AT&T Dedicated Internet

Professional-grade Internet at the speed of gaming

What is ping and how does it impact professional gaming?

A lot of ISPs won’t tell you this, but speed isn’t everything. A powerful gaming experience that eliminates lag, jitter, and buffering in gaming requires more than just a fast internet connection. Physical distance to the server, connection speed, networking equipment connected to the internet, the number of devices sharing the connection, and traffic loads from nearby customers on the network can impact your actual speed. So, even though you may have an internet plan of 6 Mbps, noise on your network could be driving that down to 1 to 3 Mbps or even lower—especially during peak times. This is unacceptable for professional gamers and Twitch affiliates who run their business around winning tournaments and streaming powerful experiences to fans.

It doesn’t matter if you purchase the most powerful gaming hardware for your studio and the fastest available internet plan with the highest advertised speed, a low ping rate is key to making crucial shots that lead to wins and tournament points. It’s clear that for professional gamers, low ping, high speeds, and guaranteed service is a good business decision.

This guide will discuss:

  1. What is ping in professional gaming?
  2. What impacts ping rate?
  3. What is a good ping rate for professional gaming?
  4. How can I guarantee a good ping rate for professional gaming?
  5. Which AT&T Internet plan has the best ping rate?
  6. How else does AT&T support the eSports community?

What is ping in professional gaming?

Latency is the time it takes for the system to respond to an action (such as pressing a button or moving a joystick). In internet and networking, this is the time it takes for a data packet (your in-game actions like movement or attacks) to send to the server, and then for the server to process that request. At the same time, the server must also process other gamers’ actions towards you and send that information back to your system for a roundtrip. In the gaming world, this is called ping rate, and it’s measured in milliseconds. The lower the number, the faster the connection and the more advantages professional gamers can expect over their competitors.

What impacts ping rate?

Many factors that impact ping are out of the user’s control. This includes the physical distance from the gaming system to the gaming server. With everything else being equal, a gamer 10 miles from the server will have a better ping rate than someone 100 miles from the server.

Other traffic on your network also slows ping rate. Is a teammate streaming to Twitch? Is an assistant downloading the latest update for Fortnite? Is the gamer uploading new assets for a game that she is designing? If the gamer is in their home studio, is a family member watching Netflix? These all create noise on the network and are all competing for bandwidth that facilitates the flow of data in and out of a professional studio or home office.

A third factor is something that surprises a lot of people. All consumer and most business internet plans deliver internet over a shared connection. Imagine a big pipe that runs to a city. It splits up to each neighborhood, continuing to split multiple times to smaller pipes that serve specific streets, blocks, and eventually individual buildings, businesses, or residences. Each connection point acts as a potential bottleneck if someone else—a person or a business—is draining bandwidth. The result is that even if an internet provider advertises a specific speed, there’s no guarantee that the customer will actually get that speed—especially during peak times. And that is unacceptable for a professional gamer, eSports champion, or Twitch affiliate.

What is a good ping rate for professional gaming?

A ping rate over 150 milliseconds (ms) will generate noticeable lag, and this will definitely affect gameplay, graphics, and an ability to stream watchable content to Twitch. Anything less than that should be ok. A ping rate under 50 ms is fantastic and is desirable for professional gamers. Twitch affiliates need an even higher ping rate—often in the 15 to 20 ms range.


How can I guarantee a good ping rate for professional gaming?

Ping is largely dependent on ISP and type of connection, so the best thing a professional gamer can do to improve a high ping rate is to switch to a different provider—specifically to a dedicated internet plan. Rather than sharing a connection to the network with neighboring businesses, a dedicated internet access (DIA) line connects customers directly to the ISP’s network, eliminating the need to worry about bandwidth constraints due to other accounts on the shared connection.

This private connection guarantees speed at the rate purchased, no matter the time of day or demand. And, connection speeds are symmetric—meaning that download and upload speeds are the same. This is important because fast download speeds allow professional gamers to download games more quickly and improve in-game play while faster upload speeds are good for streaming, in-game communication, hosting tournaments, and sending large assets like graphics and video files between multiple locations or studios.

Which AT&T Internet plan has the best ping rate?

AT&T Dedicated Internet provides the highest guaranteed speed and uptime. Guaranteeing speeds up to 1,000 Mbps over a lightning-fast fiber-optic network, AT&T Dedicated Internet is ideal for professional gamers who need to ensure a reliable and consistent high-quality gaming experience. It includes the high bandwidth, low ping rate, and symmetrical download and upload speeds that professional gamers need—all guaranteed on America’s best network. AT&T Dedicated Internet plans are backed up by service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee speed levels and uptime—both of which are superior to those offered on shared business or consumer plans. This guarantee comes with 24-hour support and service monitoring. If something does go wrong, customers have immediate access to technical support to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

How else does AT&T support the eSports community?

AT&T has supported the gaming community for years. We’ve sponsored teams, tournaments, and entire leagues and brought game-changing internet connectivity and technology to events around the world. This includes the official telecom partner of ESL North America, the official mobile partner of ESL globally, and partnerships with DreamHack and QuakeCon. AT&T was instrumental in creating North America’s first 5G enabled eSports event live stream at DreamHack Atlanta. We’ve also been a long-term sponsor for QuakeCon in Dallas and even supplied two-gigabit fiber-optic lines for the event.

The bottom line

  • Ping is the time it takes for the system to respond to an action (such as pressing a button or moving a joystick), and a low ping rate in the 15 to 20 ms range is considered exceptional.
  • For professional gamers, low ping, high speeds, and guaranteed service is a good business decision.
  • AT&T Dedicated Internet guarantees the lightning-fast speeds, high bandwidth, and low ping that professional gamers and Twitch affiliates need to ensure a reliable, consistent, and high-quality gaming experience.
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