Several factors can negatively affect your performance while playing games online. Often collectively described as lag, these factors can lead to a host of in-game performance issues, including:
- Rubber banding – Your character is running toward a destination and then jumps back to where it was a few seconds prior.
- Stuttering – An effect that makes your character appear to freeze and skip ahead while moving.
- Hit marker delays – When it appears you have landed several shots on an enemy, yet the enemy is able to kill you with fewer shots fired back.
Lag can also result in your getting booted from a match or from the multiplayer lobby while matchmaking.
If you're simply having trouble connecting to the game, check out Connecting to a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Game.
Here are a few things that can contribute to lag along with tips to reduce it.
Latency, also referred to simply as ping, is the amount of time it takes for data to travel between locations, measured in milliseconds.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many things you can do to improve your ping, as it is mainly dependent upon the quality and scope of your Internet Service Provider and your geographic location in relation to servers. See more about Internet Service Providers below.
Call of Duty matchmaking attempts to put you in matches with other nearby players to help offset the effects of ping. However, if there aren’t enough players close to you geographically, or if your ISP’s ping rate is high, you might experience some of the performance issues listed above.
You may, however, consider hardware improvements. Some routers specialize in reducing lag, while Linux-based models incorporate more up-to-date network drivers.
You can check your internet connection’s ping at www.speedtest.net.
Network quality and connection
From time to time, even the best internet connections can suffer from data loss, also known as packet loss. While you can’t anticipate packet loss or prevent it from happening once data is sent from your network, you can tighten up your connection to help reduce the potential for loss of data.
Some of these tips will require you to log in to your router. If you're not sure how to do this, please consult your router's manual for instructions. If you do not have your router’s login credentials, you will need to contact your Internet Service Provider.
- Play on a wired connection – While convenient, Wi-Fi connections have a wide variance in reliability and bandwidth and can dramatically affect the quality of online gameplay. Wired Ethernet connections will maintain the minimum bandwidth connection that is required for online gaming.
- Enable QoS – Some routers come with a Quality of Service (QoS) feature. When enabled, QoS allows you to set traffic priorities to the devices on your network, as well as traffic types.
Bandwidth is commonly thought of as speed, but it is really the number of bytes that can be transferred between locations over a set period, usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Most online games do not require a great amount of bandwidth, even when you are hosting a match. However, your available bandwidth can also be consumed by other sources, leaving you with less overall bandwidth for online gameplay and affecting in-game performance:
- Sharing an internet connection – Other users and devices accessing the internet on your network will invariably require some of your overall bandwidth.
- Streaming music or video – Both use a significant amount of bandwidth to function, and should be avoided whenever playing online.
- Streaming your gameplay – Essentially the opposite of streaming music or video, as you are sending data (uploading) rather than receiving it (downloading). Most providers dedicate less bandwidth to uploading compared to downloading.
Find out your internet connection’s download and upload bandwidth at www.speedtest.net.
Internet Service Providers
The latency experienced on an ISP is dependent upon the range and comprehensiveness of its overall network. When data packets travel between locations, the fewer points of exchange, the better. Direct routes will reduce latency and minimize potential instances of packet loss.
It is also worth noting that, depending on the scope of your ISP’s network, you may be more susceptible to packet loss when internet use is at its heaviest.
If you experience recurring latency issues while playing online, you may want to consider finding the ISP with the best connectivity options available in your area.