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I'm not too knowledgeable about networking and routers. Pretty much all I know is how to set up a router to create a wireless network, and that's all I've been using it for currently. I like playing games online (most notably League of Legends), and living with a big family on an 'ok' internet connection just won't cut it. For example, I'll start playing a game, and then someone else will start watching Netflix, making my game virtually unplayable.

A friend mentioned about using router firmware to create a stable ping. He didn't really know much on the topic, but it sparked my curiosity. Is this even possible? And if so, will it have any negative effects to other users on the network. (Essentially, can I play my game on a playable ping without being an internet hog?)

League of Legends Support led me to something about QoS, but as I read further into the article it seems it's about prioritizing bandwidth? (Again, I don't want to be an internet hog)

Any insight into this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

asked Aug 12 '12 at 23:49

jshepp's gravatar image


Good question jshepp!

There's a few things to consider that could be causing lag (latency and/or packetloss) on your network.

  1. The first thing I always look at is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) speed. Are you on Comcast or Verizon? Or do you have DSL / Satellite / Radio internet? Whichever company is providing you internet service should have you signed up for a specific speed. GD wrote a really informative article regarding testing your internet connection speed here: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/geek-stuff/understand-your-interent-connection-test-its-speed/. Make sure before doing a speed test that everything that could possibly use internet is shut down. Are you getting the advertised speed that your internet service provider claims to be giving you? It probably won't be as high as they say, but it should be at least close.

  2. Once you know the speed you are supposed to be getting, you need to consider how much bandwidth is being used. Netflix for example, uses about 900 MB of data per hour of viewing, assuming you don't pause it and keep watching continuously. 900 MB of data per hour = a data transfer rate of 256 KB per second. Or in Internet Service Provider lingo, that's 2 Megabits used per second. So if your Internet Provider tells you that you have a 3 Megabit connection, this means that you're going to lag no matter what when someone is watching Netflix because it is using up the majority of your maximum connection speed. Note most DSL companies don't offer more than 5 Megabits, and satellite almost never does.

  3. If you have a fast connection with your ISP, like anything over 20 Megabits, then you shouldn't be running into Netflix lag because of that. In this case it is indeed your router. If you believe this is the reason, it's likely because you have a cheap router that isn't capable of handling large traffic between multiple computers on your local network. In this case, you can try updating the firmware, or installing custom open-source firmware like DDWRT (which I highly recommend). But even then, if the router is too cheap it won't fix your problems. For example I had this issue with a router slowing down when I would transfer large files from one computer to the other over the wireless network. It completely locked up because it just couldn't handle such a large amount of traffic all at once. I updated the firmware, installed custom firmware, hacked it, tweaked it. It improved a little, but it still locked up in the end whenever I tried to transfer large files. To solve my problem, I had to just buy a new higher-quality router.

  4. I doubt it is this, but the last possible thing that could be causing a problem is a weak wireless signal. How strong does your computer show your signal to be? If you switch to a wired physical cable connection does it improve any?


answered Aug 13 '12 at 00:22

bananajoe's gravatar image


edited Aug 13 '12 at 01:58

grooveDexter's gravatar image



Also note that League of Legends uses only 20 Megabytes per hour of online game play. Or in other words it uses 0.045 Megabits per second. But it's easily possible a computer running it could be using more between updates, web browsing, and other things going on in the background.

(Aug 13 '12 at 00:29) grooveDexter grooveDexter's gravatar image

@1Yes, I read your article. I'm don't purchases the internet in the household, so I don't know what is the benchmark. Doubtful that my folks would be willing to switch ISPs. They are content as is and think I shouldn't be playing computer games at all. LOL!

@2Again irrelevant to my situation because I couldn't change it if I even wanted.

@3I have a Linksys WRT120N router.

@4Wireless signal is good. Switching to wired would probably improve connection slighty, but only actual connection I could use would be plugging directly into the router, which is sub-optimal based on where it is located.

(Aug 13 '12 at 01:33) jshepp jshepp's gravatar image

The emphasis of my question was cause I looked through the router firmware and saw an Applications & Gaming tab, which included something called Port Forwarding and Quality of Service (QoS) -- sparking my interest, wasn't sure what they really did.

I'm going to make and educated guess that QoS assigns priority to bandwidth to specific applications -- again, making me a 'hog.' Port forwarding, I have no clue what that is...

I notice the following pings: No other traffic: 130 - 145 ms Casual Browsers: 130 - 400 ms Netflix: >2000 ms

And, I'm just going to guess that my situation is hopeless.

(Aug 13 '12 at 01:41) jshepp jshepp's gravatar image

Port forwarding is for allowing application through the router firewall. You shouldn't ever have to touch this nowadays.

QoS only works on home routers regarding upload speeds.

Yeah... pretty much hopeless. (Unless you find out you actually have a really fast internet connection and your router just sucks) FYI the WRT120N is a pretty horrible piece of junk, but if your ISP connection is slow it won't help upgrading it.

(Aug 13 '12 at 01:54) grooveDexter grooveDexter's gravatar image

I agree it does sound like your connection is just slow.

If you look into it you will find dozens of tips for speeding up your connection from turning off broadcast SSID to optimising the MTU size, in my experience none of them make any noticeable difference.

In the UK I have also never had any speed increase buy complaining to the ISP

In my experience, if your connection is slow it will stay slow until you change your broadband package your ISP or both.

At least you can avoid wasting your time trying all the tips that don’t work.

(Aug 13 '12 at 07:40) Simon H Simon%20H's gravatar image
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Asked: Aug 12 '12 at 23:49

Seen: 6,194 times

Last updated: Aug 13 '12 at 07:40

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