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How to choose the fastest, most reliable internet for gaming

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Whether you game on a console, PC or mobile device, having the right internet is essential to keep up with your video gaming needs. Nothing is more frustrating than experiencing lag — a time delay between a player’s action and a game’s reaction — in the middle of a game, or even worse, having your Wi-Fi cut out right before you and your team are about to pull off a big win.

We’ve got a few tips to help you pick the best internet for you, and as an added perk, we’re sharing a new deal from AT&T to help you save on hyper-fast internet. Getting a reliable connection you need to enjoy your games doesn’t have to break the bank.

[Related: Check out AT&T's holiday gift guide with great ideas for everyone on your list]

When it comes to the best internet for gaming, here are three factors to consider:

Bandwidth

Having an internet connection with enough bandwidth for your gaming needs helps prevent lag when you play. Bandwidth measures how many megabits of information you can upload or download in one second, which is abbreviated as Mbps.

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Although most video game consoles only require a minimum upload speed of 3-5Mbps, meeting the minimum will give you just enough bandwidth to get your game online but won’t provide an optimal experience. Overburdening bandwidth with multiple connected devices on a network can affect gaming quality. Players may experience slowness or even a game failure if bandwidth can’t meet the demand. When choosing internet service, consider how much bandwidth you’ll need for other users in your household and other devices you may have connected to the internet, like phones, TVs and smart devices.

[Related: How to speed up your home internet]

For casual gamers, 300Mbps speed should be enough to keep your games running smoothly even if someone else in your home is streaming or browsing. If you’re more serious about your gaming experience and want to take things to the next level, consider choosing an internet plan with 500Mbps speed or more.

Latency

Latency is the response time — measured in milliseconds (ms) — it takes your network to send and receive information from your devices. A low latency will keep your game responsive as you play. If your network has high latency, you may experience rubber banding, which causes your character to snap backward as you try to run toward a location in the game. You may also see stuttering, in which case your character gets stuck in place for a few seconds when you try to move them forward.

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Latency of about 100ms will keep your game running smoothly, but you should try to keep that number under 20ms for your best gaming experience. Fiber internet typically has the lowest rates of latency, followed by cable and DSL internet.

Pricing

You’ll want to keep your internet service pricing low enough to have enough money left over in your budget for your favorite games and gaming accessories. If you purchase internet service through your wireless provider, you may be able to get additional discounts. Bundled packages can also help you save money while getting the internet plan you need to support your gaming sessions.

Unlock the Ultimate Gaming Bundle with AT&T Fiber®​

With the AT&T Fiber® Ultimate Gaming Bundle, you can get a Logitech G CLOUD Gaming Handheld device, six months of NVIDIA GeForce NOW Ultimate membership and a reward card up to $150 when you order online. Plus, you can get a $50 gift card to a gaming store or platform of your choice, including GameStop, Twitch and the Nintendo eShop. The NVIDIA GeForce Now Ultimate Membership gives you access to over 100 Free-to-Play titles that you can play over your wireless network. You’ll be eligible for an additional $100 reward card with a 300M or 500M plan, or a $150 reward card with a plan of 1GIG or higher. Use code HOLIDAYGAMING at online checkout to redeem this offer.

Disclaimer: Device offer and $50 gift card available with purchase of 500Mbps or higher only. Separate redemptions req’d for card offers. AT&T Fiber: Limited availability in select areas.

The information included within this article is AT&T-sponsored content written by Jillian Mueller, a Currently Media editorial contributor. The statements in this article do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of AT&T.