How to fix lag in online games? - FULL GUIDE (UPDATED)
- 2012.11.28 12:03
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UPDATED: 02.07.2019 20:20
Online games are very popular and almost all vidseo game developers have jumped on the boat to develop multiplayer online platforms. Reported lag and latency issues increase with the amount of players joining online games around the world.
How does an online game work, how is it possible to play with a friend 1000km away from your location? And why do some players experience lag, stuttering, flickering, freezing, disconnections or crashes in online games?
Which solutions exist to fix lag and latency issues in online games?
How does an online game function and why do lag and latency issues happen?
In this article we will try to give answers to all online video game lag and latency issues related to questions a gamer may have. We will provide images, graphs and statistics, list existing solutions to fix lag and latency issues and explain to you in detail how an online game network functions!
Based on facts, you will find out that fixing lag and latency issues is not magic but rather a complex task which will not always end in success. This is because there are numerous causes; you as a gamer do cannot influence on all parts of the online game network chain!
What is lag in online games?
Online game lag refers to a delay of actions, chat, movements, sound or screenplay. Lag can cause an online game to freeze or disconnect as well.
Lag can be caused by malfunctioning hardware, not meeting the system requirements, slow performing operating system, wrongly configured or corrupted processes, settings, entries or services. Old drivers or firmware, high conflict devices and game settings also cause online game lag.
A majority of lag issues are caused by the internet connection. The performance of your internet connection does depend on hardware (CPU, RAM, network card, adaptersâ€¦), the processing speed of your operating system, settings made in your router or modem and of course the speed and quality of the line or signal from your ISP provider!
It is not always the internet connection *speed* what counts!!!
Each gaming system has its own requirements, if you have a download spead of atleast 3 Mgbps, upload speed of atleast 1 Mgbps and a ping rate under 150 ms (even though this is nowdays considered a big delay) you should be covered for most online video game servers. Of course, every game development company has different servers at different locations. Many factors play a role in your connectivity to an online server, such as: distance, your network speed, server load speed. For instance, Fortnite community claims that the minimum internet speed for Fornite should be 10 Mgbps.
If one of the included chains in the online game network suffers from a delay in sending and receiving data packages which contain game information, then the online game lags. The chain includes your end (computer, laptop or mobile device, the ISP, internet gateway and nodes), the datacenter connection of the game server and the game server itself.
What is latency in online games?
Online game latency refers to the time a data package needs to be sent or received from your computer, laptop or mobile device to a server or host computer located somewhere in the world and back.
In games where timing is key, primarily in first-person shooter games (FPS) and real-time strategy (RTS) a low ping is advisable and its a key to a smooth gameplay.
• Latency also refers to the time local processes an online game needs to perform on your computer. For example, the time your graphic or audio cards need to update your screen or play a sound file.
• Latency is measured in miliseconds (ms) so if your ping is 100 ms, that means it recently took 100 miliseconds for your computer to respond to a request from a game server.
How is the Online Game Network build up?
Online games require a network over the internet (internet network). All actions, movements, chats and so on are sent and received via servers and clients. In order to play an online game you will need a computer, laptop or mobile device and a router and/or modem.
You also need to have an active internet connection from an internet service provider (ISP) which is used to communicate with the game server (part of the online game network). There are the 3 major ENDS included. The Internet functions over gateways and nodes (big and fast datacenters/servers connecting countries and continents).
An Online Game Network includes:
A. Players computer
C. Internet Service Provider
E. Datacenter or ISP where the game server is connected
F. The game server
A typical Online Game Network
(Image 1 & Online Game Network)
Explanation to the Typical Online Game Network Image Above:
1. Gamer 1's PC
2. Gamer's Router/Modem
3. Gamer's ISP
4. Internet Gateway/Nodes
5. Game server ISP
6. Game server
7. Gamer 2's ISP
8. Gamer 2's Router/Modem
9. Gamer 2's PC
As you can see in the picture of an "Online Game Network" the network circle is quite complex and there is not always only one end causing lag or latency issues for gamers.
Let's make an example based on the picture (Online Game Network):
Player 1, located somewhere in South America (1. Gamer PC) is playing with Player 2 (2. Gamer PC) located in Russia in an online game. Both joined a huge virtual game world (realm) with thousands of players on a game server located in the United States.
Both signed up through Internet Service Provider (ISP e.g Comcast) and have a similar internet connection speed. Player 1 just got a new gaming computer and Player 2 has a five year old standard set-up computer. Let's play the online game now to understand latency and lag issues!
Player 1 enters the game world and adds Player 2, who was already playing the game for a while, to his contact list in order to chat with him. Both agree to meet in a specific location to hunt down beasts. After some traveling, Player 1 and Player 2 are virtually meeting. Now Player 1 can see on his screen that Player 2 walks to a big house in front of them.
So what's actually happening when Player 1 sees his mate walking to the house?
Look at the picture showing the process of sent and received data packages in an online game network.
1. Player 2's computer creates a data package containing the movement information
2. The computer sends the data package to the modem/router
3. The modem/router processes the command received from the computer
4. The modem sends the data package to the datacenter of Player 2's ISP
5. The ISP datacenter processes the data package and forwards it to the node or gateway
6. The internet node or gateway datacenter processes the data package and forwards it
7. The data package arrives at the ISP and/or datacenter of the game server
8. The game server processes the data package and sends a confirmation back to the sender and sends a data package with the movement information over the same network circle to Player 1
You've already got an idea of what's happening when you join a group of players and fight heavily against another team or NCP?
Sent & received data packages in an online game
(Image 2 & Sent and received data in a Online Game Network)
Where in the online game network can latency issues happen and cause lag?
Literally everywhere (see also the pie chart for the top 11 lag and latency causes) in the process a delay of the sent and received data packages can happen.
Sending and receiving data packages around the globe is very complex and requires many operators, datacenters, gateways and nodes. A solution to cover ALL possible issues is not available.
Lag & latency issues are a part of the nature of online gaming. But this does not mean that the latency or lag issues you individually suffer from cannot be fixed. (See image 5)
Possible causes of latency and lag in the network chain of an online game
(Image 3: possible latency and lag causes in an online game network)
What solutions are available to fix lag and reduce latency in online games?
If you have ever been affected by high latency and/or online game lag you probably have searched for solutions. As the online game market is quite huge and growing (currently around 2.2 bilion online gamers worldwide) many applications, tools, utilities and services claim to reduce latency and/or fix lag. Lately, even virus scanners want to be part of these solutions.
As already mentioned above, there is no solution available that will cover ALL possible causes! We analyzed and tested some of the more popular solutions claiming to fix lag and latency issues. As causes of latency issues and lag are very complex, most of the mentioned tools, applications and services have an impact (higher - less) on reducing latency and fixing lag. On the other hand, some sources are just self-claiming with no proof of results!
There are allways the simple manual steps you can try, but this wont ensure that your problem will be fixed:
• Make sure you meet the minimum hardware requirement for the game you are playing.
• Update your graphic card drivers, as they can often alter your gameplay.
• Check your network hardware (modem, cables), outdated equipment will malfunction.
• Scan your computer for viruses and search for softwares using necessary bandwidth, then turn them off.
• Make sure none of your mobile devices arent updating their applications or downloading something.
• Turn off torrent seeding
Here is a column chart of the top 12 lag & latency fixing solutions with high to little impact:
(Column chart 1: lag & latency fixing solutions)
Lag and latency solutions:
1. The Online Game Booster - LATENCY OPTIMIZER 4 can be found here
2. A Signal Boosters can be found here
3. A Game Booster can be found here
4. A Tunnel Service - WTFAST can be found here
5. Another Tunnel Service - BATTLEPING can be found here
6. A Game Proxy - tunnel service PINGBETTER can be found here
7. Another Tunnel Service SMOOTHPING: can be found here
8. An Internet Accelerator can be found here
9. A Junkfile Cleaner can be found here
10. A Disk Cleaner can be found here
11. A System Maintenance Tool can be found here
12. A Virus scanner can be found here
13. A Registry scanner can be found here
14. A WOW (World of Warcraft) Lag Fix tool can be found here (although newer wow expansions have integrated lag reduction tool).
You might have noticed that the Latency Optimizer 4 is on top of the list and we do understand that you might have a smile on your face, because we (Badosoft) are the developers of Latency Optimizer 4 (and previous versions). We are the only available solution that what will boost online games due to the fact that we cover a wide range of testing, optimizing and fixing tools while using the newest techniques.
Fixing lag and reducing latency in online games is not an easy task and most of the solutions have limited effects. Accelerating the internet connection speed, cleaning junk files, boosting your PC, lowering your ping, offering tunnel services/game proxies or cleaning infected systems are all effective procedures.
All of the top 12 solutions we have tested have some kind of impact, though naturally some are more effective than others.
To give you a deeper insight into latency and lag causes, here is the TOP 11 pie chart:
(Pie chart 1: Top 11 lag and latency causes)
The pie graph shows the most common lag & latency causes in online games:
1. System Requirements
2. Hardware issues
3. Slow Operating System
4. Internet connection settings
5. Router / Modem
6. Internet Service Provider
7. Firewall / Virus-scanner
8. Internet Gateway / Nodes issues
9. Game Server
10. Old Drivers / Firmware
If you look back to the top 12 lag and latency fixing solutions chart, you will recognize that all of the solutions are effective but the impact of solving major issues is mainly small.
Allow us to give an example where we will compare Latency Optimizer with a tunnel service or game proxy, just to show you where the impact of those 2 solutions lie. As you can see on the image "Latency Optimizer vs. Tunnel services" you can see that Latency Optimizer works on the gamer's computer.
Game tunnel services and game proxies impact on gateways and or node issues!!
A tunnel service or proxy influence on latency issues caused by gateways and/or nodes.
You will still need to have your computer in top condition, your internet connection optimized and properly setup, a stable and fast line or signal from your Internet Service Provider and last but not least no lag or latency issues caused from the game server. That does not mean that a tunnel service will not help a player whose ISP suffers from gateway or node issues. But these are firstly the issues your ISP needs to fix!
The tunnel or game proxy uses other gateways or nodes as your ISP might do!
(Image 4: Lag and latency fixing the impact of a tunnel service)
Latency Optimizer has a high impact when it comes to the computer's system performance and involves tweaking and tuning your internet connection.
Furthermore, Latency Optimizer is the only online game booster available that includes testing and troubleshooting tools as well. Latency Optimizer assists you with getting the highest performance of sent and received data packages through the online game network.
Of course it must be said that this software cannot do magic! But it is the only lag fix and latency reduction solution available that covers a wide range of cleaning, tweaking, tuning, optimizing and testing tools.
Latency Optimizer impacts on latency and lag issues in online game networks
(Image 5: Lag & latency fixing impact of Latency Optimizer)
Latency Optimizer works mainly where the latency and lag issues exist! At the gamers END!
All online games are vulnerable to latency and lag issues!
Here is a bar chart of popular games and the reported lag and latency issues! Note that the popularity of the online games has an impact of the reported issues! As you can see on the bar chart, even the most popular online games have lagging players.
(Bar chart: Top online games with reported lag and/or latency issues)
Lag Fix Software
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