Discussions of gaming rigs tend to put a heavy focus on hardware. PC gamers talk about processor and GPU speeds. Console gamers on the latest iterations of their preferred platforms.
But it’s important to keep in mind that Internet-related speed is often just as important as the system’s hardware when you’re actually gaming.
In this article we’ll answer the question if 400 Mbps internet is good for gaming.
The quick answer is that 400 Mbps is more than enough for online gaming or for fast downloading of games and DLCs, but one should also examine the latency and ping times of the line in addition to the download speed.
Importance of Internet Speed for Gaming
Single-player games often depend on huge downloads for both the main content and additional DLC. And online games don’t just require a fast connection. They also require low latency for those connections.
And on top of everything else the new era of streaming games requires a combination of both high speed and low latency.
It’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re looking over your setup’s specs. For example, say you have a 400 Mbps download speed.
Would that be enough for online gaming in general? And what about platform differences, such as online gaming on the PlayStation 5 or PC?
Is 400 Mbps Good for Gaming?
The good news is that 400 Mbps will more than meet the needs of almost any game you could imagine.
It’s fast enough to download DLC, and even large games, at an extremely fast pace. However, there’s more to online gaming than a single number.
And this is where a lot of people run into trouble when trying to determine the viability of their connection.
A 400 Mbps connection describes how fast data is transmitted through an established connection between two points within a network.
For example, think about what happens when you load a website in your browser. You typically click a link or type a URL into your browser. Either of those actions will tell your computer to send a request to a remote server.
The server responds and sends data through that opened connection. Most Internet-based communication, including gaming, operates under a similar principle.
A 400 Mbps connection describes how fast data is transmitted once that connection is established between the two points on a network.
But there’s an important hidden variable there that can make a huge impact on the overall experience.
The speed rating of the internet line doesn’t take into account the traveling time needed for data packets which is called “latency” (or ping time in the gaming world).
Latency is the time delay needed for data to travel between your computer (or smartphone etc) and the remote server.
Going back to the website example, every image on the new site that’s loaded up will have a separate request and response between your browser and the new server.
This is why websites sometimes load extremely slowly on your phone or through satellite connections even though the specific Mbps measurement seems adequate.
A satellite internet connection, or your phone’s internet when it’s struggling to maintain a data connection, typically has high latency.
And this becomes very apparent as your browser slowly makes one connection for an image, quickly downloads the file, and then makes another slow request for the next one.
Now imagine something similar occurring every time you try to move your character around in an online game. Latency is important when you’re just browsing the Internet. But it’s a vital component of online gaming as a whole.
High latency, the amount of time you wait between a request for connections and the response, tends to be associated with wireless connections.
If you’re connecting to a nearby source, such as your router’s wifi point, the latency will generally be insignificant. Or at least that’s the case as long as the wifi point or router itself has a wired Internet connection.
For example, a cable modem might use a wireless connection to provide Internet access to your computer. But the modem itself has a wired connection to a cable port.
This means that despite the wireless connection to your computer, the connection as a whole will generally have low latency.
But if your internet connection depends on a wireless signal to a tower or even a satellite then latency will usually be an issue.
This all comes down to one main point. When you’re looking at an internet connection you should always measure both download speed and latency/ping time.
A great download speed might seem like a perfect match for gaming. But high latency can have a huge negative impact on your experience.
Is 400 Mbps Good for Gaming on PS5?
A 400 Mbps connection is generally quite good for gaming on the PlayStation 5. The main reason is that the PlayStation 5 saw a huge boost in graphical prowess in comparison to the PlayStation 4.
But the boosted graphics came with a price. More detailed graphics mean that the game’s assets require much more significant downloads.
It’s true that PlayStation 5 games are usually available as both a physical disk and digital download. But it’s becoming increasingly common for the disks to essentially act as little more than proof of purchase.
Physical games often require you to download much, or even all of the game, from the same servers you’d use if you’d simply bought it online.
All of this means that even offline PlayStation 5 games benefit from faster download speeds. Of course, this will all vary on a game-by-game basis.
The average PlayStation 5 game is about 50 GB. Keep in mind that Mbps refers to megabits per second rather than megabytes per second (1 Megabyte is equal to 8 Megabits).
So the 400 Mbps speed translates to 50 MB per second. This means that the average PlayStation 5 game can be downloaded in about 17 minutes.
Is 400 Mbps Good for Gaming on a PC?
Gaming on a PC and PlayStation 5 have fairly equivalent Internet requirements. The PlayStation 5’s graphical improvements over the PlayStation 4 put it firmly in line with graphically intense PC games.
This means that PC gaming on a 400 Mbps connection is great for almost the exact same reasons that it works so well with a PS5.
The only real difference in the platform’s relationship to the Internet is that PC gamers often want to multitask to some extent while they’re gaming.
A higher download speed can help gamers stream, download content, or even sync files over the Internet while gaming.
How Much Internet Download Speed (Mbps) Do I Need for Online Gaming?
400 Mbps is also excellent for online gaming. Again, 400 Mbps translates to about 50 MB per second.
Actually, even an Internet Speed of around 10-15 Mbps will be enough for most online games out there.
Even fairly recent games like Elder Scrolls Online still only use about 1.3 MB of data per minute at the max.
And the amount of data transferred on a second-to-second basis is usually relatively low.
Latency is generally much more important for online gaming, as long as you can transfer more than one or two MBs per second.
What Is a Good Ping/Latency Number for Gaming?
You shouldn’t have to worry about latency with most internet service providers which use a wired connection.
This includes cable internet and DSL. Latency with most cable internet tends to average out at around 100 milliseconds.
And 100 ms is almost the definition of an acceptable ping time that’s not exceptionally good or bad.
Things will start to get noticeably laggy at the 150 ms range. Likewise, a ping time of 50 ms or less is considered exceptionally good.
Keep in mind too that even the fastest and most responsive Internet connection has physical limitations. The further you are from the server hosting a game the higher your latency will be.
So even Internet service that normally has low latency will see added lag if it’s communicating with a gaming server on the other side of the Earth.
However, most larger online games are able to get around that problem by having multiple servers located in various countries and geographical regions.
This doesn’t necessarily make distance irrelevant. Smaller companies might only have servers in a single region.
Or a local server might be filled to capacity, leaving only the remote servers and their associated latency. But for the most part, distance has gone from a major issue to a relatively minor consideration for most games.