How to optimize your online gaming setup

That you play Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Where Monitoring, you’re going to want as little latency as possible between your hands and the in-game servers. While you can’t really tell how reliable your ISP is, by making a few smart choices, you can make sure your side of the equation is as quick as possible.

Everything from your controller and keyboard and mouse to your monitor and router can affect how long it takes a game to recognize when you throw a few punches at an enemy. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but every millisecond of delay adds up and could be the difference between that ever-elusive chicken dinner in PUBG and come home hungry. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to optimize your home online gaming experience.

Buy your own gear

Internet service providers charge between $ 6 and $ 10 per month (if not more) for the use of their equipment. If all you’re doing is emailing and streaming music, your cable company’s basic modem / router combo probably hasn’t given you too much of a problem. But if you’re looking to get the fastest speeds possible and save money, you should buy your own gear. Why? In addition to being paid for in just a year, equipment from companies like Netgear and Linksys is specially designed to optimize the performance of your network.

Many modern routers offer features such as 5 GHz networks and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to operate in environments where there is a lot of “noise” from other networks (such as in an apartment building, for example). ) which would generally slow down your connection. As a general rule of thumb, you should have as many devices as possible running a wired connection. But for situations where your router can’t physically connect to your PC or game console, a new router should help bridge the gap between a wired and wireless connection.

More than that, a good router can help you get downloads much faster than the plan you’re paying for. We’re big fans of the Netgear Nighthawk series, which offers great performance on the mid-range R7000P as well as the entry-level R6700. Both models offer easy setup, impressive range, and impressive speed increases. If the range and signal strength are a problem in your home, you can always take a WiFi extender.

Top it all off with a standalone modem like the Arris Surfboard SB6121 and you’re on your way to online gaming supremacy. Keep in mind that a modem, however, may not have as big an impact on your download speeds as your choice of router. If you’re paying for super fast speeds (north of 200 Mbps), that could be a different story.

In this case, our friends from Wire cutter recommend the Arris SURFboard SB6183, which has 16 downstream channels versus four on the SB6121. If you are a DSL subscriber, you will probably need to use your ISP’s modem, but if not, the same idea applies as for cable internet.

All wired all

A participant saw an online game being played on a laptop ...

As stated above, you should keep all of your network equipment wired as much as possible, preferably with CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. The former is more common, although the latter promises less interference if you travel long distances.

The rule of thumb of wired only generally applies to your other accessories as well. The advantage of a wired keyboard, mouse, and game controller is that they are a source of less potential input lag. In tournament situations, for example, wired gamepads are all that are allowed. Part of this is to eliminate any potential interference between the controller and the console you pair it with in a busy environment.

The Logitech PowerPlay System

Another reason is to make sure everyone is on an equal footing: wired versus wired. Xbox One game controllers turn off their wireless radios when you plug them into Microsoft’s console (or PC) with a micro-USB cable, and some tournament-level PS4 game controllers are wired only.

With keyboards and mice, it’s a slightly different story. We’ve seen a handful of products that claim low-to-zero input lag, and in general, wireless accessories are more convenient to use – mice in particular. If you go for something like Logitech’s G903 model, it comes with a charging pad available, so you won’t have to worry about changing batteries either. As with routers, you should look for something that can run on the less busy 5 GHz frequency if you are looking for new equipment.

Netduma / Netgear

Custom router settings

Routers like Netgear’s Nighthawk line offer customizable settings to ensure that your PC and consoles get bandwidth priority over others on your network. Usually this is to activate features. Once you’ve logged into your router, look for something called QoS (Quality of Service). Set the console or computer on your network that you want to have top priority over everything else, and the router should do the rest.

Otherwise, you may need to set a static IP address for the device of your choice and then set the priority level. This will ensure that no matter if you have a roommate who is watching Netflix in 4K UHD, your PC, PlayStation or Xbox will take precedence. The Linksys WRT32X gaming router enables these settings by default, and if you’re an Xbox fan, it has a router specifically designed to prioritize data coming in and out of Microsoft’s latest console.

You can also configure port forwarding, which will affect your NAT type. Ideally, your NAT will be wide open, which will allow your router to open a hole for communication with the Internet. Port forwarding has become less common, but in many cases the settings are necessary if you want to host an online game or have trouble with text or voice chat while gaming. It can be like reading Greek if you’re not used to it, but luckily there are resources online that can walk you through the process.

If you are feeling particularly industrious, you can also install custom firmware on your router. Ultimately, most people won’t need the types of control that personalization offers, but the option is there if you want it. Also, make sure your router’s firmware is up to date. This will not only protect you from any potential security breaches, but also ensure that you are using the most optimized software available.

Where you’ll find a big increase in speeds is by applying Google’s DNS settings to your network. Rather than using domain name servers provided by your ISP via Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you should take a few minutes and apply Google’s instead. You can do this device by device if you want, but applying them in your router’s setup page should work as well.

Several Engadget staff noticed a double increase in their downloads via the PS4’s built-in network test. In reality, Fortnite Developer Epic Games recommends using Google’s settings to ensure the best experience, in case you need more conviction.

Display settings

Yes, even your monitor or TV can impact your gaming performance in a number of ways. In general, if you’re looking for a gaming-only display, you’ll want one with the lowest possible input delay, ideally less than 30 milliseconds. New TV features like HDR and 4K resolution may wow you in the showroom, but once you connect a console or PC there, the extra processing required by these picture features can increase response time. .

Whether you choose OLED or LCD (this will depend on your personal preference), make sure once your screen is out of the box and plugged in that you change it to “gaming mode” in settings. This disables processing that could bring a UHD or Netflix Blu-ray stream closer to the director’s intention while dramatically reducing input lag. To illustrate how important this is, Microsoft recently released an Xbox One patch that automatically turns on Game Mode on compatible TVs.

For PC gamers, it’s a little different. Most of the time, you are using an LCD monitor that is a few feet away from your face. LCDs inherently have a lower input lag than OLEDs, but the tradeoff is refresh rates. Some high-end monitors support 240 Hz, others only 144 Hz or 60 Hz. This means that they are able to handle frame rates between 60 FPS and 240 FPS. Lower frame rates mean your machine isn’t drawing a given scene as quickly, and someone with a faster monitor can get the better of you while you move the payload. Monitoring.

A 240Hz monitor can give you the highest frame rate and faster response times. However, the performance bottleneck is your graphics card. So of course, while 240 FPS sounds really drool-worthy, the amount of power needed to match it at 4K would be pretty absurd. Instead, maybe go for a 1440p monitor and play around with your gaming and GPU settings to find the sweet spot that gives you maximum frame rate and visual fidelity.


Man playing video game

There are a lot of things to consider when optimizing your setup for online gaming. Each choice can reduce (or add) the time between when you press a button on your controller or keyboard and when the servers recognize what you’ve done. With a little work and some research, however, you can improve your experience quite easily.

Do you have any tips and tricks that we may have missed? Leave them in the comments below and they might end up in a future version of this article.

Images: SOPA Images via Getty Images (woman playing, son); Netduma (DumaOS); NVIDIA (G-Sync gaming monitor); Kerkez via Getty Images (home player with headphones)

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