Fluctuating ping when gaming

I've been having this problem for about a year now, and am getting so fed up with it that I need to find a solution before it drives me mad.

Basically, our internet here is great. 20mb d/l, 4mb u/l, and decent ping if I just perform a test.
However, after maybe an hour gaming , the ping just goes to ***. Whether it's TF2, Tribes, LoL or CS:S, my ping will suddenly spike up to around 300, hover around there for maybe 5 seconds, and then return to normal. Download/ Upload speed stays the same (as tested with speedtest/pingtest), this continues to happen roughly once every 2 minutes, but even after I quit the game the problem with ping lingers. The ping fluctuation seems to vary too. I've often see it hit 2000 m/s before returning to normal.

Resetting the router/ modem fixes the issue temporarily, but it always comes back. It's driving me mad because it seems to come at random, and if I'm trying to play something competitive I just get booted, or have to quit.

As an aside, it happens when I play Xbox 360 too. In Halo: Reach for example, I'll find myself teleporting around the map with a red-bar connection, before settling back into the game. The Xbox 360 uses a wireless connection.

My PC uses a Netgear N-300 WNA3100 USB wireless adapter, and I use Netgear N-300 WNR2000 Wireless Router. The modem is a Scientific Atlanta EPC2100R2. Our Broadband provider is Virgin media. I live in Greater London.

I assume I need to replace something, but I thought I'd check here before I splash out on something.
If anyone has experienced this problem or has any advice that would be great.

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  1. You are going to have to systematically test it to find the problem.

    Start with the pc directly wired to the modem. If you see the issue here you either have a PC issue (unlikely) or the problem is in the provider network...which you can't do much about.

    Then try wired to the router with the wireless completely disabled.

    After this you get to wireless stuff... this almost a black art to figure out why there are issues. Most common is interference so you need to do the standard change the channels but it is very hit and miss. You never know what can change the signal patterns, could be as simple as cars driving by that have active wireless.
    Replacing equipment is a option but you are pretty much just guessing in most cases.
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