Lag can make or break any gaming experience, just ask any gamer. Generally speaking, avid online gamers face latency issues on a daily basis. There are numerous reasons that could cause significant latency issues; be it your hardware, ISP, or a myriad of other things.
Online gaming should be a way to relax and have fun. But when you line up your shot, pull the trigger, and then see it hit the wall your opponent was standing in front of a second before, the fun vanishes away. If this is a thing you tend to encounter, you should check your ping time. While most of us think that a good Internet connection relies on good upload and download speed, gamers know better. There is another crucial factor that no Internet provider advertises: ping! Basically, ping is the amount of time your PC needs to react to a request sent by the server or by another computer. Having a low ping time can make the difference when playing games that require precise timing. While a ping time of 20ms or below is a dream come true, anything above 150ms can make certain games practically unplayable. Even the most high-end gaming laptops will still lag out without a good internet connection – regardless of how fast your PC hardware is.
If you are having problems – such as players disappearing or freezing screens – when playing online, then you will more than likely have to deal with a high ping time. Now a question arises: is there anything you can do to reduce lag and fully enjoy online gaming? Below you can find some of the most useful tricks that will help you keep lag under control and secure a smoother gaming experience:
Use Ethernet instead of WiFi connections
As some of you may know already, WiFi connections can cause notable lag. And there are a few reasons why this happens. Home obstructions (e.g., walls or floors), interferences from other devices (e.g., chargers, smartphones, microwaves, etc.), or the distance between your device and the router. All of this can make a WiFi connection less stable and reliable. Choosing a wired connection instead will help you avoid all the problems related to signal strength and will reduce your ping, thus ensuring a smooth gaming experience.
Close Background Programs
If you are not using a router specifically designed for online gaming, your game will not get prioritized, and other bandwidth-hungry programs will affect your overall connection speed. This usually results in a high ping and frustration. Fortunately, there is a way around: close all the background programs that are using your Internet bandwidth. Just open your task manager or activity monitor, and you will be able to see all the programs that are currently running on your computers. If you close all the unnecessary applications, your lag should decrease significantly. You should make it a point to check and close all the unnecessary apps before each gaming session.
Disconnect Other Devices from the Network
A crowded network is a slow network. The more additional devices connected to your network, the more strain will be put on your bandwidth. As simple as that. If you are sharing your Internet connection, this additional Internet usage will significantly hurt your gaming experience, to put it lightly. You can see all the devices connected to your network by checking your routers settings panel. Reducing the amount of traffic on the network will gain you more stability and will lower your ping time. Also, securing your network will prevent opportunists from using your bandwidth for their needs without your authorization.
Update Drivers/ Firmware
Outdated drivers do not only present severe security risks but can also have a negative impact on your overall gaming experience. Keeping your drivers up-to-date can make a huge difference when it comes to gaming. It’s highly advised to enable automatic updates. With the newest software solutions, you’ll enjoy your game to its full extent.
Likewise, updating firmware can bring your old and tired router back to life. Way too often users don’t think highly of the need to update their router firmware. To check if any updates are required, you need to check your router’s settings panel.
Use a VPN
VPNs are far more than efficient security and privacy tools. Despite the widespread belief that VPNs slow down one’s connection speed, gaming-tailored VPNs can ensure users with uninterrupted and fast gameplay. How? First of all, by stopping bandwidth throttling and reducing lag. ISPs are known for throttling avid video gamers. By using one, your ISP will no longer be able to detect and control your online activity. Secondly, VPN services are offering protection against those nasty DDoS attacks, which are a prevalent issue within the gaming community. And finally, VPNs allow users to change their virtual location, and in turn to play and buy games that are not geographically available or haven’t been released yet in their area.
Reset Your Router
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book that many gamers forget about. Sometimes, routers can get stuck in an overloaded state, causing latency and high ping time. Resetting your router periodically will ensure that it works at optimal levels, providing a more stable and faster connection speed. Some routers allow users to set automatic reset processes. You may want to check yours and see if this option is available.
Lagfest at Your House tonight? No, Thank You!
As you can see, reducing your latency and improving your overall gaming experience is possible and it all comes down to taking the right steps. Keeping your drivers and firmware up-to-date, using a VPN specifically designed for online gaming, or ensuring that no background programs or other devices are messing with your bandwidth are free and straightforward solutions that can help you avoid the pain of online gaming lag.