Saturday, 13 August 2022

Avoid latency spikes when gaming or making video calls

Whenever we hear about an Internet connection, the first thing that comes to mind is the speed of the connection, and it is clear that it is an important concept, but there is another factor that we have to take into account, since, however no matter how fast the connection we have, if our latency is very high, we will experience problems in certain applications that will destroy the work we are doing in them. Latency is also known more colloquially as ping, and we are going to see how to measure it so, if necessary, do everything possible to lower it and stabilize it.

How to measure latency and how important this is

Now that we know that the speed, either download or upload, isn't the only important thing, let's see how to measure latency and how having a high latency affects our connection.

What are latency and ping really?

Latency is the response time of the server to receive and send the information of the requested content . That is, the time that elapses since we make a request for an information package from our computer, and it arrives back to show us the content of the requested package to the target server.

Ping is what we use when measuring that latency, which we will measure in milliseconds, therefore, it will be the time it takes to communicate your local connection with a remote computer on the network . Surely you will know it for being the third piece of information that every speed test that we carry out on our connection gives us. In the first place, it will give us the download speed, then the upload speed and, finally, the ping along with the name and location of the node to which we are connected (in some tests, not in all that we find on the Internet).

Now that we know what both terms refer to, we assume that we understand that the lower the ping, the better for our connection. Latency will also depend on several factors that we discuss below.

  • Type of contracted connection (ADSL, fiber optic or mobile Internet).

  • The router that we have in case of connecting through a physical service.

  • Whether the connection is via cable, Wi-Fi or mobile data.

  • Coverage and saturation of the Wi-Fi network in case of being connected in this way.

  • Coverage and distance to the nearest antenna in case of using mobile data.

Symptoms of high latency

It is clear that there are cases in which we will not notice a high latency, since, sometimes it isn't what is needed for an application or service to work correctly, it is the case of applications or services in which the connection is primarily one-sided, that is, that it depends much more on the data that the service sends us, than on the response on our part, services such as Netflix or YouTube, can work correctly with high latency (as long as the speed and bandwidth accompany with necessary).

However, there are services and applications where latency is absolutely essential, an example of this is online games or video calling applications such as Skype. If you are a regular at online games, either through a computer or through a video console, surely you have a teammate who complains about pinging, because he already knows the concept and knows what it is about, or who complains because the Game "jerks" or opponents teleport from one place to another instantly, you may also hear this called "lag". We are talking about the same thing, latency. This is caused because having a high latency, the time it takes to reach your position or that of the enemy is too high and when you want to load the next location of the same, it is no longer there.



They are equally easy to detect latency problems in video calling applications, we will suffer communication delays, we will see how we finish speaking and it takes the other person a few seconds to see how we finish speaking, it is also possible that we notice that the audio isn't going synchronized with the video, it is another clear symptom of high latency.

Another point to take into account is that if we have high latency and we are connected through Wi-Fi, we can suffer network outages. We must identify this quickly since we can think that it is a problem of saturation of the wireless network or another type of problem that it may have, such as poor coverage in the area of ​​use, and it really will not be the case.

What to do to lower the ping

Now we go with the actions that we can take with the clear objective of avoiding all the symptoms mentioned above.

  • Bottlenecks - We have to take into account that we have a single entrance and exit to the Internet , for all the devices that we have connected to the Internet within our local network. If we want the ping to go as low as possible, we must avoid using other devices in an abusive way, by this we mean not making, for example, massive downloads or using P2P from another computer on the local network, this will affect not only latency , if not also to the connection speed. In short, prioritize the connection for the team with which we want to operate.

  • Wireless coverage - To maintain low latency and high speed within a Wi-Fi network, it is essential to be within the coverage area where the router offers us better connectivity , if where we have the equipment we are working with doesn't have a good connection wireless, we will have to do something to expand coverage, either by using repeaters or other types of devices.

  • The router - The router is the vital complement within the connection, if our router isn't able to efficiently manage the Internet connection, this will cause us multiple problems, among them, an increase in latency. If we see that we fail here, thinking about investing in a new router will be the best idea, as we have recommended on other occasions, we must not skimp when it comes to acquiring the most important equipment in our entire network.

  • Avoid the use of VPN - If the use of a VPN for our connection isn't totally mandatory (for work reasons, for example), we must avoid the use of a connection through a VPN as well as try to connect to a local server. The VPN, due to its own operation (it is a service that treats our data in a safe and confidential way) will cause us a ping increase that we cannot avoid. In turn, if we try to access a local server, in case the application or service we are using has one, of course, we will reduce the ping, since the connection will be made against a server that will be closer to us .

  • Clean computer - We must always have our computer with an antivirus / malware installed and updated, many of these malicious programs abuse our Internet connection, which will lead to an increase in latency, just what we want to avoid.

  • Avoid proxies - Proxy servers are very useful when it comes to securing a connection (thanks to encryption), but as in the case of the VPN, the use of these servers and their advantages will add a few milliseconds to our clock. it measures latency, so if it isn't essential, we will refrain from using it.

If you have latency problems, following this small guide with tips for detecting the problem and putting the means to solve it, surely you will get a quite remarkable improvement in your connection. When we talk about certain applications or services, every millisecond counts and we want to help you not have any problems of this type.



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