If you are a gamer, you know the importance of having a high quality internet connection. One that is fast enough to keep up, one that can handle the technical requirements of the game, and one that doesn’t drop out.
Can 4G in Australia provide all that’s needed for a great gaming experience? How does it compare to fixed line internet?
4G was introduced in Australia in mid-2011, and has expanded to provide coverage in all capital cities and over a hundred regional centres. Currently both Telstra and Optus provide 4G services, and both plan to expand coverage over the next few years.
Using 4G for internet gaming will depend solely on the coverage you receive. While you may get an awesome connection in the CBD, if you live in the suburbs, you may experience problems.
Another problem with mobile internet (as often experienced by 3G users as well) is the fact that not everyone can get a good connection inside certain buildings. If your home happens to be one of those buildings, using a mobile connection to game is probably not possible.
If you can get a reasonable 4G connection, what are some of the things you should be looking at?
There are certain requirements for certain games. You will need to check your connection for each of these requirements to find out if it’s possible to game at home on 4G.
- Bandwidth: Available download/upload speed
- Latency (or Ping): How long it takes for information to be transmitted to and from another machine
- Packet Loss: How much of the information sent actually reaches the destination
- Jitter: Average change in latency over a period of time
If you’re lucky enough that your 4G connection covers all the above to game requirements, you may still encounter a few issues. One such problem is drop outs. Mobile internet can drop out – which can be incredibly frustrating when you’re playing.
Another thing to check out is your 4G device’s NAT (Network Access Translation) setting, and whether it can be adjusted. The NAT has three possible states: Strict, Moderate and Open.
For many games, the NAT setting will need to be Open. If it cannot be switched to Open, it can limit the number of players you can be matched with, meaning you wait longer to enter games, and it can mean you can’t communicate fully with other players.
One last thing to think about is data costs. Internet gaming can chew through data. This means you may need to pay more for a plan that has a large or unlimited data allowance.
Overall, gaming on 4G in Australia is viable. As long as you have the connection and the data availability, there is very little reason why using 4G can’t be just as good as using fixed line internet.
Written by: Michael Costin