For Mobile Gaming, 5G Is Already Pwning Wi-Fi


Do you like to game while out and about? You probably use your smartphone, and common sense says you’d find a Wi-Fi network to get the best internet connection and keep the game going. Well, toss that notion out the window if you’ve got a 5G phone and a location with 5G connectivity.

Opensignal collects data(Opens in a new window) from millions of devices globally that run its software. It looked at download and upload speeds across different connection types from tests collected from December 2021 through February 2022, and it used those to quantify what it calls the Game Experience score for each type. Anything with a score of 75 or higher (out of 100) is considered good for gaming.

Only two connection types make it to that level. Home and office Wi-Fi networks at 76.3 is one. It’s the connection most mobile gamers would gravitate toward. But the tests show that if your phone has mmWave 5G, the score jumps up to 81.8.

Obviously, 4G is left in the dust. But it’s interesting to note that even lower-band 5G gets a 74.5. That’s a few points higher than any of the hotspot Wi-Fi connections found at hotels, cafes, stores, and other public places, where network congestion, backhaul speed, and equipment quality are out of your control.

Opensignal performed this same research in 2021(Opens in a new window) and notes that “the overall 5G experience has improved faster than the Wi-Fi experience” in the past year. Last year, it concentrated on download and upload speeds and provided the same info this time. It saw a decrease in the mmWave 5G downloads: It was 640.5Mbps but dropped to 571.6Mbps this year.


But c’mon. That mmWave download speed average obliterates every other wireless connection type. Even standard low-spectrum 5G is 4.8 times faster than a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you’re only downloading files or streaming, it’s looking more and more like 5G will be your connection of choice, once you can get it. This is why both T-Mobile and Verizon can sell a home-based internet service using nothing more than 5G for backhaul.

Also, mmWave 5G outperforms the rest when it comes to upload speed, something you can usually blame on stingy ISPs (if they aren’t fiber-based).


Those numbers are in keeping with the 2021 results, all with a slight improvement. In fact, Wi-Fi’s improvements were the most significant; public Wi-Fi went from 11.2Mbps to 19.5Mbps. But it still wasn’t enough to catch up to mmWave 5G.

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Read the full report at Opensignal(Opens in a new window).

For more on gaming internet connections, check out the Best Gaming ISPs for 2022—nothing is going to beat fiber-to-the-home for real gaming for a long time. You can be part of that story by testing your internet connection below. (Turn off your VPN and any streaming video for best results.)


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