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Tips to Improve Your Wireless Network for Gaming

Imagine yourself pouring every last bit of effort in your favorite online game, you’re getting so close to winning and all of sudden you get dropped from the server due to a poor internet connection. Gamers go through this scenario one too many times when they’re on a wireless network. This guide will teach you how to minimize lag and maintain a strong and stable connection.

While the only real way to prevent such issues is to use a hard-wired network connection, sometimes that’s just not feasible. If you have to be on a wireless connection, there are a few things you can do to strengthen the connection while giving it a decent performance boost.

1. Check for Overcrowding

If you have quite a few number of wireless networks near you, your computer may experience signal quality problems such as packet loss and high response times. In order to get around this problem, most wireless networks use a protocol called 802.11 that allows devices to use up to 13 different channels within slightly different but similar frequencies to try to avoid overcrowding problems.

Changing the router to a wireless channel that has fewer networks will definitely help. If you still find yourself dealing with wireless performance issues, you might consider some of the tips below to improve your experience.

Also, be sure to check out other great WiFi tips on our forums.

2.  Re-position Your Wireless Router in a Central Location

The placement of your wireless router is one of the easiest and most effective changes you can make to improve your connection. Most standard routers have Omni antennas which try to project the signal equally in all directions. This means if you have it up against the outer wall of your home, half of your signal is being wasted. You should position your router as centrally as possible to avoid weak spots throughout the house.

If your computer is the only thing that regularly connects to the wireless network, you should consider moving the router closer to your computer area. Otherwise, you need to always remember that the further you get from the router, the weaker the signal and connection will be.

3.  Re-position Your Computer’s Wireless Antenna

Since we discussed positioning your wireless router for a better signal, you can also do the same if you have a gaming desktop or gaming laptop. On many desktop based tower computers, the Wi-Fi antenna is located on the very back of the chassis. In other words, your antenna might be trying to communicate with your wireless router by sending and receiving a signal through all of the metal inside your PC. Try turning your PC so that as little metal as possible gets between your computer’s wireless antenna and the router’s.

5.  Reduce Interference

While the 802.11 protocol does employ low-level encoding techniques to give the signal its best chance to reach devices, there are still a lot of things that can get in the way. Whether it’s other devices transmitting at the same 2.4GHz frequency or physical objects that naturally obstruct the airways, there are a few solutions you can try to reduce interference:

Metal objects in the walls, floor, or even hung on the wall can cause interference. Anything that transmits on the same frequency can be problematic. Bluetooth, for example transmits on the same 2.4GHz frequency, so think twice before using a wireless headset if you’re already dealing with connection problems. Other devices like microwaves and cordless phones can create problems as well, so keep them as far away as possible.

6.  Add a Wireless Repeater

If you are trying to stretch your wireless signal from one part of your house to the other, you may need to add a wireless repeater halfway between you and the router. This will provide a big signal boost and allow you to cover a much wider area. A stronger signal will help improve performance including reduced lag and ping times.

7.  Upgrade Wireless Antennas

There are two ways to boost performance:

First, you can switch the Omni antenna on your router and computer for a directional antenna that focuses the signal in only one direction. Just remember, it’s really only effective if you game in one spot in the house and won’t need to connect any other devices to the wireless network.

Second, you can get a high-gain Omni antenna that is basically more powerful than the stock unit you currently have. Most standard models have a transmission rating of about 2dBi (or just “two units”). You can increase the network’s strength by using one with a higher dBi rating.

8.  Update Firmware and Drivers

Make sure your network adapter’s driver and firmware is fully updated. Router manufacturers regularly release updates to their devices, make sure you download the latest version directly from the manufacturers website. These updates may increase the speed and provide better connections. Updates can also fix other issues with the wireless software utility as well.

Have router related questions? Read topics like what is the best router or how to optimize network speed on the Digital Storm Forum.

Don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Simply create a thread on our forums and our community of gamers and enthusiasts will be happy to help!

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