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Game Lag: Five Steps to Reducing Lag in Online Video Games


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301w ago - Tired of pulling a trigger in Call of Duty: World at War, then watching your gun fire five seconds later? Sick of adrenaline-fueled Halo 3 matches playing out like slide-shows?

Well, the GamePro editors have five secret tips to help you reduce or eliminate lag, and make online gaming more stable and enjoyable.

Without further ado, here are five proven ways to fix a laggy game experience!

1. Shut down all PC downloads and sharing apps.
File-sharing programs such as BitTorrent are infamous for eating up bandwidth, and will guarantee you a choppy online gaming experience on your game system.

Big downloads, such as Apple Store TV shows or movies, will also slow down your online game. If you're playing online, try to limit any PC Internet use beyond simple web browsing or e-mail.

2. Cable internet beats DSL every single time.
There's a reason a DSL connection costs less than cable internet: it's slower and less stable. In fact, some industry groups have recommended stripping DSL of its "broadband" label because it can only handle a fraction of the speed of a cable connection.

DSL is fine for speedy web browsing, but cable reigns supreme for online gaming. Cable internet is also relatively inexpensive if you're already a cable TV subscriber - ask your provider for package deals.

3. With Wi-Fi, placement is everything.
Your wireless Wi-Fi router has a limited range, and consoles can be pretty picky about that signal (especially if the Wi-Fi has to go through a wall).

Try to place your console close to your router to get the best results. If you're still seeing a strong signal, yet experiencing lag, try changing your game system's location in the room, or flipping it horizontally or vertically.

4. Hardwire it!
Though wireless Wi-Fi is more convenient, a hardwired Ethernet connection is unbeatable for online gaming - it's faster and more reliable. The downside: an ugly cable that leads from your Internet router to your game system.

If your cable or DSL jack is located close to your entertainment system, you'll definitely want to use an Ethernet cable for maximum performance. Even if the Internet jack is located far away, you may consider running the Ethernet cable under the carpet, along a wall, or under floorboards to conceal it.

5. Choose top-quality internet hardware.
Don't expect top-level gaming performance from that cheap $20 internet router you bought at CostCo. Instead, spend a little more and get a quality router from a trusted manufacturer such as Linksys or DLink.

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo also have preferred hardware that is guaranteed to function perfectly on their systems - that information is available on their Web sites.



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Comments 7 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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punagai's Avatar
#7 - punagai - 22w ago
Thanks for giving information. It's very useful tips for me. When i had a lag problem , i followed your tips. I was really amazed about my results.

CyanCaze's Avatar
#6 - CyanCaze - 301w ago
Well obviously if you have 15 computers running on any internet DSL or not it will effect it. My point was that DSL is Less effected by a large percent.

Kraken's Avatar
#5 - Kraken - 301w ago
True, you don't need your full connection to play online games. I have successfully played Phantasy Star Online over a tethered iphone (which tops out at 1.5MBPS/128k).

Not true however is that cable companies will split an oversold or overused node. After receiving a complaint of slow service, what they do is cut off the service (or send warnings) to the people who use those nodes the most. This frees up bandwidth while costing them almost nothing, but really sucks if you happen to be that guy. Especially if you live in an area where they are the only ISP.

gravesg's Avatar
#4 - gravesg - 301w ago
You guys are making too much fuss over an issue thats not really important, first things first you'll never need your full connection to play smoothly ... 2nd thing is that an over crowded node while it happens, it doesnt happen in EVERY neighborhood and if it does the cable co. will come out and split the node.

so yes Cable will always win hands down.

the roundtrip time is also lower.

Kraken's Avatar
#3 - Kraken - 301w ago
Nope I'm from the USA, though I'm not sure how you came to the assumption I wasn't. As for why the internet is cheaper in smaller countries, size is largely the reason. There are less rural, sparsely populated areas so it is easier to run the wires. Also the fact that their telecoms and cable companies didn't bribe the government for sweeping monopolies.

Your analysis is slightly flawed (maybe). No matter what service you have, if you live in a house with many people on the computer at the same time, there will be less bandwidth available to your other devices.

The point I am making about cable is that you could have only your PS3/Xbox connected to your connection (no computers etc.) and still get less than the 5MBPS you pay for if the person down the street is using their own cable connection heavily.

A clarification to my original post: The "dsl is slower than cable" lie is something that the cable companies propagate and sadly, people believe. If you look at fine print on the "our cable is up to 5x faster than DSL!!!" ads, it says something to the effect of "we compared this to the basic DSL service at 768k. Comparisons to other speeds may vary."

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