Gaming has evolved from a niche interest to a pastime as ubiquitous as going to the movies. More people than ever are gaming online and striving to achieve the best possible experience.
Choose Your Internet Service Based on Latency
There is often too much focus on download speed when it comes to online gaming. The FCC minimum for broadband is a 25 Mbps download and a 3 Mbps upload, and that is generally plenty if you are the only person gaming on a connection. A much bigger concern is latency, which is the delay between you sending a message and the game server receiving it and vice versa. Latency is measured in milliseconds. Anything less than 20 ms is fantastic. Less than 50 ms is solid. Less than 100 ms is usually serviceable, and any lag beyond that can deliver an experience that ranges from poor to unplayable. Internet providers offers different internet plans with different internet speed that will match your budget and internet speed that need for your gaming experience.
Connect to Your Router via Ethernet
Connecting to your home internet network via Wi-Fi adds to your latency by as much as 100 ms. The average home wireless connection will add at least 10 ms, which is significant when gaming online. If you have the option, connecting via Ethernet is well worth it since it adds but a single hop to your latency.
Power Cycle Your Router and Update the Firmware
Router maintenance is a must for a good online gaming experience. An unoptimized router can introduce a host of issues, including more lag. At least once a month, check for any new software updates for your router, and then, power cycle it to clear out its data caches.
If a Wireless Connection Is a Must…
If you have no choice but to connect to your home network via Wi-Fi, then you will want to take some measures to limit lag. One is to invest in the best wireless router you can afford. Take the time to find the optimal router position, and invest in a PCI-e-based wireless adapter for your PC.
Keep Windows Updated
Check daily for new Windows updates. Choose which applications you install with care. Keep them updated, and minimize the number of applications that launch when your PC does.
Keep Resource-Intensive Running Apps to a Minimum
Avoid running programs that consume resources—and in particular your Internet connection—alongside your games. The Xbox app available for Windows offers a Game Mode that can make this easier. Important applications, such as antivirus tools, often offer game modes as well.
Update Your Graphics Driver
You do not necessarily have to update your graphics driver each time a new version is released. However, you should pay attention to what each new release adds and update whenever it applies to a game you are playing, adds system features or corrects issues that could affect all games.
Maximize Your Framerate
If you are playing a competitive game, then you are better off emphasizing framerate over image quality. A faster and smother gaming experience will result in better responsiveness.
Opt for a Wired Mouse or Controller
Choose wired mice and controllers as opposed to wireless mice and controllers. Wireless can be convenient and has come a long way over the years, but even the best wireless mouse will add at least 8 ms of latency to your connection. There is also the issue of having the batteries fail at the worst time!
Choose the Server Closest to Your Location
Many online games give to the option to choose the server you connect to. Generally, you always want to choose the server closest to you in physical location as that will result in lower latency.
With your connection issues sorted, focus on have a quality chair that provides good ergonomics. Sit up straight! Stay hydrated, and remember to take breaks to get that blood circulating!