Planning on doing a lot of online gaming over Christmas?

You’ll need to make sure your broadband is up to scratch…

Maeve McLaughlin
by Maeve McLaughlin on 15th December, 2016

Christmas is nearly here, and many of us will be taking advantage of the time off to chill out and watch plenty of TV or play games online.

If you’re looking forward to the latter, the below tips will help you to pick the best broadband plan for your needs…

Latency and broadband speeds

Latency is how long it takes your games console or computer to reach the game server. The lower the latency, the quicker you’ll reach the server, which means you can respond and react to the game at the right time.

Although many online games don’t necessarily require you to have fast download and upload speeds, if you want to have a good gaming experience online, you’ll want high speeds, as this will lower your latency.

As such, super-fast broadband - if it’s available in your area - will probably be the best bet.

You can check your broadband speed for free using our speed test tool and, if you find it is not up to scratch, our top tips on improving your broadband speed should help.

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Download limits

When you’re choosing a package, you’ll want to avoid any that have a cap on downloads, as it’s possible you’ll need to download a large amount of data - either to update games or download new ones.

Many broadband providers now offer unlimited broadband, so you can download as much as you want and your bill will remain the same.

If you don’t have unlimited broadband, make sure you set up an alert for when you come close to your download limit and monitor it accordingly.

If you don’t keep an eye on this, you could end up going above your limit, and you’ll be charged extra by your provider, which is never good.

Other things to consider

The quality of your modem will also affect the performance of your broadband, and could have a big impact on your gaming, especially if you’re connected via wireless.

If you have an older modem, contact your provider to see if they can replace it with a newer version.

Before signing up to a deal, make sure you research internet service providers thoroughly to ensure the service is reliable where you live and the modem will be sufficient for your needs.

You could also ask the provider to give you some information on the contention ratio, which indicates the number of users sharing the same connection. The lower the contention ratio, the better.

For more information - including what to avoid - take a look at our dedicated guide to broadband for online gaming.

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