Why Internet Speed Matters for Online Casinos
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a bad internet connection when you’re trying to watch a video, download files or play an online casino game. While the internet has certainly come a long way since the days of dial-up, having a slow or faulty connection is still a big annoyance for many people on the web.
The speeds you get on your laptop or mobile phone will vary a lot based on where you’re located and what kind of hardware you’re using. See how your connection stacks up to world averages and learn what you can do to improve your speeds at home and on the go.
How Fast Is Your Internet?
Most people probably couldn’t tell you how fast their internet actually is without looking it up. Or, they might be able to tell you what speed internet they pay for with their provider—though that number often isn’t what they actually get when they connect from a device over Wi-Fi.
If you’re unsure about your own connection, you can find out your internet speed using a device that’s connected to your network by performing a simple speed check. Check out Speed Test for a service that works on all your devices, including mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs. There are many different sites, but speed tests all do the same basic thing: they simulate uploading and downloading information to your device and then report back on the speed and latency.
When you get the results, you’ll have an upload speed, download speed and latency (ping) rate. Uploads and downloads are measured in Mbps (Megabits per second), and will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to transfer files.
The latency rate tells you how long it takes data to be transferred from one place to another, and translates into the amount of time it takes between when you perform an action and when you see the result. The lower your latency is, the better—you’ll see pages load faster and get a quicker response from websites you visit.
Average speeds vary a lot by country, because of differences in infrastructure and providers. In New Zealand, the average mobile download speed is 76 Mbps. To put that into perspective, think about the time it would take you to download an average movie (around 2 GB) to your phone on a mobile network. There are 8,000 Megabits in one GB, which means a 76 Mbps connection would download the film in about three and a half minutes.
But if you were downloading the same movie to your phone in the United Arab Emirates—the country with the fastest average speed at 170 Mbps—it would only take one and a half minutes. If you tried downloading it in Afghanistan, though—with the slowest average speed at 6.3 Mbps)—your popcorn would probably get cold before the movie started. The download would take around 45 minutes to finish.
You get faster speeds when you’re on a fixed broadband network, such as when you’re downloading files to your computer. The average download speed over broadband in New Zealand is around 145 Mbps, resulting in much faster file transfers.
New Zealand is ranked 22nd in the world for average broadband speeds. Our neighbours in Australia only get average speeds of 60 Mbps on broadband. Most the fastest connections are in Asia, with a super-fast 241 Mbps in Singapore and 222 Mbps in Hong Kong. These lucky internet users could download that same 2 GB film to their laptops in around a minute.
The Speed Test service keeps a running dashboard of average internet speeds around the world to track how mobile and broadband speeds change over time. You can see how different regions rank, and how the introduction of new technologies and updates to infrastructure around the world change the rankings year to year.
What Determines At-Home Internet Speed?
A lot of different factors go into determining your internet speed. It’s not just your country’s particular infrastructure, though—your download speed might be quite different from your neighbours’ speeds.
The first thing to consider is your internet provider and the plan you pay for. Depending on your location, there are different internet technologies, from dial-up to fibre. Dial-up is certainly on its way out (and with it the nostalgic sound of your phone line connecting to the web), as well as the slightly faster DSL technology that replaced it. These days, most people have cable or satellite.
Cable internet is common in cities and can give you a high speed connection. However, many households tend to share the same cable lines in highly populated areas, which can make the internet slower when lots of devices use it during peak times. Satellite is widely available for rural locations and can have a decent speed, though it’s susceptible to outages due to bad weather.
The best home internet option on the market currently is fibre, which uses fibre-optic cables to transfer data. It’s a fairly new technology, so it’s not available everywhere. However, as it comes to more and more cities, we can look forward to enjoying faster and highly reliable internet.
Unless you’re wired directly into your modem, though, the next determiner of your at-home internet speed is your Wi-Fi router. To really enjoy the high speeds offered by cable or fibre, you have to have a router that’s capable of relaying the signal to your wireless devices. You’ll also notice a difference in speed based on how far away you are from the router, as the signal gets weaker the further away you go. If you have a large home, you may benefit from a second router or a signal repeater, which helps boost the connection a bit more.
Finally, your internet speed at home is affected by the activity of other devices on your network. You’ve probably noticed that your connection slows down when you’re in the middle of uploading or downloading large files. You can also see a difference if there are many devices connected to your network at once. This doesn’t just mean other people using their laptops or phones in your house, but also the number of smart devices and televisions that are part of the network.
Speed On the Go
When you’re away from home, your internet speed may be harder to predict. When using a mobile device, you either rely on Wi-Fi networks or your mobile provider’s data coverage, which can vary a lot based on your location. The further you are from a cell tower, the slower or more spotty your coverage will get—if you have one at all.
The good news is that 5G technology is becoming much more widespread, so you could soon have access to faster, more reliable internet when you’re out and about. In 2019, thousands of providers began rolling out 5G networks, and their popularity has continued to grow.
5G connections are faster because they have more bandwidth than previous mobile connections. The larger the bandwidth, the more devices can join the network at optimal performance. Part of the reason 5G is so important is that we have more devices online than ever, particularly because of the Internet of Things. 5G gives you speeds that are hundreds of times faster than the typical 4G connection.
To enjoy 5G, you’ll need to have an enabled device. Many older devices aren’t equipped to handle the technology, but new releases from big-name phone manufacturers use 5G to their advantage. When you get a 5G-enabled device, you’ll get the best online casino experience even when you’re playing on the go.
How Much Speed Do You Need?
When it comes to internet, faster is better, of course. However, it can also be more expensive to get a high-speed connection like fibre, so you should choose a plan that meets your needs but isn’t too much. For example, if you only ever use your computer to read the news and type Word documents, you don’t need the fastest internet on the market. But if you like to play online games with a YouTube video playing in the background, you’ll need something stronger.
To stream Ultra HD 4K video, you want a minimum of 25 Mbps to ensure a smooth replay. Standard definition video only requires around 8 Mbps, and most streaming services won’t even work at speeds less than 3 Mbps. Most video streaming apps take your internet speed into account and will automatically choose what quality video they play for your device, so you avoid buffering. If you want to see things in high-def, choosing a high-speed internet plan is essential.
Online gaming requires even more internet power than streaming videos, because your device is constantly uploading and downloading information to keep the game going. Speeds of around 25 Mbps are good enough for efficient gaming, but latency/ping times are also very important. A ping time of less than 20 milliseconds will ensure that you have a better gaming experience.
When you’re playing at an online casino, NZ’s average mobile speed of 76 Mbps is great for gaming. Playing online casino games doesn’t take quite as much internet speed as video games, since there’s generally less animation. However, if you play a game such as live poker, you may also be streaming video while you play, which would require a better connection.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your internet connection quality will change a lot as you move around. This is important if you like to play games on your train or bus commute, since you may pass through areas with poorer coverage. To avoid losing your connection when you’re in the middle of a win streak, it’s worth checking a coverage map to make sure you’ll keep your signal while you travel.
How to Get the Best Speed
If you want the best experience at an online casino in New Zealand, there are some steps you can take to make sure your connection is a winner.
First off, check the speed on your different devices using a speed test, and check with your provider to see what speeds they’re able to offer, and what you pay for. If you pay for faster internet than you get, there may be a problem with your wiring or connections that the provider can fix.
Next, see if your wireless router is putting a cap on your internet speeds. You can first test your speed on a computer connected directly to the modem, and then on the same computer connected to the network via Wi-Fi. If you notice a huge difference in the speeds, consider upgrading your Wi-Fi router or checking the settings to make sure things are configured correctly.
From there, consider which devices in your home are connected to your network. Don’t forget about household appliances or less frequently used mobile devices that may still be drawing from your network’s supply.
You can also check which parts of your home have the best connection. These are most likely to be the spots nearest your wireless router, so you can improve your gaming experience by hooking up the router in a central location. If you most frequently play online casino games on your couch, for example, put the router in your living room rather than having it in an upstairs office.
If you still have slower internet than you’d like, it may be time to update your devices. Some older technology can give you a lagging connection, making it harder to play online casino games or stream videos.
What’s Next for Fast Internet?
With the rise of 5G, many people have speculated on whether the technology might begin to replace Wi-Fi networks. In many places, particularly with crowded networks, you may actually get a faster connection from your 5G phone than by logging into the Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is unlikely to disappear any time soon, though, as the rollout of 5G still hasn’t been extensive enough to cover the globe. Wi-Fi also allows better connectivity between devices on the same network, allowing you to use connected devices like smart printers or cast media playing on your phone onto your smart TV. Plus, depending on your phone plan, you may save money by using your unlimited home Wi-Fi network rather than using a potentially pricey 5G connection to download files.
As connectivity technology improves, the demand for better speeds is also increasing. Consumers want higher-definition video and better graphics, so designers and developers are delivering this enhanced experience. That means you may not get the optimal experience without a newer device.
Many of the best new online casino games, like pokies and roulette, are incorporating better graphics and sound effects to give players a great experience. This makes it even more important for gaming fans to have a good connection whether they’re at home or on the go. As the technology develops, online casinos are able to deliver a better experience to their users, rivalling the feel of playing live in an on-land casino, but without all the hassle of travel and crowds.
As faster internet speeds become the norm, we could start to see a lot more use of data-intensive technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality. This could be particularly interesting for casino applications, because it could reproduce the fun of playing your favourite games live.
Imagine a future where you could walk up to a virtual blackjack or poker table in your own home and join a game, seeing your opponents around you through a special headset, and interacting with the dealer in real time. You may even be able to see a display of results, statistics or other information projected in your view for an even better gaming experience using augmented reality.
While this technology is still a way off, it’s fun to think about the ways that it could make gaming more immersive. No matter what the capabilities of virtual reality end up being in the gaming world, it will surely rely on a fast internet connection to deliver the experience to users.
Until then, you can enjoy playing all the best games at an online casino like JackpotCity. When you play online or in our mobile app, you’ll get a great casino experience no matter where you are. Optimizing your home’s internet connection will ensure that you have a seamless gameplay experience from the first deal to the last, without waiting so long for games to load or worrying about losing your connection in the middle of a heated competition.