Almost any gamer is well-aware of the sheer frustration that accompanies a slow internet connection. While single games are not a problem, online gaming is a completely different story altogether. An entire gaming session is easily ruined due to a lack of adequate bandwidth.
Despite the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections, it’s still very possible to have a slow connection that brings gaming to a grinding halt. This leaves players bored and frustrated, and takes the fun out of gaming online.
Fortunately, there are some tricks and tweaks gamers can implement to speed up their internet connection and enjoy online gaming at its optimum.
Look at how you can speed up your connection to make the most of your online gaming time.
1. Limit Other Connections
Most homes have a single router for all the devices within the household. Each one of these devices will need a certain amount of bandwidth to function properly. But it also means that these devices take away bandwidth from a gaming computer.
For example, when a phone needs to run an update, it may use most of the available bandwidth, leaving very little for the other devices. This redirection of bandwidth slows down the connection needed for a gaming session.
One way to get around this is by either limiting how many devices connect to the router at any given time, or by setting a specific amount of bandwidth per device. The settings on a router allow you to set limits, although not all routers have this functionality.
If other connections routinely interrupt your gaming sessions, it’s worth investing in a router that allows you to control bandwidth allocation.
2. Use The Ethernet Line
Wi-Fi is a truly remarkable invention, allowing us to tap into the power of the internet from any part of the house. The problem is that the radio waves that Wi-Fi technology uses get disrupted frequently, especially if the router is sitting near other electronics, such as a television.
This disruption can diminish the overall quality of the connection and cause latency problems while gaming online.
An easy way around this is to use an Ethernet cable. This will eliminate any noise that may be present over the wireless connection, making for a cleaner, more stable experience.
Many gamers take this idea one step further. They run the ethernet cable into the ceiling and down into the desired location to plug directly into their laptop or computer. This provides a stable, fixed connection that reduces noise in the most efficient way possible.
3. Shut Down Background Apps & Programs
There are numerous applications and programs on our phones, laptops, and computers that are constantly connected to the internet, even when they’re not actively in use. These apps often use bandwidth without us even realizing it, especially if they update automatically.
Web browsers may consume a persistent amount of bandwidth, depending on the website. Leaving a browser tab open in the background might cause lag to occur when playing an online game. If an update auto installs, the bandwidth use skyrockets without warning.
It’s always best to close everything down in the background when gaming. This ensures that the game has full access to all available bandwidth from start to finish.
4. Router Maintenance
Routers are highly complex devices that need ongoing maintenance to function at their optimum.
Regular restarts are recommended, especially for a stable connection that doesn’t drop packets often. If the connection continues to be unstable, it might be worth diving into the settings and ensuring that the right DNS server is selected, as some might be slower than others.
A good choice for a decent balance of speed and stability is Google’s DNS server, which is set at 18.104.22.168.
Modern routers will also need firmware updates every so often, just in case there’s a bug in the current firmware that might be causing issues.
Routers from brands like Asus are usually extremely easy to update. They can even be set to update automatically in the background without intervention. But some brands might require going on to the manufacturer’s website, downloading updates, and then installing them manually.
Whichever option is required, keeping the router’s firmware current with the latest updates can make a major difference to overall performance.
5. Upgrading The Line
Sometimes the only way to improve the speed and stability of a connection is by upgrading the line or switching to a different service provider. Internet Service Providers vary wildly in how they offer internet to customers. Even a small upgrade can make a significant and noticeable difference in your online gaming experience.
Many people might suggest switching to something like a 100Mbps line. But this is overkill for maintaining a stable connection for gaming. Plus, it can cost a fair amount more, depending on the packages available and the infrastructure in the area.
Wireless internet tends to be the weakest for gaming. In contrast, fiber is usually the best option as it offers the most stable and reliable connection overall. Most online games today should work well with a stable 20Mbps line, and any lag issues should not be much of a problem—provided that no other devices on the same network are using all the bandwidth.
Boosting Your Gaming Connection
Lag (also referred to as latency or ping rate) is consistently mentioned as the most common issue online gamers face. The ping rate is the time it takes for information on the internet to transfer from one place to another. It affects how quickly your responses register, along with other player responses, the stability of voice comms, and the overall gaming quality.
It’s largely agreed that having a slow internet connection that causes major lag leads to a more frustrating experience than having no internet connection at all. You can have the best gaming laptop or PC in the world, but if your internet connection is slow or unstable, it completely ruins the experience.
It’s usually possible to free up bandwidth and achieve a more stable connection by ensuring that other devices are not doing updates or downloads, that the router works correctly, and that all apps running in the background are shut down. If all else fails, upgrading your line is the answer.
About the Author:
Alisa Taylor, editor at large and content slinger, shares awesome vibes and magic words wherever she drops her ink. Her strongest areas are business, graphic design, and education, but she’s always looking to widen her expertise. She spends her breaks on gaming and reading.