Any serious gamer can vouch for the importance of having a reliable Internet connection. While price is usually the first factor that comes into play when assessing a provider’s offerings, consistency and speed should also be prioritized if you intend to make the most of your gaming experience.
Consistency refers to the actual download speed in relation to the provider’s advertised rates. Based on the results from a 2013 study conducted by the FCC, fiber Internet has been proven to deliver the most consistent speeds, drastically surpassing cable and DSL. To put it into perspective, Verizon’s fiber Internet beat out Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and even the company’s own DSL service for consistent download speed—tested over the course of a day.
For those who aren’t familiar with the fast-growing fiber Internet movement, let’s briefly discuss the specifics. A fiber connection is around 100 times faster than the average broadband speed. Google introduced the public to fiber in 2010 as a way to encourage the big name ISPs (i.e. Verizon, Comcast, TimeWarner) to provide higher-speed lines to consumers across the country. As a result of Google’s initiatives, Verizon rolled out FiOS which is a bundled Internet, telephone, and television service offered in select cities across the United States. Comcast also doubled the speed of two of its Xfinity services (Xfinity Blast! and Extreme 50) at no additional cost to customers. Xfinity Blast! now receives downloads speeds up to 50 MBPS and the latter receives up to 105 Mbps (up from 50 Mbps).
Following those advancements, Comcast announced the launch of Xfinity Platinum. In all, Google’s efforts surpassed expectations across the board. The one drawback, at this point, is the limited geographic scope of fiber Internet. If you live in an area where fiber is not offered, opt for a cable internet that ranks higher for consistency (Cox, Comcast, Charter, and Insight). You’ll ultimately experience lower latency, less lag time and an overall faster connection so your player doesn’t freeze up in the midst of shooting an enemy or saving your fellow comrade.
Speed becomes especially significant when you download or stream media. Some internet speeds may take hours to download the content for a multi-player game. At 50 Mbps, fiber can download 5 GB in less than 15 minutes whereas cable, at 12 Mbps, would take closer to an hour and DSL, at 1.5 Mbps, would exceed 6 hours! Streaming, through programs like Netflix or Hulu, is also considerably faster with less buffering required.
The recent release of Xbox One and PS4 has ushered in the next generation of gaming consoles, which operate at peak performance when coupled with an ultra-fast broadband connection.