Online games have been on the rise for the last few years, with millions of people playing titles like PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch every day.

These games are different from traditional single-player games in many aspects, but probably the biggest among all is their reliance on a solid internet connection.

No matter how powerful the CPU and graphics card you have in your PC, there will be lags if you have high ping and latency.

For those who don't know, lag is the time duration between a player's actions in a game and the reaction of the game server based on those actions.

The signal your computer sends to the game server for communication is called ping, and the time it takes for your PC to send a ping to the game server and receive it back is called latency. This round-trip is calculated in milliseconds.

Although ping and latency are different terms, most people use them interchangeably. And for the sake of simplicity, we'll do the same here.

Although ping requirements vary from one game to another, most of them are unplayable beyond the 200ms mark. The 100-200ms is what's considered poor ping. You'll be able to compete with this ping, but there will be frequent lagging.

The 50-100ms ping is acceptable, but only for RTS and MMO games. For fast-paced FPS titles, you should aim for the 20-50ms ping.

8 Ways to Lower Your Ping During Online Gaming

In case you're experiencing high ping, below are some of the ways you can improve it.

1. Reboot Your PC

The first thing you should try is restarting your computer. You'll be surprised to know that many programs occupy tiny space in the RAM even after they've been closed. These small memory leaks can accumulate over time, causing your PC to slow down after continuous usage and subsequently increasing your latency.

To avoid this situation, you should restart your PC at least once a day as it will clear your system cache and flush the RAM.

2. Close background programs

There are a lot of background programs running on your PC at any time. You won't necessarily notice, but many of them eat your internet bandwidth in small chunks continuously.

Therefore, you should force-close apps like Skype and Google Chrome using Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) before playing any online game.

Photo by blurrystock on Unsplash
Photo by blurrystock on Unsplash

3. Temporarily Disable Windows Updates

Enabling Auto-Updates for Windows OS is a good step in improving your PC's security as you get updates and patches as soon as possible. But these updates can also consume a lot of your internet bandwidth, causing your game to lag.

That's why you should temporarily disable Windows and other software updates when starting a gaming session.

4. Change Router Settings

WiFi is the preferred internet connection type these days because of its convenience. But it also comes with many downsides such as signal interference, dependency on router's range, and security risks.

The WiFi router's range is crucial because the farther you move away from it, the lesser internet speed (and subsequently high ping) you get. To avoid this, you should place the router in a central location of your house.

In case you're using a single-band 2.4GHz router, make sure to change your WiFi channel as your WiFi signals can get interference from other routers in your area. Ideally, you should select any one among channels 1, 6, and 11, as these are only non-overlapping WiFi channels on the 2.4GHz band.

If you use a dual-band or tri-band router, you can switch to 5GHz, which is much less cluttered and provides faster data transfer.

Some other things you can try are removing less important devices from your WiFi network, restarting your router, and using QoS to prioritize gaming traffic in your network (only available in high-end routers).

5. Switch to Ethernet connection

If you've tried the above settings to your router and are still experiencing high latency, you can try using an ethernet connection. These connections provide faster data transfer than WiFi internet, have no risk of signal interference, and are also more reliable.

You can also try a hybrid solution where your PC/console is connected directly to the router through an ethernet cable. And your other devices, such as smartphones/tablets, are using the WiFi connection.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

6. Change your game server

The physical distance between your computer/console and the game server also plays a huge role in deciding how high/low latency you'll get. For example, if a game server is in the US, then a US-based player will have lower latency than a SEA-based player.

Therefore, you should switch over to a server that's closer to your location physically to improve the ping.

7. Adjust your in-game settings

Many times your frame-rate can drop due to non-optimized in-game settings. Features like Ray-Tracing, Motion Blur, and Anti-Aliasing can make the in-game graphics even more stunning but will also put a heavy load on your graphics card and processor.

That's why you should tone down these settings a little and then retry playing your game.

8. Upgrade your internet connection

If you have tried all the above tweaks and still experience unusually high ping, then it's your ISP's fault. Try contacting your ISP regarding this issue and ask them whether it can be solved by upgrading your internet speed.

This guest article was written by PCBuilderz.com.

Online gaming has become one of the world’s most favourite pastimes. While it’s been popular for years, the recent global lockdowns meant that more people than ever have had no choice but to stay at home and find a way to entertain themselves. From Call of Duty, to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League Of Legends, and so much more, online gamers are truly spoiled for choice in an otherwise difficult time.

Despite all the incredible games available, not everything always goes as planned. We’re talking about those days where it all goes wrong—where you’re ready to spend a few hours upping your rank, but you keep encountering that annoying kid, or the lag spikes are simply out of control.

Know what we’re talking about?

Check out the biggest annoyances online gamers face, and be glad that you don’t go through it alone!

1. That Screaming Kid

It’s great that kids enjoy video games. It gives them an entertaining way to spend their time, it allows them to socialize, and it can even help them develop and build important life skills.

But not all kids—especially if they’re young—can fully process what it means to lose a match, or die a few times in a row. It can be frustrating for them, and the only way they know how to vent their emotions is by getting angry at everyone around them. There are few things quite as jarring as having a 9-year-old yell expletives at you just because you got a really good headshot.

2. The Ever-Present Campers

Camping has long been a part of the online experience—those players who like to find a secret spot and gank everyone who comes close. It’s truly beyond annoying, doubly so when everyone else is constantly on the move. Even worse is getting down to the last person on the other team, and you and your teammates spend hours trying to hunt them down just to put an end to the match.

3. Swarming With Bugs

We understand that games are laborious works of art. They require thousands of hours of coding, and it’s expected that a few glitches are just part of the experience. But game-breaking bugs have that name for a reason. Nothing can put a stop to your good time like suddenly dropping through the floor, or not being able to get that kill in against the person you’ve been after for ten solid minutes.

4. The Never-Ending Stream of Cheaters

Cheating is never acceptable in any video game, whether or not it’s online. Everyone is there to have a good time, and cheaters detract from that, often to the point where it becomes stressful. They come in all shapes and sizes, using loopholes, scripts, and exploits to shift the game in their favor—almost always at the expense of everyone else’s fun.

5. Stuck In The Lobby

While it’s great that more people around the world are enjoying video games, it’s also meant a tremendous increase in the amount of time spent waiting in lobbies. Whether it’s for the next round in CS:GO or an instance in Guild Wars 2, it’s always dreadfully boring to sit and wait your turn.

6. Overuse Of Bad Language

Trash talk has long been something of a given when it comes to the online world. Players like to talk trash to each other, but it’s usually out of a place of mutual respect and poking fun at your friends. There are those players, however, who tend to take things too far—cursing, swearing, and bringing a level of discomfort to the experience that no one really asked for.

7. Paywalls Galore

Paywalls are something of a more recent invention. Developers will intentionally cut out parts of the game, forcing players to spend money if they want access to specific content. It’s a practice that’s criticized by millions, but it’s still common enough that it can seriously detract from the experience. It also means that those players who happen to have more spending money than others can start the game with an advantage over those who have to play from the bottom and earn their rewards.

8. The Quitters

"Those" players leaving 10 seconds before we clutched a win.

Video games aren’t really true games unless there’s some kind of state of failure inherent in the gameplay. So, it’s expected that no matter what you’re playing, you’re not always going to win. For most people, this isn’t much of a problem; there are days when you and your team just can’t always win against your competitors. For a few select others, though, it’s preferable to cut and run before admitting defeat.

It’s a real kick in the teeth to have finally beaten an opposing player or team, only to have them suddenly disconnect and prematurely end the match before you get your rewards.

9. Griefers

Griefers are there to do one thing and one thing only—to make everyone else have a bad time. These are the players who go out of their way to kill the noobs, hunt down the amateurs, and cause chaos wherever they tread. There’s no rhyme or reason behind the things they do. They’re usually bored with the game and are looking to get a rise out of the people they’re annoying. While they’re present in most desktop computer and console games, it’s the MMORPGs where they’re most common, forever on the hunt for the unassuming.

10. The Lag Demon

While lag isn’t quite as common as it once was—most gamers today have access to high-speed broadband and powerful machines—it’s still enough of an annoyance to make your blood boil. Lag can change the nature of a game in a heartbeat, taking it from a fast-paced shooter to a slow and broken mess that leaves you angry and frustrated. If there’s one thing that all gamers around the world can unite over, it’s a universal hate for lag.

For 95% of the time, gaming online is a never-ending source of constant fun. It’s safe to say that while we all get annoyed every now and again, nothing will stop us from playing.

This article was a guest post by Robin Underwood, a freelance editor at multiple online outlets where she delights her audience with fresh ink angles on topics like E-learning, IT and gaming.

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