Gamers have some very special needs when it comes to broadband, and serving their needs can be a real serious challenge. The best broadband for gamers will largely depend on what kind of gamer they are, how often they game, how demanding their game or games tend(s) to be, and so on. Here is what you need to consider if you are looking for the best broadband for the gamer in your life:
Gaming Alone or With Others?
Are you the kind of person that like to game online with friends or alone? If you are the latter, then perhaps the only thing that you need a broadband connection for is the ability to download and apply patches to your game files. There are so many online stores and vendors selling their games direct to the public that anyone with a broadband connection is likely to be treated to a real feast of digital entertainment regardless of how fast their connection is. A faster connection may be nice, but our suggestion is that unless the user(s) does nothing but game, a modest or even low-end connection would be the best broadband solution as it takes a few hours to a day perhaps to download the latest game, but it takes a few weeks or longer to beat that game.
Online games have other concerns, however…
What Are the Games Being Played?
Some games have very well-known bandwidth requirements for playing and a different set for hosting. If you are playing a game that can be hosted, you want to be sure that you check into the upstream performance and reliability of that upstream. This is primarily due to the fact that the data will need to go out to numerous people (other players) via the upstream. Pair this fact with the general truth that upstream performance tends to be far lower than downstream performance, and you can see what you might view a 10 Mbps / 512 Kbps plan far differently than a synchronous 2 Mbps plan. In the second case, the upstream is 4 times as fast but it is equal to a much lower downstream, but the overall hosting experience is likely to be far better.
Different games have different levels of demand on ping times (latency), downstream, and upstream. Be sure to do a little reading on each game, or at least the genre to see where those needs are at any given moment.
Free or Free-ish Modem?
One factor that will always be a concern is the modem! There are many modems on the market for almost any kind of broadband connection, but finding a modem that will meet all of your expectations may require some shopping. If you need support for that modem you may be limiting your choices of broadband carriers, but some broadband carriers are starting to sell support packages for third party hardware. Either way, third party modems will generally be more expensive than the rentals or subsidized devices on offer from local broadband carriers.
Best Broadband Internet Hardware Support or Out of Luck?
One consideration that is often overlooked, yet very critical for gamers is the kind of support that they get. Nobody likes to be patching World of Warcraft or some other game and wonder why their blazing fast connection is creeping along at a slow pace. Is it the connection? Maybe it is the router? Is it because it is patch day? ARGH!! There are so many questions and troubleshooting something that worked fine yesterday starts to sound like a great idea, even then you know it is probably stupid to assume that this is anything but clogged up patch servers.
Still, it is nice to know that you may have someone to fall back on. If you get a modem or modem router combo from your carrier, you can be assured that it and the network are likely to be eligible for free troubleshooting. Of course, we did mentioned that there are a number of carriers that will now offer superior support packages that troubleshoot just about everything and anything under the sun! This alone could make or break a carrier depending on their gamer and how being out of a game they desperately want into impacts their sanity and logic!
The best broadband plans are worthless if they cost a bundle. You always need to be mindful of buying too much or too little when shopping for broadband as they are both innately wasteful.