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Learn how to lower the ping value for online games


Bring your router to a free spot that is as high as possible for better signal strength and experiment with different antenna angles.

Chris Monroe / CNET

From Fortnite to Overwatch Rocket League to League of Legends, online gaming is as big as ever. Cloud-connected consoles such as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch continue to sell like crazy Mobile Gaming is growing and growing and even Apple and Google make great efforts to get into the action.

In short, it's a great time to be an online player – but only if your internet connection can match. And although it's not lightning fast to play most of the games, you should still keep an important metric in mind: Ping.

Put simply, ping is a measure of how long your computer or device needs to retrieve data from a particular server somewhere on the Internet. For example, if this data is some critical movement while your opponent peeks out from behind a tree to shoot at you in PUBG you'll quickly find that high ping is a real hit killer.

So, what can you do about it? I'm glad you asked, that's the purpose of this post.

Let's talk about latency

It might be helpful to imagine your Internet signal as a courier. Whenever you use the Internet for anything, send this courier to retrieve all the data you need to stream a show, use an app, or play an online game. In that sense, your internet speed really describes how much data the little guy can transfer at one go, usually in megabits per second (Mbps). In the meantime, the ping indicates how long it takes in milliseconds (ms) for it to start traveling.

The length of this journey depends on the route and the distance the destination is to start. If you're playing an online game hosted on a server that's not too far away, the journey should be pretty quick. However, if this server is located on the other side of the world – or your signal does not take the most direct route – it may take much longer. Translation: higher ping.

Apart from advanced DNS server tricks, you do not always have full control over this route. However, if you can choose between multiple servers in your game before the game starts, choose the server closest to you that makes a big difference. And if the network on your page is busy with lots of other users, devices or browser windows on your home network will open, and you can eliminate as much traffic as possible to reduce the ping effect.

Upgrading to a good gaming router can also be helpful. In addition to high-speed and high-performance processors, most high-end options can give priority to game traffic to keep you from slowing down with your roommate's Netflix attack. Others promise to send your signal as quickly as possible to the server where your game is hosted. Still, you should understand the other factors in your home that can affect things before you spend hundreds on new networking hardware.

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There are many free online speed tests that can give you an accurate look at the performance of your home network.

Screenshot of Ry Crist / CNET

First things first, do a speed test.

Even better, make some of them – and at different times of the day if you can. Your goal is simply to get a good overview of the average Wi-Fi speed before making any changes . Often the right tests can guide you in the right direction if you try to speed things up. For example, if you perform speed tests on a computer that is connected to your modem, and then compare those results with the results that you see when you are connected to the router, you can find out if it is about time to get new.

Do you only want to measure the ping to a specific site or server? Windows users can do this by opening the command prompt and typing "ping" followed by a space and a URL or IP address.

Ry Crist / CNET

There are many free speed testing tools available on the Internet today. With more than 25 billion speed tests since 2006, the Ookla Speed ​​Test is probably the most popular. It's fast, easy, and easy to use, and I think it's good that you can control which server you use nearby. The SpeedOf.me speed test is another great option that includes latency measurement. If you want, you can use the SpeedSmart Speed ​​Test to ping servers around the world.

For example, I was able to measure a latency of 30 ms to a server that was about 750 miles away in New York, and then a latency of 290 ms to a server in Sydney, Australia that was about 10,000 miles away , Of course, the distance makes a big difference.

Regardless of which speed test you use, reboot by first rebooting all your hardware. Then take an Ethernet cable and connect your laptop directly to your router. From there, you can use a speed test to see what your speed and ping signal looks like before your router transmits the signal throughout your home. You can then unplug it from the wall outlet and do some wireless speed tests at various points in the house to see how much the numbers are changing.

Switching from a wireless to a wired connection will result in faster speeds and a slight reduction in ping in your speed tests. The big difference depends on your router and the speed of your connection.

Ry Crist / CNET

For example, at home, the ping value increased by about 20% after I pulled the plug and ran a close-up wireless speed test. It would probably have increased even more if I had tested the wireless connection at a distance.

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A good set of powerline adapters can deliver speeds and latencies This is pretty much what you expect from a direct cable connection to your router.

Josh Miller / CNET

For this reason, most online gamers recommend using a wired connection whenever possible. That's fine and good if your computer or game console is in the same room as your router. However, if you use a bedroom or a back room to play, the wired approach will probably sound less feasible.

One possible solution: Powerline adapters that use your home's electrical wires to move your Internet signal without the same speed degradation as Wi-Fi in your home. Connect one near your router and connect it with an Ethernet cable, connect the second one near your gaming setup and connect it to your computer or console you would be using a direct, wired connection receive.

We will do some new powerline adapter testing for you later this year, but in the meantime, our longtime favorite is the Netgear Powerline AC1200 . In our tests, it delivered speeds of up to 386 Mbit / s. If your Wi-Fi is slower in the back bedroom, it should make a difference immediately. The product is available in packs of two for about $ 80 and has an average rating of 4.4 at Best Buy with over 1,000 5-star ratings.

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Ry Crist / CNET

While you're at it, check these cables.

A quick note while talking about the importance of a wired connection – it's also worth ensuring that you have current, up-to-date datagrams that support today's speeds. Just do not expect them to do much in terms of ping.

In fact, I've recently tested a 300 Mbps fiber link and a 50 Mbps cable connection using multiple speed-checking services at various times of the day during a series of speed tests. I ran each test round four times – once with the laptop connected to the modem via Wi-Fi, and then again via a cable connection to the modem with each of the three most commonly used Ethernet cable types: Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6. In both networks, the Cat 6 cable connection delivered the highest average download speed, but the cable type had no significant effect on the ping effect, as all three were on average 2 ms apart.

However, Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cables are the best choice as they are designed for peak speeds of up to 1,000 or even 10,000 Mbps. Outdated Cat 5 cables are not designed for speeds in excess of 100 Mbps, and contribute less to preventing interference when signals are routed through the copper cables inside. If you use such cables, it is worth to get some new ones.

Optimize your signal strength.

Proper cabling is good, but you may be playing a game on your phone, tablet, or other mobile device that can not easily benefit from a wired connection. In this case, upgrading to a better router may be the right choice. However, you should make sure that you get the most out of your current setup first. To turn our metaphorical data messenger back on, stronger signal strength in your home makes the first and last leg of your journey easier and faster.

Follow the basic best practices to optimize the signal strength of your network . First, make sure the router is in a good, open location that is not directly obstructed by obstacles. Wi-Fi signals tend to tilt down. The higher you can lift off the ground, the better.

The angle of the antennas can also make a difference. So try moving them at 45 degrees (one straight up, the next diagonal, the next straight back, etc.). However, you might be able to make a more stable connection with a few quick changes.

After you've done everything you can to optimize your router's performance, you should run some final speed tests to see how much of it is included if you're unable to get your ping value for a routine speed check It's probably time to call your ISP, or you may even be able to buy a new one, assuming this is an option, to keep servers under a few hundred kilometers from you below 30 ms.

Should I get a new router?

As I said earlier, a fancy gaming router can definitely help make your home's connection optimized for gaming When you're thinking about upgrading, first look for a feature called Quality of Service (QoS) – This You can tell the router that game traffic should take precedence over everything else. This is useful if you share bandwidth with roommates or family members.

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Josh Miller / CNET

In addition, most gaming routers are aimed at die-hard gamers who are prepared to spend a lot of money on their setups, so they're definitely not an occasional investment. The prices for models of the current generation are usually between 175 USD and 400 USD or even 500 USD. That's a lot to pay a little less ping.

In addition, there is currently a new generation of routers on the market that support 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 . This is the next Wi-Fi version equipped with higher top speeds and many other benefits. However, being so new, the prices of routers that support them are very high. With more options (and more time to test them) and the potential for one or two sales, next year will almost certainly be a much better time to make a major router upgrade.

That's why I would rather try to improve the network conditions in my home with a powerline adapter or, if I'm struggling with something that's at least five years old, with a more modest router upgrade. We're getting ready for our year-end router tests, so I should soon have some new hardware recommendations – both high-end gaming routers and options that will take some of the strain off your budget. In that case, I am updating this area, but in the meantime, it would be a great time to catch up on the comments when there are models you are particularly interested in.

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