Playstation 4 and Xbox One - Gaming Over Celluar and Data Usage

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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Playstation 4 and Xbox One - Gaming Over Celluar and Data Usage


Now that the Playstation 4 and Xbox One have been available for over a year, its time to take a look at gaming over cellular connections, the equipment you’ll need, and what type of data usage you can expect.

Lets start with the basics, getting your Playstation 4 or Xbox one online with a cellular internet connection is easier than it may seem. You’ll need to establish what type of device you’ll get your internet connection with. It can be a USB modem, a cellular hotspot, an embedded router, or even your phones hotspot feature!


(AT&T 313U Momentum USB Modem)

If you have a USB modem, like the 313U Momentum, it can not directly connect to the console of your choice. USB modems are meant to plug directly into a PC, and connect a single device at a time. To share that USB modem with multiple devices at once, a compatible router is required. We recommend the Pepwave Surf SOHO for gamers. By plugging the USB modem into the SOHO, you now are sharing that with 4 ethernet ports, plus a WiFi network. Multiple devices can be online at a time, and you can now connect your console to the router with ease.


(Pepwave Surf SOHO Front)

Cellular hotspots and mobile hotspot devices will allow a console to connect directly to them without any router in between. However, there are some major benefits to using a router. A router like the SOHO has advanced bandwidth monitoring. This means you can monitor exactly how much data usage each device on your network uses per hour, day, month, or watch in real time! As a test, we took two Playstation 4 consoles playing Battlefield 4, and monitored their data usage over a few hours. It looks like each console used between 60-80 MB of data per hour. 60-80 MB per hour is about the same data usage that last generation consoles used and was expected. However, when we fired up Destiny on two consoles and played online, the data usage was MUCH higher, with significant upload and download for an average 300MB an hour! Cellular users with limited data plans take note that mileage will vary per game, making a router like the SOHO that can do this type of detailed bandwidth tracking a potential money SAVER when you consider overage costs.


(PS4 Battlefield 4, 1 hour online play. 2 Consoles for comparison)


(PS4 Destiny, 1 hour online play. 2 Consoles for comparison)


Online play clearly uses a large amount of data, and on limited cellular plans ensuring you don’t go over limits is very important. The SOHO will allow you to easily track this usage. See our video below on the monitoring options available.


The next option for playing online is to use an embedded router. An embedded router is an all in one device with the cellular connectivity built in. No external modem or hotspot is required. The benefits here are many, including improved cellular reception thanks to dual diversity high gain cellular antennas, and improved reliability with internal modems made for 24/7 connectivity. A router like the ARC MBR1400 is a top end choice for gamers looking to play over cellular, as well as have a number of robust features like monitoring and long range WiFi connectivity. Read our full article on the advantages of embedded routers here.


(Cradlepoint ARC MBR1400 Embedded Router)

Depending on location, you may only have a 3G connection available. Online gaming over 3G is possible, but 3G inherently has a higher latency than an LTE connection. This means FPS titles may be more difficult to play, since you’ll be in the 150ms range for latency, effectively ‘behind’ real time. LTE connectivity is better, with typical latencies from 30ms to 60ms, which is highly playable regardless of the game. Read more about ping times here . Trouble with signal strength? Cellular antennas or amplifiers can be added to improve reception and speeds as well. Below is a video we made on gaming with 3G and LTE.


The last consideration with online play with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One is NAT types. NAT types dictate what types of games users can get into, and at what speed the connection happens. Players with a strict NAT type, can only play with other users of a strict NAT type. With a cellular connection, most users will have a moderate NAT type, which is perfectly acceptable for the majority of online games. With an embedded router, port forwarding and DMZ can be enabled to try and open that NAT type even further. To get a fully open NAT type, users must pay for a static IP address from their carriers, which can be very expensive. Verizon for example charges a one time $500 fee for this. Due to the high costs, most gamers on cellular just stick with the moderate NAT type.

Overall, console gaming over cellular connections has been done for many years, and it is still a viable option. Considerations for data usage, equipment, and NAT types are the biggest influence in what type of online experience you’ll have.

For more information, click here to contact the experts at 3Gstore.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 December 2014 )
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