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Online gamer? What you need to know about ping

by | Aug 31, 2023


There’s nothing more frustrating than gaming with your friends online and suddenly the game lags or sticks. Maybe you’re seconds away from reaching the next level or scoring the winning goal and your device bugs out. If this has ever happened to you, then you know how infuriating it can be to have your gaming experience interrupted.

One reason this can occur is that you’re playing with high 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’ve seen lags while gaming, then it might be a good idea to test your ping. Read on to learn about the difference between 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 good (low) ping is vital.

There isn’t 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. Gamers 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 Effect 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 ping

There are many options for performing a ping test. Conveniently, 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 our internet speed test, which includes ping in addition to download and upload speeds.

How to improve ping

Don’t let lag or high latency keep you from gaming. Next time you notice interrupted gameplay, try using one of these tips to help you improve your ping and get back in the game. 

  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.
  2. Plug in a wired connection. If you’re using WiFi for your gaming console or computer, this can impact your ping as well as your overall speed. For better performance, consider skipping 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 upgrading to a higher-bandwidth internet plan like CenturyLink Fiber Internet.Pick a game server that is close to you. For faster communication between your computer and the server, consider picking a game server that is closer to you. 
For more tips and guides on how to improve your gaming experience, check out the CenturyLink gaming internet hub or follow the links below.

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