Auto V||106.4GB||19 hours, 42 mins||9 hours, 27 mins||4 hours, 44 mins||2 hours, 22 mins||57 mins||14 mins|
|PUBG: Battlegrounds||31.8GB||5 hours, 53 mins||2 hours, 50 mins||1 hour, 25 mins||42 mins||17 mins||4 mins|
|Rust||12.4GB||2 hours, 18 mins||1 hour, 6 mins||33 mins||17 mins||7 mins||2 mins|
|Call of Duty: Warzone||45.8GB||8 hours, 29 mins||4 hours, 4 mins||2 hours, 2 mins||1 hour, 1 min||24 mins||6 mins|
|BattleBit Remastered||431MB||5 mins||2 mins||1 min||34 secs||13 secs||3 secs|
|Team Fortress 2||10.9GB||2 hours, 1 min||58 mins||29 mins||14 mins||6 mins||1 min|
|Destiny 2||92.3GB||17 hours, 5 mins||8 hours, 12 mins||4 hours, 6 mins||2 hours, 3 mins||49 mins||12 mins|
What internet speed do I need for online gaming latency?
While download and upload speeds vary between NBN plans, providers and speed tiers, latency should effectively stay the same. The only disclaimers are that latency will be impacted by local network conditions (wired vs wireless connection, signal interference, etc.), including when bandwidth is maxed out for download or upload capacity.
You should expect NBN latency to be comfortably below 15 milliseconds (ms) and, in most instances, that number should be closer to 10ms. Unlike download and upload speeds, the lower the latency, the better the experience. That’s because latency is the measurement of how long it takes data to get from one place to another. In practical terms, lower latency provides a smoother experience when playing online and is also great for video conferencing.
According to the most recent ACCC data available at the time of writing, here are the participating NBN providers with the lowest latencies (MyRepublic doesn’t sell NBN plans anymore, so it’s not included below):
- Superloop 8.8ms
- Launtel 9.3ms
- Exetel 9.4ms
- Aussie Broadband 10.6ms
- TPG 11ms
- Optus 11.1ms
- Dodo and iPrimus 11.5ms
- Vodafone 11.6ms
- Telstra 11.9ms
- iiNet 12.3ms
Lower latencies are more noticeable with fast-paced online games, which is why an NBN connection is recommended over other forms of broadband, including mobile internet and 5G home internet. Even with great signal strength in a 5G area, latency can be double (or more) than NBN connections. There’s also a chance for greater variance in latency, which can make an online experience feel inconsistent.