How often have you blamed your slow Internet connection for losing a game? There are times when your Internet connection seems to crawl, especially when all members of the family are at home. The truth is that online gaming does not consume that much bandwidth. Although Internet speed does matter, there are still several factors causing Internet lags, which can affect online gaming activities.
Things to understand
Bandwidth affects the speed of the Internet. It determines how much data per unit of time your network connection is able to handle. When there is larger bandwidth, more data can be allowed to pass. However, you have to understand that bigger bandwidth does not automatically mean your Internet connection will have higher performance. Internet speed is subject to other factors. The average speed an Internet provider offers is around 15 Mbps. Internet speed is also dependent on your location, whether you are close to satellites, towers or the home office of the provider. It is also dependent on number of network users (traffic) and the quality of the infrastructure the Internet provider has.
Internet service providers (ISPs) offer several broadband packages, which allow you to choose the best plan that suits your Internet usage. Generally, the higher bandwidth you get, the better surfing speed you will have.
Effects of broadband bandwidth on gaming
Generally, playing games online does not consume that much bandwidth, as minimal information is sent by a player.
But there are exceptions to the norm. Bandwidth use when gaming is affected by these factors:
The game is run on a server or you are the host of the game. The server tracks every player, which uses more bandwidth.
You are using voice chat, which consumes more bandwidth compared to the actual game.
You are downloading new games, patches and updates. Most of these are huge files, and can impact the Internet use of other family members.
Web-based games and fully online games transmit plenty of data, including sounds and graphics as you play. These are bandwidth-hoggers.
Do not blame your ISP every time you experience sluggish connection when you play games online. You may have a bigger broadband connection, but the Internet activities of the other family members also affect the speed and smoothness of your online gaming activity. Some of these include multiple devices connected to the Internet, video chatting, streaming video or watching movies in HD, downloading/uploading big files and torrents or malware in your computer system.
What you can do to keep down lag?
Do not be frustrated when you continuously experience lagging while you play, as there are still things you can do to remedy the situation and capture/eliminate the enemies in the game you're playing.
Upgrade to a broadband plan with speeds of 15-20 Mbps. If there are several Internet users in your home, speed of up to 20Mbps is ideal. If you are looking for a very good gaming experience, check if fibre broadband is available in your area, as this is more stable and fantastic for streaming.
Do a speedtest using your main computer so you will know the actual speed you are getting. When you are gaming, the upload speed does not count much. You should be getting over 10Mbps download speed so there won't be lagging when you're gaming.
Use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi when you're gaming. Connect your gaming console via Ethernet to your router and you'll have speeds that are about 10x faster. If Wi-Fi connectivity is the only one available, bring your gaming console closer to the router.
If you have tried the tips above and you still experience lagging when you're gaming, contact your Internet provider to check on the problem.