Best Broadband Plans to Keep Up with your Gaming Needs

Hardcore gaming requires hardcore broadband. Canstar Blue explores the best in super-grunty gaming broadband.

If you’re serious about online gaming, you’ll need a broadband plan that provides for a stable, speedy and ultimately smooth-flowing experience. These days there are fibre plans aplenty to sift through. However it’s important to pay attention to a plan’s details when determining the best fit for your gaming needs.

From data caps to download/upload speeds and latency, there are a number of factors to consider when weighing up the pros and cons of different plans. With this in mind, it’s important to gain an understanding of what’s required to allow free-flowing gaming, and to ensure you’ve all the right components in place.

Below we take a look at some of the key plan features that contribute to a great gaming experience, the importance of maintaining an efficient home network set-up, plus a round-up of plans geared for speed.

Free-flowing gaming: Features to keep in mind

Fibre should be your first-choice broadband technology for gaming, as it delivers high-speed data transfers and lower latency compared to older ADSL/VDSL and fixed wireless connections. The good news is that 85% of Kiwis can now access UFB , and the range of fibre plans on offer is continuing to evolve.

When it comes to weighing up broadband providers, the following are some of the key features to keep in mind:

Data caps

The data requirements for online gaming can quickly add up, so you’ll need to ensure that you have an ample allowance to draw on. This is particularly relevant if you’re frequently downloading new titles. New PC and console releases have steadily grown in size in recent years. Many new games clock in at well over 50GB, while some titles top 100GB.

In addition, keep in mind that regularly released game patches and software updates, along with extra downloadable content, can also prove a drain on a data cap. And the more games you’re playing, the more data you’ll require.

Meanwhile, when it comes to online gaming, data requirements vary from one title to the next. However they are comparatively light compared to other common online activities, such as video streaming, ranging from around 20MB/h up to 300MB/h.

In all, if you’re an active gamer, data caps are generally not recommended. This means choosing an unlimited data plan.

PC Gaming Keyboard

Download/upload speeds

Faster connections will underpin an unhindered gaming experience. So it’s particularly important to consider the speed on offer from broadband providers in the context of your collective household requirements.

For instance, if multiple devices are simultaneously accessing the internet – from mobile browsing, to video calling, to smart TV video streaming – you’ll need to ensure your plan has the capacity to cater for these services, in addition to your gaming activities.

With this in mind, it’s worthwhile planning for periods of peak usage. Using a tool such as a bandwidth calculator can provide insight into the sort of plan speeds you should be looking at.

As a guide, when it comes to the speeds need for gaming, Microsoft recommends minimum download/upload speeds of 3/0.5Mbps.

Catering for households’ cumulative speed requirements, there are a range of fibre plans offering 100/20Mbps (download/upload). For many households, these are a pretty good starting point.

Latency

Latency (often used interchangeably with the term ping) is a critical consideration for gamers. This is the measure of the responsiveness of a network, often expressed as the time between initiating a network request and receiving a response.

A ping test is undertaken to determine latency, which is measured in milliseconds, with the lower the number the better (lower latency supports smoother gameplay). As a minimum, gaming requires a ping of less than 150ms.

Many of the causes of latency will be outside of your control. However, it’s important to configure your home network for speed, complementing your broadband plan.

Broadband providers do not typically advertise latency speeds, so it’s worthwhile getting in touch with providers directly with regard to any queries you may have. It’s also worthwhile researching user reviews online with regard to first-hand experiences with different providers in your area.

In addition, it’s important to note that higher speed plans will not automatically deliver lower latency (speed and latency are not related in this sense). However fibre connections do have the capacity to provide a more responsive experience.

Home network: maintaining a fast and reliable connection

It is worthwhile stressing that – in addition to choosing a broadband plan capable of catering for your gaming needs – you’ll need to maintain a home network set-up that paves the way for a fast and reliable connection.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider how the following will complement your broadband plan of choice:

  • Router – a high-speed plan is all well and good, however if your router can’t handle the pace broadband bottlenecks could mar your experience. For hardcore gamers, a gaming router, optimised to deal with network demands, could be a good option
  • Household network set-up – an efficient and effective network built around your router, encompassing the range of devices seeking to connect, will facilitate fast internet. A wired ethernet connection for your PC or console should be a priority
  • Cumulative broadband requirements – beyond gaming, what else will your household be using the internet for? If different devices are competing for limited bandwidth, your overall broadband experience will suffer

→ Related article: How to Achieve A Lightning Fast Home Broadband Network

Geared for speed: Gaming plans

The following is a selection of broadband plans with the potential to support your gaming needs. The emphasis is on speed (catering for your household’s collective requirements), while unlimited data paves the way for worry-free downloading of new titles, patches and updates.

Keep in mind features such as contract length and customer support, along with any other deals or incentives on offer (such as bundle deals or sign-up bonuses).

MyRepublic

MyRepublic offers a number of plans specifically tailored for gamers, with its Discord gamer support service comprising a specialist support team, which has an “expanded support scope for gamers”.

Its Gamer plans additionally come with a static IP address, allowing customers to host games and set up port forwarding rules for their favourite games. MyRepublic also states that customers will periodically receive special access to deals, events and exclusive gaming offers from its partners.

The following plans are for a 12-month contract period. MyRepublic also offers a selection of month-to-month plans.

Fast fibre

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Gamer Fibre 100 Unlimited 100/20 $95

Next level

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Gamer Fibre Pro Unlimited 950/500 $105

Hyperfibre

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Gamer Fibre 2000 Unlimited 2000/2000 $169
Gamer Fibre 4000 Unlimited 4000/4000 $199

 

Orcon

Orcon maintains a range of fibre and hyperfibre plans. Its 4G back-up offer (available in conjunction with its fibre plans) includes a modem with an inbuilt mobile connection, designed to keep customers online should there be any issues with the wired connection.

Priced at $15 per month (on top of the selected fibre plan), 4G back-up provides customers 1GB of 4G data per month (which rolls over to the next month for up to 12 months, allowing for up to 12GB to be accumulated). It’s also possible to purchase additional data.

A 12-month contract period applies for the following plans. A static IP address can be added for $10 per month, and it’s also possible to bundle a mobile plan.

Fast fibre

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Fibre Unlimited 100/20 $89.95

Next level

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Fibre Pro Unlimited 950/450 $99.95

Hyperfibre

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Hyperfibre 4 Unlimited 4,000/4,000 $184.95
Hyperfibre 8 Unlimited 8000/8000 8000/8000

 

Bigpipe

Bigpipe exclusively offers broadband plans, and has a number of fibre offerings. Customers have the choice of a 12-month contract or a monthly contract for the same price. However customers on a 12-month contract receive a free Bigpipe Smart Modem, worth $199. A one-off payment of $45 is required for a static IP address.

Fast fibre

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Expert Unlimited 100/100 $89

Next level

Plan Monthly data Download/upload (Mbps) Cost (per month)*
Pro Unlimited 200/20 $99
Elite Unlimited 700-900/400-500 $109

*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.


Compare broadband with Canstar Blue

If you’re after the best gaming broadband, it pays to look at your options. Different providers not only have a variety of plans and pricing on offer, but the coverage and type of broadband on offer can vary too.

To help you get a clearer picture of broadband providers in NZ, Canstar Blue rates all the big providers annually. We survey thousands of broadband customers and ask them to score their providers across categories including Value for Money, Network Performance and Customer Service.

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ internet providers compares NOW, 2degrees, Bigpipe, Contact, MyRepublic, Nova Energy, Orcon, Slingshot, Spark, Stuff Fibre, Trustpower and Vodafone, and awards the best our 5 Star rating:

See Our Ratings Methodology

The table above is an abridged version of our full research, so to find out more about NZ’s best broadband providers, just click on the big button at the bottom of this story.

Compare broadband providers for free with Canstar!


About the author of this page

 Martin KovacsThis report was written by Canstar author Martin Kovacs. Martin is a freelance writer with experience covering the business, consumer technology and utilities sectors. Martin has written about a wide range of topics across both print and digital publications, including the manner in which industry continues to adapt and evolve amid the rollout of new technologies


Enjoy reading this article?

You can like us on Facebook and get social, or sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox.

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy

Share this article