Faster downloads, better streaming: why a gamer’s New Years resolution should be a network upgrade

The urge to level up is constant for gamers. The desire to switch from Nintendo Switch to Nintendo Switch OLED is strong, the need to insert a 2TB SSD into the PS5 is almost overwhelming, and the desire to switch from a standard Xbox pad to an Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller. deep, abundant and stupendous.

The problem is, we don’t always do the upgrades that get the most bang for our buck. And while flashy hardware launches often grab our attention, the gadgets that supports our gambling addiction.

Xbox Game Pass for PC

(Image credit: Miguel Lagoa)

Specifically, I am talking about our network equipment. Never before has the quality of our Internet connections been so important for our gaming sessions. At a basic level, games are bigger than they’ve ever been, regularly exceeding 100GB. So even playing a game at the right time requires an Internet connection of a magnitude well beyond. what was required in the last generation.

And that’s before considering many of the modern gaming amenities that depend on a solid network connection, like game streaming, remote gaming, live streaming, and competitive online gaming. Plus, a good network will improve other aspects of your digital life, from TV streaming and video call quality to smoother work-at-home connectivity. It’s an upgrade that will impact not only your game, but your daily online experience as well.

And that’s why my New Years 2022 resolution is to give my home a complete network makeover. If surfing the freeway was still a phrase that didn’t conjure up images of the “hello folks” meme, next year I’ll be the Big Kahuna in the Hawaiian shorts, sculpting the A-Frame from the quick downloads and fluid flows.

Or something.

Anyway, here’s what I’m going to need to do it.

LV full fiber

(Image credit: BT)

What I am improving: Broadband to BT Full Fiber 900

Start at the source – get your broadband speed to zero. Here in the UK you have a few options from fiber to premises provider, from Hyperoptic to Amvia. But for wide coverage, customer service, and package options that include TV, I go with BT Full Fiber 900. Running fiber optic cables directly from the local BT exchange to your home will get you up to speed. up to 25 times faster than standard fiber broadband connections.

What it benefits: All! With a full fiber connection, you’ll dramatically reduce the time it takes to download a game, and that can make you think twice before investing in expensive additional storage solutions. Why store your library on hard drives if you can easily swap and download titles at your leisure. Likewise, the high-speed speeds will ensure you have smooth, stable, high-resolution streaming connections with no buffering or drop-offs, which comes in handy for everything from streaming Xbox Game Pass to Google Stadia and Netflix to Disney Plus. .

Devolo Mesh Wifi 2

(Image credit: Devolo)

What I am improving: Powerline kit for Devolo Mesh Wi-Fi 2 Whole Home Kit

If you want solid connectivity around your home and can’t always run a cable straight from your router to your devices, the Powerline network (which feeds your broadband signal through your home’s electrical wiring) is the way to go. . The Devolo Mesh Wi-Fi 2 Whole Home Wi-Fi Kit does better than that. It not only acts as a wired link to a hard-to-reach router, but (as the name suggests) also acts as a mesh network that covers your home in terms of wireless connectivity, boosting and repeating the signal from the powerline outlet to the CPL socket. Theoretical speeds of 1200 Mbps are possible with Mesh Wi-Fi 2 products. Each unit also benefits from two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi on the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands and ” a power outlet so that you do not lose access to a wall outlet.

What it benefits: While this is especially useful for large homes where a remote router’s Wi-Fi coverage can be spotty, I’ll be using the Devolo kit for a very specific purpose – to get the most out of the Nvidia Gamestream and Moonlight apps. With my gaming PC and Nvidia Shield TV Pro decoder connected to Devolo’s powerline equipment, I will be able to make the most of Nvidia’s GameStream feature and the independent Moonlight app, which allows you to stream locally stored games. from the PC to a compatible device. In this case, it will allow me to play PC games over my local network on the big screen in my living room without moving my PC. Devolo’s networking gear will ensure that I don’t lose frames or experience any unwanted lag. It’s especially useful for older games that haven’t made the jump to streaming services yet.

D-Link EXO WiFi 6 AX1500 Router

(Image credit: D-Link)

What I am improving: Router to… an undecided Wi-Fi 6 choice!

According to to our own Steve McCaskill, “Wi-Fi 6 is a generational change in wireless communications and is seen as a complementary technology to 5G, increasing speeds, improving capacity and reducing latency. This ensures a higher degree of performance and reliability, especially in networks where multiple devices compete for bandwidth. So, it’s a no-brainer to upgrade, right? While I usually chose one of our best guide to Wi-Fi 6 routers, they are not compatible with the BT TV Box Pro that comes with the BT Full Fiber 900 package that I am using. Rumor has it that the next BT Smart Hub router will be Wi-Fi 6 enabled, so this might be the one I have to wait for.

What it benefits: For me, personally, this one comes down to wireless VR gaming. I want to be able to use the Oculus Link feature of my Oculus Quest 2 headset (or should it be Meta Quest these days?) Wi-Fi 6 will ensure the process is smooth and stable and also minimize lag that could otherwise you will turn your stomach upside down in a virtual reality situation.

AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter

(Image credit: D-Link)

What I am improving: Wi-Fi key for D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter

What is the use of a Wi-Fi 6 router if your computer does not support the standard? Rather than tearing the guts out of your PC, this external adapter from D-Link adds W-Fi 6 functionality to your PC without having to do open heart surgery on it. It is plug-and-play with preloaded drivers and offers connection speeds of 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz) / 1200 Mbps (5 GHz).

What it benefits: Again, for me, it comes down to the Oculus Link storyline. Since my gaming PC doesn’t have its own Wi-Fi card (weird, eh?), This external USB solution will allow me to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6 and make the most of the wireless VR features I have. ‘ve mentioned above. .

GeForce Now supports Far Cry 6

(Image credit: Nvidia)

What I am improving: Nvidia GeForce Now towards… a better version of Nvidia GeForce Now with 4K ray-tracing support

While it has rivals including Google Stadia, Xbox Game Pass Streaming, and Amazon Luna, my favorite game streaming service is still Nvidia GeForce Now. It allows you to stream games over the internet without downloading them first, much like you access a Netflix stream. You can use it on pretty much any device, from iPad to Android phone to (my favorite) Nvidia Shield TV, and it has an ever-growing library of games. Best of all, by connecting it to your Steam, Epic Games, and Ubisoft accounts, your subscription to the service grants you access to games you’ve already purchased elsewhere, which Stadia doesn’t offer. GeForce Now is split into tiers, and I’ll be using the RTX 3080 membership tier, which offers gameplay up to 1440p / 120fps via PC and Mac, and high-res 4K / 60fps HDR when streamed on this Nvidia. Shield TV.

What it benefits: The upgraded level boosts resolutions from a 1080p standard up to UHD 4K, with HDR and higher frame rates to match. But it’s the power of virtual machines that this level offers that interests me. The RTX 3080 level actually uses an Ampere GA102 chip on a server with an eight-core AMD Threadripper processor, 28GB of DDR4 memory, and a Gen4 SSD. Nvidia says it’s good for around 35 Teraflops of GPU performance, which puts it more in line with the even more powerful RTX 3090 than the 3080 the tier gets its name from. With the hardware upgrades above, I’ll be able to blackmail GeForce Now, even at its highest resolutions and frame rates, in a way that’ll make me forget I’m streaming those demanding games from the cloud.

This article is part of TechRadar Technical resolutions series, an explosion of motivating incentives showing you how to power up your New Year with technology. From Sunday December 26 to Sunday January 2, our series will also reveal how we aim to improve the lives of our gadgets in 2022. So whether you want to become a power Chromebook user, beat your take-out obsession with a new air fryer or use a smartwatch to propel yourself to new heights of fitness, we’ll show you how to spend your new year on the plane. And when things inevitably go wrong, you can always blame the gadgets.

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