What Is a Good Upload Speed for Gaming?
Almost every online gamer has been yelled at for or complained about the internet connection. Internet speed isn’t always straightforward because many factors contribute to “fast” internet. Upload speed is one of them, though not the main one.
Despite not being a primary way to improve the connection, you still need to ensure it doesn’t drop below the minimum. Below, you’ll also find out what makes some internet connections lag less. Read on for more details.
What Is Upload Speed and How Much Do I Need?
Upload speed refers to how fast your internet connection lets you send information from the computer or device to a server. The unit of measurement used is megabits per second or Mbps. Sending someone a message, uploading files to Google Drive, and online gaming require a good upload speed to avoid excessive waiting times.
Most internet service providers focus on download speed because you tend to receive more information than you send out. Gaming functions like this too. You rarely get providers that offer symmetrical download and upload speeds.
Generally, most people agree that 1 Mbps can work for online games, and it’s a minimum upload speed for some video game consoles. However, your gaming session may be somewhat uncomfortable due to potential stuttering, especially if you stream.
Therefore, it’s always best to aim for 5 Mbps or more upload speed. This is the minimum for streaming content in 1080p, and you shouldn’t have any stuttering streams or in-game lag. You’ll have to pay for a better plan, but speedy internet is well worth the price.
For example, here’s what some consoles recommend or state as the minimum.
- Xbox One minimum upload speed: 0.5Mbps
- Xbox One recommended upload speed: 4Mbps
- PS4 and PS5 minimum upload speed: 1Mbps
- PS4 and PS5 recommended upload speed: 4Mbps
- Nintendo Switch minimum upload speed: 1Mbps
- Nintendo Switch recommended upload speed: 4Mbps
- PC minimum upload speed: 0.75-1Mbps
- PC recommended upload speed: 5Mbps
Nintendo has never provided any official information for upload speed minimums, but the values we listed are from community testing and based on general gaming internet speed knowledge.
Therefore, there’s no need to panic if your upload speed doesn’t reach 10 Mbps. You should be okay with anything above 1 Mbps unless you stream. If your upload speeds are too low, consider switching a provider or plan.
What Else Affects Gaming Connections?
Having 10 Mbps of upload speeds isn’t going to guarantee you don’t lag. Instead, it would be best to focus on many other things that matter more. Download speed is often the primary issue for most gamers.
You receive a large amount of information when playing online games, no matter the genre. The enemies’ inputs and actions, the game’s state, and even your location are part of the information that comprises what’s displayed on your screen. Other things are:
- Player communication like voice chatting or text chatting
- Other players’ locations and their states
Poor download speeds can result in your location not uploading, producing “rubber-banding.” This problem is caused by excessive latency to the point that the game itself has difficulty deciding where you actually are.
For download speeds, you typically want at least 5 Mbps, and the higher the number, the better your connection tends to be. That’s not all, as there’s another factor to consider that can spoil any multiplayer session.
Imagine playing a game of tennis with a friend. The farther you two are, the longer it takes for the ball to reach you. For internet connections, it’s a PC sending signals to an internet server, and the information is the ball. The time that it takes to travel is latency.
Things have no lag and are instantaneous in real life, and you feel pain immediately after getting poked by a needle. Although servers tend to be miles away, transmitting information only takes milliseconds. The difference is still noticeable, though lower latency is tolerable.
High latency results in your inputs being delayed. You can see your actions happening after a noticeable pause. That’s why competitive gamers hate latency and try to drop it to almost none.
How far you are from a server can increase your latency. The information bouncing from place to place slows your signal down and becomes higher latency. Too many servers between you and the target can also slow your connection.
Your connection type affects latency too. Satellite internet has the highest latency due to sending signals to space and back. It’s so slow that you can’t play fast-paced games. An insulated cable connection is in the middle and faster than uninsulated lines.
Currently, the best connections are fiber optic cables, which transmit information at incredible speeds.
Ways to Reduce Lag
The best way to reduce lag is to use a wired connection. There’s no risk of hitting obstacles that slow signals down. Ethernet connections are incredibly consistent and responsive.
Consider switching to the 5 GHz WiFi band if you have no choice. It has a lower range but is less congested, reducing your latency. Try to stay close to the WiFi router and have a clear line of sight.
When playing on the Nintendo Switch, we recommend using a wired connection. It tends to be the worst when dealing with WiFi connections among all the consoles.
If you notice an unusual surge of latency, pause your game and power cycle the router. Power cycling involves unplugging and replugging the cable after 30 seconds.
It’s also best to turn off any unnecessary apps and smart devices. The fewer things using up the internet, the better your signal becomes.
A Flawless Connection
Your upload speed matters as you don’t want to prevent the servers from registering your information. However, it’s somewhat of a secondary factor among the other internet connection factors. Despite this, it’s essential to have at least 1Mbps for gaming.