What Is Latency In Gaming?

No matter what sort of games you play at home, whether it’s a first-person shooter, a racing game, or even an online RPG, chances are that at some point in your gaming experience, you’ve suffered as a result of lag.

Lag is arguably one of the most annoying things that can happen to you mid-game and can ultimately ruin what was otherwise a rather fun gaming session.

What Is Latency In Gaming?

Sometimes, you’ll see or hear people reference latency when talking about gaming, which can be confusing for those who aren’t familiar with the term.

So if you’re unsure what latency is, what it does, or even how you can improve your latency, then read on as we delve into it!

What Is Latency?

Latency is actually just a more technical term for what gamers know as lag, and high latency is the reason that you sometimes experience delays between an input (you pressing a button to complete a certain action) and the output (the game you’re playing actually responding).

Ideally, if you’re someone who regularly plays online, then you want to try and achieve as low latency as possible, as this will ensure that you are able to enjoy smooth, responsive gameplay with no issues or interruptions.

What Is An Acceptable Latency?

Gamers might be more likely to recognize latency by its other name, Ping.

If you want a smooth gameplay experience online, then you should try to aim for a ping of somewhere between 40-60ms (Milliseconds), or if possible, lower!

If you have a latency of over 100ms then chances are you’re likely to suffer from a noticeable amount of lag throughout your gaming experience.

The goal is for your ping to be as close to 0ms as possible. What this means is that it takes very little time for one device to respond to each other.

What Causes Latency?

There are a lot of things that can cause you to suffer from high latency, so if you’re looking to try and resolve a high latency problem then here are some of the things that could potentially be causing you issues:


Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of bad latency can be geographical location, which is why it’s always best to try and choose a router that is going to be closest to the server, as the greater the distance between the two, the higher latency you’re likely to experience.

Type Of Connection

Another issue that can affect your latency can be the type of internet connection you’re using.

For example, if you’re someone who uses DSL, fiber internet, or cable, then you shouldn’t have too much of an issue with the speeds of your internet connection, and should be lag free.


If you have an older internet router, then the likelihood of you suffering from high amounts of lag is going to increase, in addition to this, if you have multiple connected to the same router at the same time, then this is also likely to make your gaming experience suffer.

Ways To Improve Latency

If you’re suffering from high latency, and it’s ruining your gaming experience, then here are a few things you can do to try and improve it to prevent lag from interrupting your gaming session!

Closing Background Programs

Closing Background Programs

If you’re someone who ends up keeping loads of programs up in the background, whether that’s a music streaming service, or a video streaming service, then you should ensure that you close them, as this is likely to be affecting your internet speeds.

Speed Test

The best way to know if your latency is truly the issue with your gameplay experience is to run a speed test, this can be done with an app on a mobile device provided that your mobile and games console connect to the same Wifi connection.

Swap To A Wired Connection

If you currently use a wireless connection between your router and your games console, then try swapping out to using a wired ethernet connection, as this will provide your console with a more direct connection with a better signal, this will also help if your router is used by multiple devices too, so you should see a reduction in lag as a result.

Distance From Router

If you have your console on the other side of the house from your router, then part of your latency problem could be the distance between the two devices.

Wifi can often struggle to travel through walls, especially if you live in an older building with thicker walls.

To fix this, you can either try to find a better position in your house for you to place your games console, or you can try to help extend your Wifi’s reach by purchasing a Wifi extender, which will help to increase your router’s connection further.


If you find your latency is still suffering, yet your Wifi connection is actually strong, it might be worth checking that you’re playing on the wrong game servers; most online games have different servers for different continents.

So if you live in North America and are playing on European suffers, then it’s no surprise that you’re suffering from lag!


If your router is particularly old, it might be time for an upgrade, get in touch with your current internet provider and see if they can offer you an upgrade on the router you currently have.

Or try and ask around your neighbours to see what Wifi they use!


In summary, latency is just another term for lag, and is well documented as a gamer’s worst enemy.

Experiencing particularly bad lag can be stressful, but as long as you go through the steps of checking what’s causing your lag, it can easily be resolved!

Ashley Newby