Why Do Online Games Lag?

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Why Do Online Games Lag?

1 December 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Do you play Massively Multiple Online (MMO) games such as Destiny 2, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, World of Tank, or League of Legends? Do you connect to player-run server games such as Minecraft or do you play online multiplayer games through Steam? All of these situations require an internet connection to play, but slow performance can lead to questions about the game's performance, your computer performance, and internet performance. Here are a few online gaming-specific details to help you understand lag, along with ways to get around the problem.

What Is Lag?

In computer technology, lag is specifically a delay in network traffic. It means that the information sent is being delayed in some way, and there is always some form of lag because even light-speed information takes some amount of time to reach its destination.

Many people incorrectly use the original term to mean any delay or slowdown in performance. Specifically, the presence of "chunky" graphics or a loss of frames per second (FPS). Fewer frames per second means a less fluid gaming experience, and the lower frames are often accompanied by small computer delays in rapid succession.

The second, unofficial definition of FPS loss or computer performance issues is largely caused by not having enough resources. Either your computer doesn't have enough processing power, random access memory (RAM), and/or video card power, or something on your computer such as another program or a virus is sapping the existing resources.

Resource-based problems can be solved by adding more resources or removing viruses, but network performance isn't entirely your responsibility.

Understanding Your Part Of The Online Lag Fix

Online gaming uses multiple types of streaming technology, just like streaming videos on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Crunchyroll. When you press a button, it has to reach the server in enough time to be registered as instant. If the information is sent too slowly, you'll notice delays in your game.

In games such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy 14, or Rift, this shows up as instant spells taking multiple seconds to cast, or running in place when trying to move. On first person shooters such as Call of Duty of Planetside 2, such lag can take you out of the combat immediately because you won't be able to react to split-second shots from enemies.

To solve the problem, you need to troubleshoot your side of the issue up to contacting the Internet Service Provider (ISP). This means making sure that you're not downloading something that takes your entire internet capacity (bandwidth) and that no one else on the network is doing the same.

You may need to make sure that your connection cables are secured in place, although a loose cable generally means a complete disconnect from the internet. You may need to restart your router, as the device may have too many old possible paths to send your information and could be slowing everything down by going through old choices.

If you're using wireless internet, keep in mind that the information is not as focused and precise. It's like sending water to a destination by spraying a water hose instead of using a sealed, focused pipe; you'll get some water in, but a lot is missing the target. Missing the target means having to send information again, which means more delays.

Contact an internet provider to discuss your games of choice, along with internet packages that fit all of your internet needs at the same time.