Game On!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The State of Online Gaming 2020 report found 81 percent of gamers globally were frustrated by slow download speeds. Worldwide, half of expert and professional players ranked this irritation their primary issue, but even the casual gamer knows the blood-boiling feeling of waiting on a game to download.

These frustrations are driving gamers to seek ever-faster and more reliable Internet connections. Increasingly, this leads them to fiber. In a 2020 article, TechPlanet noted among fiber, DSL and cable, fiber speeds were faster as well as fiber Internet services becoming more accessible and more affordable than in the past.

In another article, entitled “The Best Internet for Gaming in 2021,” reported fiber Internet provided the best overall performance for gamers not only in straight-line speeds, but as a fatter “data pipe” offered more bandwidth for both uploading and downloading games.

Interestingly, both publications noted speed and bandwidth alone are not what makes fiber Internet the preferred medium for online gaming. In fact, these are just one slice of the pie and not even the biggest one in creating a smooth gaming experience.

“The dirty secret is this: speed matters in gaming, but not nearly as much as some marketing materials would have you believe,” wrote TechPlanet. “What matters more is how reliable your connection is when it comes to latency, packet loss and jitter.”

For the uninitiated, “latency” is the time it takes for a signal to make a round trip between the player and the Internet service provider (ISP). The lower the latency, the smoother “real time” effect. “Packets” are bundles of data going back and forth; which need to not only move fast, but avoid being lost or corrupted in transit. “Jitter” is changes in latency which can throw packets out of whack causing them to arrive out of order.

In its annual review of the best ISPs for gaming, PC Magazine formulated its Gaming Quality Index which takes all of these components into account, in addition to an Internet speed test. And for the past two years running – including 2020 when the pandemic had gamers on overload – a fiber-to-home provider won by a considerable margin.

When you consider many experts predict cloud-based gaming as a major trend in gaming’s future (where speed not only matters downloading the game, but for gameplay itself) fiber internet such as gig speeds provided by Kinetic, is already the clear winner for gamers.