nbn™ broadband for gaming in Australia
Even if the video games you play are single player rather than multiplayer, fewer games are being released on physical media and are instead downloaded from services such as Steam, the Microsoft Store, or the PlayStation Store. And for those few games still released on Blu-ray, there’s usually downloadable content (DLC) and patches that need to be downloaded at some point, making a broadband internet connection an important companion to any serious gameplay. But whether you just need the internet connection for grabbing the occasional DLC, or for serious gameplay against opponents spread across the globe, a fast, reliable connection is essential. There are a few important factors to consider.
Low Latency/Ping Times
This is a very important metric for online gaming, but one you often have little control over. It refers to the length of time it takes for a signal to travel from your device to the gaming server and back again. High ping times result in less smooth game play, affecting the visual quality of the game and actual playability. The game can begin to stutter and freeze, and there will be a noticeable delay between you taking some action and it is showing up on screen. How your internet service provider has configured their network, along with where in the world the gaming server you are connecting to is located, have the biggest impact on network latency and ping times. But there are other factors too that can influence it, so you will never see a service provider boasting about low ping times. Selecting a plan with a higher download speed can help slightly.
Typical Evening Speeds
Unless you work from home, evenings are when you are going to be most active online, watching Netflix, browsing the FYP on TikTok, or tackling a new mission in your favourite online game. Unfortunately, it’s also when your neighbours and the rest of the country are doing the same, which is why it is important to pay attention to the typical evening speeds advertised by any internet service providers you are considering. If it is considerably lower than the theoretical maximum download speed of your chosen plan, there’s a high risk of your connection being too erratic during peak periods for online gaming. Remember too that any other online activity in your household is also going to affect your speed.
Whether you are downloading games, DLC and the latest patches, or playing online against other players, you will be using a portion of your download quota. An hour of online gaming won’t use too much data, though it can add up, but downloading new games and updates can easily use between 50GB and 90GB for a single title. Either way you probably want to consider an nbn™ plan offering unlimited data.
What Is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?
A fast download speed is not essential for gaming, though it can affect how fast a game downloads, and for online gaming it can have some impact on latency. Dodo’s own unlimited data nbn25 plan is quite suitable for online gaming, though only in smaller households where there aren’t too many other people going online at the same time.
Tips to Improve Your Internet for Gaming
Aside from carefully choosing your internet service provider and nbn™ plan, there are a few things you can do at home to give your internet performance a small boost.
- Plug straight into your modem router - running an ethernet cable straight from your device to the modem router eliminates possible interference from other Wi-Fi devices, ensuring the most stable connection possible. And since ethernet cables can be quite long without any degradation in signal quality, you won't need to move your gaming setup right next to the modem router.
- Check signal strength throughout your home - it is not only other Wi-Fi devices that affect signal strength, but also the walls and general layout of your home. If you are not able to run an ethernet cable from your device to your modem router, using a network or Wi-Fi analyser can help you identify areas in your home where the signal strength drops.
- Upgrade your modem router - some modem routers are promoted as being better for online gaming and this isn't a marketing gimmick. They will always offer dual-band support by default, but also include multiple antennas for better signal distribution, along with specific features allowing you to prioritise certain online traffic over other types.
- Choose local servers - connecting to a gaming server that is close to you – at least in the same country – can dramatically improve latency and ping times. Although this isn't always possible, always check if there are any local servers for the games you are interested in playing online.
What About Mobile Broadband for Gaming?
The nbn™ rollout has seen larger cities and towns getting fixed line connections, while smaller towns and regional areas are limited to fixed wireless. Aside from imposing some limits on the top download speed available, fixed wireless connections can be further impacted by congestion, resulting in much lower speeds and higher ping times. Switching to mobile broadband might eliminate this, but you would need to test the connection out under similar circumstances to be sure. This does not suggest that a fixed line connection is always going to be superior to mobile broadband, so even in larger cities you might find a mobile broadband connection to have better performance. And with data limits on mobile now much higher than before, using mobile broadband can be a worthwhile alternative to nbn™ under certain circumstances.