Better Online Gaming with Less Jitter & Lag
Nov 8, 2021 | Online Gaming
Fiber optics have created quite the buzz around the online gaming community. Not the bad kind of buzz caused by jitter and latency. The good kind of buzz, thanks to fiber’s amazing performance. Ask dedicated online gamers and they’ll tell you if you have a choice, fiber is the way to go. While you might think that’s just because techy geeks tend to gravitate to the latest gadget with all the bells and whistles, it’s far more than that. They’ve done their homework. They know fiber is faster and smoother.
Why is fiber a better internet connection option for gamers? There are several reasons.
Not a shared connection
If you’ve ever tried to game in the evening, when everybody in the neighborhood is home and online, many of them on multiple devices, you know the frustration of lag and latency. Why does it do that?
Well, if you’re on a legacy cable connection that uses a copper cable to send and receive, you’re sharing your connection with the guy next door. And the family next to him. And the one down the street. That’s because cable is a shared connection. Essentially that means that while you may have gotten full-speed uploads and downloads during the middle of the day because nobody else was home, you’ll spend your evening sharing that connection and watching your speed drop as more neighbors log on. And if your house is the last one way down at the end of the cul-de-sac, you likely have the worst signal on the street.
With fiber optics, you get your own dedicated connection to get all the bandwidth all the time regardless of what your neighbors are doing. If they’re all streaming, Zooming, gaming, all at the same time – you don’t care because your system is humming along at full speed. It's yours, and yours alone.
Faster symmetrical upload and download
Most internet providers brag about their download speed because it tends to be the most impressive statistic to most end users. They don’t typically brag about their upload speed because it tends to be upwards of 90% slower than download speed. For example, if you’re getting 100 megabits per second download, you are likely only getting around 10 megabits per second upload speed.
This difference in speed doesn’t matter much for video conferences or streaming your favorite movies and shows. However, it makes a huge difference in gaming when signals are traveling both up and down. Fiber connections typically have symmetrical upload and download speeds, helping you keep up with the game because the signal is traveling both ways just as fast.
Now, as important as upload and download speeds are – and they are important – they’re not the only consideration. There are a few other factors to consider.
Better latency and jitter rates
The first is ping or latency. This is the time it takes for the signal to travel from your computer or game console to the server and back. Ping is critical for high-speed games, especially because even the slightest slowdown can cost you a life or the game if you can’t respond fast enough.
The second is jitter. No, not the jitter that comes from too much caffeine, although that is often associated with gaming. This jitter is the unintended change in your ping or latency over time, causing hiccups in data packets sent to and from your computer or game console and the game server. It can get so bad that data packets arrive out of order, causing serious disruptions in the game playing experience.
Thanks to a clearer signal over a longer distance, fiber optics tend to perform better when it comes to latency and jitter, minimizing the damage caused by the internet connection. With latency and jitter reduced, you have a better gaming experience.
Aging copper infrastructure
Copper wires have carried communication signals since the days of Alexander Graham Bell. But just as we no longer use crank-handle phones, the wires that carried those early conversations are also outdated. Early internet providers mainly used copper cable because it was cheaper to run signals over existing materials than to be innovative. And it worked for a while.
However, that old technology has almost reached its limit as far as bandwidth and signal capacity. It just can’t keep up with fiber, which has over 700x the capacity of copper.
Very few new internet providers are laying copper cables in the ground. Almost all of them have migrated to a full fiber-optic network for a host of reasons, including the ones above. If you have a choice, pick fiber.
When it comes to copper vs. fiber, it’s game on for fiber and game over for copper.