To have a good gaming session, some people argue that you need a good internet connection. Others say it’s the ping that truly matters. By the way, if you don’t know what ping is, click here to read more about it.
But who’s right about this? And if ping matters, is there a way to improve it so that you can enjoy your gaming sessions?
Well, let’s start by saying that when you’re connected to a gaming server, there are thousands of little data packets that travel constantly from your device to the server and back to your device. That’s how your connection with the server is established.
But don’t imagine that it takes a lot for the data packets to travel – we’re speaking of milliseconds after all.
And ping is exactly this: how many milliseconds it takes for your data sets to travel from your device to the gaming server. The faster, the better.
If the data travels slowly, you’ll have to wait longer, and you’ll have a higher ping. This is an unpleasant situation because you’ll be more likely to experience lag. And if your device is lagging while you’re in a game, there are high chances you’ll get kicked off of the gaming server. Worst case scenario – you might even get banned.
So What Is Good Ping in Gaming?
When you’re gaming online, you’ll want the system to respond as fast as possible – there should be no lag between pressing a button and what happens in the game.
Here’s a quick look at bad, average, and good ping values:
- 150 ms or more is considered high ping. You’ll experience lag and annoying issues (like randomly teleporting across the map).
- Between 50 ms and 100 ms is considered average ping.
- Below 20 ms is considered excellent ping. You won’t experience any problems and you’ll have a smooth gaming session.
Of course, these values are not set in stone – every player might experience high ping at different values. That’s why it’s even more important to spot the signs that indicate that you’re experiencing high ping:
- Connecting to your gaming server takes a lot (30+ seconds).
- Other websites don’t load.
- It takes a long time to send messages through chat.
- Your screen freezes every few minutes.
- The graphics start to lag when there are a lot of players in one place.
If you experience any of those issues, it’s time to take action before it’s too late – if your ping gets too high, the server admin might even ban you!
The good news is that high ping is not a matter of device or internet quality. You can have the best internet in the world or a high-end PC and still experience high ping.
Why Do You Experience High Ping?
High ping happens because data packets take too long to travel from your device to the gaming server.
For example, if you’re in France and you’re connecting to a server in Japan, your data might take a long route and go through many servers (France, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Russia, Thailand, South Korea) until it reaches its destination (Japan). That’s a lot of stops and the connection might get lost frequently.
Ideally, when you’re connecting to a gaming server, the ISP should use the fastest route so you’ll have a quick connection to the server.
But, sometimes, that’s not possible because other things can get in the way and you might end up with high ping:
- Your ISP is sending your data through low-quality or inefficient internet routes.
- Your connection travels through countries with poor internet infrastructure.
- The ISP is sending your connection through countries with very slow internet speeds (like Pakistan, for example).
Can a VPN Lower Your Ping?
Now, the VPN’s job is to offer you end-to-end encryption. That means that once you’re connected to a VPN, your ISP won’t see what you’re doing online. But at the same time, the gaming server you’re connecting to won’t see your IP.
A VPN can do this because it takes your connection and reroutes it through its own servers. In some cases, these routes can be faster than your ISP’s routes, so you’ll have a smoother gaming session.
But this is the best-case scenario. So a VPN might lower your ping – but only if you’re very lucky.
How Can You Improve Your Ping Without a VPN?
Here are a few quick tips on how to improve your ping:
Restart Your Router
The old “have you tried turning it off and back on again?” trick does wonders in this case because it clears your router’s cache and gets rid of memory leaks.
Close Background Applications
Any app that you’re not using while you’re gaming eats a lot of RAM. Chrome, Skype, or social media apps can take up a lot of RAM. Background apps also eat up your bandwidth. So it’s better to game with them closed.
Select a Server That’s Close to You
The closer you are to a server, the better. The data will travel through fewer points and you’ll get a faster, more stable connection to the server.
Use an Ethernet Cable
WiFi connections are not that stable and fast compared to a device that’s directly hooked up to your router. Worried you’re too far from the router? No problem – ethernet cables can work over a distance of 100m (328 feet) without losing speed.
To Wrap It Up
It’s not just a myth – high ping can affect your gaming sessions.
But the good news is that high ping is manageable. You don’t need to make any drastic changes to improve your ping (like switching to a better ISP).
Is high ping the only thing you’ve had problems with while gaming online? Tell us about what other issues you’ve experienced while gaming and how you managed to solve them!