What Is Latency In Gaming?

What Is Latency In Gaming?

Latency in gaming is one of the aspects that can greatly influence user experience when playing video games online. And also when browsing the Internet or watching streaming multimedia content it can drive one crazy. Its impact, and its importance, is so great that high latency can ruin even the fastest internet connection on the planet.

It is not an issue that we should take lightly. It is very good to have a fast connection. Ultimately, if we have higher upload and download speeds we can download and upload content in less time. But if the latency is not good we will have such a bad experience that it can reach be disastrous.

What is Latency in gaming?

The term “Latency” usually refers to the time it takes for a signal to travel from a transmitter to a receiver. Although some refer to latency as the time taken to transmit a signal from a transmitter to a receiver and back to a transmitter, that is, a full circle. During the download of data, which sometimes can seem quick, there are certain speed limits. If they are transmitted through the air, then the speed of light or radio waves are limited. And if by wire, then the maximum speed cannot exceed 2/3 of the speed of light (and then, we talk about ideal wires).

Of course, gaming requires speed and a such, the lowest possible latency. Choosing an ISP based on this standard is quite difficult. Since they all advertise high speeds, but they hardly say a word about latency. If during the game the latency becomes too high, then lags occur. The game responds slowly to commands, freezes, the frame rate and overall performance drop sharply. Which makes it impossible to continue playing (this is especially critical in multiplayer online games).

Ping is often confused with latency, and although the two are synonymous, the meanings are different. This term was originally associated with an ultrasound locator. The ping was a sound pulse and its reflection, which was recorded by instruments. And in the IT field, ping is understood as a signal sent through the entire network from one PC to another, as well as a response signal from a second computer. And the time spent on this circle is called latency.

Latency affects response times, but where is the limit?

That is a good question. Now that we have figured out what lag, latency, and ping are, let’s dive deeper into this topic. For a good internet connection that will allow you to run modern games without problems. You need a latency of no more than 75-100 milliseconds. However, 20-40 milliseconds is optimal. It is recommended to have a fiber-optic connection since light travels faster than electricity in conventional cables. Therefore ping will be measured in single digits. Do not forget about mobile connections, the latency on new 4G networks is 50-150 milliseconds. But on 3G networks, the latency is 100-350 milliseconds.

If we talk about games I am quite clear that the ideal is not to have more than 40 ms of latency. Up to 70 ms, the experience can still be acceptable depending on how fast the action is. But when we move above 90 ms the problems begin.

The games do not require a high Internet connection speed, but they do require reduced latency and minimal stability without lag if we want the overall experience to be good.

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What causes lag in gaming?

Many factors cause lag in gaming. If the latency is very high in your network then the lag occurs during gaming. The bandwidth of your connection is also responsible that causing lags in gaming. Poor coverage and networking protocols are also other reasons that cause lags in gaming.

In addition to choosing a provider, you need to pay attention to other factors, including the type of connection (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and network congestion. The speed of each network depends on its location and network equipment. When setting up any network, ideally, you should measure ping using special programs like PingPlotter 5 ( https://www.pingplotter.com ) to configure the network properly and get the best possible connection quality. The main thing to remember is that not everything depends on the bandwidth. Sometimes you can use special software to configure the Internet connection in such a way that playing any online game will only bring pleasure and does not lag.


Latency is one of the first reasons to cause lags in gaming. If you have high latency, the time required to complete a task will be longer or delayed, and you will not enjoy a real-time experience.


Fragmentation is also a cause for lags in gaming. Remember to defragment your hard drive. Fortunately, with Solid State Drive you no longer have this problem.

Updating the network card driver

Check for a new driver for your network card to improve its performance.


Always use Ethernet connections to play games, as they are more stable and less vulnerable to interference. Use a direct network cable connected to the PC, as other Wi-Fi users can download the channel.


With internet latency, your router does make a real difference. In your home network, the router is one of the most essential components. But gamers need routers to perform under more pressure than they would with normal home use. A regular router may be under quite an intense load to deliver the game data. If you go Wi-Fi instead of direct ethernet, you might want to upgrade your gaming setup and get a dedicated gaming router so you don’t sacrifice on gaming fun.

Virus or Malware

A malicious software uses some of your traffic to send its data. Perform regular scans for malware. Some security threats consume network resources.

Antiviruses Programs

Antiviruses software often consumes a lot of resources, including data transfer. Therefore, temporarily disabling them can help.

Disable programs

Disable for the duration of the game all programs that have access to the Internet: Skype, ICQ, QIP, Miranda, torrent client, online video/music, stop all downloads. It will help you to reduce lag in gaming.

Expanding the network channel.

Start \ Run \ Write gpedit.msc \ Administrative Templates \ Network \ QoS Package Scheduler – click on it and you will see 20%, and replace it with 0%.

Change the priority

You can tell the system which process (game) requires more attention, and therefore it will be allocated the most resources. Usually, it is average for everyone. Start the game, then you need to launch the Task Manager, find the process with the game and give it the priority “High” or “Above Average”.

And don’t forget to check the internal state and the health of your gaming computer or laptop. Do you have the latest hardware including the correct drivers and software? Even if your gaming rig is clean can make a difference, dirt and dust can cause overheating and, in turn, cause the system to run slower causing lag and latency in gaming.