What are Latency and Ping?
Latency and ping are two terms that we hear daily, but we rarely think about what they mean. That’s why we decided to write this article, so you can learn more about them and how they affect your performance while playing multiplayer games online.
As most of you know, the latency is represented by the time it takes for data (your command) to travel from your PC or console to the game server and back again. The lower the latency, the better, as this means that there’s less time between one another.
A low latency ensures a proper response time of your commands and its execution which, in turn, gives you an advantage over other players with high ping times; therefore, making it easier to achieve headshots or encounter enemy players. The lower your latency, the better you will perform in multiplayer FPS games.
The ping, otherwise known as the network lag indicator, is just the reaction time between the player and game server. This shows how quickly your command was executed by measuring it against how long it took for the data to get there and back again.
If you’re playing online multiplayer games with high ping, no matter how good your PC specifications are nor how well optimized your game may be, you will notice that it’s difficult to play at higher competitive levels or even above medium graphic settings.
It can become quite frustrating while aiming precisely at enemies during intense firefights only to find out that the damage isn’t being dealt with because of lag or latency issues, even if you get a headshot. That’s why it is vital to have a low ping and reduce your lag as much as possible so that it doesn’t interfere with your gaming experience.
Factors Affecting Your Ping
You usually have a higher ping on wireless connections than wired connections. Other factors also affect your ping, such as:
Distance of server vs. distance of you
The further away you are from the server, the higher your ping will be. If there aren’t many people nearby, you’ll find it easier to find a high-ping free server because not many people want to play with a high-ping.
If there’s something wrong with one or more hops between you and the server, then your ping will be higher.
Other users on the network
If someone else in your house/flat/apartment is downloading something or streaming video, then you’ll get high speeds too. This will cause lag which stacks up until you get un-synced or even disconnect altogether.
These can cause high pings by introducing bugs into the system, leading to increased CPU load, so try disabling automatic updates; make sure that all of them are installed correctly.
If you’re using any AVs, it can slow your connection down because it scans everything that goes into or out of your computer. You could disable your AV temporarily or disable automatic scanning for a while when needed.
Some routers have problems with certain packets, so try switching to another router or updating its firmware.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Contact them because ISPs have different network routes, which could be overloaded, leading to increased ping times. They might also inject custom ads into web pages which increases page load time by around 30%.
These can be overloaded if there are too many players online. Try it at off-peak times instead.
How to Fix High Ping?
- The first thing you should do on how to lower your ping is to close any unnecessary programs running on your computer. If you’ve got Skype or Spotify open, but you’re not using them, then go ahead and close the program(s).
- Move closer to your router – Simply put, wireless connections offer less consistent pings than wired connections because they connect through the air, which has more resistance than a cable. That means that wireless devices will have higher pings than wired devices, so you should do everything possible to get a wired connection.
- Buy a new router – If your router is old, then it might be time to upgrade to a newer one that offers better routing and the chance of less packet loss.
- Try changing your DNS – It’s also possible that your ISP isn’t providing the best quality DNS because sometimes they give out DNS servers with overloaded routes, leading to higher pings.
The solution is to change your DNS server in system settings:
- Open Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings (on the left side).
- Choose whatever network you’re currently connected to (Wifi or Ethernet), right-click on it, and choose properties.
- Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and go to “Use the following DNS server addresses” You can enter your preferred DNS address here, I recommend Google’s 126.96.36.199, but you’re free to use any others.
- Click OK afterward, then check if it worked.
Check your ping results after each step is done at devicetests.com to have a grasp if you have indeed lowered your ping.
If none of these solutions work, then something else is wrong with your connection. If this is the case, try using another person’s connection because there are different routes for every ISP which could be overloaded, leading to increased ping times.
If you have lower pings, then good for you!
Having a low latency and ping while playing games online will give you an advantage over other players with higher latency or ping times which can be detected in their gameplay by how smooth their movements are, along with the precision of aiming at enemies during intense firefights.
Unfortunately, there are no known ways to actually reduce the latency, but there are many ways to reduce the ping, such as clearing your PC of unnecessary data and elements, avoiding downloading or uploading large files while playing games online, lowering your graphic settings in games or even disconnecting your home network.