EntertainmentGamesDamn lag: how to fix ping and latency issues...

Damn lag: how to fix ping and latency issues while gaming

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There is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of the action in a shooter and seeing how the screen freezes. By the time he comes to—anger and frustration through—a lot may have happened. Your character has taken damage, you don’t know where the enemy has gone and you may have become disoriented. In the worst case, the screen tells you that your character has been eliminated. And who is to blame for this? Damn latency.

It does not matter what name is given to it, lag, ping or latency. It’s still just as irritating. Latency is defined as the delay in the response time of a signal. That is to say, the milliseconds that the information packets are delayed between when one is sent and when it is received. The world of gaming, and in particular with certain games, is one of the worlds that suffers the most when there is high latency.

How latency impacts online gaming

Today you cannot understand the world of gaming without an Internet connection. Not all video games are based on network multiplayer modes, but many of them are. And the trend is growing. To succeed, you don’t just need to be good. You have to have a good team and a connection that does not fail you.

The latency period in online games is decisive. It has a variable impact depending on whether you are dealing with a shooter or a strategy one. Of course, in the first the existence of lag is much more decisive. By the way, not only the latency value itself matters. You also have to take into account the jitter, which is the fluctuation of the ping at each moment. When the latency varies it is even more annoying.

The most common latency problems

Everyone who has played online has had to deal with latency. Although Alejandro Fernandez-Quejo mopoz , professional player of Movistar Riders CS: GO, he prefers to highlight the improvement over time. “My worst experiences are from the ADSL era, when even fiber optics were difficult to access and as soon as someone saturated the network, either with videos or downloads, the gaming experience was too bitter to even play,” he tells Think Big.

The most common effects of latency are jumps in the action or the fact that your screen – and therefore your character – freezes. mopoz tells it very graphically: “In cases of very high latency, you will ‘teleport’ around the map. There will even be times when you have already hidden on your monitor and they will still have killed you, because on theirs you have not yet managed to hide.

Problem playing with different latencies

In video games like Fortnite or League of Legends it is essential that latency be reduced as much as possible. When a player does not respond properly to the controls, he is at a clear disadvantage. If the problem is specific, due to a momentary saturation of the connection, it may not go away. But if the ping persists while playing the game, the experience becomes unbearable.

“Latency problems depending on one game or another will have different repercussions,” says mopoz . “In CS:GO, latency problems above all make you assume that in duels you have less advantage than your rival. You will take more milliseconds to see them and shoot. And this directly affects your performance within the game.

Technical aspects to take into account with our connection

To enjoy a good experience in online games there are certain aspects of our connection that we must take care of. The basics: whenever you can use ethernet cable instead of WiFi. If the connection does not work correctly, the first step will be to check the cable: that it is well connected, that the connector is not broken. These are things that are visible to the naked eye and seem logical, but that we don’t always think about.

Another chapter is the router. In order for fiber optics to be transmitted correctly, this device has to allow it. Remember that if you have the Movistar Router you can know the details of your service through the Smart WiFi app, and control your connection if you play through WiFi. It also allows you to perform tasks such as keeping up with router updates or checking which devices are connected to your network.

In any case, there are some problems that are unfortunately not so obvious. If the router is old or not updated, it will not display the full speed of our connection. If we have a compatible PC, we can choose the 5GHz WiFi band, which theoretically offers better signal performance than 2.4 Ghz. Although all this will also depend on the level of saturation of each of these spaces. Next we indicate how to optimize the operation of the router.

In addition, to make sure that our connection is better oriented to our interests, we can check which devices are connected. If we have a computer at home downloading a movie or doing some other type of heavy task, we can stop it to obtain more dedicated speed. To check which processes consume the most bandwidth, you can use the ‘Resource Monitor’. (To access in Windows 10 you only have to type these words, while in Mac OS X we will find a similar app in the Applications folder -> Utilities- -> Activity Monitor). In both tools there is a tab called ‘Network’, which lists all processes and connections on the network.

Are you a Movistar Fusion customer and do you have the UHD Decoder at home? In this case, access Movistar+ and, in the top menu, enter “Apps”. There you can check the Smart WiFi Living App that will allow you to see which devices have access to your WiFi network and which are connected at that moment. If you want to cancel the access of any device or pause it, you can do it from the Smart WiFi mobile app.

Sometimes it also happens that the bottleneck of the connection is in the DNS. These can be changed manually by accessing (in Windows) the ‘Network and Internet’ section, from ‘Settings’. There you have to enter the ‘WiFi’ or ‘Ethernet’ section, depending on how we are connected, and click on ‘Change adapter options’. An icon appears that allows access to our network and we must click with the right button, and then enter ‘Properties’. A menu appears next in which you have to mark the option ‘Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)’ and click on ‘Properties’. A window opens where we can click on ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’.

Once we click on ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ we can enter other DNS, to try to solve our connection problems. One of the most used are Google’s DNS (8.8.8.8 for the ‘Preferred DNS Server’ and 8.8.4.4 for the ‘Alternative DNS Server’, or, for the IPv6 protocol, these two: 2001:4860:4860: :8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844). Another popular one are those from Quad9, focused on privacy and security (9.9.9.9 for the ‘Preferred DNS Server’ and 149.112.112.112 for the ‘Alternate DNS Server’, or, for the IPv6 protocol, these two: 2620 :fe::fe and 2620:fe::9).

Improve latency for online games

There are different ways to fix low latency. If we have gone through the previous technical aspects and still have problems, there are other options. In the event that we are forced to play connected to the wireless network, we can resort to a WiFi amplifier or a repeater. Only the fact that the signal is received from a closer point will influence the lag. We can even play with WiFi 6 through the Smart  WiFi 6 Amplifier ; obviously faster than previous network versions and above all: with less latency.

The connection speed cannot be overlooked either . Modern video games require significant bandwidth. And this is especially necessary if we use some kind of gaming streaming service, like Google Stadia.

To find out how fast our connection is at any given time, you can do the Movistar speed test. From there we get how many Mbps our network is capable of using to download content on that computer. And also the Mbps at which the same equipment can upload information to the Internet. If both parameters, or one of them, are too low (for example below 2 or 3 Mbps, although be careful that this data can be highly variable) it is possible that you will have to check the connection.

Saturation of WiFi channels, how to change them?

Changing WiFi channels is another trick that will allow you to get rid of latency. Keep in mind that the signal we use is divided into several channels, small 5 MHz bands. The 2.4 GHz frequency, for example, is divided into 14 channels. For a more satisfactory gaming experience we must select a channel with little use, few interferences and overlaps.

To do this we can go to the Living App Smart WiFi. In the ‘My network’ section, we touch on ‘WiFi optimization’. The tool will determine if the channel where we are is the right one or if there is a better option. If we are in a saturated space, we just have to click on ‘Optimize’ and the app will change the connection to another more free channel.

Hero level: 5G in video games

Fortunately, networking improvements combat latency. 5G does it especially. With the new generation of mobile networks like 5G, it will be possible to play any video game from anywhere. As long as we have good coverage, yes. There are two parameters that improve significantly: speed and latency.

5G connectivity allows us to comfortably play any kind of game, be it a frantic Fall Guys race or a battle royale. Smartphones and other mobile devices will definitely get closer in usability to traditional platforms, such as computers or consoles. To this will be added titles that will take advantage of augmented reality technology, as Pokemon Go did. 5G will be a boost in this field, since until now the networks did not support developments in augmented reality fluently.

The low latency of 5G, a problem solved

The latency values ​​of 5G connectivity are a real leap compared to previous networks. It only tolerates between 1-5 milliseconds of delay. In comparison, 4G gives values ​​of 50 milliseconds of latency. This means that playing online becomes a seamless experience at all times. The ping that we can notice from a mobile device is suppressed with 5G.

Quick and basic guide to improve your connection

In short, and if you need a quick resource to improve your connection while playing online, you have to pay attention to these elements:

  • Connect by cable rather than WiFi.
  • In case you connect via WiFi, check the status of your wireless network and where the amplifier is located. The emission of a good signal will depend on it. For example, behind the TV is not a good place since you limit the coverage.
  • Check the connection cable.
  • Review the processes that consume the most resources and cancel them if they are not essential.
  • Change the DNS.
  • If you are on Wifi, optimize the channels.
  • Make sure no one steals your WiFi
  • From the mobile, always better with 5G.

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