You want to download a Nintendo Switch game but not sure how long it will take? I’m here to help you answer that question.
How long a Nintendo Switch game will take to download depends on how big the game file is, and how quick is your internet speed. Below are sample download times depending on your internet speed, also Switch game download faster on rest mode.
- 1 Mbit/s 33:52:57
- 2 Mbit/s 16:56:28
- 7.2 Mbit/s 04:42:21
- 8 Mbit/s 04:14:07
- 10 Mbit/s 03:23:17
- 24 Mbit/s 01:24:42
- 80 Mbit/s 00:25:24
- 100 Mbit/s 00:20:19
The question is like asking how long is a piece of string? As your internet speed will change your download speed, but I will discuss ways in which you can increase the speed and why it takes so long for a game to download.
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How Do You Make Your Switch Games Download Faster?
The biggest thing that will improve your Switch’s internet connection would be switching to a wired ethernet connection using a USB LAN adapter such as this one from UGREEN (Amazon Link).
I will go through all the methods to increase your download speed but check this post that goes into more detail.
Use A Wired LAN adapter To Increase Internet Speed
Using a wired Lan adapter is the best thing you can do to improve your wifi connection. I own this one from UGREEN and it allows you to connect an ethernet cable directly into your Nintendo Switch via a USB port.
Before I used this adapter all my Super Smash Ultimate matches were unplayable(click here to know Nintendo online is so bad) but after I used the connector suddenly the lag stopped and I could play games. Finally!
I highly recommend purchasing the UGREEN adapter I own, but any LAN adapter will do and it will make a TREMENDOUS difference to your Nintendo Switches internet and download, as a wired connection is just so much faster
It also works with other devices like a laptop so it isn’t just for gaming.
How To Test Your Nintendo Switches Internet Connection
Now before you do anything to improve your connection Nintendo suggests you must do the following, from the official Nintendo website.
While troubleshooting download and upload speeds, it is recommended that you test your internet connection after making any changes to the settings of your network to determine if the change improved your network connection.
Nintendos reasoning is you won’t know if these methods will improve your internet connection if you don’t test your connection after each method.
As everyone’s internet is different and some methods could actually make your speed slower, so be sure to experiment.
Follow the steps on how to test your Switches internet connection.
- Turn on your Nintendo Switch
- Go to system settings>internet settings
- Test connection
Now you know your Nintendo Switch’s base internet, now it’s time to troubleshoot the problem
How To Change Your Nintendo Switches DNS Settings
Now depending on your situation this method could drastically improve your Switches internet speed, so here’s how you do it.
- Go to systems settings>internet>internet settings>connect to network>change settings>change
- Change settings and switch the DNS settings to manual instead of automatic
- Change your primary DNS to 208.672.222.222
- Change your secondary DNS to 208.067.220.220
- Wait a minute, and then test your internet connection and see if it’s improved!
Now ideally your connection is improved, if you want to try another you can try Google DNS server. Simply repeat the steps but change the settings
- Change your primary DNS to 126.96.36.199
- Change your secondary DNS to 188.8.131.52
- Wait a minute, and then test your internet connection and see if it’s improved!
Now I hope this method has drastically improved your Nintendo Switches internet connection. Please check out this YouTube video for a more visual explanation
Improve Your Nintendo Switches Internet Speed By Changing The MTU
Changing your switches MTU which is the maximum transmission unit allows your Switch to transfer larger packets of data at a time. Now if you have a terrible internet connection this won’t magically improve your internet speed but it should make a solid difference.
- Go to system settings>internet>internet settings
- Navigate to your specific network> go to MTU
- From MTU switch the number from 1400 to 1500
- Click save
- Test your internet connection and see if it’s improved
Now, this should improve your Switches internet connection if a game took 90 minutes to download it should take around 70 minutes which is a solid improvement.
Check out Nintendos Lifes YouTube video for more explanation on the topic
How to Power Cycle a Home Network For Faster Internet
Now, it might be your router itself that is affecting your switch’s slow internet connection. Performing a power cycle will reset your router and it’s recommended by Nintendo to solve your slow internet problem.
- Unplug your power cable from the modem and the wireless router if your router light remains on, you must remove the battery from your router to perform a power cycle
- Wait for 30 seconds
- After 30 seconds plugin the cable back into your router and wait for the lights to remain steady
- Test the internet connection and see if it’s improved
Check the video below if you’re having trouble following the steps
Why Does It Take Long To Download A Game On Nintendo Switch?
If your wireless network as a 5.0 GHz connection tries connecting to 5.0 GHz. 2.4GHz is infamous for having bad connection speeds, also Nintendo servers are notoriously bad compared to PS/Xbox Live and other game servers.
Nintendo Servers Are Terrible
I have written in detail why Nintendo Online is so bad here which I recommend you check out, but a big reason is the servers are so bad compared to Nintendo’s competition.
Check the Reddit post here, one user YubinTheBunny says they get “at least 500mbs+” when downloading a game on PSN, Xbox Live, Steam, etc but only on Switch do they experience pathetic download speeds.
Nintendo servers are so poor because they are peer 2 peer servers meaning your internet connection is dependent on the other player, so even if you have super fiber-optic broadband if you vs a player with terrible internet; your game will lag HORRIBLY.
I’ve experienced this myself playing Super Smash Bros where the internet was so bad it was unplayable, it was only when I bought this URGREEN Ethernet USB adapter(amazon link) that games started to work fine.
These weak servers are carried over into the Nintendo E-shop was whenever there is an E-shop sale or specific heavy periods like after Christmas; Nintendo simply lacks the internet infrastructure to give enough bandwidth to all its users. This is why sometimes your E-shop downloads are super slow, or even the E-shop will crash!.
Can You Play Nintendo Switch Games While Downloading?
You can play Nintendo Switch games when downloading games, but your Switch will automatically pause your download if the game you’re playing is using network features, unlike the PS4 and Xbox One.
According to the Reddit user SeanMirrsen in this post, the Switch did automatically pause downloads as it’s to do with available system resources and writing to the Switches disk.
Your Switch needs a certain amount of resources to complete tasks, keeping an active connection whilst downloading a game can be difficult with intensive games.
Also, active downloads constantly rewriters the data to disk(or solid-state drive) which can affect the process of the Switch’s data being read by a running game which will reduce performance.
There is a non-negligible performance overhead to keeping an active connection, which can be a problem in some of the heavier games. On top of that, an active download constantly writes data to disk (or solid-state drive, in the Switch’s case), which can interfere with the process of data being read and written by a running game, further reducing performance.
With games that have an online component like Super Mario Kart, this additional internet bandwidth becomes too much for the Switch to handle, which is why the downloads are paused.
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