If you are experiencing latency (commonly known as lag) while playing Call of Duty online, your first step should be to check the server status page for the Call of Duty game you are playing. Choose from one of the titles below:

If the server status for the game is not at DEFCON 5 indicating that all online services are fully operational, there are a number of steps that you can take to improve the quality of your connection, all revolving around these two key components of Call of Duty online gaming:

  1. Home Network Quality – Improve the integrity and quality of your network by opening your NAT settings, avoiding use of bandwidth-heavy applications such as video streaming, and playing over a wired Ethernet connection.
  2. Matchmaking – Understand how matchmaking works so that you can use that knowledge to connect to the best games possible.
The guide below expands on the steps you can take to improve connection quality in the game.

Home Network Quality and Setup
  1. Disable any firewall or security features on your router. See your router’s instruction manual for details.
  2. Enable UPnP on your router. This will automatically route the correct data to the correct ports. If this does not resolve the issue, then try one of the following two alternatives:
    • To achieve the best connection when playing Call of Duty games online, it is recommended that users set port forwarding on their router to the IP address of their console or PC using port 3074 User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). If there is more than one console or PC used for gaming on your home network, you can redirect the second console or PC used for gaming to port 3075 UDP/TCP, a third console or PC used for gaming to port 3076, etc. Find out more about Port Forwarding and NAT Types.
    • Place your console’s IP address into the DMZ of your router.
  3. Make sure that you are playing the game over a wired Ethernet connection to your console. Playing a game using a wireless connection is the primary cause of lag and connectivity issues. Wi-Fi has a wide variance in reliability and bandwidth, and can dramatically affect the quality of online gameplay. A wired connection will maintain the minimum bandwidth connection that is required for online gaming. Because modern consoles come with integrated Wi-Fi, it is easy for users to use that connection to play games. Make sure that you configure your console’s settings to use the wired Ethernet network instead of the integrated Wi-Fi network.
If the above steps improve your network connection to the game, you may want to assign your console a static IP address within your home network. This will ensure that the configurations you made do not need to be done again.

If the above steps do not improve your network connection to the game, run a test by disconnecting your console from your router and reconnecting the console directly to your modem. If the connection quality of the game improves with this test, your router may not be compatible with the specific needs of this game. Check with your router manufacturer and the console manufacturers’ troubleshooting guides for additional information.

PlayStation 3: Connection Issues page
PlayStation 4: Connection Issues page
Xbox 360: Connection Issues page
Xbox One: Connection Issues page
Wii U: Connection Issues page

Note: Many broadband internet modems now come with routing capabilities built in. Please contact your internet service provider to determine if your internet modem has an integrated router. If it does, they should be able to assist you with the steps for setting up your home network.
 
Once you have completed the steps above, the game should report your NAT type as Open and should make use of the maximum bandwidth supported by your internet service provider for your account.

To see what NAT type is detected by the game:
  1. Go to the Multiplayer menu.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Select System Info.
In the System Info panel, there will be a category called NAT Type. If the game reports your NAT type as Strict, you will have difficulties playing online and will need to adjust your router settings or replace it with a gaming console compatible router. If the game reports your NAT type as Moderate, you may have difficulties connecting to some game hosts. An Open NAT type is the best setting for online gaming. Find out more about Port Forwarding and NAT Types.

Preserving the Integrity of Your Network

Make sure that you are not using bandwidth-intensive applications from other devices on your home network while you are online gaming. If someone else in your household is streaming movies on another device, they will degrade the quality of your network connection by consuming a large amount of your available bandwidth. Torrent sharing software is another example of a bandwidth-intensive application. If you have torrent sharing active, that will also severely impact your network by consuming a large amount of available bandwidth. It is easy to forget about applications such as this because they often run in the background on your laptop or desktop computer. Be sure to manually disable sharing in these applications when you are online gaming.

Matchmaking
 
Matchmaking is equally as important to the connection quality of your game as home networking. Matchmaking is impacted by all of the following:
  1. Region – If you live in a remote region, it will be more difficult to find hosted games that match your profile. The best option for those in extremely remote regions is to play during local peak hours in playlists with high player counts.
  2. Time of day – Since matchmaking works to find the game with the best connection quality, it will have a much easier time finding high quality connections when there are more players online in your area. As a general rule, peak usage occurs during the late afternoon and evening hours in each time zone.
  3. DLC ownership – DLC map packs divide matchmaking pools into groups of players who have DLC and players who don’t have DLC. The more map packs that are released, the more matchmaking pools there are. Nine months after the initial launch of the game, for example, the highest single population of players is that which owns all map packs. 
For most players – i.e., those who live in regions with a high population of players and who play during peak local hours in popular playlists – matchmaking will find the best connection quality games available. For the smaller percentage of players who do not fall within this category, your network connection quality may benefit from adjusting some of your online gameplay patterns.
 
Additionally, the game provides the option to change your matchmaking search preferences to favor getting into better quality games (which may extend the time it takes to find a match) or getting into games faster (which may result in lower quality network connection with the host). In the “Find Match” playlist selection screen, press the button labeled “Search Preferences” and select your preference of either matchmaking speed or connection quality.