Trouble Gaming & High Ping - Help from the AT&T Community
Learn why you are having trouble with your game and some things you can do that may help
Many of us enjoy online gaming and we want to make sure that continues. Below you will find solutions and known issues that can cause a poor gaming experience.
Kids are out of school
During the summer, I am sure gaming servers see a massive increase in users. So, if you are now starting to experience issues with your game, the issue may be caused by the increased traffic (kids at home). AT&T has no control over items of this nature as it is related to gaming servers. Our advice, reach out to the gaming boards to see what they are seeing and saying. You'll find information below in our What You Can Do section for tips that may help.
Time of day
When your game can determine your experience. Early in the day normally means fewer people gaming. Later in the afternoon or evening means more people gaming. More people are at work in the early hours compared to the evening when more people are home. The more people online, the more traffic those servers have which means higher ping and latency you are used to. This is not an item AT&T can control as it is currently the nature of high peak times.
Your Internet Plan & Connection
If you have a lot of devices on a plan that cannot support them, your gaming experience may suffer. The reason, you may not have enough bandwidth to play. Each device shares a portion of your speed. If you have a 100 down plan and 10 devices, each device will get an estimated 5-10Mbps depending on how it's connected, Wi-Fi or Wired.
Wi-Fi Vs Wired
Wi-Fi speeds may drop in half. If you are on a 12Mbps plan, you may get 6Mbps wirelessly. This is caused by electromagnetic interference, house design, and distance. This does not mean a 100Mbps plan will drop to 50Mbps but a drop may happen. Use the Wi-Fi Meter on your phone to check your Wi-Fi signal, if the signal is low, there is a chance it is low for your gaming system. Also, connections are much more stable with a wired connection which may improve your overall gaming experience.
Check out our Wi-Fi Optimization page to learn how to boost your signal. If your gaming device can connect with a wired connection, take advantage of it. Wired speeds as less susceptible to interference.
Pings, Servers, and Location
Sometimes when you game, you may notice high ping which could be caused by the game itself. The best way to test this is to stop playing your game and test. If your ping returns to normal, the gaming servers may be the issue. Turning off other devices and testing one at a time is recommended.
- Server Traffic. How many people are playing the game? Some servers may not be able to handle the additional traffic. As mentioned above, if you see high ping or gaming issues, remove all devices, test your speeds, and check to see if they match your plan. Check the website or the gaming forums to see if there is a known issue. To determine if the issue lies with the game server, test another online game. If you do not see issues while playing the second game, there is a good chance the server is the issue.
- Server Location. Also, some gaming servers may be across the street, on the other side of the coast, or in another country. Distance can affect ping, especially if you are trying to connect to a server in Canada or France for example.
Heads Up: Using a hotspot to compare speeds skews results. The mobility network & internet work differently and do not take the same routes or use the same technology. On top of that, congestion on those perspective networks will affect results. How one works does not correspond to the other.
The host of the room you are in can negatively impact the experience depending on their internet speed, the number of devices they have connected, and their home network. In some instances, a new host can resolve some issues.
A traceroute is a good tool to use but may not always be accurate as it does not give you a full picture of what is going on. The reasons:
- You may not be able to use the gaming server IP to run the trace
- Certain routers do not prioritize traceroute request and time may be higher
- In some instances, you may see issues after leaving the AT&T network.
Things to know about the traceroute:
- Certain hops are out of the AT&T network and out of our control
- Ping may be higher if the server is outside the country
What You Can Do:
- Have the right plan
- Disconnect devices not in use
- Use a wired connection if possible
- Improve the modem environment
- Reduce the distance from the device to the modem
- Update your Wireless Settings (Once on page, scroll down)
Note: To determine if there is an issue, remove all devices and test. During the test, no gaming, streaming, or downloading should take place as it skews the results. Be aware that Wi-Fi speeds are not as accurate as wired.
- Open the gaming port in the modem. This makes your game more accessible to others on the internet. You'll need to check the gamer maker for these settings.
- Disable the firewall. As above, this can provide unrestricted internet access which can improve your experience (this can leave your computer vulnerable).
- Visit the troubleshooting site for the game in question. They may have tips to help or call out known issues on their end.
- Remove routers and connect directly to our modem. If a device is causing issues, this is a great way to check.
ChrisZ, AT&T Community Specialist