The Best Internet Plans & Speeds For Online Gamers

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Slow Internet Speeds Leaving You Rekt?

When it comes to your Online Gaming experience, your internet connection will either be your saving grace, or the bane of your existence. But, internet speeds aren’t just the only factor that will have an impact on your gaming experience. The ping rate (aka, lag) is also an important factor that could have a negative impact on your gaming.

Whether you’re a PC or console gamer, there are some minimum speed requirements that should give you an optimal online gaming experience. As long as your internet plan has a download speed of at least 3 Mbps, and upload speed of 1 Mbps, and a ping rate that’s under 150 milliseconds (MS), you should be covered for most online games.

Speed Requirements by Game System

Game System Min. Download Speed Min. Upload Speed Max. Ping Rate
Xbox One 3 Mbps 0.5 Mbps ≤ 150 Milliseconds
Nintendo Switch 3 Mbps 1 Mbps ≤ 150 Milliseconds
PlayStation 4 3 Mbps 1 Mbps ≤ 150 Milliseconds
PC/Mac 3-6 Mbps 0.75-1 Mbps 100-150 Milliseconds

Download speeds are important to online gaming, especially when it comes to moving data. If your download speed is lower than the recommended speed, in-game textures might load slowly, and the game may not perform as well as it should.

Latency, often referred to as ‘lag’ or ‘ping’ is the biggest factor in whether your online gaming experience will be good or not. Latency refers to the delay between the action in the game and its display on the screen. Bad latency can make multiplayer games almost unplayable, this can lead to many frustrations at the very least, and maybe some broken controllers at the very worst.

If you’re playing against players with lower latency, you’ll notice that they somehow always get their shots off first, even though you shot before them. Latency is the bane of every online gamer’s existence and for fast-paced fighting games or shooters, you’ll want as little of lag as possible.

Improving Internet Speed

You can take these small steps to help improve your connection overall and help give yourself a little edge when online gaming.

  1. Use a wired connection: Use an ethernet cord to connect your game system directly to the router. This isn’t as convenient as wi-fi connections, but wired connections will give you faster speeds.
  2. Close out apps that use a lot of bandwidth: Some apps and computer programs use a ton of bandwidth such as streaming, and messaging apps. Closing them out will ease the amount of bandwidth that you use when gaming and dedicate most of the data to getting a better K-D ratio.
  3. Disconnect other devices that may be connected to your internet: If you’re playing through wi-fi, disconnect your phone or laptop from your wi-fi router. Having multiple devices connected to your router may be adding additional latency to your gaming experience.

Own The Twitch World

Twitch has taken over the online gaming world, and it’s seamless integration into popular games like Fortnite has helped increase Twitch’s popularity. Twitch allows online gamers to livestream their gaming sessions for fans and spectators to watch. For those looking to stream their online gaming sessions, you’ll need a much higher internet speed to handle the additional workload.

Wired connections are a necessity for gamers looking to livestream their games. You’ll also need a minimum upload speed of around 4 Mbps to get a 720p HD stream.

The Big Picture

Internet speeds and latency can all negatively affect your online gaming experience or they can give you a competitive edge. If you’re looking for an internet package that will take your gaming experience to the next level, search available plans in your zip code today and check out our recommended plans for gaming!


Strategy and Spectrum

Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well. They have a strategy in place for growth, even if there are a few major obstacles.

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Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well, all things considered.

True, the State of New York is waffling on whether to allow the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner to stand. And they’re also working to oust the cable provider from the state itself.

This comes after the state’s Public Service Commission declared that Charter was moving too slowly in fulfilling its promises.

As a result, they slapped the ISP (internet service provider) with a hefty fine and declared they had thirty days to move out of the state. While this may seem extreme, Charter is still in New York as the wheels of politics are slow at best. On August 21st, 2018, it was declared they had a two-week extension. No new news has surfaced after that.

As the dispute drags out, frustrating Spectrum customers, the company itself, and still raising questions over the Time Warner-Charter Communications merger, we can look to an odd source for guidance in this situation.

The game of Risk.

World Domination in Two Dimensions

Risk is a classic board game that allows players to attempt to take over the world. The first edition of the game was your basic map of the world. Most of the countries and nations were simplified into general territories. Each continent was turned into its own entity and there were set paths for entrance.

The goal was simple- control as much of the board as possible. Take out your “friends,” and make sure your armies were everywhere.

Risk has taken on many different versions over the years.

Variations

The ones that I’m most fond of are the Lord of the Rings, Halo, and Legacy editions. These take the basic concept of Risk and apply it to a new map with a few exclusive perks.

For example; Risk: Legacy had some of the oddest armies involved, such as the Enclave of the Bear. This army of genetically altered humans looked the Doth Raki from Game of Thrones. But they came with a unique bonus. More than that, bonuses could be added during each game.

Every time you played Risk: Legacy, the board changed. It would remain that way for the next game and change some more.

One principle remained in all versions of the game- dice rolling.

For each attack, the attacking player got up to three dice. This is where it got tricky for me- if I had more than three armies, I got three die. Two armies= two dice, and one army= one die. In the heat of trying to take a country, I usually forgot this and just kept throwing dice.

The defender, if that person had two armies, got two dice. And, of course, one die= one army.

Both sides would roll.

Your highest dice roll would be matched up the highest dice roll of your opponent. The second-highest to their second highest.

If you had higher dice rolls than theirs, then you won that attack. They’d lose two armies and you’d roll again until you either decimated them, or you were decimated.

It was a little confusing for me at first, and to be honest, it still is. I need constant reminders when I play.

Anyway, you may have a ton of armies, but a few bad dice rolls may derail any visions of swift and decisive victory.

I can recall the ONE time that I won at Risk.

My ONE Victory

It was 2010 and I was still looking for a steady job. My best friend still had the Lord of the Rings Risk that he had “borrowed” from another friend back in college.

About four of us came to his apartment on a Saturday and instead of just watching TV all day, we decided to play Risk.

Up to that point, I had lost every time I played. Most of the time it was a solid and humiliating defeat. But being the good sport that I am, I decided I would play yet again. After all, I was among friends and they so enjoyed the feeling of success when they soundly pummeled me in a game that had no real-life application.

But I read more books than them, so I’m the real winner here.

Anyway, the game got started as it usually did and I worked my normal strategy- expand as fast as possible. In hindsight, this is a severely flawed strategy. No matter how much space you occupy on the board, you leave yourself open to attack from multiple fronts. Then again, if you fortify and make them come to you, you don’t expand and score more territories. You just spend the game sitting in a corner and waiting for someone to come to play with you.

In this specific instance, I had the dice rolls on my side. I won a few early victories. These victories lead to control of key regions. And with these regions, I got the extra armies I always so desperately needed.

With the extra armies, I was able to ride out a few losses and keep expanding.

Soon the board was controlled by a vastly more intelligent and benevolent ruler.

Me.

This day has been marked in history so that none of my friends forget it. I also make sure to remind my wife regularly as well.

Now, if only I could take what I’d learned in this game and apply it to real-life somehow?

Risk and Spectrum

Okay, so let’s apply this analogy to Spectrum.

They’re working to expand their footprint everywhere in the nation. They’re not some army bent on controlling the world. No, instead they’re working hard to connect as many people as possible.

To do this they need to move into new territories and establish roots.

So, in a sense, they do act like the little figurines in a game of Risk.

As they work to move into a new space, they’re essentially rolling die to see how smoothly the process goes. The defender die could be anything from bureaucratic red tape to rival companies trying to force them out.

In the case of New York State, they didn’t have the dice rolls on their side.

Now they’re having to retreat.

Risk and the Bigger Picture

I admit this is a simplistic way of looking at the current state of ISPs, especially Spectrum.

It does make it easier for me to figure out what’s going on though.

Anyway, Spectrum is working to resolve the issue with New York State, as well as ensure that the merger with Time Warner stands. With those two obstacles holding them up, Spectrum is going to have trouble implementing other initiatives that could help more and more customers.

That’s kind of ironic when you think about it.

It’s also frustrating when you realize that Spectrum is one of the better ISPs out there.

By the Numbers

Spectrum is one of the faster providers out there.

This is proven thanks to the Netflix ISP speed index.

Netflix regularly monitors the various ISPs they partner with. During peak viewing hours, that is, the hours between 5 pm and 10 pm, Netflix is monitoring how fast ISPs can stream their content.

From August 2017 to August 2018, Spectrum averaged 3.95 Mbps.

That’s a good number.

Even better is that, despite having issues in New York, Spectrum is available in 48 states, and 9,179 zip codes across the nation. This puts them in the second spot for largest ISP in the nation.

Spectrum, like many other ISPs, offers internet through cable and fiber. They also have voice and cable TV services as well.

So make sure to check out Spectrum internet and cable deals. Not only are they a fast and reliable ISP, but they can also bundle a lot of services for you. This will, in turn, save you money and time.

Winning the Game of Risk

While Spectrum works to resolve the issue with New York, that still leaves about 47 states that they can still help. Which is good news for most of the country.

If you’re in New York though, sorry.

They might get it cleared up soon enough and you can see if they provide internet to your home.

In the meantime, pull out your Risk board game and get playing.

If you don’t have one, then you need to get to your nearest retailer and get one. I’m not saying this because I get a cut of the profits. Instead, I’m advising you to play a game that’s a lot of fun and just once, just once, you might get the chance to rule the world.



Compliment a Techie Today

Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. Today we give them their due celebration!

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Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. And technology is great unti It stpp wrk… Let’s try that again. Technology is great… until it stops working. That’s when we stop to notice it. And not in a good way. We’re usually looking for why it went wrong. We’re not gawking over the design, the sophistication of the engineering that went into the thing that is now part of our everyday lives. Nope. We just want it to do what it’s supposed to do. And that’s when we go looking for a techie.

Techies

It’d be easy to talk about techies as if this were a nature special. Fade into a Steve Irwin impersonator talking about the “majestic and reclusive techie…” And other biologist-related puns and in-jokes. We forget that these are real people doing real work. And we only care to notice them when something goes wrong. Most of the time, we forget, the technology is working the way that it’s supposed to. It’s designed to perform some task in a shorter amount of time than we can. Or, if we can’t do said task, then we get this technology to do it for us. The technology usually makes it easier and more cost-efficient than paying a person to do it. I like to think of my crockpot at moments like this. I cut and season the required ingredients, add them to the pot, and set the timer. You see!? Technology has made it easier for me to prepare a meal for my family without having to risk burning down my house. Well, the risk of fire is still there. That’s why I read the manual and move the crockpot away from any flammable items. I realize the crockpot isn’t going to strike awe into the mind of the reader here. It’s a simple kitchen appliance. The design and functionality of it are basic and there’s really not much to improve upon there. It’s antiquated technology. Now, when it comes to my home computer, well, that’s a different story. That thing is slow. Absurdly slow and I want nothing more than to put my fist through it as I have to wait for a file to open. Now, when I was younger, it could have been considered a “lightning fast” computer. “4 Gigabytes of random-access-memory” was not available in Macintosh’s Apple II. And despite my frustrations with it, the machine was designed well and is doing the job it’s supposed to do. With the technology available to it. The problem with this equation is the person who bought it- me. Sigh. I have only myself to blame here.

The Unsung Heroes

In the case of my god-awful home computer, it was still designed by a team of trained professionals. The details of it, even the slight bevel around the edges of the screen, was designed by a person who knew the exact angle that bevel should be set at. And thus, the pieces came together, and the computer was born. I don’t know the names of anyone who designed the thing, but I’m thankful they know what they’re doing. And as for my crockpot, it’s still a work of art. Despite the “outdated” technology, someone still had to design the look of it and to incorporate all the parts. The wiring within needs to be calibrated. A regulator of some type is installed to make sure the heating coils inside don’t burn too hot and too fast. Each turn of the knob needs to correspond with the right amount of temperature delivered over a set amount of time. And the fact that it does this so reliably makes my life easier. Not to mention adding a few inches to my waistline. But that’s another issue for another post. And while I named off “coils, regulator, and wiring,” I’m not entirely sure those are the accurate terms for such a thing. I’m just a writer and not much of a techie myself. To all the techies reading this, I apologize for my ignorance.

A little bit of Techie in all of Us

When it comes to video games, all of us are gamers to some degree. This is true when it comes to technology. Someone may call themselves “technologically challenged.” But in truth, they lack confidence in their technology skills. Most of the population are techies of the lowest order- they have a smartphone, cell phone, or just a crockpot at home. Knowing how to operate the basic functions of these gadgets makes them a techie. And then there are the techies who know a lot about a specific type of technology and not others. For example; my father-in-law is quite familiar with how to operate his home theater system. He set it up. He knows all the remotes and how to navigate to the proper input to watch his blu-rays. I’m familiar with my own home theater system. Therefore, when my father-in-law comes over, one of the first things he does is ask for me to turn on the Cowboys game. The differences in our two home theater systems aren’t terribly extreme. But the nuances between them is enough that one wrong button push will cause disaster. And by disaster, I mean missing the Cowboys game. Part of the reason I’m able to do this is I’ve been able to find the best internet deals and packages available in my area. Make sure you do the same so you can at least save a few bucks while you watch your favorite team play this Sunday. It’s up to me to turn on the tv and navigate to the right input so he can watch his precious Cowboys. After all, we all know how to run. But those who train and practice it become track stars. Does this mean we’re all inept at running? Absolutely not. Some are just more avid about their running than others. This is what separates basic tech skills from techies. It’s the techies who can pick up a broken smartphone and know how to fix it.

To Each Their Own Skill

techieThanks to techies, we get to watch our Sunday football, catch up on emails, and watch YouTube Clips on our phones. And while we have awards for athletes, authors, and soldiers, we don’t spend time celebrating the techies. It’s these techies who facilitate the connecting of information that allows us to watch football, read and listen to books by authors and keep vigil over our dedicated civil servants and armed forces personnel. Thank you, Techies. Today we stop to recognize you not because something is broken. We recognize you for all your hard work despite the technology not always working right!

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

Electronic Arts has revived the dream of cloud gaming with their Origin Access Premiere. Here's 3 reasons why it will be awesome!

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The promise of Cloud Gaming seemed to be a false promise. But now it appears Electronic Arts (EA) can revive that dream. Back in June 2018, EA demonstrated they were able to stream high-quality games via a high-speed connection. The person on the other end simply needed a controller to hook up to the television, computer, or laptop, and they could play the game. Just like Netflix brings movies and shows straight to the consumer, EA is working to launch their own game streaming service. All players will need is a controller, a high-speed internet connection on their device, and of course, a subscription. Then they’ll have access to a huge array of games to play with. This would have been nice if they’d come out with this technology a lot sooner.Cloud Gaming

That One Roommate

Before Cloud Gaming, before even Netflix streaming, I was a college student sharing a house with five other guys. The house, affectionately dubbed “The Shack,” should have been condemned. There were roaches living there, not to mention the squirrels and cats too. The squirrels left us alone, but the roaches were constantly inciting a turf war. The cats just used the place to procreate, and loudly. Rent was cheap though. Which was the point, I guess. To make the situation more livable, TV’s were brought in, DVD players, huge selections of DVDs, and games.Cloud Gaming One guy had an Xbox. Let’s call him Rick. While I did my fair share of movie watching, Rick played video games. Non. Stop. I shouldn’t judge, he turned out to be a great guy. And I did spend a few nights trying to beat Gears of War. I wasn’t totally immune. Yet, if you were to walk in there, 99 times out of ten, it wasn’t me on the Xbox trying to level up in the hottest game to come out that year- Halo 3. It would have been Rick. So the soundtrack of the house was a constant stream of explosions, gunfire, Rick shouting into his headset, and vulgar putdowns from other people playing the game as well. This was college. Since Rick played hours upon hours of Halo, he was good at the game. I wasn’t. I would be lucky to get five kills in a multi-player match. And Rick wouldn’t hesitate to point this out to me any time I picked up a controller. As if living in that cesspool wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t prove myself in the last arena of true battle- online gaming. I graduated college, got married, and soon found online gaming really wasn’t the measure of a true man. But I digress. I didn’t own a game console. Thus, I wasn’t good at gaming. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad thing. I did, after all, get into books. And I couldn’t be happier. Gaming, however, is going to change.Cloud Gaming As more and more games come out that only emphasize their online gaming mode and not their story mode, the video game companies will need a better way to market their games. Enter Cloud Gaming. It’s not all bad. And here are three reasons why.

No Consoles to Pay For

Part of the reason I never bought an Xbox or a PlayStation was the expensive price tag. And I was a poor college kid. My parents were also not big into gaming. So I can’t blame them for not shelling out the cash to buy me one that one time I put it on my Christmas list. With a streaming service, there’s no need to buy the console, or even the game itself. Just hook up the internet, plug in the controller, and away you go. A streaming game service was attempted back at the start of the 2010’s. Two companies, GoLive and Gaikai, each showed cloud gaming was a viable possibility. The only problem was the technology required to make it work was expensive and not as available as it was today. There was also the widely accepted belief that one buys games and does not stream them. Streaming was for movies and wasn’t seen as a stable method for delivering a high-quality gaming experience. EA has cracked that. Now all they need is enough subscribers to make it profitable.

Subscriptions

With Cloud Gaming, you'll only pay once a month, or once for the whole year. Paying once a month and getting games cheaper is better than having to pay for the console and the games too. At least, I would think so. I’m no expert here, but I do know what I like. And I’d much rather pay a little bit at a time than a lot all at once. It’s unclear if other game production companies will create their own subscription services like EA’s. But who am I kidding? Of course they will. Once EA proves this will work, other companies are going to launch their own subscription services to make it happen and compete. Soon the entertainment world will be one big subscription service, with subscription services to manage subscription services. At least the games will be cheaper.

Availability to More Players

Rick, though a good guy, was still hogging the Xbox most of the time.Cloud Gaming With a subscription service, this opens the door for even more people to plug in and play…so long as the internet speed is fast enough. There’s a way around that, just get the best internet bundles and you’ll be able to have multiple players, on multiple devices, all streaming their games at. The. Same. Time! If there are not enough ports for the controllers, then pull out a laptop, computer, or just another TV with an internet connection. Players would then be able to join in the game and no one would have to wait their turn to play. Cloud Gaming would make gaming accessible to a much wider audience.

When Is The Future?

EA’s Origin Access Premiere is still in its infancy. There will still be some kinks to work out, but as of right now, it seems to be working well. This is good news for EA as they continue their domination of the video game industry. For those who don’t enjoy video games, or don’t object to EA on principle, there are always books to read. As for me, I don’t see myself getting involved with video games beyond the few apps I have on my phone. Maybe when I’m older and my life slows down just a little bit I’ll have some time to just waste on a game. But I doubt that will happen any time soon. Rick, my old roomie, did give up gaming. I’m not sure when, but it must have been some time after he got married and started working a real job. Then he had kids. Last I spoke with him he was getting his masters and taking care of yet another baby. How he manages kids and masters level courses, I don’t know. I barely made it through my masters’ level course with one child. A few weeks ago I was near my alma mater and thought, just briefly, if that god-forsaken Shack was still there. Low and behold, it was. Some other poor sap decided they’d live with the roaches, the squirrels, and the cats, in that confined space. Hopefully, they have fast, reliable internet, and a streaming service.

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

Monetizing a live stream is seen as a legitimate career. Simply set up an account and just be yourself. It’s…not that easy. Here's one way to make it work!

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Monetizing a live-stream is seen as a legitimate career these days. Simply set up an account on Twitch, YouTube, or both, and just be yourself. It’s…not that easy. For those who assume acting is easy, simply ask any aspiring actor if they think acting can be done by anyone. Hopefully, they’re not offended and will just laugh at you. The same with comedy. To quote the great Robin Williams’ “Of course you have to know comedy. Because if you tell a joke and they don’t laugh, then you know tragedy.”Live-stream Streaming content is the newest version of creating entertainment. The upside is that it’s easy to get into. The downside is that this creates a saturated market. Voices are easily lost in a market that’s brimming with people trying to get attention. To get those coveted followers it takes a lot of time and effort. Without a direction, however, even time and effort can be wasted.

Know Your Topic

I’ll admit, I have no skills when it comes to playing online games. The last time I touched a Halo game I barely scored one kill. When it comes to researching, organizing, and telling a story, that’s where my real abilities lie. Thus, I’ve given up on video games and instead have focused on reading books, reading about writing, writing, talking with other writers, editing, and writing some more. The upside of all this is that I’ve now landed a job where someone pays me to do this all day. It’s still a challenge. Putting words on the screen every day requires hard work and discipline. Working through horrible drafts is just part of the process of getting to the right one. Now let’s replace writing with live-streaming. The same advice applies; keep working at it. You’ll also learn some surprising things about yourself. For example; my boss asked me how long it would take to complete an article consisting of 800 words. I ballparked it at four hours. He blinked at me and said, “You’re the first person to use a number.” And I got the job. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person.

Create Genuine Connections

This one has always proved difficult for me. Since I’m good with writing and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, talking to people face-to-face can be daunting. It may seem obvious, but making friends wasn’t my forte as a child. When I worked to make people like me, I came across as a fake. And worse, desperate. No one wants to be friends, or do business with, a desperate person. And those that do are going to take advantage of you. Instead, working to find a personae or a particular schtick helped make it easier to interact and relate to strangers. It was subtle at first, and at times overblown. With time I honed it. It’s not as difficult as it used to be and I still work on it from time-to-time. By being genuine you create genuine relationships. Genuine relationships lead to a solid fan base.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve discovered what works for you, hone it, develop it, work on it.Live-stream This means, as bad as it sounds, that you much do research. Yes, research. Looking for relevant information and data that are relevant to your topic takes time. If you’re at least interested in the topic, then researching it will seem less arduous. In fact, it may even be fun. I enjoy reading books not just for the stories, but to see how the author tells them. Soon I plan on taking Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass on writing. If you neglect research, you run the risk of losing your audience. This links back to the “being a fake” mentioned earlier. The best comedians still do it. Jerry Seinfeld, when his hit sitcom ended, went back to doing standup. It helped him figure out new material, find what worked for him, and as he says, get back to his roots.

Then You Can Think of Monetizing

Technology, though amazing, does lull us into this false belief that things will happen quickly. We stream movies and music instantly. Every time you tap an icon on your smartphone you get a little dopamine rush from completing a task and completing it quickly. Getting into writing has taken me years. There were times I considered quitting. Thankfully, I’d started, and quit, a lot of things before then. I'm tired of repeating that process. I’m also a father now and constantly “searching for myself” does not work well with trying to raise a child. It also helps that I enjoy telling and sharing stories. I’ve also been told I’m good at it. And now someone is paying me to do it. Took about three years to get here, but better late than never, right? So if you decide that a career as a streaming personality or entertainer is for you, then go for it. Be prepared for a long road filled with tough times. In the meantime, to ensure your connection is fast so you can stream uninterrupted, check out Spectrum internet bundle deals.   “You can start any ‘Monty Python’ routine and people finish it for you. Everyone knows it like shorthand.” —Robin Williams