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How to test your internet connection for the quest of gaming!

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If you have ever ventured on the quest of online gaming, you must have experienced lag at one instance at another. Buzzkill is the word right? Yeah I agree with that. Even if you have a very capable computer at your disposal, if your internet connection isn’t good enough, the entire experience becomes dreadful.  At one instance, you are on a killing spree with Invoker in DOTA 2, and the next moment, your character stops listening and you end up losing the competitive edge. Yeah happens, and it sucks, plain and simple.

The first instinct when something like this happens is that you need to change your internet connection, but this might not be the core reason to your problem. There are a number of other reasons involved, which might make your internet connection underperform. Let us dwell into some of those reasons and see if we can give you some peace of mind by solving your problem. 

Understanding Ping

While choosing an internet connection, we generally consider download and upload speeds as the key metrics. While this may be the right approach for downloading content, but online gaming is a different domain. Gaming in based more on your connection’s latency (ping) than the download speed. 

Ping basically measures your computer’s response time to various data requests through the internet connection. Various games suffer differently from higher pings. To get a general idea, a ping of 500 ms and higher (milliseconds) means that you are almost one second behind other players. You can probably imagine what would happen to you with this delay in a first person shooter. Some games like DOTA 2 can suffer up to a 3-4 seconds delay with a ping higher than 500 ms therefore making them entirely unplayable. This is just the start of your frustration though if you have high ping issues. Most online servers for a variety of games have ping locks where you can’t even participate if you have a bad ping. If you somehow do end up joining them, expect to get kicked by the host because they can very well see the ping of the various devices connected to them. 

Checking your Ping status

Your internet provider won’t provide you with a definite ping level therefore you need to check your latency on your own. The most convenient method is to use a speed test. There are a number of useful speed tests available which can help your cause. Some internet companies like Frontier and Comcast have their own speed tests for facilitating customers. Being formidable enough, their local latencies are much better in comparison. You can go through various Frontier internet plans as well as those offered by Comcast to see what they have to offer. 

To check the ping, simply visit the speed test page and click on the test button. It will run for a few seconds and after checking your download and upload limits, can give you a good estimate of how much download/upload and latency you currently have. A ping below 25 ms is considered to be ideal whereas anything above 80 ms means your game will struggle. As mentioned earlier, the individual pings may vary between various games, so you can check those pings through the in-game settings. 

Solving connectivity

Now the solving part comes where you take measures to stabilize and lower that ping. First of all, you need to make sure that there are no other programs or devices taking up a significant part of your internet connection. Activities like high-res streaming and downloads can take a major toll on your internet connectivity. Make sure that the device you use for gaming is preferably the only one connected and there is no background bandwidth related activity on this particular device. Sharing an internet connection with a housemate, or your neighbours can also be a cause of high ping for you. An effective way to deal with this is to decide on a time with them so you guys can split the major usage hours which can help you get a better ping. 

The next thing you need to take into account is the graphic settings on your game. Higher graphics means your computer is sending more information to the servers, which takes more time to come back to you. Lowering the respective settings can help you achieve faster transfer of data. The graphics settings can also directly influence the processing power of your machine and if the graphics cards isn’t capable enough of handling the processing, your gaming experience will suffer significantly. 

The quality and placement of your router also matters when it comes to good latency. Preferably, you should avoid surrounding your router with any objects which might interrupt the signals. If a router is placed on the ground floor, and your gaming setup is on a different floor, lower signal strength will also affect your gaming experience. Avoid placing your router next to walls because such physical intrusions can very well affect your wireless connectivity. Connect your gaming device with a wire rather than depending on a wireless connection because wired connections to this day have proved themselves to be much more reliable. 

At a number of instances, our connectivity equipment such as routers and modems are outdated. Outdated equipment works on obsolete software, which is incapable of installing the latest connectivity definitions. There is a high probability that you won’t even know if your router/modem is the root cause behind those awful lags. The best way to resolve this is to check for software updates through your computer or simply call up your ISP and have them send a specialist over to inspect your hardware. 

Once all these aspects are catered, you ping will surely improve, therefore giving you an enjoyable gaming experience. You can get help from a few external applications as well for the stabilization of your ping but it’s better to keep them as a last resort because some of the freeware offered can infect your computers with malicious software as well. Beside this method, you can indulge in the rest of the steps on your own. Wishing you the best of connectivity. Regards!