silhouetted image of the back of a gamer's head with headphones on, superimposed against a TV screen with a video game playing on it, definition of latency

If you’re an online gamer, you may have experienced the frustration of glitchy game play. Maybe you’re playing an online shooter, and you’ve got an enemy in your sights. Just before you press the trigger, though, the screen shudders, freezes and suddenly jumps ahead, causing you to miss your target. Worse, you suddenly find yourself in another player’s crosshairs, and before you can react, you’re taken out and forced to respawn or wait until the next round.

Online Gaming Isn’t Just About Bandwidth

At first glance, the problem behind such glitches may seem obvious: internet connection speed and the amount of bandwidth powering online gameplay. Certainly, sufficient bandwidth and speed are crucial for a satisfactory gaming experience, and we’d never suggest otherwise; however, these aren’t the only critical factors—another is latency.

The Definition of Latency

Here is a simple definition of latency: the length of time needed for information sent between computers to reach its intended destination. Data sent via the internet is bundled into clusters called “packets.” The greater the amount of time that lapses as packets travel between sender and receiver—computer to computer, server to computer, etc.—the more likely data in the packet will degrade and be lost. This is why insufficient latency can cause online gameplay to become glitchy. Latency—a.k.a. “ping rate”—is measured in milliseconds (ms); the lower the latency value, the better an online gaming experience.

What Internet Speed Do You Need for Online Gaming?

This is something of a trick question. As we mentioned, bandwidth and the speed of your connection certainly matter, but players needs a minimum latency number, too, to enjoy smooth online gameplay.

Considering these two factors together, most online gaming requires a minimum bandwidth of 3 Mbps (megabits per second) and a minimum latency of 150 ms. Keep in mind, though, that these are minimums and might not allow for a completely glitch-free experience.

For optimal online gaming, a latency of 50 ms or lower is considered excellent. And the 3 Mbps number is per player: If you have two online gamers playing at the same time on the same network, you’d need a minimum speed of 6 Mbps, 9 Mbps for three players and so forth. And remember that any other device using the network—a Netflix connection or a web-surfing tablet, for instance—will also eat into shared speed, leaving slightly less bandwidth for gamers.

Fiber Offers a New Definition of Latency

Latency speeds can be wildly inconsistent for older internet delivery technologies (e.g., satellite, DSL, cable, etc.). With these kinds of connections, a 75 ms latency during one time of day may slow to 175 ms during another.

With fiber internet from GVEC, though, latency is not only low enough for the most demanding online video games, but consistently so. GVEC Fiber’s latency isn’t effected by time of day or the number of users on the network. Basically, when it comes to latency, old technologies offer an outdated standard for this increasingly critical aspect of online gameplay. Fiber creates a new definition of latency–a new standard for what latency can and should be.

Contact GVEC to Learn More or to Sign Up

Even if you’re into competitive online gaming, GVEC Fiber’s got you covered. With speeds up to 1 Gpbs and consistently low latency, Fiber’s got the speed and reliability your family needs to smoothly play, stream, shop and work all at once on the same connection. Is Fiber available in your neighborhood? Find out or sign up by calling 800.699.4832. You can also sign up at gvec.net, or visit our Internet Availability page to see if Fiber is available in your neighborhood.

Share This