If you’re a gamer and you have a slow internet connection, you know just how frustrating your gaming experience can be. Whether your screen is lagging, freezing, or you’re not even able to join the game, slow internet can make it nearly impossible to dominate the competition. But not to worry! There are a few things you can do to check your connection strength and fix the problem.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you have a slow connection is to check your router. This will give you a general idea of what download and upload speeds you’re actually getting. There are several different speeds tests for testing your connect; one of the most popular is a tool from Ookla, a web analytics company, called speedtest.net. This site will tell you your download and upload speeds, along with your ping and how it compares to other servers around the world. Once you know the actual speeds your connection provides, you can find out if there is a problem with the settings on your router. You’ll also be able to tell if your internet service provider is delivering speeds close to what it advertises, or if you’re getting jipped.
There are several different ways to properly set up your router so that it can handle the requirements of online gaming for whatever console you’re using. Setting up port forwarding in your router’s menu is the most common way to solve a connection problem related to your router. Check your router’s manual to find out how to access this feature, as it will be different for every brand. Once you find the menu, just follow these instructions from Microsoft or Sony to configure the settings for your console(s).
Avoiding lag can often be as simple as choosing the right servers. Pay close attention to the connection’s quality displayed for servers or players when you’re browsing for games. If you can see the actual numeral measurement for the ping rate, you’ll want to choose servers with ping less than 100ms whenever possible. If you’re not able to see the ping rate, pick servers or matchmaking regions that are closest to where you live if you can. Games hosted in other countries will be slow, while ones in your state or the next state over will offer the best experience.
Even if you’ve done everything you’re supposed to, some lag and connection problems are unavoidable. They could be caused by problems with Xbox Live or Playstation network, high internet traffic during peak hours, or just a random, unexplainable glitch. It’s best to be patient and persistent, especially if you’re dealing with a finicky matchmaking system.