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Can I Play the PS3/360/Wii with 3G or 4G Wireless (Online Gaming)?

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Monday, 18 April 2011

 

3gstore_logo_small.jpgThe mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore/EVDOinfo answer countless questions from our customers and from the EVDO Forums community every day - from general mobile broadband questions ("what the heck does 3G mean?") to specific questions about products to more advanced inquiries about what one can do with their mobile broadband service. The "mobile broadband FAQ" series addresses these questions in depth one FAQ at a time. To view ALL of the FAQs we've addressed in this series, visit EVDOinfo.com/faq.


Mobile Broadband FAQ #9: Can I play the PS3/360/Wii with 3G or 4G Wireless? 

A common question we hear from customers who use or are considering using a 3G or 4G mobile broadband modem is "can I get online and play multiplayer games with this type of internet connection?" The answer is YES, you can get online to play your friends! To get your 360/PS3/Wii online via your 3G or 4G connection, you'll need a 3G/4G router, which allows you to provide connectivity to multiple devices and optimize your connection for gaming. In fact, when you purchase your equipment from 3Gstore.com you have access to our exclusive gaming tip sheets and technical support for free!
 

One of the biggest concerns for gamers is latency, which is the amount of time it takes for your internet connection to communicate with the server or host you're joining. Most cable/DSL connections ping servers in about 25-50ms, while a 3G connection is around 100-150ms and 4G pings can be as low as 45ms. You will be at a slight disadvantage when compared to cable/DSL, but gaming over 3G or 4G is certainly do-able. With our 3G/4G routers you'll be able to tweak your settings to get a Nat Type 2 open connection, which is ideal for joining parties and ensuring you have the best gaming experience. Even if you're using a 3G or 4G hotspot (like the MiFi, Elevate, or even the hotspot feature on your smartphone), you will still benefit greatly from using a router instead of connecting your gaming console to your hotspot's WiFi network because the router will allow you adjust settings that you can't adjust on your hotspot alone (with the hotspot alone, you are usually stuck with a Nat Type 3 connection, which is less than ideal). Using a router to make the connection to your gaming console makes all the difference!

Please Note: Some carriers make it impossible to get a fully open Nat type 2 connection. AT&T physically blocks ports at the carrier level, which makes it impossible to open the connection through the router. If you have the option, 3Gstore recommends using a USB modem for gaming as opposed to a hotspot device to avoid secondary firewalls.

Rather than just telling you that gaming is possible, we wanted to actually show you a live game play video from the popular Call Of Duty Black Ops game:


Below you'll find a 4G LTE gameplay video to compare to the 3G demo:
Something else that we'd like to address is the confusion surrounding signal strength and how it correlates within the actual game. In the screen shot below, you'll notice each player has a signal strength meter ranging from 1 to 4 bars, with four bars being ideal. 3G and 4G users are used to looking at their signal strength and understand how important solid signal is for good performance, but the signal bars you see within a game are NOT the same as your 3G/4G signal strength! What you're viewing when you hit the select button to see your score/connection is how good your connection is to the server or host of the actual match. If you're concerned about your signal strength and are wondering if an antenna or amplifier might help you, the in-game signal bars are NOT the right place to start - you'll want to do a site survey using the modem's signal strength to determine what will or will not help you. However, keep in mind that while an antenna/amplifier might help your download/upload speeds, signal boosters don't always help with latency (as noted earlier, 3G and 4G connections simply aren't going to have the same low latency that you get from wired connections). We recommend using Speedtest.net to test your connection; if your ping is under 200ms you shouldn't have any problems getting connected and playing online.

gaming_signal.jpg
In-game menu displaying latency to host as signal bars - this is NOT your modem's signal strength!

What does having a higher latency mean for you?

This means that you will be playing slightly behind the action that is actually being displayed on the screen. In long distance combat you won't notice it; however, when up close the lag can become more apparent when somebody appears to jump around on you a little bit. If you've watched the demo video you'll notice that for the most part this is negligible and any good gamer can still play competitively. If you're using 4G service the latency problems are further diminished. If you're looking to game and have 4G available, Verizon's network is the king in this department, hitting as low as 45ms in some areas, while Sprint's 4G WiMAX is around 80-125ms (better than 3G on average but not as good as LTE 4G). Below you'll find a breakdown of latency based on the type of connection you have.
  • Satellite Internet: 1000-2000 ms - makes gaming very frustrating due to the huge delay that occurs from the time you move till the server actually receives the instructions
  • Dial-Up: 200-250 ms - Believe it or not, you can actually game "somewhat" over dial-up. Your biggest limitation is the lack of bandwidth, which causes the server to choke
  • 3G Wireless: 100-150 ms - This is an acceptable range to game on, you may notice moments of lag but it's playable
  • 4G Wireless: 45-125 ms - This is a much better latency where you won't notice much lag at all and should be almost on par with a high end Cable/DSL connection
  • Cable/DSL: 25-50 ms - This is ideal for minimum delay while gaming
What type of games can I play with 3G or 4G?

With a strong 3G or 4G connection you can play most of the popular genres. The popular FPS (First Person Shooters) will work without much issue, although MMORGP (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) and RPG (Role playing games) will work better because they don't require ultra low latency. Driving games like Gran Turismo 5, Forza motor sport and other racing games also play really well through a 3G or 4G connection. The only games that you will have trouble with when using a 3G/4G connection are fighting games. The reason is because a fighting game is real time and requires ultra twitch movements and responses. If somebody throws a punch at you, you'll literally be hit before the action ever hits your screen.   

How much bandwidth will I use when I'm gaming?

With most users stuck with either a 5GB or 10GB monthly allowance, a lot of people have concerns that gaming will eat through their allowance too quickly. This is actually a common misconception because gaming doesn't use a lot of data (even when you're using voice). A combined download/upload stream typically yields around 17.5kB/s, (17.5kB/s X 60 seconds = 1.05 MB per minute). This works out to roughly 63MB per hour or approximately 81.26 hours of gaming per month on the 5GB plan. Of course this is just an average, you'll find that some games can use more bandwidth, while others don't use as much. You should find that most games on the market will use around 50-75MB per hour, which means you'll have plenty of time to game and still have data leftover for other activites on the internet. We have created helpful charts which will show you approximately how much data a lot of popular web based activities will use - see What Does 5GB Get Me? and What Does 10GB Get Me?. All of our routers offer diagnostic tools that allow you to view real time network traffic, which means you can play a round and look at the chart to see what type of usage you're getting. You can then calculate exactly how much data a particular game is using so you know how many hours you have to get your frag on.  

MW3 Bandwidth Used Demonstration With Pepwave/Peplink Monitoring Hardware:
 

With multiplayer gaming become much more popular, we've made it much easier for customers to quickly find a router that is gaming compatible. We have created a router advisor tool with an option to only display routers compatible with your device that support gaming. You'll notice that a lot of different models do support gaming, so we wanted to highlight some popular options for gamers. Below you'll find some great options from entry level to higher end products to meet your gaming needs.

Popular 3G/4G Routers for Gaming:

mbr95_medium.jpg
The Cradlepoint MBR95 (left) is a very popular option for gamers looking for a mid-range router that offers a lot of potential.

 

Pros:

  • Offers wireless B,G and N radios for excellent WiFi range (100-150 feet)
  • 4 Ethernet Lan ports for multiple system owners - Hardwire your PS3/360/Wii for optimal performance
  • Wide support for Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and more!
  • Supports 3G EVDO, 4G WiMAX and 4G LTE
  • WiFi as WAN to grab open WiFi to save on bandwidth for game patches, DLC (downloadable content) and demos
Cons:
  • Doesn't have all the "enterprise" features the higher-end routers offer


 The Cradlepoint CTR35  (left) is a nice entry level model perfect for gaming.

Pros:

  • Small portable form factor
  • WiFi as WAN to grab open WiFi to save on bandwidth for game patches, DLC (downloadable content) and demo's
  • Cost - Lowest price Cradlepoint 3G/4G capable router

 

Cons:

  • Only 1 Ethernet LAN/WAN combined port - If you want to use Cable/DSL you lose the ability to hard wire to your console
  • This router supports B,G and N wireless radios, however, doesn't have the range of higher end models

 

peplink balance 20The Peplink Balance 20 (left) is a more "advanced" router with a lot of great features

Pros:

  • Comprehensive bandwidth monitoring feature
  • Great for failover
  • 4 Ethernet Lan ports for multiple system owners - Hardwire your PS3/360/Wii for optimal performance

Cons:

  • No built-in WiFi (if you need WiFi, you need to add an access point)
  • Higher cost

The nice thing about all of these routers is that they'll also work with a Cable/DSL connection. So, if you're having issues with a strict Nat on you Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, you'll be able to optimize your gaming experience too! These routers will allow you to game on your 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, PSP, iPad and any other networked devices that offer online gaming. Even if you don't want to game online, you can use this new connectivity to download new updates for your favorite offline games, patches, chat with friends or even watch Netflix or download Blu Ray live content.

If you've ever thought that you were out of luck because Cable/DSL doesn't reach you, think again: 3Gstore is here to meet your gaming needs and help you stay connected! 



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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 April 2013 )
 
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