What is Ping and Why it is Important for Online Gaming?
By Nick Anderson 5 minutes
Ping is the most important thing for a smooth online experience. It is the one factor that dictates performance while playing with other gamers in an online match. The lower the ping, the better your experience will be. But why exactly is ping important for online gaming? We’ll answer all the burning questions in your mind, like what is ping, and explain if you should use a VPN for gaming.
What is Ping?
Ping refers to a signal that is sent from a source to a destination. It is a request for an acknowledgment from the web server that it’s ready to accept data. It is also called latency, which is the time it takes for data to reach the destination and back to the source. It is measured in milliseconds (ms).
Lower latency means better performance while streaming or playing games online. Since data has to travel a shorter distance, it can reach its destination faster, and return to the source just as quickly.
If you send a ping to a server in Canada from the USA, it will have lower latency than sending it to Singapore.
Why is Ping Important for Gaming?
Games today are more social than ever. Games like Call of Duty are a prime example of multiplayer gaming that has gamers hooked. The growing popularity of esports is also pushing more people towards online gaming. Games like Minecraft, Fortnite, Battlefield, Valorant are just some of the names that are the hottest multiplayer games right now.
More people are getting familiar with the joy of players with friends and strangers online. But not everyone is tech-savvy enough to realize that they can get better performance by simply switching to the nearest server.
Ping is as crucial to online gaming as breathing is to life.
Online gaming requires that your input travels fast to the host server. It’s not just about sending data, but it’s the roundtrip that counts. Your input must also register on the screen. It is all done in milliseconds. It brings us to latency and why it must be as low as possible for the best online gaming experience.
What Happens If I Have High Ping for Gaming?
Milliseconds is the unit used when measuring network devices’ latency. High ping is undesirable and can lead to several disadvantages while playing online. These include:
Lag is the delay between an input and its registration on the screen. If you fire a gun in a game and it shows up on the screen with a slight delay, that’s called lag. You want to ensure that your performance is fast so that the game responds to your input instantly.
Rubberbanding is a byproduct of high latency and refers to a lag in player movement. Ever played an online game when suddenly a human player or an object on the screen jumped from one position to another instantly? That’s called rubberbanding. It occurs when the latency is so high that the game fails to register the movement accurately.
Poor voice quality
Voice communication is a key part of team coordination for victory in a match. When things get heated in a match, voice communication between players produces an immediate response to the situation. But high ping affects voice quality just as much as player movement.
Getting kicked from game servers
Typically, custom game servers have additional rules, one of which is low pings. It varies between game servers but a latency of <100ms is usually the rule that game servers follow. If you join a match, the game server host might decide to kick you from the server.
Does VPN Improve Online Gaming Experience?
A gaming VPN uses a remote server for internet traffic and allows the user to conceal its IP address from the destination.
One factor that reduces latency is the distance between you and the destination and how many hops data has to travel across the internet to reach its destination. It’s why connecting to the nearest country from your geographical location drastically improves latency in online games.
For example, if you’re gaming from Malaysia, you need to connect to a Malaysia VPN server, a Turkey server if you’re in Turkey, or a Portugal VPN server if you’re in Portugal. You get the gist, right? That’s one of the best ways to improve ping levels while gaming.
Connecting to a VPN generally does not provide relief towards lowering latency. It’s because data now has to travel one more hop before reaching the destination. While a VPN protects privacy on the internet, it’s not ideal for online gaming.
How to Improve Online Gaming Speed
Several factors contribute to making your online gaming experience better. If you are serious about having the edge over the competition, here’s a checklist to improve online gaming speed.
- Wireless connections are unreliable when it comes to delivering data packets. Always use a wired connection for online gaming.
- Connect to the nearest server for the best online gaming speed. Many games let you find game servers in the region of your choice.
- It is recommended to have a 10Mbps connection at least for online gaming. If you have many devices in the house then increase the connection bandwidth accordingly.
- If you are experiencing higher latency in servers that once offered lower latency, try connecting to VPN. It’s possible that the routing has changed and is not optimal.
Whether you are playing on Xbox, PlayStation, or a PC, the need for lower latency is universal. You can also check out how to open ports to improve the experience further. Port forwarding allows incoming data to traverse the NAT firewall easily. It’s most useful for voice communication.