Online gaming can be one of the most enjoyable pastimes, no matter what your age, but not when your connection isn't up to speed.
We've all been privy to that moment when you're streaming your favourite show or movie and your connection starts playing up. Now think how annoying that must be when you're in the middle of a game online, and you're winning!
That's why a fast and reliable broadband connection is vital if you're looking to conquer distant lands or immerse yourself in another world. In this article we'll take a look at a number of the best broadband deals available right now for gamers.
But before we do, let’s take a look at some of the important things you should consider before deciding on any one broadband provider.
Some things to look out for…
Availability in your location - when looking for a new broadband connection it's advisable to be aware of what infrastructure is available to you in your location. For many people in remote rural locations a regular 100Mbps connection is still a while away, while those in more urban and built up areas will have access to speeds of up to 1Gbps. Checking how your broadband connection currently enters your house should also be part of this process and brings us onto our next point...
Your connection - does your home have a Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection or is it connected via Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH)? While FTTH isn't a requirement to receive speeds as fast as 1Gbps, it does mean that your connection will use 100% fibre-optic cables. On the other hand, FTTC uses copper cables in the final stretch of its journey to connect your home to the cabinet outside. In addition, regardless of the provider you're looking at signing up with, it's always good to do some research into the network your provider uses as this will be relevant to what is available to you. For example, SIRO is still only available in certain parts of the country, as is the Open Eir fibre network.
Latency - many people will look to the 'ping' for how fast a connection is, and while this isn't wrong, a more accurate way to distinguish a connection's speed is to acknowledge your broadband's latency. Where ping is a measurement of the signal sent from one to computer to another (in one direction), latency is a measurement of the signal that has come full circle. Latency and ping are both measured in milliseconds. The latency for the average broadband customer in Ireland can be anywhere between 20 and 40ms. Anything over 100ms would generally not be considered optimal.
Use an ethernet cable where possible - again, another tip most people (especially gamers) will be aware of, but when your broadband is set up and ready to go you should definitely consider using an ethernet cable if the connection is ready and available in your home. Ethernet cables ensure your connection is more secure, reliable, and just generally faster.
Speed - this is naturally the one most people will look to first and foremost, and while speeds of 100Mbps are sufficient for online gaming, it does depend on a number of other factors. For example, your location will come into play as mentioned above, as well as what's called the 'contention ratio', or the amount of other households near you on the same connection.
Price - Even though price is an important consideration, it’s not the be all and end all, especially if you want to make sure you’re getting top speeds, improved latency, and not to mention good customer service should anything go awry.
So, without further ado, here is a selection of the best broadband deals currently available for those with a predilection for online gaming.
Vodafone - Simply Broadband
Our first broadband deal is from none other than Vodafone and comes with speeds of up to 100Mbps and at a cost of only €30 per month for the first 12 months, or €360 for the first year.
This broadband-only deal from Vodafone is perfect for a small household or where the internet isn't under too much strain from multiple-users.
This is only FTTC broadband though, as it also needs to use your existing copper phone line in order to connect your home to the internet. This means the top speed you can expect will vary depending on how far your home is from your local cabinet so be sure to check with Vodafone what speed your line is capable of achieving before signing up. The closer to 100Mbps the better.
While this deal from Vodafone is quite basic, its main draw is the first-year price of only €360, as well as no setup or equipment costs for new customers.
This deal also won the Best Value Broadband award at this year's bonkers.ie National Consumer Awards 2020.
You can sign up today or take a closer look in more detail right here.
Sky - Broadband Ultrafast Plus
Sky Ireland is the provider of our next broadband deal for gamers. With considerably faster speeds of up to 500Mbps, a full-fibre connection, and all for only €35 per month for the first 12 months (€60 thereafter), this is a hard one to overlook for gamers.
At a reduced first year cost of only €35 per month, new customers would only be paying €470 for the first year, taking into account a €50 setup cost charged by Sky. Broadband Ultrafast Plus comes on a 12 month contract and reverts to the standard price of €85 per month once the initial contract period expires.
While most broadband deals from Sky are provided through Eir's ADSL line similar to Vodafone's above, this deal is powered by a fully fibre network and provided through either SIRO or Open Eir, depending on where you live in the country.
SIRO is the joint fibre venture between Vodafone and the ESB, while Open Eir is Eir's FTTH network and both guarantee customers super fast FTTH broadband speeds, so perfect for people streaming and gaming online at any one time.
To reiterate, both the SIRO and open Eir networks aren't readily available in every location so it's best to check what broadband you can sign up to using our comparison tool here.
Eir - Broadband & Home Phone
This broadband deal from Eir is offering gamers speeds of up to 1Gbps through its fibre broadband network, open Eir, and for the reasonable price of €54.99 per month on a 24 month contract.
A full-fibre connection, this broadband deal is perfect for gamers who want top speeds as well as low latency in order to ensure seamless online gaming, and for €659.88 per year you can't go too far wrong with speeds as fast as this.
Included in this broadband bundle also is a home phone with unlimited off-peak local and national calls, making it easier than ever to stay connected both online and over the phone.
This deal is also perfect for those avid streamers who can't get enough TV as this bundle includes a year's free subscription to Amazon Prime Video, not to mention the Eir Sport pack which is free for all residential broadband customers.
Important to note is that this deal includes an initial setup cost of €49.99 and is subject to availability in your location.
Pure Telecom - Premium Speed 1000Mbps
This next deal deal comes from none other than Pure Telecom which has been around for almost 20 years and is providing an alternative fibre-speed broadband bundle with this deal.
Gamers can get their hands on lightning quick speeds of 1Gbps with this 'Premium Speed' plan from Pure Telecom, and for only €35 per month for the first 12 months, €55 per month thereafter, and a first year cost of only €420.
Supplied through the SIRO network, this broadband deal provides incredibly fast speeds by way of fibre optic cables directly to the home and is up to ten times faster than regular broadband.
Coming with absolutely no set up or equipment costs for new customers, this deal also includes a trusty home phone with anytime calls to Irish landlines, so similar to Eir's gigabit deal.
Premium Speed comes on a 12 month contract, which is now pretty much standard nowadays.
Digiweb - SIRO Gigabit Broadband & Talk Off-peak
Our penultimate broadband deal is from Digiweb who is also offering gamers speeds of up to 1Gbps with a full fibre connection.
This gigabit broadband is powered by SIRO and costs only €24.54 for the first four months, €54.05 for the next 8 months, and €58.98 per month thereafter, and comes on a standard 12 month contract.
That means Digiweb's broadband deal comes in at a very reasonable price of €579.56 for the year, including a once-off activation fee of €49 for new customers who sign up.
Digiweb is also throwing in a home phone with this deal, similar to Pure Telecom and Eir, with off-peak calls to Irish landlines included.
For those interested in signing up, you can find out more here.
Virgin Media - Naked 500 (Our standout for gamers!)
Last but by no means least is this 500Mbps deal from Virgin Media, and by far one of the best deals on offer from all providers at the moment.
This deal comes at a reduced price of €61 per month for the first year of contract, reverts to €71 thereafter and comes in at a total of €762. The total year cost includes an initial and once off setup cost of €30 for new customers.
While this deal is a little more expensive than the others mentioned here, there are a few reasons why it comes out trumps.
Virgin Media owns its own network, and while it is only FTTC and doesn't yet offer a full-fibre connection, it still offers speeds of up to 1Gbps to 97.5% of its entire existing network, which is pretty impressive.
Virgin Media was also named Ireland's fastest fixed and in-home Wi-Fi broadband provider for the fourth year running by independent speed test platform, Ookla.
Ookla's results also showed that Virgin Media's average Wi-Fi latency averaged out at 13ms, out-benching the competition, with Vodafone coming in second at 19ms. And with this deal, overall latency is bound to be a bit faster. Additionally, Ookla's results also showed that Virgin's average download speeds top out at around 490Mbps which is not bad at all, especially if yours is a busy gaming and streaming household.
Virgin Media's broadband also uses Smart Wifi and an advanced technology that offers users Channel Optimisation which ensures your connection is always on the fastest possible connection.
Similar to Eir's deal, Virgin Media offers a little extra with its Virgin Media Sports app available to all broadband customers who sign up.
Compare broadband today
While the deals mentioned above are some great options for gamers looking to upgrade or simply get a better deal, there are plenty of more broadband options to choose from on bonkers.ie.
Use our broadband comparison tool now to compare the best broadband deals available at your address, and in only a matter of seconds!