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Incredible lag/ping spikes and Latency while playing a game.

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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September 22, 2013 4:04:50 PM

When I'm playing League of Legends, I get these incredible spikes, up to 5000 and thus it makes the game unplayable, obviously. Usually, my ping averages 120. To my knowledge, this only happens in-game. If I'm listening to a stream (on twitch.tv) in the background, when I get a spike, the stream will stop playing and resume when the spike ends. (usually 3 to 5 seconds.) This never happens when I'm not in a game.
I'm on OSX by the way. I tried pinging google.com, everything was fine, 0% packet loss. Then I tried pinging the servers which the game is played on (there are many, I pinged a few) and I can clearly see these spikes although no packet loss either.
I'm pretty confident it's on their side at this point but is there anything I can try to see if it's just me?
September 22, 2013 4:49:04 PM

You want to run a traceroute to the game servers. Then open multiple windows and run continues pings to each hop in the trace. The key ones you are most interested in are the first one which is your router the second and maybe the third ones which represent the ISP connection to your house. If you have issues with any of those when you see the lag spikes then maybe you can do something about it. You might find something interesting further in the trace but if you were to determine ..just a example... ATT and Comcast have a overloaded peer point in Chicago what could you even hope to do about it.

If you see issues in the first hop it is your router or your PC causing the issue. The second and third hop you would need to call the ISP and see if there is a issue with your connection to the house or if they just have oversold the capacity.

I will just assume you are not running this on wireless because getting random lag spikes and drops is why everyone says to not use wireless to play games.
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September 22, 2013 5:54:58 PM

bill001g said:
You want to run a traceroute to the game servers. Then open multiple windows and run continues pings to each hop in the trace. The key ones you are most interested in are the first one which is your router the second and maybe the third ones which represent the ISP connection to your house. If you have issues with any of those when you see the lag spikes then maybe you can do something about it. You might find something interesting further in the trace but if you were to determine ..just a example... ATT and Comcast have a overloaded peer point in Chicago what could you even hope to do about it.

If you see issues in the first hop it is your router or your PC causing the issue. The second and third hop you would need to call the ISP and see if there is a issue with your connection to the house or if they just have oversold the capacity.

I will just assume you are not running this on wireless because getting random lag spikes and drops is why everyone says to not use wireless to play games.

actually, yes, I AM playing on wireless but that is clearly not the problem. I have been playing for over a year on wireless and never had any issues. My PS3 runs on wireless, no issues there either (close to none anyway.)
Now for what you suggested, I did a traceroute to the server I was currently playing on. 1st hop: ping seemed fine. 2nd: 'request timed out' 3rd: seemed fine
however later hops had these 500 pings but I don't believe this is the cause since they should be way more frequent than just 1 in 15 considering the amount of lag i'm experiencing..
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September 23, 2013 5:13:44 AM

Ping runs very slow compared to the amount of data. It maybe sends a couple packets a second where the game is likely sending 100 or more so the change to lose them is much higher.

Timeout means nothing really if it does it all the time, some devices are configured to not respond to ping.

If you see no issues with the ping command but the game is still insisting there are high ping delays then the game is incorrect.

You have to remember the ping command is a program but since it is very simple it is seldom affected by load on the PC or load on the device you ping. It can be and that is why you do see the random high value here and there and all it means it the router in the path was busy passing user traffic rather than responding to you.

What a game is calling ping though is not ICMP, many times it is measuring the delays in the actual game packets. In these cases the program is blaming the network when the true problem is delays in measuring the traffic. The can be many things but the more common one is video card settings. Since this is the processor on the video card delaying thing the main CPU will not see delays but the game will.

When you get into tuning of game programs you are out of my area of expertise. But if you see nothing with the ping commands you likely have no network issue....especially if your ps3 does not lag at the same exact times.

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September 23, 2013 7:21:30 AM

try running some more ping tests that include packet loss
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September 23, 2013 1:24:17 PM

bill001g said:
Ping runs very slow compared to the amount of data. It maybe sends a couple packets a second where the game is likely sending 100 or more so the change to lose them is much higher.

Timeout means nothing really if it does it all the time, some devices are configured to not respond to ping.

If you see no issues with the ping command but the game is still insisting there are high ping delays then the game is incorrect.

You have to remember the ping command is a program but since it is very simple it is seldom affected by load on the PC or load on the device you ping. It can be and that is why you do see the random high value here and there and all it means it the router in the path was busy passing user traffic rather than responding to you.

What a game is calling ping though is not ICMP, many times it is measuring the delays in the actual game packets. In these cases the program is blaming the network when the true problem is delays in measuring the traffic. The can be many things but the more common one is video card settings. Since this is the processor on the video card delaying thing the main CPU will not see delays but the game will.

When you get into tuning of game programs you are out of my area of expertise. But if you see nothing with the ping commands you likely have no network issue....especially if your ps3 does not lag at the same exact times.



alright thanks a lot this was really helpful.
I'll try to look into my video card settings to see if anything could be causing this since it doesn't look like the connection at this point.
I haven't tried to use the PS3 at the same time as playing LoL so that might still be a possibility though but when I am NOT playing the game and playing the PS3 I get 0 issues (online).
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September 23, 2013 1:24:39 PM

z250kid said:
try running some more ping tests that include packet loss


what do you mean?
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