What is gaming broadband, and can I get it?
Whether you play the PC or a console, you’ll know the need for a strong and stable internet connection, one designed for heavy broadband users. You’ll need it for downloading games, as well as updating them, and of course to enjoy seamless online multiplayer gameplay.
But while you’re unlikely to see any broadband deals marketed specifically for gamers, there are plenty of high-speed fibre options available that will suit any serious gamer.
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What do gamers need from their broadband connection?
Multiplayer gaming is naturally data-intensive, so if you’re a serious gamer then you’ll likely have different broadband needs to the average internet user. When looking for the best broadband package for gaming, you need to consider the following:
Probably the most important factor, you’ll need a fibre connection providing download speeds of at least 50Mbps to enjoy online gaming. If you live in a large household with multiple users sharing bandwidth, then you should aim even higher than this to avoid any frustrations when playing.
Gaming online will use a lot of data, especially if your ideal Friday night in is having the lads round for a FIFA tournament. Thankfully, broadband providers realise your gaming needs, and most deals offer unlimited downloads these days – another essential for gamers.
No broadband connection is perfect, and you’ll inevitably encounter issues at some point during your contract. But downtime is especially jarring for gamers, and even more so when it persists. Therefore, choose a broadband provider with a good customer service rating to make sure you’ll get the right support when you need it.
What else affects my gaming experience?
Although speed is important, it’s not the be all and end all - you’re not going to be the last man standing in a game of Fortnite if your screen is frozen. The following will all affect your gaming experience:
If your latency connection isn’t low enough this could create lag. Latency refers to the time in which large amounts of data is processed by your network - for a gamer this would mean the time between you pushing a button and the desired effect happening. The lower the latency connection your provider can give you, the better real time experience you’ll be able to achieve.
Freezing and Stutter
Freezing and stutter in a game can be due to packet loss - this is the data lost when transferred to the server or vice-a-versa. You can’t avoid all packet loss, but you can certainly find a broadband provider that offers as little packet loss as possible.
The amount of people using the same network resources is known as contention ratio. If there are a large number of people using the same provider on your street, then the quality of your internet connection will be affected.
What broadband speed do I need for gaming?
Although you actually only need an average of 5Mbps to play most consoles or PC games, the speedier your connection and the smoother the experience. Games come with a considerable number of things to download and several updates - if you don’t go for a fast connection then this could really hinder how much time you actually play vs waiting for the game to update.
For more info, check out our guide: what internet speed do I need for gaming?
So, what type of broadband should gamers get?
As a gamer you should definitely consider fibre optic broadband. Fibre optic cables are faster, more reliable and more resilient to environmental factors such degradation and temperature. Compared to traditional ADSL broadband, fibre optic provides a far better connection to ensure an uninterrupted gaming experience.
You could also consider cable broadband from providers like Virgin Media. With cable broadband, most of the connection is made up of fibre optic cables, but the last mile is made of coaxial cable. Coaxial cable carries data much faster than copper - enhancing your gaming experience even more.
Best Broadband Providers for Gamers
So, now you know what type of deal to go for and what speed you need, you need to compare broadband providers to figure out which is best for you. The following providers all offer fibre broadband that will suit even the most hardcore gamers:
The fastest widely-available broadband provider in the UK, Virgin Media uses its own network of fibre optic cables to deliver your internet. With a download speed exceeding 500Mbps on its top-tier package, you can be sure to have enough speed for gaming with Virgin Media.
Probably the UK’s most well-known provider, BT offer a wide range of fibre optic deals that should have sufficient speed for all your games. BT can also guarantee a strong WiFi connection in every room of your home, allowing you to take your PC or console to any part of the house.
Sky Broadband packages are great for gamers as they are all truly unlimited, meaning no traffic management affecting your gaming in the evenings. Speeds on offer are similar to BT, although make sure you get a fibre broadband deal.
TalkTalk consistently offer some of the best value internet deals on the market, and with average download speeds reaching 63Mbps on its fibre packages, is a great option for gamers on a tighter budget.
Another provider known for offering some of the cheapest home broadband in the UK, Plusnet also offer fibre deals suitable for gamers. It has also been noted for its impressive customer service.
Offering speeds of up to 1,000Mbps on certain packages, Hyperoptic’s ultrafast fibre deals will have more than enough speed for any game enthusiast. However, Hyperoptic is currently only available in certain urban locations, so you’ll be very lucky if they even operate where you live.
Last reviewed: 07 September 2021
Next review: 07 October 2021