Networking

Tips to avoid Internet problems when playing online

When we are going to play online with our console or our computer, we always want to have the best user experience and not have problems with the Internet connection, with WiFi or wired connectivity, and much less do we want to have high latency problems or lags in the Connection. Today in RedesZone we are going to give you some key tips to avoid any type of problem when playing online, and have the best possible user experience, with the aim of worrying about the most important thing: playing.

Internet connection: FTTH always

Currently in Spain several technologies coexist to connect to the Internet, for example, we have ADSL2 + where it is normally used in rural areas, cable (HFC) that still exist in many large cities due to the deployment that operators have made, the 3G / 4G if we don’t have a fixed Internet connection, and, of course, FTTH (fiber optic to the home). Without a doubt, as long as you have coverage, you should always choose FTTH, because you will enjoy all these advantages:

  • Symmetrical internet speeds, equal download and upload speeds
  • High symmetric speeds, the most common today is to have 300Mbps or 600Mbps symmetric, although there are operators that currently have 1Gbps symmetric in their more “premium” offers.
  • Low latency: the latency when using FTTH is minimal, around 1-2ms to the operator’s network, then the latency will depend on where the game server is located.

Thanks to these characteristics, fiber optic connections to the home are the most demanded and the most used today in Spain, and are ideal for playing games. In the event that you do not have FTTH coverage, as a second option you should choose the cable (HFC), because it will be the connection that will provide the lowest latency. Lastly, we will have the connection with ADSL2 +, which is currently only available in small towns and places far from cities.

If you do not have a connection or coverage of any fixed Internet technology, then you will have to resort to 3G or 4G connections, unfortunately, you will have many speed fluctuations, a monthly consumption limit in MB, so you surely cannot download too many games, and you will also have a lot of fluctuations in connection latency, making playing online an odyssey. In the case that you have 5G coverage, in this case you will improve both speed and latency, but currently 5G connections are clearly inferior to FTTH or cable.

The operator also matters

When we have FTTH coverage, we normally have coverage from several operators such as Movistar, Vodafone, Orange or Masmóvil, in fact, other operators could also benefit from these facilities due to the different agreements that exist between them to share the deployed infrastructure. To be able to play well without problems, it is also very important to choose a good Internet operator, regardless of the connection rates, symmetrical speeds and prices, if we choose well we will obtain the following advantages:

Good peering and transit

Choosing the operator is very important to reach the game servers with the minimum latency and the maximum speed. This aspect is very important for online games. If we have a symmetric 1Gbps connection with minimal latency, but to get to the game servers we have to go through other countries or through many intermediate routers, the latency will be too high and we will not get a good user experience.

This is where the peering agreements come into play and also the transit that the different operators have in order to provide customers with the minimum path to the destination, at the best possible speed and with the lowest latency. Depending on the game you are going to use and where the servers are, you will have to investigate which operator is the ideal one.

Possibility of changing the operator router without complications

All operators tend to provide routers that are not very powerful and with a very limited firmware, this means that many users have to buy their own router and put it to use the Internet connection to the maximum without having any problem. Nowadays, the best operator to put your own router is Movistar / O2, because the HGU router allows you to put the Internet connection in single-user mode, leaving the VoIP and IPTV part untouched, in this way, the router that we only buy You will need to support PPPoE, because the VLAN ID tag is automatically removed by the Movistar HGU router. In other operators such as Orange or Vodafone this task is clearly more difficult, because they do not provide this possibility of putting it in bridge mode, nor do they provide the ONT password to authenticate against the OLT, in addition,

On the other hand, the Masmovil Group with direct fiber provides a router that is capable of being put into bridge mode, and we would need a neutral router compatible with VLANs in the Internet WAN. Unfortunately, they do not provide data on VoIP, so you will need to “research” if it is possible to get this information out of the router. However, operators like Pepephone that do not have VoIP, this task is really easy. For example, in our case we have Pepephone under indirect fiber NEBA from Movistar, so we have a Nokia ONT and the router separately, thanks to this, by replacing the operator’s router with one of ours and configuring it as DHCP VLAN ID 20, now We will have the connection with our own router configured.

Router

The router is the core of any network, for this reason, it is essential to have a powerful router that incorporates a very complete firmware with the possibility of configuring QoS, or at least, that allows to specifically prioritize a device (the console or our PC) above the rest of the equipment that we connect. Currently there are very powerful neutral routers with a firmware that has all the necessary functions to obtain the best performance, such as the AVM FRITZ! Box, the ASUS with their high-end gaming routers, and also the NETGEAR that have routers that are specifically geared towards gaming.

A “normal” router and a “gaming” router are basically the same, but gaming routers have a more radical design that gamers usually like, but internally they usually have the same firmware configuration options such as adaptive QoS, QoS traditional, bandwidth limiter, ability to prioritize wired or wireless devices and other configuration options.

If you do not want to have problems, in RedesZone we have analyzed a large number of home routers and also gaming routers, the most important thing when buying a router to avoid having any problem when playing on the Internet is the following:

  • Powerful processor, that is a Dual-Core at 1.5GHz minimum, but a last generation Tri-Core or Quad-Core would be recommended.
  • Minimum 256MB of RAM for all firmware processes to run smoothly.
  • Simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi 5 or WiFi 6, if possible, better WiFi 6 if you are going to play over WiFi with your console or PC.
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports, with the possibility of prioritizing devices at the port level.
  • Very complete firmware, which has advanced and highly configurable QoS, in order to prioritize the gaming devices as much as possible, otherwise, we may have LAG problems when having other equipment connected to the same network.

No matter how powerful the router is, if it does not have a very complete firmware with extensive configuration options, both in the Internet WAN, as in the LAN and WiFi, we will not be able to make the most of it and have the best possible user experience.

Recommended router brands for gaming

Normally all router manufacturers have the same firmware for all their equipment, regardless of whether they are entry-level, mid-range or top-of-the-range, for this reason, before deciding on the model, we should also think about which brand of routers to buy.

One of our favorite brands is ASUS, the Asuswrt firmware has all the necessary technologies to have the best possible user experience such as Adaptive QoS, traditional QoS, bandwidth limiter, bidirectional IPS and a powerful firewall to mitigate attacks. DoS, in addition, some models have the possibility of prioritizing the equipment connected to the LAN1 port, in addition, they also allow to prioritize a certain equipment as much as possible based on its MAC address (regardless of whether it is connected via cable or WiFi).

In addition, ASUS has routers from the ROG range that are specifically oriented to extreme gaming, with exclusive configurations for the most popular games, and with the possibility of easily opening ports to the console or PC gaming.

Another brand of routers that we like a lot is AVM with its FRITZ! Box, although they do not have routers specifically oriented to gaming, the FRITZ! OS operating system incorporates a large number of configuration options to prioritize the different equipment to play, with the aim that users have the best possible experience.

This router allows you to configure different applications in different priorities, for example, we could prioritize online gaming applications, and we could also configure the bandwidth limiter.

Finally, NETGEAR is another of the big manufacturers that have really powerful routers and a firmware that has a highly configurable QoS. In addition, they have a range of routers called NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming with a DumaOS firmware that is specifically oriented to extreme gaming, with a very complete graphical user interface that will monitor all gaming connections and provide us with the best possible performance.

Without a doubt, NETGEAR routers with the DumaOS operating system are a great option for the most demanding gamers.

Console or PC connection: cable or WiFi

If you want to get the best possible user experience, you should always use cable in all games, whether you use a console or a gaming PC, the cable is the one that will provide the lowest latency, the one that has the greatest stability of the connections, and the one that will work best for you if you are going to download many games from the Internet or directly play. It does not matter if the console or the PC has a Gigabit Ethernet or Multigigabit connection, the latency will not be affected, although the speed will be affected, but today we do not have Internet connections higher than 1Gbps in Spain, so it would not have much It makes sense to have a Multigigabit network to play and download games faster.

Regarding WiFi, if you have no choice but to use a WiFi connection, then always use WiFi consoles and routers with the latest WiFi 6 standard, which incorporates improvements to avoid interference with neighboring networks, improvements to improve the latency of the connections of all clients, and it even has a higher speed than the old standards, with the aim of downloading Internet games much faster.

Today the latest Sony PlayStation and Microsoft consoles with their Xbox have WiFi 6 connectivity, so it would be ideal if you buy a router with WiFi 6 to get the best user experience.

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