Love to play? You might be interested in one of these gamer-friendly broadband plans. Photo: Shutterstock
Chances are that if you’re playing games these days, you’ll need a decent internet connection. This is true even if you are not engaged in multi-player events – as most modern gaming platforms now support direct downloads.
Then you’re going to need broadband
Here’s why broadband is a must-have
for modern gaming:
You like to download games directly. You don’t even have to leave the house. Just press the button and the download begins.
For this, you might need a lot of data. Modern games can be massive! For example, the Mass Effect Andromeda install files are 55GB on Windows PC, 42.9GB on PS4, and 42.19 on Xbox One – and that’s not including the day one patch. If you have 200GB a month, that’s around 1/4 of your quota gone for just one game. You will also want decent download speed – no one wants to wait ages for their game to arrive. You may as well line up and wait outside the store! But latency doesn’t matter too much. So basic ADSL is okay!
You’re fine with having physical copies of your games. But you want to play with or against others online. For this you need not just a reliable connection – you need great latency (a tech term for responsiveness). And preferably, you need a plan with decent data. Because – depending on the games you play and the platforms you play on – this can be as much as 100MB per hour. If you play for five hours, that’s 0.5GB right there. So you also want to check out the terms and conditions around bandwidth shaping or excess data charges.
So what do you need from your broadband plan?
Important mainly for downloads but also for online games, the speed is the rate at which data comes down from the internet to your gaming platform.
Latency is the speed at which your gaming platform can communicate with the server. Think of it as the time it takes between asking a question and receiving a response. Unfortunately, a lot of factors involved in latency are beyond your control. These include the physical distance from your modem to the local exchange, and how your internet service provider routes traffic globally. Just keep in mind that if you’re looking at getting ADSL2+, you need to be within five kilometeres of an exchange to enjoy the benefits. So it’s always a good idea to check how far away you are from your chosen provider’s exchange before you sign up.
No matter if you’re downloading games or enjoying an online session, you want to know that your connection isn’t going to seize up halfway through. It’s more important for the gaming part, but waiting for downloads to arrive can be frustrating when the connection keeps dropping out.
Your broadband deal should include enough data to safely download and play the games you want. Going over can result in shaping, where the provider reduces available bandwidth to 256 KB/s. They can also charge excess fees (which just suck regardless) or may offer special ‘“top-up packs” to increase your data allowance.
Of course, you don’t want your broadband plan to eat into your discretionary spending. So it helps if you can pick a plan that meets your needs and matches your budget.
ADSL in all its flavours works reasonably well. But it’s based on copper wire technology designed for carrying voice calls.
Cable is fast, but the coaxial cables present a physical limit on how much data can flow.
The NBN features fibre technology, and is designed to handle increasing traffic volumes in the future.
Depending on availability in your area, the preference for gaming purposes goes like this:
1) NBN 2) cable 3) ADSL
So for the purposes of this review, we’ll be looking at NBN deals, with a mix of ADSL and cable for good measure. And we’re not even gonna pretend that dial up exists.
The Top Five Broadband Deals For Gamers
|Cost/GB||Contract||Connection fee?||Modem cost?|
|Barefoot NBN Ultra||Data: UNLIMITED||Cost/month: $99.99||Delivery methods: NBN (100/40 Mbps)||Cost/GB: N/A||Contract: Monthly||Connection fee? None!||Modem cost? $149 (optional)|
|Internode ADSL2+ 400GB Bundle||Data: 400GB||Cost/month: $90||Delivery methods: ADSL2+||Cost/GB: $0.22||Contract: Monthly / 24 months||Connection fee? $129.90 / $79 (contract)||Modem cost? $89 / $0 (contract)|
|iiNet Liimitless NBN||Data: UNLIMITED||Cost/month: $99.99||Delivery methods: NBN (100/40 Mbps)||Cost/GB: N/A||Contract: Monthly / 24 months||Connection fee? $79.95 / $0 (contract)||Modem cost? $99 / $10 (contract – includes $10 postage for both plans)|
|Telstra “L” Bundle||Data: 1000GB||Cost/month: $120||Delivery methods: ADSL2+ / NBN||Cost/GB: $0.12||Contract: Monthly / 24 months||Connection fee? $89.00||Modem cost? $216.00|
|Optus Unlimited||Data: UNLIMITED||Cost/month: $80||Delivery methods: ADSL2+ / Cable / NBN (25/5 Mbps)||Cost/GB: N/A||Contract: 24 months||Connection fee? $125.00||Modem cost? FREE|
It’s a close call. But in the end, newcomweBarefoot wins out because of their no-nonsense attitude towards serious internet. While their focus isn’t solely on delivering a great gaming experience (which is why Internode is here), their fuzz-free, month-to-month offer and lack of connection fees make them a clear choice over Internode’s ADSL bundle. Note: you can always use the NBN rollout checker to see if the NBN is available in your location.
Please keep in mind that each of these deals also includes specific fees and charges for service set-up, installation and early cancellation. Not to mention the cost of modems and routers – if you choose to add them.We’re working on the assumption that you are already happy with your phone and tv options, and are only including bundles if they make sense for gaming purposes.
#5 Optus Unlimited Broadband (Unlimited data for $80/month)
Optus makes this list for a mix of reasons. While they’re not alone in offering unlimited data – they do have a reputation for reliability. And what’s more, this price stays the same across the big three delivery methods. ADSL, cable, and the NBN – you pay the same price. And it’s this price that keeps them firmly in the top 5 – a Tier 1 telco with unlimited data for $80 is a rare find.
#4 Telstra “L” Bundle (1000GB for $120/month)
Telstra has been a mainstay of Australia’s internet services since the days of dial-up. They make the list because of their extensive coverage, and the ability to upgrade from an ADSL connection to an NBN plan with no difference in the monthly rate.
#3 iiNet Liimiltess NBN 100Mbps (Unlimited data for $99.99/month)
iiNet is a popular choice for many reasons. When it comes to gaming, their combination of price, reach, reliability – and history of focusing on gamers as a key target market – gives them a place in the top 5. However, their confusing approach to contracts, setup costs and modem prices holds them back.
#2 Internode ADSL2+ 400GB Bundle (400GB for $89/month)
A heroic ISP in the Australian gaming scene for years, Internode was often praised for its low latency and exclusion of gaming services from its data metering. This is the last package offered by Internode that still carries this offer. Subscribers can access a number of dedicated benefits, such as unmetered data for downloads via Xbox Live, Australian-hosted GameServers connections, and Internode-hosted Valve Steam Content Servers. That plus they have a reputation for decent latency when gaming internationally.
#1 Barefoot Broadband NBN 100Mbps (Unlimited data for $99.99/month)
Why does a relative newcomer get the top spot here? Let’s take a look. 100/40 speeds on the NBN. Yep. Professional outlook with dedicated staff? Check. Unlimited data? Yes. Month-to-month contracts with no penalties? Check. Connection fee? Nope. do you have to buy a router? Nope – but they give you the option. It’s their no-nonsense approach to giving you good internet – that’s what puts them above the rest.