Lag: The Main Causes of High Ping
Jan 6 . 7 m
There is nothing worse than experiencing lag when you are knee-deep in a gaming session on COD: Modern Warfare. Ping spikes and packet loss are often to blame for lag. So, before tossing your controller, allow us to guide you through the possible causes of your high ping and lag spikes. We will define the terms and outline ways you can troubleshoot those connectivity issues, so you can bank on seamless broadband performance.
What is Packet Loss?
Information travels through a computer network in small units of data called packets. All of our day to day activities online, from emailing to streaming, involves sending packets of data through the network. When one or more of these packets of data fails to reach its final destination, this is called packet loss.
Packet loss can occur due to bandwidth congestion, an outdated router, faulty cable, a weak Wi-Fi signal, or software issues. Packet loss should be less than 1%, and anything over 5% will impact the quality of streaming audio and/or video.
What is Lag?
Lag is the frustrating delay that occurs as a result of a high ping or weak internet connection.
For example, if your broadband network drops the connection and reconnects seconds later, packet loss can occur. As a result, the information never reaches the server, and you have to perform the same action again. Furthermore, packet loss is one of the main causes of poor audio and video quality.
Ping time refers to the speed at which the packets of data travel from your device to the network. Latency is the round trip, or, the time it takes for that information to reach the network and back again. The speed is measured in milliseconds (ms), and the lower the ping, the better! A low ping will ensure low latency and a lag-free gaming experience.
A ping spike or surge happens when your consistent ping quadruples for a few minutes only to settle back to normal later.
You also want your ping to be as stable as possible. If it spikes or fluctuates, it can cause connection issues. This fluctuation is also known as jitter. As a result of jitter, data packets may be lost or delivered out of order, which causes audio or general quality issues.
For example, if your ping results ranged between 9ms – 12ms, you would have low ping and low jitter, as the ping times are similar. A good jitter should not go above 30ms. Alternatively, a high jitter causes packet loss. It is a result of poor network performance, which can severely affect things like call quality.
Factors that can contribute to ping spikes and packet loss are:
- Broadband connection speed
- Network Congestion
- Problems with Hardware
- Apps running in the background
- Quality of the connection delivered from the Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- Inadequate Bandwidth
- Geological Location
The ping can range quite a bit and depends on a few factors. A low ping refers to speeds under 20 milliseconds. And yes, a zero ping is possible! It’s the best possible scenario for internet activity.
A very good to average Ping time would be in the range of 50 – 100 milliseconds, and a high ping is in the range of 150 milliseconds.
When it comes to gaming, a ping this high can render you a few frames behind the competition and could cost you the game.
How to Test Your Ping
A broadband speed test is always a great place to start when troubleshooting your connection. In addition to your upload and download speeds, our speedtest will provide you with your Ping time and the server’s location nearest to you.
Why is my ping so high?
The connection you have cannot support the demand that you are currently requesting. It can occur with slower broadband speeds with multiple devices connected. Try disconnecting any devices that are not in use, and stop any downloads or updates in the background.
When connected via Wi-Fi, the ping time increases. This is because there is an additional delay for the signal to travel between your device and the router. We always advise users to connect via Ethernet cable, preferably Cat 6 or 7 cable, as this offers the most stable connection to your device. It’s the quickest way to reduce your ping and decrease latency. It’s also important that the ethernet cable you are using is one that can support high speeds.
If your device is connected via Wi-Fi, you can try a Power Line Adapter to extend the range, a Wi-Fi booster, or a Home Mesh Wifi System. All of these will help deliver speeds closer to one wired directly to your router.
Not a fan of cables? The Orbi Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi Satellite system can extend your coverage by an additional 2000 square feet and works seamlessly with your internet service provider.
Your geographical location is especially important for the gaming community, as you will need to make sure that you are on the correct server. You must select the server of your region. For example, if you’re from Europe, you should be on the European server and not on an American server, such as NA East/West.
Occasionally, you may run into some instances where your firewall will restrict traffic from certain online games. The anti-virus or firewall intercepts and reviews every packet of data that is sent and received. This process can be time-consuming, and in some cases, data packets can be lost. By whitelisting your games, you can shave a few milliseconds off your ping time. Microsoft shows you how to add an exclusion to your Windows Security here.
Will Fibre Broadband Help Lower my Ping?
Since ping time relies heavily on the internet service provider’s signal, it’s a good idea to review your plan. Fibre broadband is ideal for delivering consistent high speeds and is less likely to be affected by peak traffic than cable broadband.
WeCompare recommends running a speed test connected directly to your router.
Did the speed test give you the results you expected?
Contact your internet service provider if your true speed throughput is not what you signed up for because it might be time to consider an upgrade. If you would like to see what deals are available in your area, click here for the best broadband-only deals. Looking for a bundle with 1GB speeds? You can find them here.
Can a Gaming Router Improve Ping?
If you are a gamer and are already subscribed to a superfast broadband plan, it may be worth it to look into a next-generation router set up to handle the latest speeds and WiFi channels.
The TP-Link Archer C5400 Tri-Band Router is ideal for gaming and can support multiple devices at blazing wireless speeds. It will identify gaming traffic and give it priority effectively conquering lag. The tri-band router will enable you to dedicate one band to gaming without sacrificing the signal for the rest of the household. It has a far-reaching Wi-Fi range, 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and comprehensive threat protection. It’s the juggernaut of gaming routers.
Top Tips to get Low Ping:
- Use an Ethernet Cable in favor of Wifi
- Whitelist your games
- Close all background programs
- Remove any additional devices from the network
- Try a Wi-Fi booster to improve your signal strength
- Using a gaming VPN
In summary, there are a few causes of high ping and some easy ways to combat it. The most efficient is to use your ethernet cable whenever possible. If you prefer a Wi-Fi signal, consider using a range extender. Moreover, check out our blog on 10 easy ways to improve your broadband speed. We explain how simple things like repositioning your router can increase your internet speed. It’s always smart to close all background programs, whether you are gaming or not. Lastly, if anyone else in the household is using streaming sites like YouTube or Twitch simulaneously, make sure that you have the broadband plan to support the demand!
Not sure if your broadband makes the cut? WeCompare can help! We’ve sourced the best broadband bundles in Ireland so that you can save. Why wait? Start your 2021 with superfast broadband!