Nextlink is an internet service provider that primarily services rural areas of the country. If you live in a Nextlink service area, and you’re wondering is Nextlink good for gaming, the answer is yes. But there is a caveat to that answer which I’ll explain shortly.
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Here are a few things you need to be aware of when looking into whether Nextlink would be a good internet solution for your online gaming needs.
What is Nextlink?
Nextlink is an internet service provider based out of Texas. They are owned by AMG Technology Investment Group LLC, which was founded in 2012 in Hudson Oaks, TX. Based on the last data available, Nextlink currently generates over $1 million in annual sales (though I’m guessing that is a much higher number now).
Where is Nextlink internet service available?
Nextlink is NOT satellite internet. The technology used by Nextlink to provide internet service is known as “line-of-sight” internet service which means that – like cell towers – one of their internet towers needs to be located close enough to you to receive internet service.
This is accomplished by installing a small receiver dish that can receive the signal from the tower. The receiver is why a lot of people think that Nextlink is satellite internet, but it’s not. The signal is coming from a nearby tower, not a satellite.
I cannot see the tower from my house without binoculars, but the signal is extremely strong and consistent from the tower to my house.
Nextlink also recently won big at an FCC auction, winning over $400 million in federal funds to provide high-speed rural internet access to an additional 206,000 locations around the US including: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If it’s not available in your area today – keep checking back. They’re expanding rapidly.
Nextlink Internet Speeds
Nextlink currently offers a range of seven different residential internet service plans. Nextlink internet speeds range from as low as 10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload, all the way up to 100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.
Playing modern multiplayer games online typically requires a pretty fast internet speed (10Mbps/2Mbps or higher), but it’s not just the speed that matters. When considering Nextlink internet for gaming online, you also must be aware of your latency rate.
Nextlink Latency Rates for Online Gaming
Latency (otherwise known as “lag”) affects your gameplay by making it choppy and delayed if it’s too high. If you have extremely high latency rates, some gaming servers won’t even allow you to connect (looking at you Age of Empires online…) because it negatively effects the experience of other online gamers.
If you have ever been in a multiplayer game online where someone’s character is blipping and skipping as you watch them move across the screen, it’s highly likely that they have an extremely high latency rate.
The screenshot above is a Nextlink speed test I just did on my Nextlink “NEXT25” internet service from my house in rural Texas. As you can see from the screenshot, my latency rate with Nextlink is only 20 ms which is considered exceptional – and great for gaming.
According to HP, anything at 20ms or below is considered an exceptional latency rate. Anything above about 70ms and you’re probably going to be throwing your controller quite a bit (just kidding, don’t do that).
In general, Nextlink claims that across the board, their national average ping is <90ms. Keep in mind that Nextlink is in some of the most rural areas of the country, and some customers are connected from reeeeeallllly far away from Nextlink towers.
If I had to make an educated guess, the average person in rural America will probably be well under that 90 ms threshold. In fact, I just did another test, and today it was 10 ms (see screenshot in paragraphs below).
Nextlink Speed Test
Currently I have the NEXT25 plan, which provides up to 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. My Nextlink internet speed test above shows that I am just below 25 Mbps and just over 5 Mbps, which is precisely what I pay for on my Nextlink internet plan.
2023 Update: I still have Nextlink, so I just did another speed test. Here are the results:
Does Nextlink throttle speeds, or have any data caps?
Unlike satellite internet services (except Starlink) and many other rural internet providers, Nextlink does NOT have any data caps or limits. Nextlink does not throttle your internet speeds either.
You are free to stream and play games all day long.
Nextlink Internet Plans
Nextlink currently offers seven different residential internet service plans. However, not all Nextlink internet plans are available in all areas. Which plans are available to you depends on which of their towers is closest to you and what upgrades that tower has so far.
Currently, I am on the highest Nextlink internet plan available in my area which is the “NEXT25”, and it is 25 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. My price is currently $69.95 per month with a 2-year agreement, but you can go month to month without an internet service agreement and pay a higher rate of $89.95.
Nextlink recently said that they are upgrading my tower and that in the near future I will have access to Nextlink’s highest tiered internet plans which currently go as high as 100 Mbps.
How much does it cost to sign up for Nextlink?
Nextlink pricing is based on which internet service plan you choose to go with, and whether you opt into a 2-year agreement, or if you want to just go month to month. The screenshot below shows all seven of their current residential plans (business plans are priced differently) ranging from $49.95 per month to $119.95 per month with a two-year agreement.
Alternatively, you can go month to month at a higher rate of $69.95 to $139.95 for the same plans.
(Side Note: Please mention my name (Chris Fluegge) if you sign up! Any referral fees they pay help me to continue providing this type of content free of charge to my readers! I’m not sure if mentioning my name will get you any sign-up promotions, but it never hurts to ask!)
Personally, I would not go with anything less than the NEXT20 plan for online gaming, but that’s just my preference. I think you could go with the lowest plan that Nextlink offers and still play most games online without any significant issues.
What are the drawbacks of Nextlink internet?
Given the nature of technology and Murphy’s Law, I understand internet services can and will go down occasionally.
However, I have had Nextlink for about a year and a half and in that timeframe, I have never experienced any type of connectivity issues, or Nextlink outages. That will not be the case for everybody, and at times there are definitely reports of Nextlink outages in different areas, but that’s to be expected with any internet service provider, even traditional cable, and fiber internet services.
With that being said, I think the only downside (or drawback) of Nextlink is that you must have a small satellite installed to receive the signal from their tower. Mine is connected to the corner of my house (I was given the option of a pole but declined).
If your satellite requires a special installation of some kind, or extenders are required for your property in order to get the best signal from the tower, your installation cost can also increase. However, the installation cost is still very reasonable even if you do end up having additional installation requirements for your property.
So, is Nextlink good for gaming?
In my opinion, yes, Nextlink is good for gaming. In fact, I think Nextlink is GREAT for gaming, especially considering that it’s a rural internet provider, and most rural internet providers can’t even touch Nextlink’s internet speeds and latency rates.