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What Does Packet Loss Mean in Gaming

Are you suddenly facing lag in gaming? Packet loss could be the culprit!

Sumera Bakshi



Gaming is all about having fun and using it as a distraction from your daily life, be it playing solo or with friends. However, if you’re playing an online game, packet loss can spoil that experience.

But what exactly is packet loss and its impact on gaming? Let’s find out!

Packet Loss and Its Impact on Gaming

Source: Bluerim

A packet loss is the loss of data that is being exchanged between the game servers and your computer. The data loss can be partial as whatever data has to travel between the client and the host may not complete its full process as some data gets lost along the way.

Ping plays an important part in this issue. Ping measures the latency when you are gaming. While playing, your PC will constantly exchange data from your computer to the gaming server.

The data that your PC exchanges happen in “packets”, as packets of data get exchanged every second. The timing it takes to make a whole round-trip defines your ping. That said, your ping depends on the speed of your internet connection.

Source: Tech Society

A low ping means you have a fast internet connection and the packets of data exchange fairly quickly as compared to a higher ping and slower internet connection.

Lagging slows down your response in a game as when packets of data get exchanged much slower, your response within the game becomes slower too. 

The term rubberbanding was coined for this event where your response to your direct command in the game is delayed.

That said, a packet loss can be traced to higher pings, but it can also occur despite having a high-speed internet connection. It can be due to any of the following:

  • Congestion in the network
  • Fault in your Ethernet port or cable
  • The NIC (Network Interface Controller) in your computer having issues
  • Issues with the gaming servers
  • Having issues due to outdated router firmware

How Can You Stop a Packet Loss

Source: Unsplash

Luckily, there are several methods that you can try in order to fix packet loss issues and even prevent them from happening. They’re as follows:

  • Try closing all the unnecessary applications on your computer which could cause network congestion and ultimately become a reason for packet loss.
  • Congestion also happens if your family members are streaming movies or simultaneously using the internet. So, it is advisable to play online games only when others are not using the internet.
  • Make sure that your router is properly updated and is running on the latest firmware update. As we have mentioned, outdated router firmware can be a cause for packet loss.
  • You can also purchase a high-end router. This way, you can resolve the issue of slower speed that’s caused by your router.

Unfortunately, there are times when you can’t fix a packet loss issue due to some technical reasons. However, the ones above should be easily resolved in case you experience packet loss each time you play an online game.

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