The gaming industry is a serious business. Esports has taken the world by storm, growing quickly to rival many international sports events. Gaming typically finds an audience in people aged 8 to 35, but there really are no age limits. Young streamers like Dota2 Pro Sumail are already raking in millions of dollars while still in their teens. That proves that esports offers a unique take on a level playing field open to virtually everyone with a PC, console, and a reliable service like Spectrum internet customer service. This is one reason why gaming has a massive following, and they all hate one thing: high ping.
What is Ping Anyway?
Serious gamers understand the need to be constantly alert and responsive. Gamers also work hard to develop their hand-eye coordination and micro reflexes. But even the most skilled of gamers can be rendered useless by that bane of all gaming: ping.
To understand ping or latency, let’s take a simplified view. There are two factors to consider when gaming. The speed of your internet connection, and the ping. Your internet speeds will typically determine how much data can be transmitted in a second, hence Mbps or megabits per second. On the other hand, your ping determines how fast the data is transmitted from the sender to the receiver. Ping is measured in milliseconds, hence ms.
What Factors Affect Ping?
So we know now that ping means the length of time (in milliseconds) it takes the sender to transmit a data packet to a receiver. In other words, it is the length of the journey from computer A to server B. However, many factors can affect exactly how long it takes for the data to transmit. One of the biggest is the geographical distance between the sender and the data’s destination.
For example, if you’re playing Dota 2 on the US server while in the US, you will likely have good ping. However, should you choose to play in the China or India servers, the sheer physical distance the data has to travel will increase. Most signals won’t even take a direct route to the destination and will be routed through several servers. The result is much higher ping, which makes for a disruptive gaming experience.
Another aspect that may have an impact on your ping is your home network. If you have a lot of users on the same network as you, they will all be eating up bandwidth. Or, if you have multiple tabs or streams open, you’ll still be using excess bandwidth that could be devoted to gaming.
Oftentimes, especially on older routers, gaming over Wi-Fi often results in higher ping than gaming via a wired connection to the internet. Wireless signals can get lost in transmission, especially if there are obstacles between your router and your pc/console. On the other hand, a wired connection has virtually no signal loss, so your ping and gaming experience remains stable.
How Can I Fix Bad Ping?
Before you do anything, you should run a series of speed tests on your PC, laptop, or smartphone. It’s best if you can do them at different times of the day. This will help you get an idea of what speeds to expect during peak and off-peak hours. Be sure to conduct a speed test with and without a wired connection. In many cases, this will point you to your problem right away – wireless connectivity.
Wi-Fi is convenient, but it also makes for packet loss. Luckily, many modern routers have some serious functionality built in to help with a smoother gaming experience. For example, certain routers can prioritize specific devices (like your gaming rig) over any others that may be connected to the network. This ensures you have a smooth playing experience even if other users are using the internet with you. Of course, they may not be too happy if they’re trying to stream the next episode of Tiger King in HD.
Many routers also have the ability to switch between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands automatically. This allows them to find more channels with the least traffic to broadcast the wireless signal. Thanks to Wi-Fi extenders, you can even extend the range of your wireless network to cover your entire home evenly. This can help get signals you your gaming rig even if it is a “dead” spot.
Of course, if none of these options work for you right now, you can always opt to game over a wired connection. Yes, you will have to deal with messy and ugly cables. But at least you know your signal is stable and strong.