In the first part of this series, we listed the best ISPs for gamers and talked about what you need to look out for before selecting an Internet provider. Today, we’ll talk about what you can do to speed up your gaming.
Clearing Network Caches
If you play networked games on PCs or Macs, rather than on XBox or PlayStation, there are other methods you can use to optimize your connection for gaming.
First, you should take the step of clearing your network caches. These are buffer areas of memory in your cable modem and/or router that can get clogged up with data as time goes on and degrade latency. To fix this, turn off all of the computers that are connected to your network and disconnect the power from your modem and router for as long as a few minutes, so capacitors inside the devices don’t keep these buffer memory areas on.
If either the modem or the router has backup batteries, remove them temporarily and put them back in. If they’re not removable, reset the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After you’ve taken these steps, power your modem back on and let it re-establish a connection to your ISP. Then, turn on the router.
Testing Network Machines
Finally, turn on all the computers in your network in sequence, playing the game you most want to improve the performance of for 10 minutes on each machine before you power on the next one. If at any point you notice degradation of gameplay, it’s likely caused by the machine that you just turned on. Make sure that shared folders, particularly those on central computers being accessed for game use, are closed and their sharing is disabled.
Correct Router Configurations
If you’re still noticing degradation from the first computer you turned on, try plugging it directly into your modem, bypassing the router entirely. If the degradation disappears, the problem is likely caused by the router. In these cases, make sure the router is using the latest firmware.
Confirm that the ports that are configured are those that are recommended by the game’s manufacturer; some manufacturers need additional ports opened that are closed by default. And lastly, replace older network cards and drivers for your existing network interface controllers (NICs). Update your video drivers while you’re at it.
It doesn’t have to be rocket science to optimize your gameplay over the web and networks. But checking and resetting a few configurations as well as selecting a game-friendly ISP can make the difference between a game life and death.