You might have a high-end PC that can run AAA games on 100+ frames per second, but if your internet connection isn’t reliable, then you’re bound to get lag, high ping, and packet loss in your online gaming sessions. Note that we’re saying “reliable,” and not “fast.” This is because more than higher speeds, you need connection stability in your internet.
Let’s first discuss the concept of speed vs. stability for online games such as esports, competitive games, MOBAs, MMOs, etc. where you need to connect to a server to play a match or log into a virtual world with other players in it.
Stability vs. Speed
You do indeed need high internet speed. Speed is measured in Mbps or megabytes per second. But games are not very bandwidth-extensive.
Unlike a 4K video on YouTube which is constantly downloading GBs of data from the YouTube servers, a game is not downloading much from the game server—It’s just downloading the necessary information like the positions and appearance of other players. This does not consume GBs of data, naturally.
All an online game needs is to maintain a decentlyfast and reliable connection to the game server. In fact, the majority of online games use somewhere around 10 KB to 50 KB per second, which is not much, but sometimes they need to use a lot more. And if your connection isn’t stable, you will get lag in those times.
Some games will use more than that, especially those that need to download new textures and assets for new locations and map areas (open-world MMOs like New World come to mind). On the other hand, simpler games such as browser-based 2D online casino slots need significantly less bandwidth.
When playing these casino games, as long as you have an internet connection of at least 25 Mbps then you’re good to go. Now, it depends on your region and your stability.
Not all games have servers in every country. Usually, developers only place servers in 5-10 locations, which then serve all players from all countries. If a game doesn’t have a server that’s physically close to your location, the connection will not be ideal and you’ll get a high ping.
Typically, popular games like PUBG and CS:GO have a lot of servers and they test to optimize their speed for almost every part of the world. New games or games that are not operated by a big studio can’t spend so much on global accessibility (servers are expensive), so you might experience high ping if there’s no server around you.
A ping lower than 150ms is necessary to play a game normally. If it’s a fast-paced game (like esports), you need a ping around 80ms or less, on average.
Check the server locations of your game. It could be as easy as searching for “League of Legends servers list.” In this case, you’ll find that the developer, Riot Games, has an official list of all regional servers.
Check which is the closest to you and find your ping there. Don’t launch into a game if your ping is higher than 150ms or if the game gives you a warning of high ping. Not only will it make for a frustrating match but you will also be making the experience worse for others.
A lot of things affect speed. If you have a fast internet connection (let’s say 150 Mbps) and you’re connected to a nearby server (let’s say you’re in Richmond, Virginia, and are connected to the US East server of your game), then you’re not going to face any problems at all.
But a few things do affect speed and we’ll talk about them next
Games have many players during peak hours. Though it’s fine for match-type games where the number of players is fixed (typically 4v4 or 5v5 such as in most MOBA titles), in open-world scenarios it can increase your ping or lag as many players are connected to the server.
If this happens, try to play when the server population is low (late night or early morning, for example
If your speed and ping are both fine but you’re getting high packet loss, this could be a temporary problem or you might need to invest in a higher internet package.
High Ping and Lag
High ping and lag happen because your connection is both, not stable enough and not fast enough. Again, the only option (if this is not a temporary issue) is to invest in a better internet package.
LAN Cable vs. WiFi
Technology’s influence on online games has been profound, and one of the best things has been faster internet. But the device you use has an upper limit.
Ethernet or LAN cables offer better connection to the router and incidentally, to the server. WiFi can get blocked even by walls and other household objects, and all other devices connected to it will soak up the internet bandwidth before your device if it’s not connected with a LAN cable (like a smart TV streaming video or a phone downloading something).
Updates always get priority and take up a lot of internet bandwidth. If you only sometimes get high ping or low speed, it’s time to check background update processes on your device and other devices connected to the same network. Let them finish first before you start gaming.
Don’t be too sure of your ISP’s advertised speed! Your realistic speed is often less than the Mbps given by your service provider. We recommend first checking your actual speed using Google (just type “internet speed test” on Google) or Ookla’sSpeedtest tool.
Make your decisions only after knowing your real download and upload speed using either of these tools. Keep in mind that the upload speed is very important in online gaming as your position needs to be constantly sent back to the server.