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5 steps to reduce lag and increase your internet speed for gaming

So, you’re at a crucial moment in a first-person shooter game against your friends. You just need one good shot to take the lead. You have an enemy in line of sight. You aim and about to pull the trigger… momentary frame freeze and you discover you’ve been killed and your team has lost the match.

By on January 28, 2016 at 14:00 PM
5 steps to reduce lag and increase your internet speed for gaming

If you're experiencing this frustration then you need to look into improving your lag - This is the noticeable delay between the action of the players and the reaction of the server.

Below are 5 easy steps youc an follow to reduce lag. Why not check out the best broadband deals in your area while you're here: 


Step 1: Upgrade your speeds

Internet speeds of 15-20Mbps (Megabits per second) are sufficient enough for gaming, as latency has a much greater effect on your lag than speed. However, in the modern home you could have several devices connected to the internet at one time. And if you use the internet for other things like streaming music, watching movies and working from home, this all puts a strain on your bandwidth. In this instance you should look at an internet connection over 20Mbps. 

Although superfast speeds are not essential for gaming, fibre broadband would provide you with the best gaming experience - giving you a much more stable connection to the internet. Plus, fast upload speeds are great for streaming services like Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

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Find more fibre broadband deals here.

Step 2: Do a speed test

Test your internet connection to see what speeds you are actually getting. Use your main computer, smart phone or tablet to do this. Run the test at least 3 times to get an average upload and download speed.

For gaming, the upload speed is not that important, as this is how fast you can upload files to the internet. Focus instead on the download speed. If your download speed is below 10 Mbps then you're going to get lag in the games you're playing.

Step 3: Improve line connectivity

If you are not using fibre to connect to the internet, then there are a number of things you can do to improve your line connectivity:

  • Use microfilters on the line from the wall jack to your modem and phone. This will reduce unwanted noise on the phone line.
  • If you have an old router and/or cable modem, then chances are it's not able to keep up with modern web traffic. Look at replacing them with a brand recommended by your provider.
  • Plug your modem into the wall jack closest to where the phone line enters your home.
  • To reduce noise from other devices e.g. mobile chargers, move these devices away from your modem.
  • Monitor the ADSL light on your modem. If you see the light blink from time to time, then this could be an indication of an unstable ADSL line configuration. You should call your broadband provider to get this resolved.

Step 4: Get off Wi-Fi

For gaming, you should avoid connecting your console or desktop PC to the internet through Wi-Fi as it limits the bandwidth you can get. Instead Wi-Fi should be used for your other devices like laptops, tablets, smart phones etc. and day to day usage.

By connecting your gaming console to the internet via a hard wire (Ethernet) to your router, your speeds will be at least 10x faster than through your Wi-Fi connection. However, if Wi-Fi is your only option, then place your PC or console as close to the router as possible.

Step 5: Test Latency (Ping)

Run a ping test to determine the quality of your broadband internet connection. I recommend using, the most popular online speed test tool.

Making sense of the test results:

  • A latency/ping number between 1-30ms (milliseconds) is fantastic and would be the optimal connection for gaming.
  • A latency number between 31-60ms are still good. You will have a small amount of lag in the game, but it won't be that noticeable depending on the type of game you are playing.
  • A latency number of 61-100 is just okay. You are going to have lag in every single game you play and it's going to be more than normal. This is going to affect the way you game in quite a significant way.
  • A latency number of 100ms and higher is terrible and you should not be gaming on this level of latency.

If latency is an issue, there are a number of possible solutions, however it's a trial and error process. Work your way through these solutions to work out the cause of your latency issue.

  • If you're gaming on your computer, close all other programs you are running and windows that you have open. Also make sure you have no active downloads running in the background.
  • Check if anyone in your household is running any bandwidth hogging services like Netflix in HD, or are also gaming online. Remember, the more devices/services actively using the internet will affect your ping rate.
  • If you have connected your console to the internet using an Ethernet cable (As advised in Step 4), then check that the wires between your router and the wall box are plugged in fully.
  • Turn your router and/or modem off and unplug the power cables. Wait for one minute, then turn it all back on.
  • If you have tried all the above solutions and you still have a high ping rate, then the only thing left to do is contact your broadband provider (provider contact details can be found here). They will be able to test and fix any possible issues on their side.

If there are no faults found, then it's time to consider changing providers.

For more advice on the best broadband deals available in your area, call our experts free on 0800 542 4704. We'll make sure you're set up with a broadband package that will let you get the most out of your games console of choice.

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