How to Configure Your Way to Killer Gaming Sessions

Level up! You’ve graduated out of the newbie zone — understanding the variables that affect quality of an online gaming session. You’re ready to tackle your first big mission: tweaking the variables to improve your network’s performance.

Here’s the problem. While it’s easy to recognize that some big bad boss monster stands between you and an online gaming server, you might not have the wherewithall to take it out. If your ISP is to blame, the only solutions are to get them to fix it or find another way to connect. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your service or try a new ISP.

Often, though, you can make improvements locally. First, consider the physical location of the server you’re connecting to. If the game doesn’t show you the latency times for the various servers available, a good rule of thumb is that the nearer the server in physical space, the lower the latency in cyberspace.

Also, excessive network traffic within your home network can impede your ability to punish online foes in real-time action. If you’re the only one on your network, stop anything you might have going on in the background before you try to game. This includes file transfers to a network device, peer-to-peer clients, streaming media… anything that could impact your system and network performance.

If you’re living in a multi-user environment, check out a service like GameFuel. You’ll find this service built into D-Link’s DGL-4500 Xtreme N Gaming Router. GameFuel lets you parcel out your network bandwidth — i.e., fuel — so your gaming connections receive priority over other network traffic. GameFuel also keeps your Internet connection’s uploading capacity from becoming saturated. You might have wicked-fast download speeds under normal circumstances, but stuff your upload pipe full of data and the entire system will grind to a halt.

Finally, consider your connection standards. If you’re trying to game over a Wireless-G signal on an old-school router, upgrading to a multi-antenna Wireless-N router like the D-Link DIR-825 can result in a stronger, faster signal. While the speed between your wireless router and wireless gaming device might not be an issue, the improved connection quality will help you slay the demon of dropped packets. If a plethora of devices around your household are saturating the 2.4GHz spectrum, switch to a 5GHz wireless band. (I'll go deeper into wireless bands in my next blog post.)

This is the place to start if you’re looking to tweak your online gaming performance. When you’re offing baddies left and right, you’ll appreciate your network’s ability to keep up with the carnage.

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