If there's one thing we hate about online gaming, its lag. We're tired of pulling a trigger in Call of Duty:World at War, and then watching the gun fire five seconds later. Likewise, we hate it when adrenaline-fueled matches in Halo 3 play out like slide-shows.
If you're feeling just as frustrated with lag, then check out these five tips to help you reduce or eliminate lag, and make online gaming more stable and enjoyable.
1. Shut down PC downloads and sharing apps
File-sharing programs such as BitTorrent are infamous for eating up bandwidth, and will guarantee you a choppy online gaming experience on your game system. Big downloads, such as TV shows or movies, will also slow down your online game. If you're playing online, try to limit any PC internet use beyond simple web browsing or email.
2. Cable beats ADSL
There's a reason a DSL connection costs less than cable internet: it's slower and less stable. DSL is fine for speedy web browsing, but cable reigns supreme for online gaming. Cable internet is also relatively inexpensive if you're already a cable TV subscriber - ask your provider for package deals.
3. With Wi-Fi, placement is everything
Your wireless router has a limited range, and consoles can be pretty picky about that signal (especially if the Wi-Fi has to go through a wall). Try to place your console close to your router to get the best results. If you're still seeing a strong signal, yet experiencing lag, try changing your game system's location in the room, or flipping it horizontally or vertically.
NEXT PAGE: Hardware and hardwire
If, like us, you think the biggest frustration about online gaming is time lag, then check out these five tips to reduce, and in some cases even eliminate lag, to ensure you're experience the best speeds possible.
4. Hardwire it!
Though Wi-Fi is more convenient, a hardwired Ethernet connection is unbeatable for online gaming - it's faster and more reliable. The downside: an ugly cable that leads from your internet router to your game system. If your cable or DSL jack is located close to your entertainment system, you'll definitely want to use an Ethernet cable for maximum performance. Even if the internet jack is located far away, you may consider running the Ethernet cable under the carpet, along a wall, or under floorboards to conceal it.
5. Choose top-quality internet hardware
Don't expect top-level gaming performance from that cheap £20 internet router you bought on the high street. Instead, spend a little more and get a quality router from a trusted manufacturer such as Linksys or DLink. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo also have preferred hardware that's guaranteed to function perfectly on their systems - that information is available on their websites