What is the best internet for gaming?

So you’ve picked up the hottest new gaming console, or you’ve moved to a new place, and you’re wondering what the internet will be like for gaming. But before you jump into the cheapest broadband plan available, it can pay to do your research.

If you’re playing online, you’ll need a good speed, low latency and a reliable connection. Plus, downloading and installing the hottest new game can be a gigabyte-heavy process, and updates can often be in the 40GB territory!

The right speed tier and a hefty data allowance is important – however, it’s more than just a fast connection that can make or break a gaming experience. Read on for what to look out for in a gaming-ready NBN plan.

Internet for gaming at a glance

There’s so many NBN providers to choose from, which makes finding the best plan for a gamer difficult. However, as long as you know what you’re looking for, it should be relatively easy. Speed should be on your mind if you’re a gamer, but cost and inclusions can also be important. See below for a selection of plans that, although not all optimised for gaming, are perfectly capable of satisfying the internet needs of all types of gamers.

Gaming-ready NBN plans compared

The following table shows a selection of published gaming-ready NBN plans from Telstra and Aussie Broadband on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Cheap NBN plans compared

Not every gamer needs the fastest internet, and some people like it cheaper. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 25 and NBN 50 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN 100 plans compared

If you’d like your gaming experience to have a little extra kick, these plans will do the job. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 100 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN 250 & NBN 1000 plans compared

If you want an NBN plan with some serious power, an Ultra fast NBN plan is for you – albeit more expensive. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast 250/25

  • Superfast 250/25 Speed (NBN 250)
  • BYO modem
  • Special offer: $99.95 for the first six months, then $119.95 ongoing

min. cost $119.95 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Kogan Logo

Platinum Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront
  • Special offer: $116.90 per month for the first 6 months, then $128.90 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $128.90 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $128.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: $99 for the first six months, then $129 ongoing

min. cost $129 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Ultrafast 1000/50

  • Ultrafast 1000/50 Evening Speed (NBN 1000)
  • BYO modem
  • Special offer: $119.95 for the first six months, then $139.95 ongoing

min. cost $139.95 over one month

3TBMax Data**/billing period $139.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard.
  • Special offer: $165 per month for the first 12 months, then $140 per month ongoing. Terms apply. Ends 25/10/21.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Kogan Logo

Diamond Unlimited

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront
  • Special offer: $134.90 per month for the first 6 months, then $148.90 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $148.90 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $148.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power House

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: $119 for the first six months, then $149 ongoing

min. cost $149 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Ultrafast NBN

  • Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Typical evening speed: 250Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard.
  • Special offer: $165 per month for the first six months, then $180 per month ongoing. Terms apply. Ends 25/10/21.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $4,419 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Internet for gaming – which broadband plan do I need?

There are very few telcos out there specifically offering ‘gamer’ plans, so a good bet is to go with a known provider. Aside from asking fellow gamers how they rate their current telco, going with a bigger provider – or one that promises enough bandwidth for everyone – could be a good way to go.

NBN plans for gamers

Aussie Broadband plans for gamers

One of the providers tailoring its plans to the gamer demographic is Aussie Broadband. The telco has optimised its NBN services to offer faster gaming with lower latency, and provides real-time data to customers such as CVC capacity and ping times. Aussie Broadband offers international transit links to major gaming regions such as the US, as well as direct domestic links to Twitch and Steam for fast connections and overall increased reliability.

Aussie Broadband offers a range of plans from NBN 12 and up, including several super-fast options with potential speeds of up to 250Mbps or 1000Mbps. Extra-fast NBN is available by building a custom Aussie Broadband plan, but doesn’t come cheap – prices begin at $129 per month for unlimited data on the 250Mbps speed tier, and can max out at $149 for unlimited NBN 1000. These plans also aren’t available to all customers – you’ll need a Fibre to The Premises (FTTP) or selected Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection to qualify.

If you’re instead interested in a Standard Plus (NBN 50) or Premium (NBN 100/20 or NBN 100/40) plan from Aussie Broadband, we’ve listed several options below. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Aussie Broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

If you’re interested in getting a little extra kick out of your NBN plan, you can still sign up for NBN 250 or NBN 1000. You can find these plans below.

Aussie Broadband Unlimited Superfast (NBN 250) and Ultrafast (NBN 1000) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Aussie Broadband NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $129 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power House

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $149 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Telstra NBN plans for gamers

If you’re a gamer and have the money to spend, Telstra’s NBN plans might be worth considering. Telstra is one of Australia’s fastest telcos, offering NBN 25, 50 and NBN 100, at typical evening speeds of 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively. On top of this, Telstra has released a tool called the ‘Game Optimiser‘, intended to improve your gaming performance at the network level. The tool has been in beta for some time now to a select few customers.

The Game Optimiser is a tool for your PC, that prioritises gaming traffic on your local internet connection and assigns you the best online servers when gaming, effectively giving you an upper hand when playing. This costs $10 extra per month, and could be worth it for a better gaming experience.

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Telstra also offers NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, which are currently the fastest speed tiers the NBN has to offer to residential customers. You can find these in the table below.

Telstra Superfast & Ultrafast NBN Plans

The following table shows a selection of Telstra NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Ultrafast NBN

  • Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Typical evening speed: 250Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $4,419 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus plans for gamers

Update 6/8/21: Optus’ Internet Gamer plans are currently unavailable. However, customers can still sign up for a standard Optus NBN plan, and add Game Path for $10 per month.

Customers after a decent connection for gaming might be satisfied with what Optus has to offer. Optus offers a service called Game Path, which enhances online gameplay by routing your traffic through ideal servers. Optus says this tool can reduce lag by 30%. This tool is an additional $10 per month on top of an existing Optus NBN plan.

Optus has also introduced a NBN plan for gamers, the Internet Gamer plan, available with NBN 50 speeds for $79 per month or upgrade to NBN 100 speeds for an additional $20 per month. These plans include unlimited data and a range of features to improve your at home gaming experience, including an ASUS DSL-AX5400 gaming modem. As for other plans, Optus offers NBN 50 and NBN 100 speeds, which you can find in the table below, and you can add-on extras such as Fetch TV and home phone, or the Game Path tool.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Optus plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

MyRepublic plans for gamers

MyRepublic is another provider to offer plans specifically tailored to gaming. The telco’s ‘Gamer Pro’ plans come with a static IP address, an optimised gaming network, and speeds on the top-tier of the NBN (NBN 100, or Premium Evening Speed – across both the NBN 100/20 and 100/40 speeds – and more recently, NBN 250 and NBN 1000). You also have the option to bundle a Gamer Pro Add On with MyRepublic’s NBN 50 plans, for an additional $10 per month. While NBN 100 and NBN 250 will give you access to faster internet speeds, the NBN Co website does state that NBN 50 is an adequate speed for online gaming.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited MyRepublic plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

What to look for in a gaming internet plan

Minimum speeds to Maximize gameplayIt’s tempting to simply find the cheapest plan and hope for the best, but if you’re serious about gaming – or just don’t like lag – there is a bit more homework you’ll need to do. Below are some of the factors that can affect your overall online gaming experience.

There are quite a few things to look out for in an internet plan to help ensure it is suitable for gaming. Things that can impact your gaming experience include:

  • Low latency or ‘ping’ times
  • Bandwidth
  • Typical evening speed 
  • The distance from your home to an exchange (if on an ADSL connection)
  • Your console’s speed requirements.

We’ve broken down these factors in more detail below.

Low latency or ‘ping’ times

At the end of the day, the internet is basically sending packets of data from the end user to the server and back again. The thing is online gaming requires this to happen really fast – faster than your everyday internet user may need. In gaming this could be the difference between winning and losing! Things that affect ping time are:

  • Your distance to the server: Your home may be in Brisbane, but your internet provider may route traffic through Sydney, for example. This may result in a slower ping time, and it will take longer for your online gaming movements to register on-screen (i.e. lag).
  • Cheaper providers often route traffic through one city only – however many other providers can route traffic through most capital cities.
  • More users on the one connection can also dramatically worsen ping scores.

A better ping score is more important than broadband speed. Ping scores are highly variable, and as such are not as readily advertised by providers. Unfortunately, you can’t really know if you have a good or poor ping score before you sign up to an internet plan.

Bandwidth

The ‘6pm slowdown’ is real. Peak times – between 7pm and 11pm – can slow down speeds dramatically, as can having multiple devices connected to Wi-Fi. If your housemate started streaming Netflix while gaming and your experience lowers in quality, two people sharing the connection may be the issue.

Buying the fastest plan you can afford, however, can ensure there’s enough bandwidth to go around for everyone. Bandwidth literally refers to having enough ‘pipe’ or space for your internet speed requirements. You may have a fast ping, but if there’s not enough bandwidth there’s not enough ‘pipe’ to send those packets of data.

Larger households, where multiple devices are often used at once, will likely need a faster NBN connection. Below are some top-tier NBN 100 plans that will ensure there’s enough bandwidth to go around.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Advertised speeds vs typical evening speeds

The fastest NBN download speed available to most Australians is 100Mbps. However, between the hours of 7pm and 11pm, speeds can slow dramatically. Speed is not as important as ping, but if you need to do some hefty game downloads, peak times may not be the ideal time to do so.

Peak slowdown has been so drastic that the ACCC has even stipulated that some internet providers must compensate customers for advertising speeds that were simply not achieved. In addition, the ACCC has recommended that providers now list ‘typical evening speeds’ for their various NBN plans: this refers to the speeds that you’ll probably experience in peak busy times, between the hours of 7pm and 11pm.

Typical evening speeds are a much better indicator of how fast your plan will actually be than simply ‘NBN 50’, ‘NBN 100’ etc., as these names only refer to the maximum speeds available on each tier in megabits per second. Your plan may be theoretically capable of 100Mbps speeds, but realistically you’re unlikely to experience those speeds yourself.

A plan’s typical evening speed is calculated by each individual provider, based on average speeds achieved by customers during peak hours. Below is a comparison of some of the top providers’ typical evening speeds on Premium (NBN 100) plans:

NBN Provider Typical Evening Speed for NBN 100
Aussie Broadband 99Mbps
Vodafone 90Mbps
iiNet 90Mbps
MyRepublic 93Mbps
Telstra 100Mbps
Belong 80Mbps
Optus 100Mbps
Internode 90Mbps
TPG 90Mbps
Exetel 95Mbps

Source: Respective retailers, June 2021

While a lower evening speed should not necessarily scare you off, it could be a good indicator of how congested each provider gets during peak times.

Distance from the exchange

The Node in FTTN

This may more specifically apply to ADSL customers, but the distance from your internet exchange to your home may affect your end broadband speed. This is because of the cabling required to go to your home.

Distances within 1km of the exchange can achieve up to the full 24Mbps speed specification. However, there is a sharp drop-off with connections more than 3km away, and residences 5km away or more tend to achieve a maximum speed of just 2-3Mbps.

Luckily, many suburban internet exchanges are quite close together, and cast a net of less than 5km. While it’s hardly advisable to move house just to be closer to an exchange, it is something to research and consider when moving or buying a new home.

Your console’s speed requirements

The two major online gaming consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, rate minimum requirements slightly differently.

  • Xbox One recommends a minimum download speed of 3Mbps and a maximum ping rate of 150ms for Xbox Live gaming.
  • While PlayStation does not specify any minimums, it is reported that the minimum speeds are 5Mbps and 100ms ping.

Both companies recommend connecting via Ethernet cable, as opposed to Wi-Fi. In any case, these speed minimums should be quite easily achievable, but the ping scores can be blown out of the water by shared bandwidth, peak times, using Wi-Fi, and so on. As mentioned earlier, a good ping score is more vital than a good download speed for playing online.

Steam is an online community for downloading games and share content, and regularly ranks Aussie ISPs. The top ranked for the week of September 6, 2021 can be found below:

  • Aussie Broadband: 56.4Mbps
  • Optus: 37.1Mbps
  • iiNet: 36.8Mbps
  • TPG Internet: 35.8Mbps
  • Vocus Communications: 34.3Mbps
  • iPrimus: 31.5Mbps
  • Dodo: 30.2Mbps
  • Belong: 30Mbps
  • Telstra: 29.8Mbps
  • Vodafone: 26.6Mbps

Shop Online with Xbox^

Should I get an internet plan for gaming online?

More than speed matters

If you’re unhappy with your current online gaming situation and your internet provider, it may be time to think about switching. However, you need to do a bit of homework to make sure you’re just switching into another nightmare. There are a few points you’ll need to consider:

  • Cheapest isn’t always best – cheap plans often come with low data caps, slow NBN speed tiers, and only a few traffic routes (i.e. through an interstate city instead of your own).
  • Buying a fast enough plan for household needs can mean the difference between happiness and a headache.
  • Ping or latency is more important than outright download speeds.
  • Using an Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi can help improve speed and connection.

While it doesn’t seem like there’s much you can do about slow internet speeds, there are in fact a few steps you can take to make sure you’re getting what you need from your NBN or ADSL connection.

While simply changing providers won’t change everything, it could mean the difference between killing that guy on Call of Duty, or missing him completely.

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