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Broadband & next gen consoles: what internet speed do you need for PlayStation 5 & Xbox Series X?

Father and son playing videogames

Broadband speeds for gaming consoles

The Sony Playstation 4 is replaced by the Playstation 5, and Microsoft Xbox One by the Xbox Series X and Series S.

Boasting powerful hardware with support for high-definition 4K TVs, these are the fastest gaming consoles ever made.

But a 4K TV isn’t the only thing you’ll want. These consoles are more reliant on internet access than ever before!

To get the most out of them, you’ll need to ensure your broadband speed and Wi-Fi router are up to the job.

Broadband for games consoles: the key points

  • Fibre optic broadband is recommended for all gamers.
  • Some versions of the Playstation and Xbox don't have disc drives, so all games have to be downloaded.
  • Unlimited broadband is essential.
  • All new games consoles support both wired and Wi-Fi networking.

Looking to get a new gaming broadband deal for your new console right now? As a minimum, we recommend an unlimited fibre optic broadband service with a speed of 30Mb+ for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X. But ideally, you should aim for 50Mb-100Mb. 

Here are just a couple of the best, fast broadband deals available today: 

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Check out our full range of fibre optic broadband offers to see what else you could get.

To learn more about how to choose broadband for a next-gen console and why it’s important, read on!

Why internet speed matters for games consoles

Long gone are the days when buying a game meant scouring the shelves of your local store to discover new releases. You can now browse an online catalogue (Playstation Plus for the PS5, PS4 and classic Playstation or Microsoft Store for the Xbox) and download everything to the console's hard drive without touching a box or discs.

There are even versions of both consoles without a disc drive, so downloads are the only way to install games. 

Boxed games are still around, but they’re becoming less relevant. Many games never get released on disc and even when there is a physical copy you may still have to download something before playing.

And it’s standard for games to receive post-release patches and updates which fix bugs and add new content.

This is all very convenient, but the sheer size of modern games means that downloading can take a very long time if your broadband isn’t up to scratch. Even a bug-fixing patch can take hours on a slow connection.

Online multiplayer is also a huge component of many games, if not the sole focus.

There's good news! Online games don’t place the same demand on a connection as downloading large files, and you can get away with slower broadband.

But you’ll still want to aim for a decent minimum speed for the best experience. You also have to consider that other devices and users in your home sharing the connection will all impact overall performance.

What’s the difference between the Playstation 5 and Playstation 5 Digital Edition?

There are two different models of Playstation 5. They have the same basic hardware and the same performance, but the Digital Edition doesn't have a disc drive. 

That means that broadband speed is even more important for Digital Edition owners because games can only be installed by downloading. 

What’s the difference between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S?

Microsoft has also chosen to launch slightly different versions of its new Xbox. Like the PS5 Digital Edition, the Xbox Series S lacks a disc drive, so fast broadband is essential. 

The Series S is also slightly slower than the Series X. This means games can't run as fast or support the same resolution. Some games do have a slightly smaller download size as a result, but it’s not a huge difference, and fast fibre broadband is still recommended.

How long does it take to download games for the PS5 and Xbox Series X & S?

The table below shows the estimated time (rounded to the nearest hour) it could take to download games for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S at various speeds.

 

  Download Time (approx.) (hrs)
Title 10Mb 35Mb 100Mb
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (145.7GB) 32hrs 9hrs 3hrs
Marvel's Spider-Man (53.76GB) 12hrs 3hrs 1hr
Hogwart's Legacy (80.20GB) 18hrs 5hrs 2hrs

It’s important to note that this assumes you're receiving the full possible transfer rate at all times, but it is unlikely to work that way. In practice, the speed will fluctuate and increase the time it takes to finish.

With big releases now often exceeding 100GB in size, you can see that on slower broadband connections it can take a very long time indeed to get hold of a new game. And while that download is in progress, it’s going to use up all available bandwidth and slow down anything else you might be doing with the broadband. 

What broadband speed do I need for the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S? 

We recommend the following broadband speeds for owners of the next-generation games consoles. 

Minimum speed: 30Mb
A speed of at least 30Mb will be fast enough that you can download games in a reasonable amount of time, though you’ll still be waiting a few hours for some of the bigger games. It’s plenty fast enough for playing online games, too.

However, you must think about the number of people sharing the connection. It will feel slow if shared between more than one or two users (especially if everyone wants to use their own games console).

This kind of speed is available to more than 95% of the UK using fibre optic broadband on the BT Openreach telephone network. You’ll find lots of great value deals offering an average speed of around 35Mb, with plenty of options starting at under £30 per month, so it doesn’t need to be expensive.

  • What is Openreach?

    Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.

    More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.

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Recommended speed: 50Mb-100Mb
If available in your area, a faster fibre optic package is a worthwhile investment for gamers. It’ll significantly cut download times and offer more bandwidth headroom when sharing broadband. 

Average speeds of around 65Mb are available in many homes using a regular BT telephone line. 

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Nice to have, but not essential: 100Mb+
While not everyone has this option, an increasing number of homes have access to broadband speeds well above 100Mb.

Virgin Media deals start with an average download speed of 132Mb and it offers up to 1.1Gb.

100Mb+ broadband will make short work of even the biggest downloads, and easily cope with the demands of a shared home. But you’ll have to pay more to get it. 

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Whichever broadband you choose, make sure it is unlimited. The sheer size of game downloads means you’ll quickly exceed a data cap.

Almost all providers offer unlimited broadband deals, and they’re cheap, so you’re not going to save a significant amount by opting for a limited service.

What internet speed do I need for the PS5 and Xbox Series X & S?

In most cases, there's no pressing need to upgrade your Wi-Fi router for the Xbox Series X/S or the PS5. The free router you get from your ISP should be all that’s required, unless it’s ancient.

Don't get too bogged down in the technical details.

If you’d like to learn more, our introduction to Wi-Fi can help. All you really need to know is that any router made in the last decade or so is compatible.

Meet the author:

Contributor

Matt has been working with Broadband Genie since 2009. A lifelong tech enthusiast, he has 20 years of experience writing about technology for print and online.


Specialist subject: The technicalities of broadband

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