You come home after a long day at work or in school and want to play some online games to wind down. You turn on your computer, start a match of League of Legends or Call of Duty, only to see that your ping is in the triple digits. You had enough of that and decide to upgrade your internet connection to a 200 Mbps plan.
But is 200 Mbps good for gaming?
Even if there are multiple devices connected at the same time, 200 Mbps is very fast, which means that gaming will be a breeze. Online games generally do not use a lot of bandwidth, which might surprise you. Even if somebody on your network is streaming 4K videos, you should get an excellent ping.
However, your internet speed is not the only factor that affects your gaming experience. Latency plays a more significant role here. Bandwidth and latency are strongly related, but you can get a playable ping with significantly slower speeds too. If you want to learn more about how bandwidth and latency affect your gaming sessions, keep on reading.
Is 200 Mbps Good for Gaming?
A connection of 200 Mbps is excellent for pretty much any game you can think of. MMORPGs, MOBAs, FPS, RTS, and all other genres that can be played online will take advantage of the extra bandwidth, especially when you have to download a lot of games.
A speed of 200 Mbps can be converted to 25 MB/s, which means that you could download a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in around 2 hours. That is probably the largest game you will be downloading in the next few years, so you can really tell how fast that connection is from this example.
But downloading games is not the primary concern of gamers, latency is. If you pay attention to the in-game ping, you will be inclined to agree that the latency is not noticeable until it hits the 90-100 ms range. Ideally, you want to have the lowest ping possible.
Professional esports players say that they can feel when their ping goes above 20 ms, which is one of the primary reasons why tournaments are held at LAN events. Chances are you won’t be able to feel that, even if you play fast-paced FPS games.
Unless multiple devices are attached to your network running bandwidth-intensive applications, you will get a great ping with a connection speed of 200 Mbps. Most ISPs do not advertise what ping you can expect, only the maximum bandwidth. While latency and bandwidth are both very important, the former is much more important for gaming.
Many companies claim that you only need a download speed of around 3-5 Mbps to play online games, but that is simply not true. First, the advertised bandwidth is different from the real-world bandwidth due to network congestion, data loss, and other factors. Second, if you have another device connected to the same network, the speeds that your computer gets will be significantly slower.
You will need at least 30-40 Mbps of bandwidth to play online games with an acceptable ping. Streaming 4K requires around 30 Mbps, so multiple family members could watch different movies while you play games and you will not feel it with a connection of 200 Mbps, even if you take network congestion into account.
Bandwidth vs. Latency
Bandwidth tells you the maximum number of how much data your connection can handle. If you get a connection of 200 Mbps, that probably means you will see download speeds of around 160-180 Mbps (20-22.5 MB/s). The actual number is hard to determine due to a large number of external factors, so you should test it yourself. Higher bandwidth is always better.
Latency, on the other hand, is the time that it takes for a signal to go to a destination and come back to you. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). Many factors can affect latency, just like bandwidth. The primary factor is where the destination is located. For example, if you live in the U.S. and connect to a European server, you will probably get an unplayable ping.
This is because of the distance that the signal has to travel in a very short period. Thankfully, video game companies have servers located all around the world, so you should always connect to the one that is closest to you to get the best ping. Having a lower latency is better.
You probably wonder how bandwidth and latency are connected. If your network is overloaded, congestion will occur and you will get a higher ping. When you have higher maximum bandwidth, the data is sent and received much faster, which in turn minimizes congestion. This is why having many devices connected to your network will make your games lag.
The type of connection that you get is also extremely important. You can get very high bandwidth with a satellite connection, but you must get cable or fiber to get the lowest ping.
How to Lower My Ping
Thankfully, there are many ways to lower your ping. The most obvious step is to upgrade your internet connection. If you get 200 Mbps, you should get an excellent ping in pretty much any scenario. But even 200 Mbps won’t be enough if you connect too many devices. Try to disconnect any devices that you are not using at the moment to lower your ping instantly.
If you are on a laptop, consider switching to a wired (Ethernet) connection. Wi-Fi is not very stable and it has a much lower maximum bandwidth than Ethernet, so it should not be used for online games. Also, you can turn off all programs that connect to the internet to lower your ping.
As explained above, connecting to a server that is closest to you will result in the best ping possible. The physical distance between you and the server is still the most important factor that affects your ping. Even the fastest network connection out there is not enough to play games on a server across the world.