5+ Best Internet Providers for Gaming in 2024

author image


Tuesday, 09 July 2024

blog image

Online multiplayer games are a leading form of entertainment today because they’re engaging, immersive, and larger than life. You get to connect to a worldwide network of players, leading to fun, new friendships, and a pulsating adrenaline rush.

Hardcore, competitive, social, or casual gamer - everyone wants a smooth gaming experience. We upgrade our PCs, acquire the latest consoles, and even invest in high-end equipment to support our gameplay. Reliable internet for gaming is yet another fundamental component that contributes to the overall experience.

Whether you’re a beginner or someone who aims to become a professional gamer, it’s vital to be aware of your internet needs. At present, there are 2,900+ internet service providers in the US, and narrowing down the best internet for gamers is no joke.

Luckily, we have it all sorted out for you.

Every gamer has distinct internet requirements, so we’ll help you discover what they are and suggest the best internet service accordingly.

Leading Internet Service Providers for Gamers

Factors to Consider for Gaming Internet

When choosing an internet service provider for the primary purpose of online gaming, you need to look out for certain factors.

1. Latency (or Ping)

Latency is the delay between command and action in terms of gaming. For instance, you press a button to make your avatar run; the time between pressing the button and the commencement of the running action on screen is latency.

Latency is typically measured in milliseconds (ms) and low-latency internet works best for online gaming. If the ping rate is high, your game will lag and drag. A latency of 40ms or below is optimal when using the internet for gaming; however, anything below 100ms is considered acceptable.

Wired connections have a lower latency rate as compared to wireless connections. Moreover, the distance from the server and the number of devices connected to the server may also affect latency rates.

2. Download Speed

Contrary to popular belief, you do not require extremely fast internet for gaming. You don’t need to sign up for gigabytes of speed to game like a pro. If your internet connection has a decent download speed of 5 megabytes per second (Mbps) or more, you’re good to go with baseline gaming.

Higher-speed internet is recommended if multiple players are going to connect to the same server. When you share bandwidth with several other active users, the download speed may decrease below the threshold, potentially impacting the whole experience.

3. Upload Speed

Upload speed isn’t considered as important as download speed in gaming, so about 3Mbps is considered sufficient. However, live streaming during gameplay would require a higher upload speed, so 5 – 10Mbps is recommended.  

Higher upload speed will also better facilitate sending bulky game assets, in-game communication, and hosting tournaments between players from different geographical locations. Conduct a few internet speed tests to figure out if your current internet connection is suited for your gaming needs.

Take our speed test to check the download speed, upload speed, and ping rate of your internet connection.

4. Data Caps

The data cap is your monthly internet allowance, so being aware of it helps you better manage your daily data usage. Many heavy multiplayer games easily use at least 50 MB, and sometimes more than 100 MB of data per hour. However, 4k gaming/streaming consumes nearly 3-7GB of data per hour.

Therefore, how much data you need for online gaming depends upon how much time you dedicate to this hobby or activity per day. If you only play for an hour or two, you can work with standard data limits. If you’re a professional gamer, even a 1TB data cap can be consumed within a month, depending on the game and the hours spent.

5. Connection Type

Generally speaking, a wired internet connection is more appropriate for online gaming as opposed to wireless internet. This is because wired internet has low latency, which allows lag-free gaming. Wireless internet for gaming has a comparatively higher ping rate.

You may opt for cable, fiber optic, or DSL internet for gaming, as their latency rarely goes beyond 70ms. Fiber optic connection is said to be the best choice, as it is the fastest at transmitting data, and downtimes are rare.

Best Gaming Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by Speed

1. AT&T

Connection Type: Fiber
Speed Range: 300 Mbps – 5 Gig

pros What We Like:

  • Highest speeds (up to 5Gbps)
  • No annual contracts
  • No data caps
  • Excellent Customer Support

cons Things to Consider:

  • Higher speed plans are expensive
  • Super-speed packages (1Gbps and above)
    available in selected areas only

AT&T Fiber internet offers fast internet for gaming with negligible latency and speed that is almost 20 times that of any ordinary cable internet connection. While stated prices are not inclusive of taxes, AT&T does not charge anything for equipment.

AT&T Fiber Internet 300 and 500 plans are sufficient for online gaming and streaming in 4K, but you may opt for higher speed to equip multiple players on a single server.

The company also offers super-fast wireless 5G connectivity. AT&T is providing services in 21 US states at present; major cities include Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee.

2. Cox

Connection Type: Cable
Speed Range: 100 Mbps – 2 Gig

pros What We Like:

  • Gigabyte speeds available in all service areas
  • Reasonable terms of data usage
  • Free access to Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide

cons Things to Consider:

  • Data caps apply
  • Steep price increase after first year

High download + upload speeds, low ping rates, and generous data caps contribute to enhancing your online gaming experience, and Cox knows that. The company is successfully operating in 19 states across the US and is known as one of the most stable cable internet services.

When you participate in multi-player game competitions and tournaments online, a steady internet connection matters more than anything. Cox internet plans offer stability and data speeds designed with hardcore PC gamers in mind.

Cox does not broadcast unlimited data caps for its plans, but that’s never an issue for residential users. All internet plans come with a 1.25 terabyte (TB) monthly data limit, which is nearly impossible to exhaust.

1.2TB of data allows 34,000+ hours of online gameplay, which is a lot considering you only have 720 hours a month on average.

Best Gaming ISPs by Price

1. Optimum

Connection Type: Cable & Fiber
Speed Range: 300 Mbps – 8 Gig

pros What We Like:

  • Wi-Fi Extender included in all plans
  • Internet and TV bundles available
  • Zero Data Caps
  • No Contracts

cons Things to Consider:

  • Upload & Download speeds are not up to par in cable plans
  • Fiber plans have limited availability.

Optimum ticks all the boxes under the list of a quality internet service provider, which makes it a promising choice for amateur and pro gamers. All internet plans include whole home Wi-Fi, providing good value for your money.

Despite the not-so-impressive upload speeds in beginner plans, Optimum Fiber delivers symmetric internet speeds, making gaming maneuvers easy.

Low upload speed will not interfere with your online gaming routine unless you are also a live streamer. In that case, you can opt for speeds in the gigabyte range. The overall latency rates for all plans are negligible and the company does not impose any fees for termination of a service.

Join Optimum for unlimited data, high-speed internet, and no contract plans Call Now to Order!

2. Windstream

Connection Type: Copper & Fiber
Speed Range: 100 Mbps – 8 Gig

pros What We Like:

  • No data caps
  • Great speeds in rural settlements
  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Contract-free plans

cons Things to Consider:

  • Security features not included in packages
  • Multi-gig plans are available in select markets only

Kinetic by Windstream fiber internet is among the best home internet service providers in the US. At present, it is operating in 18 states and covers more rural areas than any of its competitors.

Windstream Fiber Internet plans come with a free Wi-Fi Setup for your home and a price guarantee for up to 2 years. There are no data caps or annual contracts, and you can connect more than 20 devices with their gig speed plans.

The internet service is primarily praised for its future-proof pricing and consistent speeds due to minimal network congestion. The only major drawback with this affordable low-latency internet service is the lack of built-in security features. New customers get Kinetic Secure free of charge for the first three months but have to pay a monthly fee after that.

Excited about Windstream’s FREE WiFi Setup? Get it Now!

Best Gaming ISPs by Coverage

1. Xfinity

Connection Type: Cable
Speed Range: 150 Mbps – 1.2 Gig

pros What We Like:

  • Wi-Fi Equipment included
  • Bundling available
  • Low starting price
  • Services span across 40+ states

cons Things to Consider:

  • Higher internet speeds are only available in selective areas
  • Cheaper plans support fewer number of devices

If most of the internet options mentioned above are not available in your zip code, Xfinity is likely to be an exception. It is a leading choice for small to medium households for its low-priced starter plans and satisfactory customer service.

For gaming, it is best to opt for 200Mbps or above, so that you receive sufficient download and upload speeds. Xfinity has a 1.2TB data cap with its residential plans, which is more than enough for most gamers. If you prefer super-fast speed internet, you can go for the gig options.

Xfinity gaming internet offers some of the most attractive plans price-wise, but it is important to note that contracts may apply in some cases. Moreover, promotional prices are not applicable in all areas; your package price may increase noticeably over time.

Have questions about Xfinity Pricing in your area? Call Us, We’ll Help You!

2. Spectrum

Connection Type: Fiber-rich Broadband
Speed Range: 300 Mbps – 1 Gig*

pros What We Like:

  • Transparent Pricing
  • No Data Caps
  • No Contracts required
  • Available in 41 States

cons Things to Consider:

  • Download and Upload speeds may be vary
  • High installation costs

*Price for Gig speed additional. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit spectrum.net/support/internet/compliant-modems-charter-network. ©2024 Charter Communications

Spectrum is among the most reliable high-speed internet services across the US and is widely available in listed states. It is a good option for online gaming internet, thanks to its low latency and overall stability.

Since the internet packages have no data caps, you can engage in online multiplayer games for as long as you desire. The beginner packages are pricier than most competitors, but the convenience of access and good customer support make up for it.

What’s more, once you’re a customer of Spectrum, you can use nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge.

Get Spectrum and enjoy FREE access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots. Order Now!

How Much Speed is Required for the Best Gaming Experience?

Lagging and buffering are the worst enemies for online gamers. No matter how often or how many hours of the day you spend playing video games, an efficient and uninterrupted experience is the priority. This is why most gamers are concerned about the exact speed they need.

The minimum internet speed you require for smooth and steady gameplay depends on your preferred resolution and frames per second (fps). Different online games vary by quality, so some demand higher download and upload speeds than others.

Therefore, if you’re streaming in High definition (HD), 2K, or 4K, you’ll naturally need higher speeds as compared to gaming in standard definition, which is 720p or lower.

Minimum Speed by Type or Genre

The best speed for your online gaming ritual will also vary by your choice of console and game type. For example, multiplayer games require greater download and upload speeds as opposed to single-player games.

Game Type/Genre Minimum Download Speed Minimum Upload Speed
Single-Player 3 Mbps --
Multiplayer Co-op 4 Mbps 1 Mbps
FPS/Battle Royale 5 – 10 Mbps 1 – 2 Mbps
Massively Multiplayer Online
Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)
5 Mbps 1 Mbps

Note: These are minimum speed requirements. Actual speeds may vary depending on game genre, graphics settings, streaming features, and the number of connected devices.

Minimum Speed Requirement by Resolution and FPS

For 4k Gaming at 60 Fps 25-35 Mbps
For 4k gaming at 30 FPS 20-25 Mbps
For 2k Gaming at 60 Fps 15-20 Mbps
For 2k Gaming at 30 Fps 12-15 Mbps
For 1080p (HD) Gaming at 60 Fps 9-12 Mbps
For 1080p (HD) Gaming at 30 Fps 6-9 Mbps
For 720p Gaming at 60 Fps 4-6 Mbps
For 720p Gaming at 30 Fps 3-4 Mbps
For 420p Gaming 1-3 Mbps

Note: These are minimum speed requirements. Actual speeds may vary depending on game genre, graphics settings, streaming features, and the number of connected devices.

Connection Type Average Latency Max Download Speeds
Fiber 10 – 12ms Up to 10 Gbps
Cable 10 – 40ms Up to 2 Gbps
DSL 10 – 55ms Up to 150 Mbps
5G Up to 30ms Up to 1 Gbps
Satellite 500 – 700ms Up to 150 Mbps

Minimum and Recommended Speed by Console

PCs and Nintendo Switch consoles can potentially enable a lag-free gaming experience on internet speed as low as 25 Mbps. On the other hand, gaming on PlayStation and Xbox may encounter jitter or delay on speeds below 50 Mbps.

Console Minimum Download Speed Minimum Upload Speed Recommended Download Speed
PC Gaming 3 Mbps 1 Mbps ~20 Mbps
Nintendo Switch 3 Mbps 1 Mbps ~25 Mbps
PlayStation 5 3 Mbps 1 Mbps 50 – 100 Mbps
Xbox Series 3 Mbps 1 Mbps 50 – 100 Mbps

Some Popular Games and Their Internet Speed Requirements

Some online games are considerably heavier in size, so they may take up 100 GB of storage or more over time. Downloading the game assets can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on your internet connection speed.

Let us compare the storage requirements of these popular online games:

Game Actual Storage Used Minimum Storage Requirement
Apex Legends logo 53 GB 22 GB
Fortnite logo 26 GB 16 GB
League of Legends logo 20 GB 16 GB
World of Warcraft logo 70 GB 70 GB

Now that we have gotten these bulky requirements out of the way, let’s review the approximate download time vis-à-vis different internet speeds.

Game 25 Mbps 100 Mbps 500 Mbps 1 Gbps
Apex Legends logo ~4.5 hrs ~1 hr ~14 mins ~7 mins
Fortnite logo ~2.5 hrs ~39 mins ~8 mins ~4 mins
League of Legends logo ~2 hrs ~28 min ~6 mins ~3 mins
World of Warcraft logo ~7 hrs ~1.5 hrs ~22 mins ~9 mins

How to Optimize Home Internet for a Better Gaming Experience?

If you’re not getting the desired online gaming experience despite having an adequate internet plan, you can improve the performance by making a few adjustments.

1. Disconnect Idle Devices

Too many devices connected to your home network could be the reason for game lag and buffering. Most internet routers have a limited capacity and at times, the bandwidth isn’t distributed evenly among all the connected devices.

If you have several smart home devices and each member in the house has multiple mobile devices, you might want to disconnect the ones not in use. Many idle devices are consuming data in the background, so removing them from the network frees up bandwidth.

2. Switch to a Wired Connection

Do you usually connect to Wi-Fi or a wireless network for online gaming? If that’s the case, we suggest switching to Ethernet or a direct wired connection to improve the online gaming experience. Wireless connections have higher ping rates, which may result in sluggish gameplay.

Wired connections are much faster and more reliable internet for gaming due to their low latency. If you don’t have the facility to establish a wired connection, you may try moving closer to the Wi-Fi source.

3. Replace Outdated Router

Your router may be outdated and lack features to optimize your internet connection. Contact your ISP to request a new router that will improve the connection’s overall performance. Many ISPs offer specialized gaming routers as well.

Specialized gaming routers are designed to provide better speeds and ping rates to provide the ultimate experience. Modern routers come with a user-friendly interface to change settings, such as shifting to a different frequency or channel for better bandwidth.

4. Upgrade your Internet Plan

Are you sure that your internet plan is delivering the specs it promised? Try our free internet speed test today and find out if your ISP is cheating you. If your internet speed does not reflect the actual download and upload speeds, so you may need an upgrade.

Now that you know the optimum requirements for online gaming, you must choose an accommodating internet plan accordingly. If you’re unhappy with your current ISP, switch over to a service that is better suited for online gaming and streaming.

5. Consider Network Traffic

The ISP you’re signed up with might be the most popular choice in your neighborhood. This results in higher traffic on the network, so users end up getting lower bandwidth and ping spikes. Network traffic is usually an issue during peak hours of internet usage.

In most areas, prime time for streaming and gaming lies between 5 PM and 10 PM. Playing your single or multi-player games outside of these hours may help resolve the issue. If you cannot move to a less crowded time slot, go for a gaming ISP in your area with lesser traffic or better capabilities for handling it.

6. Restart Router

You can try the oldest trick in the book to successfully resolve the slow gaming issues you are facing. If you have a good-quality router, restarting it may automatically connect you to a less congested channel or an optimized frequency.

Sometimes, the internet device needs to install updates, so restarting helps trigger those functions as well. Wait a few minutes for any available updates to install and for the connection to re-establish.

7. Play on a Local Server

Choosing a game server closest to your location helps minimize lag as the transfer of data across the network is faster. Playing on a faraway server leads to higher ping rates, so your game will be subject to frequent interruptions.

8. Shut Down Background Apps

If you don’t have very high-speed internet at home and you want a smooth gaming experience, shut down all other apps during gameplay. Certain apps, programs, or websites running in the background could be using up considerable bandwidth and causing interference.

Tips to Setup Your Gaming Room

Tips to Setup Your Gaming Room

Creating the right environment for gaming can help boost performance and enhance the overall experience. For a riveting and immersive experience, you may equip your gaming space with cutting-edge technology, welcoming decor, accessories for comfort, and a dash of personality.

1. Ergonomic Furniture

As a pro gamer or gaming enthusiast, you’ll likely spend a major portion of your day on your gaming chair and desk, so comfort is essential. Your gaming desk/table should have enough space to accommodate two or more screens, while still leaving room for other gaming gear. We suggest an L-shaped desk, as it provides ample surface area and supports maximum mobility.

Your gaming chair should offer freedom of movement to help prevent muscle stiffness and soreness after long gaming sessions. Features such as a reclining back, neck support, adjustable height, and flexible armrests are crucial. You can also consider adding a footrest and seat cushion to further support your backbone.

2. Organized Cables

Messy cables, wires, and cords around the room and under the desk can be quite a turn-off. Tangled wires often lead to confusion and accidents, aside from being unsightly. Organizing your cables will declutter your gaming room and allow ease of access. Once you have separated or untangled your cables, label them so you can easily distinguish them in the future.

Minimize the use of extensions, and shorten wires where possible. Consider installing under-desk trays, wooden boxes, and cable grommets for better management of cables at your desk. Cord sleeves and cable organizer strips or Velcro strips can also be used to bind cords and keep them in place.

3. Strategic Lighting & Acoustics

Soundproofing your gaming room will eliminate disturbance from outside sources, so your attention isn’t divided during gameplay. This can be achieved with soundproof curtains, acoustic foam panels, sound insulation systems, and impact barriers. Additionally, you can enjoy gaming without worrying about being too loud and being a nuisance to people around you.

Strategically placing speakers and dimmable lights around the room will allow you to channel the right ambiance. You can adjust the brightness of lighting and sound of the speakers according to your mood and the theme of your game.

4. Neat Aesthetics

Nothing beats a modern and minimalistic setup, so remove stuff that has nothing to do with your gaming routine. Opt for light, compact, and adjustable furniture to improve accessibility, especially if you have limited space. Moreover, choose wireless tech where plausible, such as wireless headphones, gaming mouse, keyboard, and chargers.

Employ smart storage to keep your gaming room spacious. Sleek cupboards and shelves built within walls add a nice touch whilst providing plenty of storage space. Make good use of corners, go for pastel color schemes, and keep it simple.

5. Personalization

Make the room yours by incorporating elements that showcase your creativity and passions. For example, you can use pretty wallpaper, create an accent wall decorated with your art, or put up a life-size poster of your favorite game.

You can display a few or more figurines of your favorite game characters and decorate the place with rugs, wall hangings, and other stuff that reflect your gaming-related interests. Adding your personal touch to the room makes it more comforting and welcoming.

Gaming Equipment to Level Up Your Gaming Experience

Fast and reliable internet allows seamless gaming, but specialized gear or equipment levels up the overall experience. Your skill and strategy count, but the right gaming equipment just makes everything better.

Here are a few things you must include in your gaming setup:

1. Specialized Gaming Monitor

Screen tearing and faltering during gameplay can be such a downer, which is why you need a highly responsive monitor with adaptive sync technology. Modern gaming monitors have a high refresh rate, so you’ll never have to encounter pixelated and delayed visuals. In addition, high resolution provides better frame rates and smoother gameplay.  

2. High-Quality Headset

High-quality headsets for gaming come with a noise-canceling mic and surround sound technology, which contributes to an immersive experience. You can effectively communicate with your teammates and/or opponents, which prevents errors, mistakes, and unnecessary conflict during gameplay.

3. Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are designed to enhance efficiency and precision during gameplay. All the keys on the keyboard are wired individually, so they provide a fast and tactile response on each tap. Not to mention, their adjustable RGB lighting, sleek layout, and wireless connectivity make them extra eye-catching and convenient.

4. Gaming Mouse and Mousepad

Gaming mice come with customizable settings to give you an edge during gaming sessions. You can adjust speed and other features with supplementary buttons included in the design. These mice are also ergonomic, so they comfortably fit in your hand and prevent a painful wrist. Gaming mouse pads are water-resistant and fitted with anti-slip backing; this equips them with steadiness and added resistance to wear and tear.

5. High-Quality Controllers

Console gamers should look for controllers that offer a comfortable grip and highly responsive buttons, so they don’t lag behind in fast-paced games. High-quality gaming controllers come with several customizable features to enhance performance and aesthetics. Go wireless for a greater range of movement and handiness.

Best Gaming ISPs Overall (Our Top Picks)

We previously discussed six ISPs that provide fast internet for gaming, and now we have narrowed down the list to our top three.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Wired internet is recommended for online gaming, as it is most reliable and has low latency. Fiber optic is the best internet for gamers since it is the fastest and has the lowest latency. Cable internet for gaming comes in second and third place goes to DSL.

A good broadband internet connection with a generous data cap and fair speed costs between $40 and $100 per month (for speeds up to 1 Gig).

Most of the ISPs mentioned above are suitable for gaming on PS4 and PS5; however, AT&T and Xfinity are universally favored for providing low-latency internet.

Any internet plan with a download speed of 100Mbps or above works well for Xbox.

Yes, an internet speed of 500 Mbps is excellent for hardcore and competitive gaming. 100 Mbps is usually sufficient for the average gamer.