Imagine you are gunning for victory in Counter-Strike or defending your tower in Clash Royale in the last 10 nail-biting seconds and your so-called reliable internet bails on you… infuriating, isn’t it?
So now pals, it is time to talk about the center of all our gaming victories and losses – the internet. Yes, our dear, digital frenemy that is our only hope at conquering the online battlefield and the only reason why we take a beating. Oh, the helplessness!
The question is why do we get stuck in buffer-loops when we’re paying hefty amounts to the ISP to play games to our heart’s content? Let us tell you why!
Did you know that there are 246.3 million active mobile internet users in the US alone?
This means that while you are just a couple of seconds away from a winner-winner-chicken-dinner moment on PUBG, there are a million others binge-watching TV shows on the free Spectrum TV app or working remotely.
Since a lot of people are using the internet while you’re indulged in gaming, it is most likely that your download speed, the upload speed or ping rate drops down and you end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
If you don’t know the difference between download or upload speed and ping rate then don’t worry, we are to help you trudge through the muck and mire of these internet basics. Here’s all that you need to know!
Download VS Upload Speed
To break it down, download speed simply means how long does it take for the data to get pulled from your server to your gaming device. It is usually the “advertised speed” your ISP offers you at the time of purchase.
On the other hand, upload speed means how long does it take for the data to bounce back from your gaming device to the server. Imagine you are posting a picture on Instagram, the time it takes for the post to appear on your feed after you hit the share button is sort of the upload speed of your internet connection.
Whilst every gaming platform is different, it is generally believed that for single-player games, a download speed of 3 Mbps and upload speed of 1 Mbps is enough for a good gaming experience.
However, the download speed is usually faster as most of our online activities such as streaming videos, downloading movies or loading webpages involve downloads. Having said that, both your download and upload speed play a key role in determining your gaming victory and losses.
As much as the download and upload speed is important for a smooth gaming experience, ping or latency rate is also extremely crucial. Ping rate or latency means the speed at which your gaming device communicates with your internet server.
Ping rate is measured in milliseconds (ms) and the higher it is, the more sluggish your game will be. A ping rate of 20ms is ideal. Try to get a connection that offers an ideal ping rate so that you don’t pull your hair out fighting one that is higher than 150ms.
Now that we have understood all the technical jargon, let’s talk about some tips that can help you boost your sluggish internet speeds if your ISP isn’t doing the job right.
Check your Modem and Router Cables
If you have a cable or DSL internet connection with dusty, dirty or loose cables running from the modem to your wireless router or PC then it may reduce your gaming speed significantly. To avoid this, make sure that you clean all connections now and then and tighten them by hand to fix loose ends.
You can also use micro-filters on the line that connects the wall jack to your modem or phone and try to keep devices such as the mobile charger away from the modem to reduce unwanted noise and interruptions.
Moreover, since the quality of your DSL or Ethernet cable can have an impact on the internet speed, it is always great to get cables that are durable and specifically serve your purpose. Having said that, avoid using old and worn out cables to make the most out of the Mbps that you’re getting from your ISP.
Run a Speed Test
Many ISPs paint a rosy picture at the time of purchase to give faster-than-light speeds but fail to do so. That is why it is ideal to run a speed test to check your internet connection to see if you are getting the promised speeds or not.
Just grab your smartphone, tablet, or laptop or get to your PC and run a speed test online for at least three times to get an average reading of download and upload speed that you are getting.
In case you are not getting the speeds you need, you can always switch to a better broadband package like the one offered by Mediacom Internet that offers better conditions for gaming such as a low ping, less game lag, and fast speed.
Get a Gaming-pro Router
Old routers can have a significant effect on your internet connection’s reliability, strength, speed, and performance. Getting a router that is specifically designed and optimized for gaming can be the best option for you to bag all the gaming victories that you dream of.
Unlike regular routers, gaming routers are designed to boost all the knickknacks needed for a seamless gaming experience. One distinct feature of these routers is the QoS i.e. Quality of Service.
QoS allows you to prioritize traffic according to your activities or needs such as gaming in this case. This way the traffic of your gaming device will be prioritized or sent first so that you can get the most incredible gaming experience boost like never before.
Work-out your Internet Usage
If a bunch of people is streaming movies and videos at your place then a capped internet connection will slow down or will soon be consumed. In a home where everyone loves surfing the internet, planning out yours and your kin’s online activities at peak hours can help you save some Mbps for gaming.
For a rough idea, the “internet rush hour” in the US is between 7 pm to 11 pm, so try to manage your internet activity by avoiding to play during that time and do it outside the rush hour. This way you will be able to avoid buffer-loops and lags and enjoy glitch-free gaming without getting stuck in an online traffic jam.
Get off Wi-Fi and Plug-in!
Wi-Fi is love but it can get a tad bit slower so you should avoid connecting your gaming device such as the console or PC to the internet via Wi-Fi as it may damper the speed you can get.
Undoubtedly, Wi-Fi is super great for smartphones, laptops, and tablets, etc. but plugging your gaming device directly to your router with an Ethernet cable (hardwire) can give you ten times faster gaming speed than Wi-Fi.
However, this is applicable if you don’t need to move around a lot. In case Wi-Fi is your only hope, then keep your PC or gaming console as close to the router as possible to get the max out of your wireless connection.
It is better if you try to fix the internet issues on your own and optimize the set up inside your home; it’s a bitter truth that you have little or no control over the network performance outside the brick walls.
Consequently, ringing up your internet provider’s customer service to seek assistance is the best that you can do to avoid further disappointments.
With all that is said and done, always remember that we all love using the internet but since it’s a limited resource these days, use it as thoughtfully as you use the sanitizer or toilet paper.