Question Which is better: Low Latency and Low Bandwidth or High Latency and High Bandwidth?


Oct 29, 2013
Hello all

Where I live we're stuck with cable download speeds up to 2Mbps with around 30ms latency. The connection is pretty inconsistent - often we get sub-1Mbps speeds, which is unusable. We use the internet for browsing and streaming, but I have to borrow a friend's connection if I want to download anything substantial (>50Mb). I would like to be able to download the odd game (up to 50GB) and play games online.

I've got a 4G router and testing my various SIMs I can get over 20Mbps, which is plenty, but the latency has gone from 30ms to around 250ms. The internet feels snappier and pages never fail to load now, though it doesn't feel as fast as previous connections I've had presumably due to the high latency.

It looks like I can get a 4G unlimited deal for about the same as I currently pay for my cable connection (though I might have to pay a lot to get out of my current contract). So my question is, is it worth the switch to the 4G connection despite the high ping, and is there anything I can do about that? Is online gaming out of the question with that kind of latency?
First be very sure it is truely unlimited. You will generally not find truly unlimited plans in the USA. They seem to always have a "*" when it comes to tethered or router use. Read the fine print.

Pretty much the high latency only affects online games. Pure bandwidth is much more important almost all other applications. Latency used to cap your download speed but newer methods of transmission have almost eliminated that issue.
Things like netflix or youtube have large buffers to hide any latency issues.

Online games have 2 issues. The most important one is that the latency is very consistent. The servers have methods to allow the client to guess in game positions and keep things synced. If the latency changes a lot that is where you see major lag spikes in the game. The other is high latency in general. This really depends on the game. Some shooter type games you need to have your latency close to other players. The game can adjust for small difference say under 100ms but when there are very large difference in latency someone with low latency get a advantage.
If everyone has 250ms to the game server it will be more equal but of course there it will run smoother if you have lower latency.