Ping testing 101

There is nothing more frustrating than gaming with your friends online and then all of a sudden the game begins to lag. Maybe you are seconds away from reaching the next level of that first-person shooter game or scoring the winning goal in your favorite sports game, and your device bugs out. If this has ever happened to you, then you know how frustrating it can be to have your gaming experience interrupted. 

One of the reasons this may be happening is that you may be playing with a low-quality ping. Ping is the measure of latency from your device to the server and then back to your device. Essentially, it is a measurement of connection speed that influences lag, which can affect your gaming experience.

If you have been experiencing a lag while gaming, then it may be useful to understand more about ping testing so that you can play with fewer to no disturbances. Explore this guide to learn about the difference between a good and bad ping, as well as ways to improve your ping. 

What is a good ping?

In online games that require quick reactions, you not only need to react quickly using your mouse, keyboard or controller, but you also need your PC or game console to communicate quickly and smoothly with the game’s server. This is where a good ping is vital.

While there is not a universal guide to good ping, as it depends on the game servers and other factors, generally a ping that is over 100 milliseconds (ms) is poor. Most gamers should strive for the lowest ping possible, as this means network devices are able to transfer signals back and forth in less time. 

Ping range Quality of ping Effects on gaming experience
0 - 20 ms Great Lag or glitches during gameplay should be minimal; high-quality visuals
20 - 50 ms Good Mostly smooth and responsive gaming experience
50 - 100 ms Fair Most common range for gamers; may experience occasional lag, depending on game and device settings
100 - 300 ms Poor Likely to experience many lags and delays while gaming
300 ms or more Not playable Extensive delays in response; a noticeable lag that will create a poor-quality gaming experience

How to test your ping

There are many options for performing a ping test. Luckily, most online games allow players to check their ping directly in the game. Explore the game settings and look for “network options.” Once there, follow the directions to get your ping test results. Another simple way to perform a ping test is by using CenturyLink’s internet speed test, which includes ping in addition to download and upload speeds. You can also check out any of the specialized online ping testing sites, and simply follow the directions on the site.

How to improve your ping

If you have been experiencing high ping that is interrupting your gameplay, follow these tips and methods to help improve ping:
 

  1. Close out background applications. Since many gaming sites need a good bandwidth, be sure to keep any other large programs and applications closed while gaming. If these programs are running while you’re gamming, it could cause an increase in ping, which may cause lag.
  2. Plug in a wired connection. If you are using a wireless (WiFi) connection for you gamming console or computer, this can impact your overall speed as well as your ping. For better performance, consider foregoing WiFi in favor of a wired Ethernet connection. If a wired connection to your router isn’t possible, consider using a WiFi extender to boost the WiFi signal in areas that are farther from your router.
  3. Consider a higher-bandwidth internet plan. If you want to stream large music files while also gaming or if multiple users in your home need to access the internet at the same time, then consider making the switch to a higher-bandwidth internet plan like CenturyLink’s Fiber Optic Internet.
  4. Pick a game server that is close to you. For faster communication between your computer and the server, consider picking a server that is closer to you. 

Do not let lag or low latency keep you from gaming. Next time you notice interrupted gameplay, try using one of these ping-testing tips to help you get back in the game. For more tips and guides on how to improve your gaming experience, check out the CenturyLink Gaming Hub

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