Should I purchase a Gigabit internet package for PlayStation 4?
Best answer: If the option is available to you and you live in a large household that streams a lot of content simultaneously on multiple devices, a gigabit internet package is an excellent idea.
- Fiber optics: Verizon Fios Gigabit Internet (opens in new tab) (From $80/month at Verizon)
- PSN benefits: PlayStation Plus 12-month (opens in new tab) ($60 at Amazon)
What is Gigabit internet?
When you purchase an internet package, you may notice a lot of numbers you aren't familiar with, like a package that is labeled as "100Mbps." This means 100 megabits per second and is a data-rate unit meant to convey how fast your internet speeds are. The higher the number, the faster it usually is.
Gigabit internet is a name given to internet speeds of 1,000Mpbs (1Gbps) or greater. These are typically delivered over fiber optic lines as opposed to cable, which tends to be less reliable and slower. They're also less available than slower packages.
What speeds do I need to play games online?
The minimum connection speeds you'll need to play online games on a PlayStation 4 is actually quite low, with Sony only requiring a download speed of 3Mbps and an upload speed of just 1Mbps. To put that into perspective, the American household average is around 19Mbps.
So why do I need Gigabit internet then?
The above numbers are only a small fraction of gigabit speeds, but the minimum doesn't mean recommended. While it is technically possible to play and download games at those speeds, your experience will suffer greatly, especially if your household streams a lot of content simultaneously. These are definitely not feasible speeds to reliably game online.
Each device connected to the internet, even if just for browsing the web or streaming Netflix, will only add to the amount of data you are using. The more devices you have, the faster you'll want your internet connection to be for an optimal experience.
What are my other options?
If you still want fast speeds but don't necessarily think Gigabit is for you, there are other ways to ensure that your connections are as fast and reliable as possible. Picking up mesh routers routers for whole home WiFi, using a wired Ethernet cable, or even going so far as buying a dedicated gaming router are ways to maintain the best speeds with whichever internet package you have.
What if my area does not have gigabit?
If your area does not support gigabit or fiber connections but you play online games or stream content frequently on several devices, you'll want a broadband package that offers upwards of 100Mbps. If you don't happen to stream a lot of content or are the only one using a PS4 in your household, you can get away with 30-50Mbps.
Should I worry about data caps?
Only if you're downloading a lot of content. While some internet providers allow users an unlimited amount of data, others have monthly data caps that can range up to 1TB (around 1,000GB). To put that into perspective, PlayStation 4 games usually average around 30-50GB each if you download them digitally, and they're only getting bigger as games get more advanced.
If Verizon Fios is offered in your area, its Gigabit internet package is highly appealing. You'll immediately notice a quality difference in your service if you're upgrading from an inferior package or provider.
Additional benefits for your account
In order to play multiplayer games online, you'll need a PlayStation Plus membership. It just so happens that it also gives members extra benefits like discounts on games and a couple of free games each month.
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.