As technology improves and expands, the options for choosing an ISP grow every year. Dial-Up used to be the main choice, but now customers can select from Cable, Satellite, DSL and fiber optics, offered from a variety of companies.
While most people shopping for an ISP will consider a variety of factors like customer service, cost and availability; online gamers are primarily concerned with speed and downtime: The two critical factors for a good gaming experience whether using Xbox, Wii, or PlayStation. Lets take a look at the different ISPs to see which one is the best for online gaming.
The single most important element for a good gaming experience is download speed. Upload speed only matters when you are hosting a game. This means you dont want to stream Netflix, Hulu or any other data heavy programs while playing.
Also, don't share the connection with anyone else who might interfereby sucking up bandwidth. As any experienced player knows, the major frustration in an online game is lag. Youve probably played someone with a bad connection, and heard cries of LAG!; or witnessed a competitor continually walking into a wall, because the frame rate has slowed or stalled. Most games will show your connection status so you know how good the connection to the server is.
- Since speed is the biggest factor, you can immediately rule out Dial-Up providers. As the slowest connection around, you wont be able to do any serious gaming on a connection like that.
- The next option is DSL, but its only good if you are physically close to the provider and have a decent package. The signal for DSL is sent through the copper phone line, and quality decreases over distance. So if you happen to be too far from the signals source, you could experience intermittent dropouts.
- Next up is Cable, which is faster than DSL. While it is generally fast enough, the signal is frequently shared with other people in your area, which means the speed can decrease or be throttled by the provider during peak use. Overall, Cable is the second best optionbecause it provides better speed than DSL or Dial-Up.
- The best solution is a fiber optics connection, and the current frontrunner for optical network technology is Verizon FiOS, which consistently wins PC Magazine readers choice awards, speed tests among ISPs and is consistently reliable. FiOS can get up to 20 Mbps in download speed and 5 Mbps in upload speed, which are the fastest speeds available to residential consumers.
SEE ALSO: History Of Online Gaming Explained
Testing Your ISP
To see how fast your current ISP is, you can test it at websites like this one. Cox and Comcast are also good choices for Cable if a fiber optics connection is not available in your area, as they can reach adequate speeds for gamers.