What is Packet Loss? How to Fix it for Gaming

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The phrase “packet loss” might not sound familiar, but you’ve likely experienced it while gaming online. In short, packet loss means there’s a problem with the stability of your internet connection. 

Common problems you’ll experience due to packet loss while gaming include game lagging, teleporting, being kicked out of the game completely, and difficulties getting back into the game.  

We’re going to explain what packet loss is, the symptoms of packet loss, and how to fix it by using a gaming VPN service like Haste. Let’s get ready to drop in. 

Tl;dr? Skip to the section you’re looking for here:

What is Packet Loss?
Symptoms of Packet Loss
– Connection Issues
– Teleporting
Causes of Packet Loss
Why Haste?
The Real Enemy–Packet Loss

What is Packet Loss?

Packet loss is a relatively new term that has only entered gaming forums and Discords in the last five years or so. Many people understand the experience of connection instability but don’t know the technical name. You used to think of the problem as an issue with ping or connection latency. See, you know what we’re talking about already.

When you’re dealing with packet loss in a game like League of Legends, you’re struggling with an unstable internet connection that causes you to have problems while gaming. This is essentially because your game traffic isn’t reaching the game server. 

Somewhere down the line between your game console and the server, your connection bogs down so much that the data ends up getting lost in translation, never making it to the finish line.  

A packet is considered a small batch of data that gets sent from your system to the game server. When a packet is lost, the information in that packet disappears instead of reaching your intended target, resulting in an unsatisfactory experience. 

Symptoms of Packet Loss

Let’s look at some of the symptoms of packet loss so you can decide if that’s the issue that’s plaguing your system. Or if there’s another problem at large. 

The first thing that could be the problem is software bugs. If you’re dealing with a game that’s just been released or has recently been updated, there could be some issues in the coding. 

Connection Issues

Packet loss frequently happens in real-time applications like streaming movies, video calls, and gaming. You could be dealing with poor network performance, network connectivity, or network congestion.

When you’re experiencing dropped packets while gaming, you will experience slower transfer speeds, ending with a game that lags or freezes. 

You may even be kicked out of the game entirely and find yourself unable to re-enter. Or your connection bogs down so much, you stay in the match, but it’s impossible to do anything. Some people even think it’s worse to be trapped in a game that you can’t play than to be booted out. 

Teleporting

Tell us if this sounds familiar. You’re in the middle of your game (like Rainbow Six Siege or Fortnite), and you’re kicking butt trying to complete your objectives. Then suddenly, the players on the screen disappear only to blip back in a different location. You probably missed the perfect shot or the best opportunity to attack your opponents. Mission failed. 

With packet loss, when you’re trying to play a first-person shooter game, you may notice that your aim seems perfect, yet your bullets never hit the mark. You hit the button to shoot—but miss. You try to dodge—but get hit anyway. There’s a delay between your reaction and the corresponding action on the screen. 

Previously, game companies might blame the packet loss on your internet connection, saying that your speeds are causing the delays. Now, due to player reporting on forums and in games, it’s acknowledged that packet loss is a real condition that can be hit randomly. Previously there was really no way to mitigate it. 

Causes of Packet Loss

Now that we know packet loss is a real thing, let’s go over some common causes of packet loss and whose end it is on to figure out how to fix it.

It could be a problem with your ISP or cable connections (which is why we always recommend using ethernet over wifi!), or it could be that the gaming network connection is to a server that’s too far away from their network. The time (real-time) it takes for your packet to transfer from your network to the server takes so long that your data gets lost and doesn’t go through. 

But then again, it could be a problem somewhere in the middle, with the game servers being too congested with network traffic. Your data gets lost in the transit and knocked out of the lineup. The more gamers using the system, the higher the chance that you’ll experience packet loss.

Despite the extensive capabilities of the internet, it’s still basically an old system with some additions. Think about it. The web was basically built for email and web browsing. When the internet was invented, the idea of real-time applications wasn’t even something users or engineers considered. If your data took a bit of time to transmit, it wasn’t an issue. (Like, who cares if your email gets there 30 seconds later or even 3 minutes later?)

But when you’re gaming, you don’t want to deal with even a three millisecond lag that could be the deciding factor in whether your team wins the match with the final kill or if your competitors gain the lead by catching you in mid-freeze. Game over. 

Why is Haste the Best Option for Reducing Gaming Packet Loss

Gaming VPNs are a great solution to help prevent packet loss. These handy tools are designed to help reduce the lag you experience while using real-time applications like video games. 

With Haste Pro, your data is sent through four different paths, so even if one packet gets lost in transmission, the rest will make it to the finish line as expected. This results in a more stable connection while gaming so you don’t end up with a freeze at that critical life or death moment. 

You can even keep a close eye on your performance to see how well your data is transmitting using the handy Haste Status Console. Try it free or unlock real power with a low monthly fee. It’s well worth it for quality gaming. Either way, you’ll appreciate the high quality of service.

Not to mention, Haste helps protect you from DDoS attacks by cloaking your actual IP address for supported game traffic, so you can keep your identity and location hidden from other players. Safety is a must when playing online games with strangers. 

Want to see if Haste is right for you? Check out the games we support to help stabilize your connection and keep you winning.

The Real Enemy is Packet Loss

Packet loss is a real and common enemy of gamers. There’s nothing more frustrating than experiencing a poor connection while you’re in the middle of a game. Every millisecond counts, and you could end up losing the match due to a blip in your connection that sends you halfway across the map from your intended target. 

Or worse, your competitor stays alive while you end up waiting to be revived by a teammate because your connection had a hiccup. Get Haste today and enjoy lag-free, safe gaming with safe network devices, the way it should be. Welcome to the future. 

Reclaim Your Connection

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