Internet For Gaming: The Best NBN Plans To Help Fix Your Ping

Internet For Gaming: The Best NBN Plans To Help Fix Your Ping
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Everyone wants a fast and reliable internet connection, but nobody needs one as much as gamers do. Having a slow internet connection can make gaming a frustrating activity, especially when certain online titles become essentially unplayable if you’re lagging even a little bit.

While there are a fair few NBN providers and plans to choose from, finding the right internet connection for your gaming needs can be a challenge. You need to factor in your budget, location and even what kind of PC, laptop or console you play on, among other things.

As someone who almost exclusively plays League of Legends, a game that requires a solid internet connection, I wanted to do the research to find out what the best NBN options are for gaming. If you’re looking to lower your lag and get the most out of your internet connection, here’s what you need to know.

The best NBN 1000 plans for gaming

When it comes to getting the fastest internet to lower your latency, NBN 1000 is your best bet. But it does come at a cost. Most NBN 1000 plans will set you back around $100 per month, which is nothing to sneeze at — and that’s mostly during the introductory discount periods offered by most providers.

But if you’re someone who plays online games for hours a day, plays games professionally, or downloads a lot of big games and applications, NBN 1000 is a great choice.

Currently, Superloop has the fastest NBN 1000 plan, with reported typical evening speeds of 750Mbps. Not only that, but the price is pretty good for the speed you’ll be getting. You’ll be paying $99 per month for the first six months you’re with the provider, then $109 per month after the introductory period.

The next fastest plan belongs to Telstra, which is reporting typical evening speeds of 700Mbps. However, at a whopping $170 per month with no introductory period, when it comes to value, you’re better off with Superloop.

If you want to go for the cheapest NBN 1000 option, Southern Phone has an introductory period where you’ll pay $95 per month for the first six months, then $105 per month afterwards. This isn’t a bad deal, especially since Southern Phone is reporting typical evening speeds of 650Mbps.

It is important to note that if you want to upgrade to NBN 1000 from NBN 100 or lower, you’ll need to make sure that your connection can support it. NBN 1000 plans are only available to locations with Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) connections.

The best NBN 250 plans for gaming

If big downloads are less of a concern, NBN 250 is a great — and cheaper — choice when it comes to internet connections for gaming.

There are a few ISPs reporting typical evening speeds of 250Mbps, so let’s get into the price differences between their respective plans.

Currently, Swoop is the cheapest NBN 250 provider that is reporting congestion-free evening speeds of 250Mbps. You’ll be paying $84 per month for the first six months with the code SUMMER35. After the introductory period, the price will revert to a much steeper $119 per month, meaning you’ll definitely want to consider switching providers at this point.

The next cheapest plan is from Southern Phone, which is a great option when it comes to balancing speed and price. The provider is reporting typical evening speeds of 250Mbps and has a great introductory offer that doesn’t go over $100 after the six month period. You’ll pay $85 per month for the first six months, then $95 per month after that.

Tangerine is offering a slightly cheaper introductory price, where you’ll pay $84.90 per month for the first six months, then $104.90 per month afterwards. The only downside with the provider is that it’s reporting typical evening speeds of 245Mbps, so you may experience some congestion during the internet peak hours of 7pm to 11pm.

Like NBN 1000, it’s important to note that NBN 250 has specific connection requirements for you to get the most out of your plan. You’ll need to make sure you have an FTTP or HFC connection.

The best NBN 100 plans for gaming

If you’re in a household with fewer people, and therefore less strain on your internet, NBN 100 is still a great choice if you want a reliable connection for online gaming. While it might still take a little while to download larger games, your latency will only increase by a few milliseconds (more on this later).

When it comes to choosing an NBN 100 plan, almost all of the providers are reporting typical evening speeds of 100Mbps, so, it’s better to compare prices rather than speeds.

Dodo currently has the cheapest NBN 100 plan where you’ll be paying $64 per month for the first six months. After the introductory period ends, you’ll be paying $85 per month.

The next cheapest NBN 100 plan is Tangerine’s. You’ll be paying $64.90 per month during the six-month introductory period, then $84.90 per month for each month afterwards.

If you’re looking for a plan that you can set and forget, Spintel has the cheapest full-price plan. You’ll pay $69 per month for the first six months, and then $79.95 per month after the introductory period ends.

The good thing with NBN 100 is that you don’t need to have an FTTP or HFC connection to be able to get the most out of your chosen plan.

What actually affects ping and latency?

Image: iStock/gorodenkoff

Firstly, ping and latency, while used by gamers as interchangeable terms, aren’t the same thing. Put simply, ping is software that measures the echo reply between your device and a server you’re connected to. Latency is the measurement, in milliseconds, (ms) of how long it takes the echo reply to go back and forth between your device and the server. Your latency is what you see on the screen in some games, and is basically how many ms you’re ‘lagging’ by. For example, when you’re playing an online game, you might see ’10ms’ on your screen.

When it comes to latency, it can be affected by multiple things. While your internet connection is one of them, it’s probably the least significant in terms of actual Mbps, especially for gaming. The biggest factor is actually your physical distance to the server you’re trying to connect to.

For example, the League of Legends OCE server is located in Sydney. So if you live in Sydney, your latency will be lower — sometimes even as low as two or three ms. If you live in Western Australia, on the other hand, your latency will be around 50ms as a default, because of how long it takes your connection to travel across the country.

It’s why us Aussies struggle to play on North American and European servers — the latency is just too high because we’re so far away.

Other factors that affect latency have to do with the stability of your actual internet connection. Whether it’s NBN or not, if more people in your home are using the internet and taking up bandwidth, it means that the connection will spread itself thinner between users, putting more stress on it, and decreasing the speed as a result.

It also depends on the actual cabling and wiring that is used for your internet connection. This is why NBN is better than broadband, because it uses a wired connection, which is a better, and more stable, conductor. The most common NBN connection type is Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) and the closer you are to the node, the better your speeds will be.

Your router and PC hardware can also affect your latency, but I’ll get into that in a moment.

How do different internet speeds affect online gaming?

league of legends mistakes
Image: Fergus Halliday (Supplied)

While the difference between NBN 100, 250 and 1000 in terms of latency is only a few ms, what you really want to keep in mind is how much strain on your internet connection is under. Different NBN speed tiers are better for different households and purposes.

NBN 100

NBN 100 is ideal for households with up to four people. Multiple users should be able to play online games comfortably in this speed tier with some slight congestion.

NBN 250

NBN 250 can support a smooth online gaming experience in a household with more than four people. Even if others are streaming or gaming, lag should be minimal.

NBN 1000

NBN 1000 is ideal for bigger households or people that rely heavily on their internet like streamers, professional gamers, and people that need to download large files often. With NBN 1000, users should experience almost no lag, even when multiple people are streaming, downloading or online gaming.

How can I decrease my latency without switching internet providers?

Image: Epic Games

If you want to improve your gaming experience without switching ISPs (or moving house to be closer to the game server), there are some things you can do to help boost your connection.

Firstly, make sure that your PC hardware is up-to-date. The easiest way to help your PC is by increasing its RAM. If you have less than 16GB of RAM, your online gaming experience will be poorly impacted. For $50 to $250, you can increase your RAM, so it’s a cheap fix that’ll last you a while. It’s also worth doing a check on all your PC parts to make sure they’re still up-to-date in terms of both drivers and relevance.

The other thing you can do to decrease your latency is to plug your device directly into your modem with an Ethernet cable. But if this isn’t possible, investing in a good-quality router is the next best thing. A good router will help boost and stabilise your internet connection because it connects your devices to your network.

In saying that, though, the location of your router and its proximity to your device can affect the signal, and dead zones can be created where the Wi-Fi signal degrades over distances. This is where mesh systems and Wi-Fi extenders can also be helpful in decreasing latency.

Image credit: Disney


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