How to Reduce Latency When Gaming

| Updated on December 6, 2023

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a game with your friends when suddenly your connection drops or starts getting spotty.

Playing a game that needs an internet connection means that you have to depend on your connection for smooth gameplay.

This is especially the case in MMOs where even a fraction of a second can mean life or death. 

Today more than a million people around the world enjoy video games. 

From the games we play on our phones to AAA console titles, games come in various shapes and forms. 

Experiencing a lag while gaming can be a pretty annoying experience. 

But, you do not need to worry coz we’ve got you.

We’ve listed a few tips that can help you reduce latency when gaming. Check them out below. 

What is Latency? 

It is the delay that happens between when a player takes action and the time it takes for the server to respond in accordance with that action.

You can usually find the latency in most MMOs by looking at the corner of the screen. It will show as a number with MS denoting the millisecond delays in server response time.

The lower the number in MS the better it is for your gaming experience.

For example, you’re playing COD multiplayer with a latency of 400MS latency…

You’ll experience jittery gameplay and you’ll get insta killed by other players because your character is lagging / slower than a player with 90MS latency. 

DID YOU KNOW?
Lost Ark, one of today’s most popular games, has more than 867,400 players online at the time of writing.

Use a Wired Connection  

Compared to WiFi, Ethernet cables offer lower latency and quicker performance. 

They offer a steady, reliable connection. 

Use an Ethernet cable to connect your gaming PC or console straight to your router as this gets rid of any wireless signal latency or interference. 

If your console is far from your router, you might want to get a lengthy Ethernet cable.   

Connect to Local Game Servers   

Servers are needed to host matches in online games and your latency is affected by the actual distance to these servers. 

You can choose the regional server to play on in a lot of games. 

For the lowest latency, select the server that is physically nearest to your location. You can test several server zones using speed test utilities. 

For best results, choose the one with the fastest ping.  

Overview of Geometric Compensation in Latency

Overview of Geometric Compensation in Latency

This model predicts the players’ task success rate when latency is added to the gaming environment. Using these predicted success rates, the design elements of the game are geometrically modified to help players maintain similar success rates as they would achieve in a zero-latency environment.

Close Unnecessary Programs  

Games that use a lot of bandwidth will cause disruptions during gameplay. 

When gaming, you should consider shutting down any unnecessary programs.

If you’re using a superhero nickname generator, use it before you start playing to reduce latency. Other things to watch out for include:   

  • Streaming media (YouTube, Spotify, Netflix)    
  • Uploading or downloading programs or files   
  • Video calling apps (Zoom, Skype)   
  • Tabs and web browsers    
  • Messaging and social media applications   
  • Since VPN connections might cause traffic to lag, they should also be disabled.     

Update the Network Drivers    

Verify that the drivers for your network adapter and other hardware are current and look for any adapters with a warning notice by searching for “Device Manager” in Windows, opening it, and inspecting it. 

To obtain the most recent drivers, go to the website of the adapter’s manufacturer. 

You should update other component drivers like your router, motherboard, etc for optimal connectivity.   

Update the Router 

Your older, low-priced internet router might lag when there’s a lot of gaming activity. 

For the best WiFi coverage and performance, spend your money on a more recent dual or tri-band gaming router. 

Keep an eye out for features specific to gaming, such as WTFast optimizations, MU-MIMO, and Quality of Service.  

Enable Gaming/QoS Modes  

Dedicated gaming settings on a lot of contemporary routers maximize traffic.

As a result, bandwidth priority for gaming devices over other network activities is increased. 

These modes, such as prioritization or QoS, can greatly minimize latency.

You should make sure the IP address of your gaming device comes first.   

Set a Bandwidth Limit.  

If your games utilize an excessive amount of bandwidth, other users and devices on your network may interfere with gameplay. 

Ask others to refrain from downloading, streaming, or doing other network-intensive activities during long gaming sessions. 

If additional devices, such as phones or tablets, are not in use, disconnect them from the WiFi network. 

Conclusion

The above tips can help reduce latency when enjoying your favorite games. 

Often, it’s a process of trial and error, so try a number of the above methods to see if they help your games run smoother and more efficiently. 

FAQ

Is latency a ping?

Latency is the measure of how long it takes for one data packet to travel from your device to the server and back in milliseconds. And yes, this process of travel time between the device and the server is known as a ping.

What is a good latency for gaming?
LatencyTime (in milliseconds)
BadMore than 100ms
Acceptable40-100ms
Good20-40ms
GreatLess than 20ms
Should I use VSync?

If you’re experiencing severe input lag or dropped frames in your gameplay with it turned on then turning VSync off is a good idea. Otherwise, leave it alone.

Can my CPU cause lag when gaming?

If you’re using an overclocked CPU, then it may be the reason why your game is lagging or stuttering. This usually happens when the overclock is unstable or done improperly.





Reynold Sebastian

Reynold is a tech freak and loves spending most of his time around gadgets. He loves to write about anything related to gaming or gaming consoles. Over the years, he has been writing for multiple technical websites as a freelancer and is also working on his own blog. 

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