If you're into online gaming as a professional or for fun, internet is one thing that you have to take seriously. To get the best performance, best reaction time, and to not have a frustrating gaming experience, your connection needs to be consistent--not necessarily fast. To understand the difference between speed and consistency, why it matters for online gaming, and how to bring your connection up to speed, here are a few networking fundamentals for gamers at any level.
What Is Lag?
Lag is often mistakenly used for different performance issues, although the general feeling is the same. It's more than just slow performance; online gaming lag means that the internet packets from your game are going to and coming from the game server too slowly.
When you play an online game, realize that the gaming client is mostly for your entertainment. All of those high-resolution graphics, complex spell designs, and intricate moves aren't actually being sent across the internet; your client simply acts out the different actions while a digital packet of information sends what matters.
When you shoot a bullet, the game doesn't need to send some complex packet of data that includes the environment and every single thing going on in the game. The data is about where your character is, the fact that you fired a bullet, the trajectory information, and registering what it hits. It's all numbers, and the graphics are just acting out the attempts and results.
These packets are different sizes depending on the game, but small enough that internet speed doesn't really matter anymore. Unless you're on dial-up internet, satellite internet that loses a lot of data in transmission, or wireless internet of any kinda, the modern standard of broadband is good enough in terms of speed--until you start adding other needs to the mix.
Other Internet Activities Can Cause Lag
Do you download while you play games? Are you playing a game where you can relax and see the online world while streaming a video or music on another monitor? These actions use internet capacity as well, and it's these additional activities that require faster internet capacity.
The term faster is a bit confusing when you get into what it means. Yes, a faster internet capacity means that you can download a single file faster or load websites faster, but it also means that your connection has more capacity. With faster internet, you can play your games while you or others in your household have movies and downloads going without noticeable delays for the most part.
Consistency is the bigger issue. If nothing else is happening on the network as far as downloads and your modern broadband connection still has delays, there's a failure somewhere. It could be a virus on your computer, a person connected to your wireless network without permission while using up resources, or maybe you didn't notice that something on your computer is doing a completely legitimate update that requires a download.
The problem could also be outside of your control. Damaged wires in your home are your responsibility, but should be repaired by a professional--sometimes with a cost, or possibly done as a courtesy by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if you're a valued customer with a first-time problem that isn't too expensive to fix.
Your problem could be outside of the home and entirely up to your ISP to fix. To figure out if you have lag issues outside of your control or not, or to find internet for your gaming lifestyle, contact an internet service provider today, such as Solarus.
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