Features of 5G Internet for Gaming
The immersive world of online gaming can be a mystery to those who use the internet as a commodity for their basic digital needs. Recent surveys show that around 3.09 billion people actively play video games, and in the USA alone, 68 percent of adults have played at least one form of online game in their lifetime. From multiplayer games to first-person shooting games, and puzzles to simulation games, a plethora of online games is providing an escape route to individuals who lack independence in the physical world.
Over the years, online gaming has changed in its aspects. It is now seen as a means of earning an income rather than a thrilling leisure activity. Over 8,000 professional ESports players in the USA are earning between $12,000 to $187,200 per year. Their livelihood depends on a stable internet connection because the choice of an internet plan can make or break their gaming performance.
The following are the 5 features that gamers must look for when choosing 5G Internet for gaming:
Speed of 5G Internet for Gaming
Frequent and professional online gamers need consistently fast internet speeds to up their game. Most video game console manufacturers will tell you that gamers should opt for internet services that can guarantee at least 100 Mbps of download speed and 25 Mbps of upload speed. The internet speed will determine how quickly information is exchanged between your device and the server of your internet service provider (ISP). As games are interactive and use heavy graphics, a slow downloading speed will mean that it will take longer for the specifications of your games to load. A slow upload speed can be challenging for those players who wish to live-stream their gameplay on platforms like Twitch and YouTube Live. The frustratingly long uploading time will affect their fan following, especially during peak hours when network congestion is a norm.
The download speed of 5G home internet ranges between 25 Mbps and 1000 Mbps. On the upstream channel, gamers can expect an upload speed between 1 Mbps and 50 Mbps. This can be good for online gaming as long as the speeds do not fluctuate.
Generally, online gamers prefer to purchase fiber-optic internet plans. The top-rated fiber internet providers in the country, like AT&T Fiber and Frontier Fiber, can ensure ultrafast upload and download speeds up to 5000 Mbps. So, if you are planning to host a Fortnite night in your dorm room with your college buddies, then take a chill pill because, with a 5 Gig fiber internet plan, 10 of you can put on your game face and squad your way into the battle arena.
Latency of 5G Internet for Gaming
Latency, also known as the ping rate, is an important determining factor for online players. The ping rate is the time it takes for the data signals to complete their journey from the player’s device to the ISP’s server and back. It is measured in milliseconds. Usually, a latency of fewer than 50 milliseconds is ideal for smooth gameplay. A high ping rate will result in lagging, and players will experience frequent screen freezes. In multiplayer games, gamers with low latency have a competitive advantage over players with high latency. Imagine that you are playing Counter-Strike, and you and your opponent fire shots at the same time. If you have a high ping rate compared to your opponent, it will take longer for your computer to send the command (signal) to the ISP server and send the necessary action back to your device. Meaning, that by the time your bullet hits your opponent, his bullet would have already killed you. So a high latency of an internet connection is just as bad as a slow reaction time for humans.
Speed tests done on several 5G home internet connections show that the latency of 5G wireless internet is much higher than DSL, cable, and fiber internet. On average, the latency for 5G home internet is between 45 and 100 milliseconds, but in worst-case scenarios, gamers have reported peaks of 400 milliseconds. Therefore, the high latency of 5G internet is not ideal for gaming.
Availability of 5G Internet for Gaming
The nationwide adoption of 5G wireless internet is still a work in progress. Many towns and cities in the USA are still operating on 4G cellular data and are yet to enjoy the upgrade. At present, T-Mobile is the largest provider of 5G home internet with a coverage area including 27 states. But even then, many zip codes in the mid-Atlantic, northwest, and southeast regions are awaiting to welcome T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service.
So, since the availability of 5G networks is spotty throughout the country, it is not the best choice of internet for gamers.
Data Caps on 5G Internet for Gaming
Data caps on internet plans do not pose a risk to online gaming. Typically, video games consume between 50 MB and 100 MB of data per hour. It means that if you are using a 5G internet plan offering 100 GB of data per month, you can play online games for 1,000 to 2,000 hours. Even if your life revolves around online gaming and you spend 8 hours each day in front of a screen destroying virtual empires and killing a tyrant’s army, in total, you would have just played online games for 240 hours per month and used around 24,000 MB (24 GB) of data. So with an internet plan with a 100 GB data limit, you still have 76 GB left to use.
But with all that said, you should not worry about data caps at all if you are a Verizon 5G, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, or Starry Internet subscriber because these three 5G network providers offer unlimited data on their wireless home internet service. Even as an AT&T and EarthLink Fixed Wireless Internet customer, you will get up to 350 GB of 5G data per month.
Price of 5G Internet for Gaming
The price of a 5G home internet plan is at least $10 more expensive than the base plan offered by a fiber internet service provider. E.g. Verizon’s fiber internet service starts at $49.99 per month (for 300 Mbps of symmetrical speeds), whereas its 5G Home plan costs $60 per month without AutoPay, and the 5G Home Plus plan costs $80 per month without AutoPay. Similarly, AT&T Fiber internet plans start at $55 per month (for 300 Mbps of equal upload and download speeds), but its Fixed Wireless Internet plan costs $69.99 per month.
So to summarize, when you pick a 5G internet for gaming, you are paying $10 more than what a fiber internet plan would have cost you AND…getting slower speeds and higher latency.
5 Best 5G Internet Providers for Gaming
In the table below, we have listed the 5 best 5G home internet providers for gaming.