Best Internet for Gaming in 2024

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Verizon Fios - Best internet for gaming overall

  • Prices: $50 - $120 per month
  • Speeds: 300 - 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service
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Or call to learn more: (833) 852-0491

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Frontier Fiber - Best low-cost internet for gaming

  • Prices: $50 - $155 per month
  • Speeds: 500 - 5,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fee
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Or call to learn more: (877) 475-2167

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Astound Broadband - Best gaming router offer

  • Prices: $20 - $80 per month
  • Speeds: 100 - 1,500Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, low promo prices, no contracts
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Or call to learn more: (877) 252-4892

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Spectrum - Best cable internet for gaming

  • Prices: $50 - $80 per month
  • Speeds: 300 - 1,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots
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Or call to learn more: (855) 800-4017

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Starlink - Best rural internet for gaming

  • Prices: $90 - $120 per month
  • Speeds: 20 - 250Mbps
  • Key Info: No term contract, 1TB data limit, low latency
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Or call to learn more: (855) 874-8909

What's the best internet for gaming?

You don't need a ton of speed for online gaming, but low ping and a stable connection are a must. That's why Verizon Fios gets our vote for best overall internet for gaming. The ISP has the lowest latency of any major provider, according to Ookla data from recent speed tests, and boasts a 99.9% reliability.

Other providers, especially those of the cable and fiber variety, are also ideal for gaming. Our top picks of the best internet for gaming include:

Top internet providers for gaming

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Speed range

300 - 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $120 per month

Our take - Verizon Fios speed tiers — 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1Gbps and, in some places, 2Gbps — all offer plenty of upload and download speed for online gaming. The provider also excels at another important gaming factor: latency.

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Or call to learn more: (833) 852-0491

Speed range

300 - 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $120 per month

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Speed range

500 - 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $155 per month

Our take - Frontier's new 200Mbps plan starts at just $30 per month and includes an eero 6+ router at no extra cost. That's plenty of speed for gaming, and the quality router will help ensure your connection is up to the task.

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Or call to learn more: (877) 475-2167

Speed range

500 - 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $155 per month

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Speed range

100 - 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 - $80 per month

Our take - Gaming routers are expensive, easily $200 to $500 or more. Astound is one of the only internet providers that gives customers the option of renting a gaming router for $13 per month. Specifically, it's the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming router, which promotes high speeds, low latency and support for Wi-Fi 6.

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Or call to learn more: (877) 252-4892

Speed range

100 - 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 - $80 per month

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Speed range

300 - 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $80 per month

Our take - Spectrum is our pick for best cable internet provider overall, but that's not why I recommend it for gaming. It's the unlimited data. Spectrum is one of the only major cable ISPs to offer unlimited data with all plans in all markets. Xfinity, Cox, Mediacom and others may come with a monthly data cap and fees up to $50 or $100 for going over.

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Or call to learn more: (855) 800-4017

Speed range

300 - 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 - $80 per month

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Speed range

20 - 250 Mbps

Price range

$90 - $120 per month

Our take - There are a few downsides to satellite internet, not least of which is high latency that makes online gaming impossible. Starlink's low-orbiting satellites relieve the latency issue with an expected range of 25 to 60 milliseconds.

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Or call to learn more: (855) 874-8909

Speed range

20 - 250 Mbps

Price range

$90 - $120 per month

Best internet providers for gaming: Honorable mentions

The providers listed above boast special offers or features targeted directly at gamers, but they're not the only ISPs that you can rely on for online gaming. Here are some others you may want to consider for gaming.

AT&T Fiber: I recommend a fiber connection over any other connection type for all online activity, including gaming. AT&T is the largest fiber provider in the nation, and even its cheapest plan (300Mbps at $55 monthly) can deliver more than enough gaming speed. Additionally, recent Ookla speed test results placed AT&T third in the US in lowest latency at 21 milliseconds.

Optimum: Like Astound, Optimum offers decent speeds, fair pricing and unlimited data. Primarily a cable ISP, Optimum also has a large and growing fiber network. However, Optimum's recent history of low customer satisfaction is something you'll want to consider before signing up.

Xfinity: Ookla reports Xfinity speeds are fast and consistent. In recent speed test results, Xfinity landed the fourth-fastest median speeds, 239Mbps, and the second-highest consistency of speeds over 25Mbps at 91.7%.

How many members of your household use the internet?

How to pick the best internet for your gaming needs

Online gaming can put a strain on your internet connection, so it's important to find an internet service that can keep up. Here's what to consider when shopping for an internet service that will be used for gaming.

Availability in your area

I can recommend a good internet provider for gaming all day, but if it's not available at your address, it doesn't matter. Explore all the available internet providers near you when shopping for an internet service you'll be using for gaming, and start by checking for fiber internet providers in your area.

Latency, the most important metric for gaming

Screenshot of broadband label for an internet plan
Spectrum

Most internet providers don't openly advertise expected latency like they do speeds and pricing, but you may be able to find it in the provider's FCC Broadband Label. There's also speed test data, such as Ookla speed test reports, that can help you compare latency from different providers. For the best online gaming experience, aim for a latency of 40ms and below.

Connection type influences speed and reliability

If you take a look at speed test data, you'll likely notice a common theme among providers with the lowest latency: they're fiber ISPs. Along with low latency, fiber typically offers the best reliability and fastest speed potential. I would recommend fiber service over cable or fixed wireless, even if it is a little more expensive.

Speeds, up and down

Speeds of 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, the minimum to be considered broadband, should support any and all online gaming. However, faster speeds will make for a better experience and help ensure there's enough to go around for other devices. Consider the speeds you need for all your household activity, and keep in mind that using Wi-Fi and connecting more devices can slow your speeds.

How we chose the best internet providers for gaming

There are many attributes to evaluate when determining the best internet providers, but latency is higher on the list when it comes to gaming. To narrow down the top internet providers, we started by seeking out the ISPs that had the lowest latency on recent Ookla speed tests. FCC Broadband Labels and advertised expected ranges helped us to further compare latency between providers.

Other factors include availability to at least 1% of US households. A random regional provider in a local market may offer the lowest latency any ISP, but including it in a national best list is more of a tease than a recommendation when it's only available to a select few.

Speed and reliability are important considerations as well. The providers featured above offer a range of speeds suitable for nearly any and all gaming activity and a reliable network to keep gamers connected.

To read more about our methodology, check out how we review internet service providers.

Best internet connection types for gaming

The best gaming experience will likely come from a fiber internet provider. Fiber internet boasts the fastest upload and download speed potential and highest reliability, even during peak usage times.

If there are no fiber internet providers near you, consider cable, fixed wireless, DSL (depending on available speeds) and satellite from Starlink, in that order.

Aside from fiber, cable internet is the top choice for speed and reliability, often offering download speeds up to a gig or higher. Fixed wireless internet can be hit or miss depending on the providers in your area and your proximity to a local signal tower.

While a wired connection is preferable for gaming, DSL internet may fail to deliver the speeds and reliability of a fixed wireless service. If all else fails, satellite internet from Starlink — not Hughesnet or Viasat — should get you online with a connection suitable for gaming.

Internet for gaming recap

Online gaming doesn't require a lot of speed, but the connection quality and latency will make all the difference. A fiber connection with low latency, like what Verizon Fios and Frontier Fiber have to offer, is the best choice when it comes to internet for gaming. Cable internet providers are worth consideration as well, particularly Astound with its gaming router option and Spectrum for its broad availability, low equipment rental cost and unlimited data.

Your best internet option for gaming will depend on the available internet providers in your area. If you find none bring you a decent gaming experience, check out Starlink. It's expensive compared to many other ISPs, but speeds should be high enough, and latency low enough, for online gaming.

Best internet for gaming FAQs

What's a good internet speed for gaming?

For the casual gamer, speeds of 100 to 300Mbps should comfortably support any game on PC, console or handheld devices. That said, faster speeds will help ensure a more consistent gaming experience, particularly if you have numerous devices and multiple users in your household.

A gig, or download speeds up to 1,000Mbps, will all but guarantee there is enough speed for gaming. Multigigabit internet speeds are probably more than the average home needs, but if you're interested in an uncompromising connection for serious gaming, many fiber internet providers offer max speeds of 2,000 to 5,000Mbps and higher.

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What Mbps do you need for gaming?

Most PC and gaming console manufacturers recommend download speeds of less 10Mbps for online gaming. PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One suggest download speeds of 6, 3 and 3Mbps, respectively, for gaming.

Keep in mind that's actual speeds to the device, not speeds to the home. If your internet plan offers max speeds of 25Mbps, it's highly unlikely you will get 25Mbps to your gaming device. Wi-Fi, connected multiple devices, even the time of day can affect your actual speeds. To ensure you have enough speed for your game and your other devices, speeds of at least 100Mbps are best.

How much data does gaming use?

Online gaming typically uses 100MB or less per hour. At that rate, gaming two hours a day will use about 6GB of data each month. Data consumption can vary by game and whether you have downloaded the game or are streaming it through a platform like Steam, Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus.

How can I reduce latency?

Routers or software that prioritize gaming traffic can significantly lower your latency while gaming. You can also strengthen your internet signal by using a wired connection versus Wi-Fi and limiting the number of active devices on your network while gaming. Upgrading to a better internet service, such as fiber over cable internet or cable internet over DSL, can also drastically improve your latency numbers.

View CNET's guide to lowering ping for more tips on how to bring down your latency for better online gaming.

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Is wireless internet good for gaming?

Wireless internet can be good for gaming depending on the available providers and speeds at your address. Many fixed wireless providers only offer 10 to 25Mbps, which will likely not make for a quality gaming experience. Additionally, some wireless providers have strict data caps that can put a limit on how much time you spend gaming each month.

Wireless providers such as T-Mobile Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home Internet advertise max speeds well over 100Mbps, which should support online gaming if you don't have a ton of devices on your network. Both providers also offer unlimited data, so you won't have to worry about exceeding a cap.

Such providers aren't a guarantee for good gaming, however. Available speeds vary by address and your proximity to a local tower. Depending on your location, speeds of 50Mbps or lower may be all that is available from a wireless connection, which will make consistent online gaming difficult.

Is T-Mobile Home Internet good for gaming?

T-Mobile Home Internet advertises max download speeds of 72 to 245Mbps, which should be good enough for gaming, particularly if your available speeds are on the higher end of that range. Expected latency ranges are 19 to 37 milliseconds, low enough to game without frequent lagging.

Is satellite internet good for gaming?

Satellite internet isn't good for online gaming. Its main role is providing internet service and connectivity in rural areas where fixed connections (like cable and fiber) are unavailable.

With satellite internet, signals must travel thousands of miles between your dish and the orbiting satellite, resulting in much higher latency than other connection types. Latency over satellite internet can easily reach 400 to 500 milliseconds, rendering real-time online games virtually unplayable.

The one exception to that rule is Starlink, which uses low-orbit satellites and boasts latency between 25 to 60 milliseconds.

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