For Online Gaming, A Slow Internet Is Deadly
There you are, your last kill before that coveted achievement. You line up the perfect shot, you aim, you shoot, and boom, headshot! But, wait, whats this? Before you can even let out a celebratory whoop, you see your target walking away, taunting you with his intact cranium and un-splattered brains. Or, youll be speeding toward the finish line in a close race of Forza, that first place spot so close you can taste the victory. All of a sudden the screen stutters, freezes, and the next second you see your beloved Supra upside down on the side of the track, that pesky GTO speeding hideously past. What the heck is going on? Unless you just really suck at gaming, your problem most likely has to do with your Internet.
These types of problems are usually the result of a slow or dropped Internet connection, and can render an otherwise perfect gaming session a waste. This is especially frustrating for gamers who pride themselves on maintaining legendary stats like a high kill/death or perfect win/loss ratio. Some connection issues are inevitable, of course, as random glitches pop up every now and then, but constant troubles may be a sign of a fixable problem. Heres some information that might help you get your game play back in optimal working order when a slow Internet connection is affecting your Playstation or Xbox gaming:
SEE ALSO: History Of Online Gaming Explained
Your Connection Determines Your Gaming Quality
When it comes to online gaming, Internet connection is key. Distinguishing a good connection from a bad can come down to several factors. Here are a few things your internet connection might influence that would affect the quality of your game play:
- Latency: Also known as ping, latency is the time it takes for one console to send a message to another and receive a response in return. Geography has a huge effect on a players ping, since it takes time for data to physically travel over different networks. The further away a server is, the longer the data will need to travel, raising your ping. Ping is measured in milliseconds, and a low ping, around 15-20ms, is ideal for most games.
- Game server: The two main ways online games use to connect players with each other are through dedicated servers and peer-to-peer (P2P) servers. Dedicated servers are separate computer servers running their own instance of the game, and processing the data of each players actions, sending responses back to everyone playing about how those actions played out. Alternatively, P2P servers connect players directly to other players, or peers, making each players console responsible for processing the data received from other consoles. Connection problems are more noticeable with P2P servers, since the gameplay is ultimately determined by the quality of the hosting players connection.
- Connection strength: In order to play online, a console needs to be connected to a router either with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly, through WiFi. Hardwired cable connections are usually stronger, since WiFi signals share the same frequency with any other devices being used on the network, including your controller, and can interfere with your connection.
- Types of connection problems: An online players worst enemy is lag, which is the visible delay between the actions of the player and the reaction of the server. When lag becomes a big problem, causing the screen to stutter or freeze, it can prevent you from playing altogether. Other times, your connection can drop, disconnecting you from the game completely, causing much frustration and sometimes penalties for quitting games early.
A Bad Connection Can Cause Serious Problems
To better avoid encountering connection problems and hurting your online console gaming experience, it's important to understand what causes them in the first place. Other than the occasional glitch or hardware problem, lag or dropped connections are usually the result of the players Internet connection. Here are a few ways your connection could be slowing down your game play:
- Proximity problems: The further away a player is from a server, the longer it takes for data to be relayed, raising (slowing) their latency. Depending on server rules, a high ping will sometimes bar a player from entering a game, since just one player with high ping can cause latency issues for everyone else.
- Improperly configured router: Many routers, especially older models, block certain types of connections for security purposes, sometimes preventing you from connecting to certain servers. Also, university and college networks are usually set to block gaming connections, so if you are gaming out of your dorm, you may want to check.
- Overused bandwidth: When too many people are using your homes Internet connection at once, taking up all the bandwidth, your connection can slow severely, causing major lag.
Solutions and Fixes For Your Connection Problems
Once you've determined the cause of your slow connection, you can now take steps to fix your problem and get on with really important matters, like crushing your friend at Madden. The first step of solving your connection issues is to test your connection speed. After determining what your connection is capable of, you can figure out what adjustments, if any, need to be made to your router. There are different ways to set up your router to properly handle online gaming connections for whichever console you use. Once your router is set to its optimum configuration, its vital that you pick the right connection. When browsing for games, keep in mind the quality of connection, or ping, displayed for the servers and where the servers are located. A game with a server the next state over, for example, will give you a much smoother experience than one hosted in another country.
The most important thing to remember though, is to be patient. As previously mentioned, lag and connection issues are sometimes unavoidable, be it problems with Xbox Live or the Playstation Network, peak gaming hours, or just random glitches. Whatever the case, staying calm and being persistent with these problems can eventually lead to an epic game.