Ask a dozen people about the right sort of setup you need for online gaming and youâ€™re likely to get a dozen different answers. From the top of the line routers to the idea of simply connecting to wireless and playing, you’re bound to get mixed messages from people equally convinced they know the way forward. The truth is that there is usually no one right setup, as your intended use can change requirements drastically. Understanding this, you can at least narrow down your choices to something which fits your needs, budget, and physical realities.
When it comes to convenience in gaming, wireless is king. Whether connecting outside to mobile 4G or your home network via a router, nothing else is going to be as quick and easy. Simplicity doesnâ€™t imply this is the best choice, however, as while wireless can work in some areas, it can fall drastically short in others.
For some games, depending on close you are to the router, you might not experience much of a degradation of performance. At least, that is on your end. Due to the realities of data packet loss, your opponent could be having a very different experience. Fighting games, for example, can introduce major issues to opponents when you play on a wireless network. These require constant and accurate data streams, where Wi-Fi simply cannot measure up to corded systems. If at all possible, for the sake of others, connect to a router directly rather than choose this gaming method.
The Right Router and Connection
If you have a home connection, then faster internet speeds are generally better, but there are points at which diminishing returns make upgrades essentially worthless. For example, the move from aÂ DSL or ADSL connection might massively increase bandwidth, but it’s not likely to have an overwhelming effect on latency.
There are still bottlenecks here that apply to all systems, making a fiber upgrade not always worth it. A lot of this depends on network topology, for example. A point to point network is still going to have to go through each system, so many of the same bottlenecks would apply over both ADSL and fiber.Â On the other hand, a star topology would link each device to the router directly, in which case lower latency from fiber is likely to result.
In terms of raw bandwidth, this element is usually even less important. For most games, users should expect a cost of around 40-300MB per hour while playing. For context, HD video streaming uses around 3GB per hour. This means that to achieve fully playable cabled experiences a player would only require a connection speed of 1Mbps, a speed so slow that most ISPs don’t even offer it.
With this information in mind, you should at least have an idea of what sort of internet connection is right for your gaming use. Of course, real life is complicated, and you might not be able to achieve exactly what you want. That said, even for cases like renters not being able to modify their homes to install cables, there are solutions like powerline adapters or signal boosters to help mitigate issues. Whatever your choice, keep an eye on ever-cheapening plans and tech, and you could find an upgrade sooner than you might think.