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America is bandwidth dependent. Every household anymore relies so heavily on extensive needs for bandwidth–online gaming, streaming videos, even using multiple devices on your home network. Testing for latency ensures you’re getting the internet service you’re paying for.
What is Ping Latency
Latency (also known as ping) refers to the amount of time it takes for an action to travel to your device, and the device to show that it’s received that data.
Take for example a simple game on your computer of pushing a red button. The latency refers to the amount of time between when you clicked your mouse, and when the game pressed the red button. Usually the trip time is faster than the blink of an eye (300 milliseconds).
Ping is also measured in milliseconds (ms). High ping rates mean that a specific connection is slow. It’s taking longer for data to travel to the host and back than normal. Low ping is the opposite–your connection type is performing fairly well.
Just a side note–the bandwidth going into your home is technically fixed, the actual download speeds you experience will vary based on how much you can reduce latency.
What Is A Good Latency For Gaming
- 20 ms or less = Great! It might as well be the speed of light (This is what pro gamers are optimizing for)
- 20 – 100 ms = Acceptable. Very few will actually notice anything.
- 100 – 150 ms = Noticeable. Not detrimental, but enough to be off.
- Over 150 ms = Lagging and frustrating. We’re entering the length of a blink territory, and that can actually throw your brain for a loop.
How to Improve Latency
Or better phrased, “how to fix high latency.” The goal with ping rates is always to get the lowest number possible–like golf, or number of quarantine induced breakdowns.
Most of the time, we can chalk it up to multiple high speed devices on one network, or multiple gaming experiences using the same WiFi, etc. Providers issue a massive bandwidth pipe for all the customers in a region–the more people use it during “peak hours” the higher your latency climbs. Sometimes, unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
Barring any provider provisions–there are a few steps we can take to ensure that our upload speeds don’t shrivel into a crawl.
In addition to giving you your upload and download speeds–you’ll also be able to see if you’ve got high latency, meaning you pin it back on provider shortfalls and not your own.
If you run a speed test and happen to see that your upload/download is also low, that might be a sign of a buggy router. Power cycle your router and give it another shot. If load times are still unusually high – you can almost be sure it’s your provider.
Use a Wired Connection
Oftentimes the added luxury of mobility is a hindrance to our ping rate. Using an ethernet cable to hardwire a connection to your router or modem ensures that fast internet connections stay fast, and that networks prioritize the device that’s wired in.
Close Background Tasks
The more that your computer has to juggle, the less likely it’s going to send “packets” of information completely, in the right order, or even successfully. Things like streaming, downloads, updates, and even web browsing take a great deal of render capability–and your device is going to focus on those things.
Close all other apps, programs, downloads, and services and clear your “cache.” This is all old files that your computer stores for quick and easy access, but eats up a lot of processing power. Now that your device has a clear mind–this single task should see improved ping rates.
When it comes to gaming (and even in some cases shopping, streaming, or browsing), certain servers can get overwhelmed and don’t have the bandwidth to support as many users as are currently in its infrastructure. It’s a good idea to check with forums, chat groups, server readouts, and the developers to see if the server is overloaded. You might have to take a break or switch to a new task with a different host if that’s the case.
All in all–you’re probably doing just fine. The only time you need to worry about latency is if it’s affecting your day to day, or the lag is resulting in slow internet.
Most servers are set up to make daily use as seamless as possible. Especially the gaming industry. Take these few simple steps if you’re experiencing problems. Otherwise you might have to call the customer service of your provider and get an explanation.
Test Your Internet Speed to find out if your provider is skimping out on service, or if it’s just a sticky server.
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.