Online gaming – internet speed needed and data amount per hour
There’s a myth that you need high speed internet for online gaming and that online gaming consumes high amounts of data. Today we’re going to see check out some modern games and analyze how fast your internet needs to be and how much data they consume per hour. But first let’s explain a little more on how online gaming works.
Packets size – sent & received
Most of the things that go trough the network are transferred using packets. Those packets are chunks of data and they can be with varying sizes, from a few bytes to over a megabyte. When you’re downloading movies, watching youtube or netflix, the packets that come to you are quite big and they are a lot as the content downloaded is big in size whether it’s a video or a file download. The big amount of packets transferred when you’re watching youtube for example and their big size require high speed internet and consume considerable amount of data.
When it comes to online gaming, the things are very different. Online games send and receive a huge amount of packets but their size is very small, so games don’t use a lot of data and also don’t need high download/upload speeds as the packets are very small.
So does this mean you’re fine with slow internet? Well not exactly … here comes another variable, the time for sending and receiving a packet, which is called ping.
Ping is the speed of which a single packet goes from your computer to it’s destination – the online game’s server. The internet consists of thousands or even millions of computers, servers, switches, routers and other devices connected in between. So if the game’s server is in Germany and you’re in Russia for example, between those 2 locations your packets must go trough a lot of devices. Some of those devices are slow, other are faster, so the different routes that the packet can go trough will determine the ping or the time measured for the packet to go from your computer to the server. Usually this time is a few milliseconds, but if there are slow devices on the path, this time can become a few hundred milliseconds which for online gaming is very bad.
Online games companies & ISP optimizations
Most of the famous online games are trying to optimize their games to send very small packets and to send them trough the fastest route. Their servers are located on strategic positions and to internet providers that are focused on low ping instead of high speeds in order to provide the best gaming experience to more people. Some companies like Riot games (League of Legends) have even built their own networks to minimize the ping and are paying network providers to pass their packets trough the fastest routes.
Maybe you’ve noticed that if you connect to a server that is very far away from you, your game is not that smooth and your ping is higher. That’s because the packets have to travel a lot more and there are more points to go trough on the path. That’s why most games have a lot of servers which are separated by regions in order to provide good experience to everyone.
As we’ve covered how things work and we can’t do anything about the ping – let’s at least see some real game examples and how fast internet speed they need and how much data they consume.
Games speed & data usage tests
Here’s a table with a few games to demonstrate how fast internet do you need and how much data they’re consuming per hour:
|Title||Avg Download speed||Avg Upload speed||MB per hour|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops 3||70 kb/sec||68 kb/sec||250 mb/h|
|CS: GO||86 kb/sec||70 kb/sec||300 mb/h|
|PUBG||24 kb/sec||29 kb/sec||90 mb/h|
|GTA 5 Online||104 kb/sec||85 kb/sec||350 mb/h||Heavily depends on the number of people|
|League of Legends||73 kb/sec||61 kb/sec||250 mb/h|
|World of Warcraft||76 kb/sec||59 kb/sec||260 mb/h||Depends on the place/people/action|
As we can see most games don’t even exceed 100kb/sec. Don’t take this data as 100% accurate as it depends on many factors such as location, people on the server, action at the moment and other things, but we can say that you can play normally if you have at least 300kb/sec internet speed, which means that you can even play on internet shared from your phone. But in the end it all depends on the ping, so look for the best server – switch between servers and find the one with the lowest ping for you.