Is Fixed 4G LTE or Satellite Internet Better for Online Gaming?
By: Stephen Kota
Fixed wireless internet and satellite internet are often the only internet options in rural areas that don’t have access to wired options like cable internet. For gamers, these two types of wireless internet connection provide two very different user experiences. Let’s take a closer look at how fixed wireless internet and satellite internet compare when it comes to online games.
Fixed wireless internet vs. satellite internet speeds
For online gaming, you’ll need a download speed of at least 3 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps. You’ll be able to play virtually all games on fixed wireless internet, even if you live in a rural area with less than optimal coverage. In rural areas, fixed wireless internet has an average download speed of up to 34 Mbps on 600 MHz 5G and 20 Mbps on 4G LTE. 5G has an average upload speed of 14 Mbps and 4G LTE has an average of 16 Mbps.
It’s more complicated when it comes to online gaming on satellite internet. While satellite has a download speed of up to 25 Mbps and an upload speed of up to 3 Mbps, the user experience of online gaming on a satellite connection is often pretty awful due to the connection’s latency, which causes
lags. The latency or “ping” is the time in milliseconds it takes for your local network to connect to the internet host and start exchanging online data.
While mobile data has an average latency of around 35 milliseconds, satellite internet has an average latency of around 600 milliseconds. When your internet connection has a lower latency, it can process incoming online data packets more quickly – which is great for fast paced games like first-person shooters. With a fixed wireless connection, you’ll have fewer lags and buffers.
Fixed wireless internet vs. satellite internet data limits
Because most of a game’s data is included in the initial download, playing online games typically doesn’t use much bandwidth. While data use varies based on factors like the number of players in the game, the frame rate of your connection, and tick rate of the server, online gaming typically uses less than 100 MB of data per hour (or 1 GB every 10 hours).
While there are data plans with enough bandwidth for gaming available for both fixed mobile broadband and satellite internet, satellite networks usually have lower capacities than 5G or 4G LTE networks, so satellite providers control data use more tightly to prevent network congestion. Many satellite internet plans have complicated “fair use” policies that throttle your internet speeds after you use just 15 GB or 30 GB of data.
Get fixed wireless internet for your rural home
Because of its lower latency, fixed wireless internet is a better option than satellite internet for online gaming in rural areas that don’t have access to wired internet connections. Find out more about 5G and 4G LTE options in your area by starting a chat or giving us a call at (866) 439-6630.