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Gaming internet speeds

What is the best internet for gaming?

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Most games — whether it’s a PC game or console game — rely on an internet connection, whether it’s for playing online or downloading games and updates. Gamers need a reliable and fast internet connection to get the most out of their experience.

While a fast-speed internet plan can help to make your gaming sessions smooth and lag free, there’s often much more to consider than just signing up to a fast internet plan. Some internet providers offer gamer-specific plans or additional services to level up your experience, while fast NBN speed tiers can also deliver a better performance. Read on for what to look out for in a gaming-ready NBN plan.

NBN offers you might like

The following table shows a selection of sponsored unlimited data Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50), and Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Home Standard (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 50 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Home Fast (NBN 100) Plans

The table below shows a selection of published unlimited 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 referral partners.


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What is the best internet for gaming?

There are very few telcos out there specifically offering ‘gamer’ plans, so it may be harder to find good internet for gaming than you think. 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.

Best NBN speeds for gaming

As you would expect, often the best NBN speeds for gaming are the fastest speeds available, as they will typically provide a smoother and speedier performance, which is especially useful for cloud-based gaming. A faster speed can also mean that your gaming session or downloads aren’t interrupted when other people in your household are also online (especially in multi-gamer households).

NBN Co recommends its Home Ultrafast (NBN 1000) speed tier as the best for all your gaming needs, while Home Superfast (NBN 250) will offer a smooth gaming experience. Home Fast speeds (NBN 100) are also good for a consistent gaming experience, even when others are online.

However, those faster speeds are usually only available to homes with certain NBN connection types — usually Fibre to The Premises (FTTP) or selected Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections. Gamers with other NBN connections, especially those in apartments, might be limited to a Home Standard (NBN 50) speed as the fastest speed tier available to them. While you can still game online, you might find downloads are a bit slower and you could experience lag during busy periods, such as evening peak times and when multiple people in your household are online at once.

This is why it’s important to know what NBN connection type you have, so you can find out which NBN plans are available to you.

If you have access to faster NBN speeds at your home, you can compare a range of fast-speed NBN plans in the below tables.

The following tables show a selection of unlimited Home Superfast (NBN 250) plans on Canstar Blue’s database listed in order of standard monthly cost, from 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.

The following tables show a selection of unlimited Home Ultrafast (NBN 1000) plans on Canstar Blue’s database listed in order of standard monthly cost, from 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.

Aussie Broadband plans for gamers

If you’re looking for specific internet for gaming, 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 direct peering 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 to super-fast NBN 250 and NBN 1000.

The following table shows a selection of published Aussie Broadband 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 NBN plans for gamers

Telstra may not have a specific gamer plans but it offers an ‘Internet Optimiser’ feature on its NBN plans at no extra cost. The Internet Optimiser allows you to prioritise your online traffic however you want, such as online gaming and devices to reduce lag and select servers with the lowest ping. You can also see which devices are draining your bandwidth, manage your kids’ online time and much more.

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.

Optus plans for gamers

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. It typically reduces lag by 30% and costs $10 per month on top of an existing Optus NBN plan, although you may be able to access a free trial. This is also only available for PC users with Windows 10 and above, so other gamers miss out.

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.

What to look for in a gaming internet plan

Minimum speeds to Maximize gameplayIt’s tempting to simply find the cheapest NBN plan and hope for the best, but if you’re serious about gaming – or just want the best performance you can get – there is a more to consider. Below are some of the factors that can affect your overall online gaming experience.

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 and online gaming requires this to happen 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: They often route traffic through one city only – however other providers can route traffic through most capital cities.
  • More users: Having 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, so you may want to sign up to a month-to-month internet plan to see what your service is like so you can easily switch if you’re disappointed.

Bandwidth

The ‘6pm slowdown’ is real. Peak times — between 7pm and 11pm — can slow down speeds dramatically, as can having multiple devices connected to WiFi. If your housemate started streaming Netflix while you started 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. While NBN 1000 and NBN 250 may offer the best speed performances, NBN 100 is also more readily available and can be a cheaper option if you’re after fast speeds but without spending too much. Keep in mind that not all homes will be able to sign up to an NBN 100 plan depending on their NBN connection type, so you may have to settle for NBN 50 speeds instead.

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 Australians is 1000Mbps. 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. 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 Series S and the PlayStation 5, rate minimum requirements slightly differently.

  • Xbox Series S recommends a minimum download speed of 3Mbps and a ping rate of less than 150ms.
  • 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 WiFi. 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 WiFi, and so on.

Steam is an online community for downloading games and share content, and regularly ranks Aussie ISPs. These rankings have been updated as of February 2024.

  • Aussie Broadband: 64.5Mbps
  • Belong: 35.5Mbps
  • iiNet: 39.7Mbps
  • Optus: 41.4Mbps
  • Starlink: 60.5Mbps
  • Superloop: 68.5Mbps
  • TPG: 34.9Mbps
  • Telstra: 38.1Mbps
  • Vocus (Dodo & iPrimus): 40.1Mbps
  • Vodafone: 28.8Mbps

Should I get an internet for gaming plan?

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 not just switching into another nightmare. There are a few things that you might want to keep in mind before switching:

  • Cheapest isn’t always best – cheap plans often come on the slower NBN speed tiers, and only a few traffic routes (i.e. through an interstate city instead of your own)
  • Buying a fast enough plan to meet your household needs
  • Ping or latency is more important than outright download speeds
  • Using an Ethernet connection instead of WiFi 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 internet connection.

Emma Bradstock
Telco Specialist
Emma Bradstock has been an authority on consumer phone, internet, technology and streaming markets in Australia for over 5 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media from Macquarie University and has over a decade of professional writing experience in print and digital media.

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