Transform Your Home Network for Online Gaming

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Online Gaming

A proper understanding of all key components significant for a home network that is optimized for online gaming is crucial with online gaming being all the rage these days. A proper network setup is equally as significant as proper gaming skills if not more so as you can’t do much with your sniper and your sniping skills when faced with a terrible lag. Most High resolution online games these days require a proper setup in order to get the best gaming experience. Here is a thorough guide to assist you to set up an optimized home network for online gaming.

Begin with Basic Testing:

Before you try anything fancy, let’s work with what we have: 

  • Reboot your router and modem.
  • Make sure the router is utilizing the latest firmware. 
  • Update your device drivers.
  • Disable unimportant features.
  • Optimize game settings. 
  • Run tests to check your network’s speed.

Bandwidth, Ping and Latency:

The parameters concerning game stuttering involve bandwidth, ping and lag. Bandwidth, measured in Mbps, is the amount of data that can be transferred through your network at a given time while ping is the measure of the speed at which your network sends and receives data packets to and from an address thus the smaller this time frame the better. 

  • Minimum data requirement for gaming files is 50–100GB.
  • Minimum bandwidth requirements on average call for a speed of 4 Mbps-5 Mbps where recommended speeds for downloads and uploads are 5 Mbps and 3 Mbps respectively.
  • As for ping requirements for gaming network:
  • Less than 20ms ? Optimal for online gaming with minimum lag.
  • 20ms – 50ms ?Common yet sufficient range for gaming.
  • 50ms – 100ms?May experience some lag.
  • 100ms – 300ms ? Playable but implies prominent lag.
  • More than 300ms? Unplayable 

Gaming Router vs Traditional Routers:

A single band traditional router of 2.4GHz may not be the primary choice of most dedicated gamers who would more often than not opt for better available options:

  • Dual-band router: Possess an additional 5 GHz band along with the general 2.4 GHz thus operates on two bands. 
  • Tri-Band routers: Instead of one, Tri band routers additionally possess two 5GHz bands along with the general 2.4GHz.

Contrary to traditional network routers, a gaming router is a specialized and more sophisticated version engineered specifically to cater to the current needs of an online gamer. They handle more data in a responsive way offering visual accuracy thus a lower risk of visual and audio artifacts with reduced lag and better FPS. Such routers minimize data loss along with better security and Wi-Fi ranges for multiple devices simultaneously.

Position Your Router Better: 

Make sure that your setup is as close as possible to the router’s location to reduce latency. The router should be placed at a higher level above every other obstacle with preferably no physical barriers such as walls, monitors etc. and antennas of the router positioned perpendicularly to each other.

Wired Vs Wireless:

Though wireless connection is preferred for a general home network due to the supposed convenience, such connections aren’t always optimal for gaming as it is much slower than wired linking. An Ethernet cable will always provide better connection with a much lower latency. Gigabit ether cables are always a good bet as they support faster speeds along with up-to-date cables (cat5e/cat6).

Extend Your Network:

 As recommended, your router should be placed in the center of a room for best access for any device in the house, thus due to multiple devices it is not always possible to connect them directly to the router. There are a number of ways in which you can extend your home network:

  • Wireless Repeater or Range Extender.
  • Wireless bridges.
  • Powerline adapters.
  • Home-plug adapters
  • Mesh Networking.

Prioritization with Quality of Service (QoS):

In a home network data streams of all kinds have to pass through the router which is unable to sort data depending on its significance. Thus prioritizing your internet traffic is crucial for an online network that is optimized for gaming. Most present day routers offer the option of QoS which can be enabled to identify and prioritize gaming traffic resulting in reduced lag. Mostly available in automated (ideal) and manual forms.

Firewall and Network Security:

Network Security is one of the key aspects to consider while optimizing your home network. Setting up Firewall configuration which is built into your network router is vital for a better gaming experience. Firewall basically provides your network with security against intruders by functioning as a digital gate and blocking access to your network. Changing the default settings on your wireless router is also crucial since such settings and passwords are easily available on the internet.

Port Forwarding:

Port forwarding is a common method to reduce latency as it opens up precise ports for data to travel through hence taking up less time along with specifying what data is passed through these ports which can be of importance when optimizing your network for better gaming experience . 

In order to do port forwarding a static IP is required after which we can begin the process:

    1. Browse to your router’s IP address.
  • Go to Port Forwarding settings which may be labeled differently for different routers such as Port Forwarding, Triggering or Applications and Gaming.
  1. Look up forwarding ports for specific consoles and games, generally given in TCP and UDP format.
  2. Enter your PC/Console’s IP address and TCP and UDP ports for your game in their relevant boxes.
  3. Reboot router 

Though a precise method, port forwarding can often be a tad bit intimidating for people who do not want to mess with their router and console’s settings. 

UPnP (Universal Plug and Play):

UPnP stands for universal plug and play is often always in connection to port forwarding but what is UPnP exactly? In simpler terms, UPnP basically provides a faster method to port forward without additional configurations. Most routers enable UPnP by default. If you don’t want to mess around with your router too much UPnP is the way to go since it is quite reliable in that manner. Though it is not much customizable as it forwards all ports to all devices, such concerns have been patched up. Gaming consoles are absolutely free of such concerns since their channels are under control of other vendors and thus aren’t under as much risk as a conventional PC. Vulnerabilities of UPnP have been greatly reduced with recent technology though further security in the form of VPNs and firewalls is always welcomed.

DMZ:

DMZ stands for dematerialized zone which refers to an area in the router where devices are fee to send and retrieve data without any constraints as the firewall and security checks do not apply to these zones thus reducing traffic delays and NAT issues. It is commonly used by gamers to provide better efficiency with regards to gaming speed.

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