Can satellite internet handle online gaming? But read on, so you know what to expect when gaming on a satellite internet connection.
Gamers who live in rural areas of the world, where terrestrial infrastructure is minimal or non-existent, are limited in their choice of internet access. Satellite internet (VSAT) is a good option to fulfill their gaming needs. But satellite internet will only be suitable for some video game genres like Xbox One Game Here’s what you need to know about gaming online over a satellite internet connection.
Why Aren’t All Video Games Suitable for Satellite Internet?
The good news with satellite internet is that you can gain broadband-like speeds wherever you are. So long as you fall under your satellite provider’s footprint, you should be able to achieve high rates – approximately 10-20Mb/s. This is more than enough for most video games – on a console, PC, tablet, or mobile phone.
However, the problem with gaming via VSAT is latency. Latency is the time required for the data to travel the distance between your satellite dish to the geostationary satellite and back. This distance is 36,000 km.
Latency from a geostationary satellite is approximately 500-800ms (milliseconds), depending on where you are under the satellite’s footfall. This doesn’t sound like a lot. However, some video games require split-second decisions, such as the Call of Duty series. A half-second delay can result in game death before you know it happened.
Ping is another term used within the gaming community. This is the latency plus the reaction time to recognize and respond to another computer/server within the game. This is seen in online video games where players appear to be ‘teleporting’ around the map. Many games consider this as cheating and can kick you off the server.
What Are Video Games Suitable for VSAT?
Many strategy video games operate on a turn-based system. This means that latency will not be noticeable. These games can include Civilization 5, Empire Total War, or Sid Meier’s Civilisation. These also include online versions of board games, such as Monopoly or Uno.
Real-time strategy games, such as Age of Empires, may not be suitable to play via VSAT. This requires a real-time reaction from a player’s move, which the latency may show you your opponent’s move quickly enough to react.
Role Playing Games (RPG)
Most role-playing video games do not involve split-second decision-making. Each RPG will have various levels of action or intensity, so their performance affected by latency will vary. You may notice that there may be some delays in activities from your fellow players, but more is needed to make games unplayable. These games include Second Life or Farmville.
What Games Aren’t Suitable for Satellite Internet?
The shooting genre recommends latency of 100ms or less as these games require split-second thinking and other rapid movements. The latency created by satellite internet may mean that inputs from other players may appear after actions have happened. This means you may be a sitting duck to your opponent, as the server may have registered you dead – before you can retaliate. These video games include Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc.
Like shooting, latency usually requires split-second decision-making. Video games like FIFA 2016 will not be suitable for satellite internet.
Certain racing games will be playable over satellite internet. Games that do not require direct completion, such as Colin McRae Dirt, which uses time trials instead of head-to-head, will play well over a satellite connection. This is because maps/physics are handled by your computer and are not processed on a server. The only data sent to the server is your player data and what time you achieved it.
Will LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) Satellites Solve the Latency Issues?
In theory, yes! LEO satellites are anywhere between 160km to 2,000 km from the earth’s surface. This means latency will be vastly reduced, and the difference between LEO and terrestrial internet will be negligible.
LEO satellites are still in their infancy. Companies, such as O3b, have created LEO satellites for internet access in (primarily) emerging markets.
While the initial cost for equipment is expensive, the cost per megabyte is much lower. The latency for O3b satellites is lower than 150ms – 4-6 times faster than a geostationary satellite. This could be a good alternative if you’re lucky to live +45/-45 degrees off the equator.
Also See:Best 2-player Xbox one games
How much data do you need for online gaming?
Data caps can be a significant concern when it comes to gaming. After all, no one wants to be in the middle of a heated battle only to have their game cut off because they’ve used up their data.
So, how much data do you need for gaming? The answer may vary depending on the type of game you’re playing.
For example, a game that requires high-quality video streaming will use more data than a text-based game. Likewise, a multiplayer game will use more data than a single-player game.
The most current video games use between 40MB and 300MB each hour.
A lot of data gets used primarily to download and update games. Game updates, especially with new titles, can range from 25 to 50GB or more to download, so getting an internet plan with no data cap might be best.
Which satellite internet plan is best for gaming?
Here are some key elements to consider while selecting the best satellite internet plan for gaming to help you narrow down your options and ensure you’re getting what you need:
25Mbps is recommended for players who want to download or update a game quickly. It’s alright to settle for a lower speed if it’s mainly for mobile games.
Unlimited internet would be ideal since the worst thing that could happen is suddenly getting cut in the middle of the game. If you’re on a budget, a good alternative is to monitor your data usage. You can accomplish that on Windows by typing “Data Usage Overview” on your search bar. In more settings, click on “Data Usage.” You should see the gigabytes you’ve used for the last 30 days.
Some internet providers have better signals than others. It’s best to ask around your neighborhood or read reviews to find out what connection is good before committing to a contract.
Some internet providers deliver less latency than others, so it helps to do your research. Only some ask ISPs about latency, but they should, as most ISP are open to advising customers about it.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How fast is satellite internet speed?
Can you stream on satellite internet?
Which gaming consoles work best with satellite internet?