If there’s one word that’s mentioned over and over when it comes to the internet and online gaming, it’s latency.
But aside from having a fast internet connection to achieve low latency, a decent gaming PC still contributes to the stability of the internet.
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Breaking the Jargon
Being responsive is everything when playing online games, whether it be your screen delay or controller delay. And your internet’s stability, or a low latency, is just as important, well actually much more important.
Latency might also be referred to as ping, and it is measured in milliseconds, or ms. Ping is a reference to the fact that the signal must ping from a server and to your rig and back again. The measurement in milliseconds is the average total time that it takes for the game to send to and receive actions from the game’s servers. This means an internet connection with a ping of 100ms will take 100 milliseconds (or 1/10 of a second) to respond to a game server’s request.
How Does Low Latency Improve Your Online Gaming Experience?
Online games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, PUBG, Fortnite, CS:GO will respond faster and will feel snappy if you have low latency compared to users with high latency.
You’ll notice players appearing and disappearing while playing if you have a ping of over 1000ms. Similarly, you’ll also notice delayed movements and delayed actions when casting skills or spells. This is especially true for titles that don’t have dedicated game servers.
Competitive gamers should opt only for an internet connection with the lowest latency possible as this is one factor that contributes to a quality gaming experience.
What Is An Acceptable Ping Or Latency When Gaming?
To check your ping, you must first run a speed test. Just click on the “Go” button and wait for a couple of seconds for the test to complete.
Under 20ms is an excellent latency rate. It’s impossible to spot delays at this rate. Moreover, you can react to your enemy’s actions and evade almost instantly.
A ping between 20ms to 100ms means you will still enjoy online games, but games that require accurate timing and very fast reactions won’t be as satisfying.
A ping between 100ms to 150ms may still be acceptable for some titles, but this is where you’ll start to notice delays more often. Combos in fighting games and twitch shots in shooters will become noticeably harder to pull off.
A ping over 150ms is just unacceptable as this will result in noticeable lag and missed skill shots. You’ll die more often, too-- so it’s perfectly safe to blame the lag when you die.
A word of advice though: don’t play when you have a ping of over 150ms or it will cost you another keyboard or mouse!
Is There a Way to Improve or Achieve A Stable Internet When Gaming?
With all that said, it may seem that getting the fastest upload and download internet package is the answer to a stable online gaming experience. But that’s only partially true.
You can have the fastest internet package in the country, but a slow or poorly optimized gaming PC can also suffer from high latency. A decent gaming PC is capable of handling all the data processes and should be more than enough to make sure ping values and latency aren’t affected in any way possible.
This is why it’s imperative that you consider an upgrade if your computer is over 5 years old now. Or you can keep an eye out on some of the best PC gaming deals from this year’s Black Friday (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 26).
What Is An Acceptable Internet Speed?
In most cases, a stable internet connection for gaming requires at least a download speed of 3Mbps and an upload speed of 1MBps. However, most ISPs (internet service providers) offer internet speeds of over 10Mbps nowadays so this shouldn’t be an issue and it should all boil down to how much power your rig can handle.
No matter the case, it's still recommended to consider a wired connection from your router because wireless connections are known for bad connection or instability when gaming.
A Word of Caution
But even if you have a decent gaming computer or a fast internet connection, there are still instances where a game’s server is just slow.
So make sure you interact with other players and keep yourself up-to-date with the latest news as game developers might have announcements that may affect the game’s stability or connectivity.