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Wireless lag when gaming - Please help

I have had wireless internet (2mb) for just over a year now, have had multiple problems involving signal strength, but fixed them by buying a new antenna.

My computer is not on site in the house, it is in a large outbuilding about 20 meters from the router. Since buying my new antenna I have had no problems with connection, but i have always had problems with large lag spikes during playing online games :( , which is driving me INSANE!!!. I have checked my bandwidth, using various tests, and they all say I am getting full bandwidth. I know it is my wireless, as I have tried indoors via cable, and had no problems.

If anyone knows any solutions to this problem it would be much appreciated if you could share your vast knowledge. Thanks in advance :) .

P.S. I am using a Dlink DWL520+, and have tried with a Dlink DWL 510, and still get the same problem...
61 answers Last reply
More about wireless gaming help
  1. Lag could be cause by a background application/service spiking processor usage.

    Run performance monitor and look at your CPU usage ... (Start -- Run -- Perfmon). Do you see any regular spikes ?
  2. My % processor time does not spike unless I am doing something, which I would expect is normal. My AVG. Disk queue length does not spike unless doing something. My pages/sec sometimes has a small spike to about 40, but this is much less frequent than I would get a spike during a game.
  3. Actually, looking at it again i dont have any spikes at all, left it for 5 mins idle, and none whatsoever. Should I be running something?

    I have checked for spyware etc...
  4. I suspect your problem may be wireless and not processor related. What do you mean by "large lag spikes", i.e. how big is the lag (in milliseconds) and how long does it last?

    You might try running a long ping from your PC to a wired PC connected to your router and see what the variation is. An easy way to do this is with Pingplotter PingPlotter.
  5. The lag spikes can go up to about 600ms i think and lasts for about a second or 2. It is quite frequent though, happening every 5-10 seconds or so
  6. Try running in 'Safe mode with networking'
    Do the lag spike disappear ?
  7. It's only in games that I get the spikes, and I can't play them in safe mode.
  8. Try running MSCONFIG and checking what stuff is running at startup.
    Could be an item sitting in your system tray that is polling the internet ?
  9. I have experienced the same problems. I've been playing WOW over a wireless connection for about 2 weeks, my ping will be nice and low but the game seems to freeze for a second or two.

    On closer inspection I found that the lag spikes happened when my wireless card renegotiates the speed if theres a drop in signal strength
    It's still connected but it alters the speed.

    I think it only happened when I let the Belkin utility manage the network connection and it was fine if I let XP do it.

    It was only noticable in games, surfing or file transfers were untouched.

    I fixed mine by going back to my wired connection.

    Metatron
  10. Good point !

    You could set your wireless card to a fixed low speed, rather than leaving it to Auto sense. May help ....
  11. thanks a lot sounds like a good idea, I will try it and reply soon...
  12. It didnt work, I still have the same problem.

    But thanks anyway
  13. Are your motherboard chipset drivers up-to-date ?
    Do you have the latest drivers for your wireless card ?

    Does your wireless card have packet burst ? (disable it)
    click me !
  14. These are my advanced options, can you please tell me if any of them are packet burst:

    Authentication mode
    Desired basic rate set
    Desired BSS type
    Desired SSID
    Desired supported rate set
    Desired TX rate
    (I know what this is)
    ERP protection
    Fragmentation Threshold
    Mode 4x
    Mode 4x mixed
    Power mode
    (Is set to continuous access mode)
    RTS threshold
    Short preamble
    (Off)
    WEP option (I don't use a WEP)

    Thanks
  15. Hmmmm .. don't think any of those are packet burst.

    Here's an interesting forum. Take a look and see if it helps you
    Click me !
  16. Not really but thanks anyway, I'm gonna try reinstalling drivers again.
  17. I think metatron nailed the problem identification and fix. There is virtually nothing you can do to affect the way that a wireless client monitors and adjusts its wireless connection. Even if you force a transmit rate, the client will periodically check to see if there is a better access point around that it should switch to.

    For example, Broadcom-based adapters periodically drop throughput to about zero like shown in the throughput vs. time plots in this review:
    http://www.tomsnetworking.com/Reviews-39-ProdID-WRT54G-9.php

    This happens even with best signal strength.

    The only thing you can do is try an adapter that uses a different chipset. The D-Link DWL520+ uses a TI chipset. Most any other 802.11g card is going to use a different one, since TI is largely out of the retail adapter business. Any NETGEAR card that has 108 in the name will use an Atheros chipset. Maybe try one of those.
  18. Thanks a lot :)

    I will purchase a new card as soon as i have the money and means to. i.e a debit card!!!! YAY
  19. Don't get too excited - odds are a new card isn't going to solve your problem. The problem is that wireless equipment just isn't as efficient as wired. There is a physical delay whenever something travels over the air, and regardless of how good your signal strength is, you'll always have lag over a wireless connection. This is compounded if you are talking about a WISP rather than your home router - having worked with that kind of equipment for a living I'll tell you that its performance can be good, but will never match a hardwired solution. This is especially apparent if the transmitters are loaded down with subscribers, or are having to work hard to reach customers at the edge of its operation range, reflection, interference etc all play a part.

    If you want to get rid of the lag from your pc to your router, then I would suggest burying cat5 between the buildings (they make special burial cable for this and you don't need to go deep, just 6 inches will do) - just remember to call digsafe and get your property marked before you dig (mark your expected path in white paint, dashed lines a few feet apart)

    From there, if you are on a WISP, swtich to cable or DSL.
  20. I kind of have the same problem. I was on hard-wire to a linksys router when we switched to a wireless belkin router. Since then everytime I get on counter-strike or any online game like that (nox, hl, ect) the moment I get on I cant play. Every 2 seconds it spikes from 30-50s to 700 ms and then I walk back 5 feet. Its pretty much impossible to play. I ran a cat5 wire to go hard-wire again hoping it would fix it and I still get the problem.

    *note*

    I have not reformatted since we changed to wireless so something with wireless messed up the game.

    Is there an option I need to change to get a constant connection to steam?
  21. Are you sure you disabled your wireless nic?

    Also, belkin routers are junk. I've got 6 sitting here in my office and a couple on my van that are all pretty much new, and not a single one works right.

    Go back to Linksys.
  22. I previously had linksys and it was crap too, which is why i went belkin.
    And even if belkin sucks, I seriously doubt this is the issue.

    I ran more tests, reinstalled network drivers. My ms/ping which is normally 30 on the game doesnt spike at all, i just dont seem to have a constant connection to it. I dont get d/c, I just seem to chop alot.
    ((example, I walk 5 feet lag back 3, makes fps games impossible to play))


    "Are you sure you disabled your wireless nic?"

    What do you mean by this?
  23. Well, the reason I ask, is if you didn't go into your control panel, and disable the wireless nic - you may still be connecting through it, rather than the wired.
  24. There is no "delay" when using wireless, unless you consider adding 1ms to your pings a delay. I guess it is in literal terms but statistically insignificant. I too setup wireless LAN's and WAN's for a living for many years. When the right equipment is used and setup correctly it is about as efficient as a wired LAN IF your the only one on it. He is correct about load causing problems. It's shared bandwidth. Analagous to a hub but that doesn't really sound like your problem. Are you using XP's configuration utility. Once your up and running and connected to your Access Point (AP) XP's WZC is meaningless and really can only cause problems typically. Try this.

    Boot your computer and make sure you have connectivity. Then go to your start menu, click run. From the run box type net stop wzcsvc and hit enter or click ok. This will stop the service. It will have no negative impact on your wireless connectivity. If your strength and sigan quality (quality is MUCH more important by the way) is good then you should be fine. If this doesn't solve your problem I'd suggest installing netstumber to get a better read on your wireless environment. SPecifically if you have rogue AP's in your coverage area.
  25. I'm having the same problem. It doesn't really affect me as much with FPS games like F.E.A.R. and Doom 3, but I can't play Guild Wars with this lag. Horrible. I have a linksys router and USB network adapter.
  26. I think turning off the wireless zero config in windows will help.
  27. Have you guys checked out EndLagNow.org? They were ALL over the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, they are rounding up Developers and Hardware manufacturers to End Lag!!! Sign up for their Newsletter and they send you reviews of LAg ending products... and they have a GREAT Forum on Lag. This is gonna change gaming as we know it!!
  28. i know what you mean i been tryin to fix it for a while now its really annoying when im trying to play CS. Once like every 3 minutes or so it feels like a huge lag spike for like a split second then it catches back up i dont know how to fix it

    i got an buffalo whr-g54s with dd-wrt v23 sp2 installed


    edit: finally fixed it i turned off windows wireless zero config and i installed the software that came with my linksys pci adapter and the lag is gone now
  29. this problem was bugging me for the longest time. IDK id your wireless card/usb came with software or has connection software available for DL, but i know my Linksys Wireless-G PCI card does...

    Your lag spikes are probably coming from Windows Zero Configuration service. Wireless connection either uses that or the card software. disable windows zero config and connect with card software instead.

    control panel -> admin tools -> services -> right click windows zero config -> STOP
  30. Jazzerman said:
    I have had wireless internet (2mb) for just over a year now, have had multiple problems involving signal strength, but fixed them by buying a new antenna.

    My computer is not on site in the house, it is in a large outbuilding about 20 meters from the router. Since buying my new antenna I have had no problems with connection, but i have always had problems with large lag spikes during playing online games :( , which is driving me INSANE!!!. I have checked my bandwidth, using various tests, and they all say I am getting full bandwidth. I know it is my wireless, as I have tried indoors via cable, and had no problems.

    If anyone knows any solutions to this problem it would be much appreciated if you could share your vast knowledge. Thanks in advance :) .

    P.S. I am using a Dlink DWL520+, and have tried with a Dlink DWL 510, and still get the same problem...



    I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE FOUND THIS POST! I WAS FORCED TO SWITCH FROM WIRED TO WIRELESS AND PLAYED WORLD OF WARCRAFT MISERABLY WITH LAG SPIKES ANYWHERE FROM EVERY 5-30 SECONDS! I FOLLOWED THE FOLLOWING STEPS AND AM NOW LAG SPIKE FREE! THANK YOU ALL!

    "control panel -> admin tools -> services -> right click windows zero config -> STOP "

    I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY! MAYBE ITS THE SPEED OR THE ENERGY DRINKS I TOOK WITHIN THE LAST TWO HOURS WHO KNOWS, WHO CARES! I'M SPIKE FREE! PvP, WILL, BE, MINE! YAYAYAYAY!
    :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable: :pt1cable:
  31. Ttry this util for stopping/starting the Wireless Zero Configuration service:

    WiSwitch_setup.exe

    If you actually go to control panel every time, then you will definitely like it.
  32. well my windows zero config is on stop. and im currently on wireless
    and having glitches as i play games online. but as i surf the internet
    its perfectly fine. so was wondering if someone could give me some
    advice?
  33. Stopping the WZC is the cure only for lag caused by WZC. In your case there are apparently other issues. I'm afraid I can't offer any great wisdom... make sure you have the latest drivers for your WLAN and that they are set up properly (Device Manager > Network adapters > Your adapter > Properties > Advanced). Also, it can't hurt to optimize TCP/IP settings (try TCP Optimizer from speedguide.net).
  34. I have the same problem. New NIC didn't fix, disabling WZC didn't fix, new Router with new firmware didn't fix, moving computer next to the router didn't fix. It happens on all of the computers in the network, and is only noticeable during gaming.

    For those having the problems, please humor me and try downloading Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory. After starting up, push ~ and type /cg_drawlagometer. After doing this, describe what the lagometer shows you. It's a shame that people don't use the Quake 3 lagometer anymore to figure out what their connection issue is.
  35. thank you so much for your help THANKS :)
  36. I was using a D-link airplus card that was a couple of years old and it worked perfectly. Great connection no lag spikes. Didn't have a single problem with it.. using connection zero or the d-link software.

    Recently it just malfunctioned and fried itself. I just bought a zonet PCI card with dual antenna that uses railink (because the price was right) and i'm getting those lag spikes. It runs at < 1 ms ping than every 5 minutes or so I get a ~780ms spike.
    Its terrible especially when playing L4D when 100s of zombies are running at you.

    I have 100% Signal strength on both antennas with an occasional dip to 99% on one. The strength quality maintains itself at 100% and about 25% noise. As far as I've heard, the best explanation for the lag spike is the wi-fi card taking a second to look for connections.

    Its like a runner, legging it at full speed than stopping every so often to tie his shoe.
  37. Updated version of WiSwitch available at http://www.mediafire.com/aerDNA
  38. I am using Vista and i found this post that has been very helpful. but about every minute, or so, i get a lag spike that i catch going up to 700 ms, then stops. being in Vista home basic i do not see the windows wireless zero config. and i cant seem to find out why this lag appears from other posts. i know the basic solution is to go wired. but i want to learn what i can do to fix this. anything will help!! thanks
  39. The Vista equivalent of Wireless Zero Configuration is named WLAN Autoconfig. Unlike WZC, stopping this service terminates the connection. That's why you can't solve the cyclic lag problem as easily as in XP and that's why WiSwitch is of no help in Vista, unless you use it to connect/disconnect. Vista lag problem never concerned me personally so I don't have much insight but I believe some people managed to solve it by tinkering with netsh commands, so it might be worth looking into.
    Here's a link to a Microsoft paper on netsh commands:
    Netsh Commands for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
  40. ALL I GOT TO SAY IS MONEY!!!!! TOMS HARDWARE IS DA BOMB, AND SO ARE THE PPL THAT USE IT. OPERATION LAGG MONSTER COMPLETE. LAGGASAURUS CONFIRMED DEAD. WZC TURNED OFF, WORKS LIKE A CHARM!!! LOVE YOU ALL.
  41. I too have had this problem for ages. I thought it was just me but evidently not. Has anyone tried using a wireless connection that didnt run through usb? I think i once had a wired connection to a laptop that had in built wireless that worked fine, and this caused my internet connection while gaming on my tower to be fine (the laptops shared its inet with me).

    When i get me own place,....definitely going all wired.
  42. Hey there i have just bought a new laptop and have the same lag issues every 30 seconds or so i turned off auto configure to manual -> still have lag spikes. (normally around 30ms and goes up to about 300 for 2 or 3 seconds)

    Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100 AGN this is the internal wireless cars i have in my laptop.
    I have checked for current driver updates mine are all up to date.
    When i run speed tests my average speed is around 9mbps download and around 0.74mbps upload.

    This problem is really annoying me because i bought my latop to game online and i cant because it lags way to much to get a good game.
    I know its not fps because my average fps is 200.
  43. Hi i am from argentina sorry mi english

    Thanks for the post it is very helpful
    my windows zero its OFF
    and i reduce my lag in games
    Y play lineage 2 and counter strike
    before my ping 20-30 buy sometimes up to 400 -500 and i cannot play


    Buy today i am having a little problems more with my wifi but i think its for the signal


    Sorry my english thanks you !!
  44. WiSwitch now supports Win7.
  45. haha thos really didnt help me because i use my computers built in wifi. its really good and all but playing a game like UT 2004 or AVA(alliance of valien arms from ijji) i cant do a match that has over 100 kills or else i lagg at abotu 50 kills. Its wired because i just dont get the responce about who killed who and anyone typing i still see ppl runnong around shooting like me but once i die i cant respawn.. idk but my dad is a computer geek and he just basically told me that to get better gaming u would just have to be wired. says that even if ur close to the router u still will have connectin interruptions and all. makes sence that instead of wireless transfer a wired is better... haha i tried the whole wlan auot off and i forgot i USE my computers wirless.. lol kiked aoutmaticaly from the game . classic fail i guess..
  46. I NEED HELP PLEASE!


    I am using Vista, pentium4. and my wireless adapter is so lag when i play online games(ANY ONLINE GAME), im using D link DWA-110 and in every 1min i get a lag spike that last for about 2-3seconds like a total jam, then get back again....... pls help
  47. dempA said:
    I have the same problem. New NIC didn't fix, disabling WZC didn't fix, new Router with new firmware didn't fix, moving computer next to the router didn't fix. It happens on all of the computers in the network, and is only noticeable during gaming.

    For those having the problems, please humor me and try downloading Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory. After starting up, push ~ and type /cg_drawlagometer. After doing this, describe what the lagometer shows you. It's a shame that people don't use the Quake 3 lagometer anymore to figure out what their connection issue is.



    Im still playing wolfenstein, and ive got the same lag spike to the laggo meter shows me first its just no lag then a huge green box comes on it, then the game freezes for like 2 -3 seconds, but i have it durning fights on wolfenstein so, if i stand infront someone i free and then its over im dead any can help me ?
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