In the future, every smartphone and mobile device is likely to have 5G capability. 5G is the next standard for mobile connectivity, so it’ll help you to load up webpages, download files, and stream video much faster than 4G ever could. It’s no overstatement to say that 5G could actually compete with a lot of Wi-Fi networks in terms of speed, if not necessarily in terms of stability.
So, with that in mind, you might be asking yourself whether 5G is good for online gaming. The answer is yes, but it’s a qualified yes. 5G isn’t necessarily a better standard for online gaming in every situation, but it is a huge step up from 4G and could significantly improve your gaming experience. Here’s our guide to online gaming with 5G; what it is, why it’s useful, and how you can take advantage of it.
5G offers lightning-fast gaming, but you need a stable connection
In terms of raw speed, 5G is capable of hitting 10 Gbps per second, which is faster than many people’s Wi-Fi connections. In real time, this could potentially mean a drop in latency of around 15 milliseconds, which could be the difference between a headshot and a complete miss. You might be wondering, therefore, if it’s possible to supplant your Wi-Fi connection with 5G, but don’t be too hasty to do so.
While 5G coverage is impressive, the fact remains that there will be areas in which a consistent 5G signal is hard to obtain. In those areas, Wi-Fi may be a better and more stable alternative to 5G, even if the speeds aren’t quite as incredible. Of course, there’s an easy solution. Before you start gaming, simply fire up a site like Speedcheck and see if your connection is stable and fast. Run multiple tests to be on the safe side. If they’re all returning positive results, game away!
5G is great for downloading games
Given that 5G can reach download speeds of 10 Gbps, downloading games is an absolute breeze. Now, it’s important to remember two things: first, that 10 Gbps is not the same as 10 gigabytes per second. Rather, Gbps refers to gigabits per second. As a rough conversion, 10 Gbps is around 1.3 gigabytes per second, which is still astronomically fast. The other thing to note is that the 10 Gbps figure was achieved in lab conditions, so while it is possible for you to get that speed, you won’t consistently reach it.
Generally speaking, mobile games have a pretty small download size, so if you do manage to reach the fabled 10 Gbps speed, then downloading a game like Genshin Impact is going to take you mere seconds. Make sure you’ve got a generous data allowance, though, because those downloads are going to eat into your data allocation, and before you know it, you could have no capacity left for streaming video or listening to music.
You can use a 5G dongle for gaming at home
5G isn’t just for mobile gaming, of course. Options like 5G mobile dongles and 5G broadband routers allow you to take advantage of the power and speed of a 5G network to game on home consoles and PCs. You can also set up your phone as an internet hotspot, allowing devices to tether to it and piggyback off its internet connection. Again, be warned that this is going to absolutely devour your data, so be sure your allowance is topped up first.
Some game developers believe that 5G is the future of gaming, and that it will render consoles and traditional gaming hardware completely obsolete. This belief stems from the idea that 5G will enable lightning-fast cloud gaming, which is currently difficult for many gamers due to less stable internet connections. With powerful cloud servers and machines available to stream games, gamers won’t need to buy expensive consoles, so they’ll choose cloud gaming instead.
How can you start 5G gaming?
The first and most obvious solution to help you start 5G gaming is simply to download a game on a 5G-enabled phone. Most modern flagship devices support 5G, including the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, the iPhone 12, and the OnePlus 9, among others. Do make sure that your device is compatible by checking it out on a site like GSMArena before you make your decision.
Alternately, there’s a wide range of 5G routers, dongles, and other 5G-enabled devices available to purchase so that you can enjoy 5G gaming in your home. Again, remember that you can set up your mobile device as a hotspot, too, allowing other devices to connect to your mobile internet instead of being hooked up to conventional Wi-Fi. The possibilities are limitless!
Are there any drawbacks to 5G gaming?
The chief drawback is potential connection loss. Mobile connections are only as good as the networks to which they belong, and some networks have more stable and reliable connections than others. If, for example, you opt for a budget 5G contract, you might find that the network drops out more frequently than it might from one of the larger providers.
If you’re tethering, you’ll find that your phone’s battery gets absolutely annihilated, so you’ll need to keep it on charge at all times, which could be inconvenient. In addition, you may find that depending on your particular area, your 5G speeds aren’t much better than Wi-Fi, in which case it’s not really worth changing your entire setup for. There are a few drawbacks to 5G gaming, but on the whole, it’s an exciting proposition that’s only likely to get more exciting with time!