What Is Ping?
April 1, 2021
No matter how you use the Internet, you’ve experienced high ping, or latency, in one form or another. You’re streaming a video on YouTube or Netflix and it keeps buffering. You’re gaming online and the gameplay keeps lagging. You’re on an important video conference and it keeps stalling. If any of these scenarios happens to you frequently, it might be because of your ping. Understanding what ping is, what influences it, and how to manage it can help you improve your speed, reduce lagging, and enjoy a better Internet connection.
What Does Ping Mean?
Ping is a measure of latency, which is the reaction time of your Internet connection. It refers to how fast your device can send and receive a signal to and from a server. If you’ve ever run a speed test, you know that ping is one of three speeds evaluated and is measured in milliseconds (ms). The higher your ping, the more likely you are to run into lagging and delays online.
While the terms “ping” and “latency” are often used interchangeably, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. While ping refers to the signal itself that is sent from the device to the server, latency is the time it takes for the ping to be received. Nevertheless, ping and latency are both used to refer to the time it takes for a packet of data to be sent and received.
What Is a Good Ping?
A ping of up to 100 ms is considered average for most connections. A ping of 50 ms and below is considered very good and deemed “low ping,” with 25 ms and 20 ms being considered ideal for video conferencing and gaming. A ping of 150 ms or more is considered slow and deemed “high ping.”
How Can I Improve My Ping?
High ping can be caused by several different factors, some of which are present in your home and can be improved relatively easily:
- Use a wired connection. In general, a wired connection will always be faster and more secure than a wireless one. One particular reason is that wireless connections have more latency because they use airwaves to connect to your devices. If you're gaming online, connecting your console or computer directly with an Ethernet cable will help you reduce ping and lag by a lot.
- Upgrade your equipment. If you've been struggling with the same devices for a while, you might want to consider checking just how capable or up to date they are. Your Internet connection will only be as fast as the devices that transmit or access it. This includes your computer as well as your router. While many people will sooner consider their computers, it would help to troubleshoot your router too. If you're using a router provided by your Internet provider, it may be able to handle most everyday online activity. However, if you consider yourself a heavy Internet user who frequently games, streams, video chats, or uses many devices simultaneously, there's a chance your router may not be up to the task. The first thing you need to check for is how old it is. If it's fewer than four years old, you should also check to make sure it's a powerful enough model. Using one of our trusted community integrators should help you determine if your router is performing the way you need it to.
- Change your firewall settings. Your firewall checks most data packets coming in and out of your home network. This step, if repeated frequently enough, can add to your latency, and disabling your firewall would lead to a lower ping. If you want to lower your ping while minimizing risk as much as possible, adding your game or program as an exception within your firewall settings will benefit you. Checking the settings or instructions of whichever firewall program you're using should help simplify this.
- Change your location. You could simply be too far from your router if you're using WiFi. If using airwaves contributes to latency, creating a longer distance or additional barriers for those airwaves to travel across will add even more latency. If using an Ethernet connection isn't an option for you, the next best thing would be to set up your devices as close as possible to your router.
- Check your server. As with your location within your own home, your geographical location relative to the server you're trying to connect to can add to your latency and give you a higher ping. This is mostly true for online games in which you choose the server you want to play in. If you're trying to connect to a server in another country rather than one close to you, it will take more time for data to travel back and forth between your computer or console and that server. This unnecessary distance is what will contribute to higher latency, a higher ping, and a higher chance of lagging. When playing games or using systems that allow you to choose a server, always try to choose one as close as possible to you.
Hopefully, the steps above were able to help you lower your ping. If not, it's time to take a look at your Internet service and your provider. Here are a couple things you can look into:
- Check your upload and download speeds. Run a speed test, if you haven't yet, and check both your upload and download speeds. Are they the speeds promised by your Internet service provider? If not, your provider could either be throttling your speeds or is simply unable to accommodate you and your neighbors, both of which are reasons to start looking for a new ISP. If you're getting the speeds you were promised, it's possible you need faster speeds than you think you do. This may be especially true for your upload speed. Because many Internet plans include download speeds that are much faster than their upload speeds, customers who use the Internet for activities that require a good upload speed, such as gaming or video conferencing, can still often experience lag and delays. If you frequently game or work from home, you need nothing less than symmetrical upload and download speeds. We recommend using a bandwidth calculator to determine how much speed you need, and finding a symmetrical plan that can provide that level of speed for both uploading and downloading.
- Check your data usage. Does your provider have a data cap? What happens if you hit it? Some providers will either charge overages or throttle your speeds. If this is the case, it might be time to switch to a plan that either has a higher data limit or is unlimited.
If you consider yourself a gamer, a remote worker, a streamer, or any other kind of heavy Internet user, you want to avoid a high ping at all costs. Nothing can ruin any Internet experience like lag or delays can, and your best option for making sure that doesn’t happen is with a fast, reliable, symmetrical, and dedicated fiber connection free of data limits and throttling. With fiber, any gamer or Internet user who follows the steps above will never have to worry about lag, delays, or slowdowns ever again.
Interested in getting fiber to your home? Check your address here to see if Tachus is in your area. If we’re not, learn how you can bring our blazing fast fiber Internet to your neighborhood and make high ping and latency a thing of the past.