Question Unfixable Ping Spikes on Wi-Fi

Jun 9, 2021
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Hello

Recently I have been having issues with my Dell G3 3590 laptop. When wirelessly gaming online, I am experiencing consistent ping spikes to the thousands every 10 - 30 seconds (no spikes with a wired connection). These spikes only occur when gaming and happen in all multiplayer games. That is, when I am playing a game that does not require internet access there are no ping spikes. I have also tried playing a game offline while running Netflix at the same time and did not experience any internet issues. The problem seems to only occur when gaming online. I have tested other devices on the same network and they don't experience the spikes.
One interesting thing I found was that the spikes actually go away after I disconnect and immediately reconnect from my internet, but eventually return after around 15 minutes. This made me believe an application might be causing the problem, but after performing a clean boot disallowing any applications and unnecessary processes from running the spikes were still there. I also carefully watched the task manager and resource monitor and was unable to identify any specific application causing the spikes.

The following is a list of some of the things I have tried to fix this problem:
  • Reinstalled all drivers for the computer (all drivers are now up to date)
  • Downgraded my BIOS (now up to date after this didn't fix the problem)
  • Both downgraded and updated my wireless adapter
  • Updated to the most current version of windows
  • Disabled windows the ability to download updates for other computers and temporarily halted windows updates
  • Ran a full hardware scan through support assist and ran all windows internet troubleshooters
  • Performed a system reset/reinstalled windows
  • Went through a lengthy process with dell support , completing multiple diagnostic tests (they believe that there are no hardware issues and that I would have to pay a fee I can't afford to continue troubleshooting for software issues)
At this point I am at a total loss. Nothing I have done so far has been able to fix the issue. I would appreciate any help with this issue.
 
This is exactly why you see recommendations to only play online games on a wired connection. This is a fundamental problem that can not really be fixed.

Games are different than almost all other forms of traffic. Games need extremely consistent latency between packets to help sync the game client to the server so it can predict things like location in the game. Wifi unlike most other forms of connection does error correction. So if a packet it damaged it will be retransmitted until it is good. This takes time so you get random delays in the ping/latency. A game would actually have a few packets discarded than to delay them. Ethernet gets very few errors in the first place but it will just drop packets that get errors.

This is one of those the method used for wifi is not compatible with the design used for games.

If you have a wifi connection with very little interference it will work ok most the the time but still get lag spikes here and there. For most people they have lots of neighbors using wifi and stomping on their signals.

You have almost no options with wifi. You at best can try other radio channels or use the other radio band 2.4/5g. Setting the channel width to 20 mhz on the router will give you more channels to try but this will cut the top speed for all devices on your network.

The only other thing that used to cause this was a option called autoconfig. I forget how you turn this option off. Microsoft supposedly fixed this but you could look for the command and see if it works.
 
Jun 9, 2021
2
0
10
0
This is exactly why you see recommendations to only play online games on a wired connection. This is a fundamental problem that can not really be fixed.

Games are different than almost all other forms of traffic. Games need extremely consistent latency between packets to help sync the game client to the server so it can predict things like location in the game. Wifi unlike most other forms of connection does error correction. So if a packet it damaged it will be retransmitted until it is good. This takes time so you get random delays in the ping/latency. A game would actually have a few packets discarded than to delay them. Ethernet gets very few errors in the first place but it will just drop packets that get errors.

This is one of those the method used for wifi is not compatible with the design used for games.

If you have a wifi connection with very little interference it will work ok most the the time but still get lag spikes here and there. For most people they have lots of neighbors using wifi and stomping on their signals.

You have almost no options with wifi. You at best can try other radio channels or use the other radio band 2.4/5g. Setting the channel width to 20 mhz on the router will give you more channels to try but this will cut the top speed for all devices on your network.

The only other thing that used to cause this was a option called autoconfig. I forget how you turn this option off. Microsoft supposedly fixed this but you could look for the command and see if it works.
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately I have no access to a wired connection. I have also tried disabling autoconfig and that did not work. About a year ago these ping spikes didn't exist and I had no problem gaming wirelessly. Is there a reason these internet issues weren't present before?
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
113
6
85
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This is exactly why you see recommendations to only play online games on a wired connection. This is a fundamental problem that can not really be fixed.

Games are different than almost all other forms of traffic. Games need extremely consistent latency between packets to help sync the game client to the server so it can predict things like location in the game. Wifi unlike most other forms of connection does error correction. So if a packet it damaged it will be retransmitted until it is good. This takes time so you get random delays in the ping/latency. A game would actually have a few packets discarded than to delay them. Ethernet gets very few errors in the first place but it will just drop packets that get errors.

This is one of those the method used for wifi is not compatible with the design used for games.

If you have a wifi connection with very little interference it will work ok most the the time but still get lag spikes here and there. For most people they have lots of neighbors using wifi and stomping on their signals.

You have almost no options with wifi. You at best can try other radio channels or use the other radio band 2.4/5g. Setting the channel width to 20 mhz on the router will give you more channels to try but this will cut the top speed for all devices on your network.

The only other thing that used to cause this was a option called autoconfig. I forget how you turn this option off. Microsoft supposedly fixed this but you could look for the command and see if it works.
gaming can be done with wifi and with a ping (per second) uptime of 98.5 +% all day and everyday. If the ISP is providing that stability.. which in most cases it’s not the ISP it’s the user.

Fortnite uses 512 kbps, Overwatch, Gears of War 4, and if I had access to more modern games I’d list more.

starcraft 2, a 1v1 match can be done at 56 kbps, with no issues.

wifi is best on the 2.4 ghz. And the 5 ghz.. well you need nodes to physically see each other, cause 802.11 A classification is short range, and 5 ghz doesn’t travel through physical objects very well.

this is why you need the gaming servers IP address, and ping the server continuously. A one time check, doesn’t provide anything useful, except for the fact it will tell you how long it took for your radio single at the speed of light in milliseconds. The gaming servers IP would tell you what you are dealing verses a useless ping to google.com.

YouTube and Google have been the source of a lot of misinformation for some time.

Cable and DSL are still excellent options for gaming and if you can afford it a T1 line could possibly beat Fiber Optics internet in the terms of latency and not bandwidth.

802.11 G is much more stable than 802.11 N. G, can provide up to 10 mbps. That’s a enough for a lot of people if they are getting a consistent signal.

Radionet is very cool if you look at it from a non bias point of view and confirmation of real time results and evidence. Gaming can be done on wirelessly and since I use 4 wireless routers and monitor all my activity, the latency between the routers on a 2.4 ghz frequency is about 1-9 milliseconds. Average would be about 2 millisecond per hop to get to the main router.

there is so many things to say, but in the end 7 modern devices can be done on 6 mbps restriction wireless and people need to acknowledge that
 
gaming can be done with wifi and with a ping (per second) uptime of 98.5 +% all day and everyday. If the ISP is providing that stability.. which in most cases it’s not the ISP it’s the user.

Fortnite uses 512 kbps, Overwatch, Gears of War 4, and if I had access to more modern games I’d list more.

starcraft 2, a 1v1 match can be done at 56 kbps, with no issues.

wifi is best on the 2.4 ghz. And the 5 ghz.. well you need nodes to physically see each other, cause 802.11 A classification is short range, and 5 ghz doesn’t travel through physical objects very well.

this is why you need the gaming servers IP address, and ping the server continuously. A one time check, doesn’t provide anything useful, except for the fact it will tell you how long it took for your radio single at the speed of light in milliseconds. The gaming servers IP would tell you what you are dealing verses a useless ping to google.com.

YouTube and Google have been the source of a lot of misinformation for some time.

Cable and DSL are still excellent options for gaming and if you can afford it a T1 line could possibly beat Fiber Optics internet in the terms of latency and not bandwidth.

802.11 G is much more stable than 802.11 N. G, can provide up to 10 mbps. That’s a enough for a lot of people if they are getting a consistent signal.

Radionet is very cool if you look at it from a non bias point of view and confirmation of real time results and evidence. Gaming can be done on wirelessly and since I use 4 wireless routers and monitor all my activity, the latency between the routers on a 2.4 ghz frequency is about 1-9 milliseconds. Average would be about 2 millisecond per hop to get to the main router.

there is so many things to say, but in the end 7 modern devices can be done on 6 mbps restriction wireless and people need to acknowledge that
I am not sure where you get the 98.5% number from. Most people are not willing to tolerate the in game lag spikes that causes even at much lower packet loss levels.

The bandwidth on wifi is not the issue. I agree you can play with a very low bandwidth for many games, wow used to run on dialup modems with no problems. The problem is the consistency of the latency and how much packet loss you get. The game server will get confused when the latency between packets changes a lot. The server is calculating in the delay it takes for the data to reach your machine when it send location information about say other players. It is predicting where the player will be in the future based on the latency. If the latency jumps around the predictions will be bad.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
113
6
85
0
I am not sure where you get the 98.5% number from. Most people are not willing to tolerate the in game lag spikes that causes even at much lower packet loss levels.

The bandwidth on wifi is not the issue. I agree you can play with a very low bandwidth for many games, wow used to run on dialup modems with no problems. The problem is the consistency of the latency and how much packet loss you get. The game server will get confused when the latency between packets changes a lot. The server is calculating in the delay it takes for the data to reach your machine when it send location information about say other players. It is predicting where the player will be in the future based on the latency. If the latency jumps around the predictions will be bad.
98.5 % comes from running analytical tests for 8 hours a day to multiple servers, some overseas and most are gaming. A PC can exceed bandwidth easily, and a cell phone if it can get the full bandwidth of the ISP plan, then yes bandwidth is a issue. My cell phone can get all 600 mbps on the cable network. Each device needs a set limit, and needs to be configured properly.

I ran world of Warcraft recently, and in the open world, the bandwidth used on the latest expansion is 8 to 24 kbps. So yes it can be done on dial up still, however a cinematic cgi cutscene needed more than 3 mbps, and that’s the conundrum.

heroes of the Storm by blizzard entertainment can be done at 256 kbps.

I ran the tests.

802.11 A and 5 ghz frequency is terrible for gaming and the compatible devices that can use 802.11 A on the network. Exceeding bandwidth and using a 5 ghz frequency is not ideal.

a 5 dbi or higher antenna is best, which means the routers, extenders, repeaters should have external antennas and the devices need to be on a 2.4 ghz frequency, like 802.11 N, or 802.11 G. Depending on distance and obstacles.. a 5 ghz and a 802.11 A broadcast.. that’s only good for the same room for stability, or a mesh network where the nodes can physically look at each other in a straight line. The channel width should be reduced as well. For example 20 MHz is more stable than 40 MHz. Changing the channel is ideal based on of the router tells you what channels your neighbors are using.

A QoS function should be on for each IP for the devices connected.

phone : 5 mbps
PC: 11 mbps
4K video: 20-25 mbps
Tablets: 5-11 mbps
Gaming consoles: 5 to 11 mbps

a family of 5 can survive on 25 mbps bandwidth if done right.

google at 56 kbps will take about 30 seconds to load completely. A lot of things can be done on dial up and I’m tired of the AOL references when that was a terrible attempt of dial up. Gaming was done at around 33.6 kbps in the 90’s. Manually configuring a ISP that did not need software to connect was much better. AT&T was a good example for dial up internet
 
This is a little thin when you base everything on your own private experience testing.

You see massive number of people complaining about how packet loss and ping spikes cause lag in online games. Just because you are not affected does not seem to be a valid reason to say you can get 1.5% packet loss and games work perfectly fine.

You seem to keep coming back to the bandwidth issues. He clearly states it runs fine on ethernet so he does not have a bandwidth issue. It is purely a wifi issue. The most likely source of ping spikes in wifi is interferening signals from neighbors devices. There really is not solution for this. If the wifi industry really wanted to fix this they could but since every thing except online games have few issues they have little interest.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
113
6
85
0
This is a little thin when you base everything on your own private experience testing.

You see massive number of people complaining about how packet loss and ping spikes cause lag in online games. Just because you are not affected does not seem to be a valid reason to say you can get 1.5% packet loss and games work perfectly fine.

You seem to keep coming back to the bandwidth issues. He clearly states it runs fine on ethernet so he does not have a bandwidth issue. It is purely a wifi issue. The most likely source of ping spikes in wifi is interferening signals from neighbors devices. There really is not solution for this. If the wifi industry really wanted to fix this they could but since every thing except online games have few issues they have little interest.
you keep seeing a different perspective.

Bandwidth, frequency, and signal strength is what I’ve been talking about time and time again.

a wired connection directly to a modem can still cause problems if the PC has automatic updates. Svchost.exe is a testament of hidden crap that will use full bandwidth such as 3rd party or Microsoft applications that are running.

I drove 500 + miles to run tests in a basement. I’m on wireless and in a much smaller town.

I’m tired of being told wrong and constantly seeing suggestions about updating network cards or Ethernet adapters.

most of the problems are not even router, adapter, or ISP related.

cox doesn’t suck, xfinity, centurylink, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, EarthLink, and many others do not suck. Fiber is not golden and the latency isn’t not a massive improvement over fiber. Unless you have substantial evidence how it compares to a T1 line. Then you have no say here.

20 dollar routers can get the job done and a wired connection is not a guarantee for consistent connection.

I use 4 cheap wireless routers to get online. It’s my way of doing a micro radio tower network. Soon there will be 5 or 7 more. All on 2.4 ghz, and “increasing” the interference. 802.11 G compatible gear is better than using its 802.11 AC, AX, or lucky AY.

everything today can be done wireless G gear. Linksys Wireless G router provided the stability for Unreal Tournament 3, and I’m tired of being told wireless CAN’T be just as good as a wired connection. I’ve been given poor advice for decades, knowing that dial up was more stable than their advice. I confirmed the information and did pit stops during the 500 mile journey. Wireless connections can be done
 

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