Today, I will be talking about the fundamentals behind Latency and Ping, and what they exactly are. When it comes to Cloud Gaming, and gaming in general, high Latency/Ping can be a real game killer.
These are two tech words that usually correlate with each other, and many interchange the words. However they are a tad bit different, and I will go over each, and what you can do to hopefully optimize your latency for Shadow.
What is Latency and why it matters?
Latency is the time it takes for your input to reach said destination and send the result back to your computer screen. The further your destination is from your physical location, the higher your latency will be.
Latency affects how long it takes for your input to respond to the action you did on your peripheral. Click you mouse button? The time it takes to actually initiate the action on your game is the latency between your mouse and the application you are using.
Understanding this will allow you to understand why selecting a Shadow Data Center closest to you will give you the best optimal latency, and the lowest input lag when using Shadow.
What can affect Latency?
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to latency. Your monitor, your keyboard or mouse, pretty much any peripheral that you have connected to your PC.
Your network can also affect latency as well. Have a bad Ethernet cable? Your latency could increase. Bad router/modem? Latency could be increased. And then their is your Internet Service Provider. If there is any degradation to the lines from you to the destination, that can also affect your latency.
A lot of factors play a role, and when it comes to Cloud Gaming, you need to understand how and why everything can affect you. It will make your experience a lot better if you do :).
How to get better latency with Shadow?
Well, first things first, are you on the Data Center closest to you? You can also test what your latency will be with each Shadow Data Center by using the links below...
Chicago, IL DC - http://speedtest.ch.shadow.guru/
Dallas, TX DC - http://speedtest.tx.shadow.guru/
New York, NY DC - http://speedtest.ny.shadow.guru/
Santa Clara, CA DC - http://speedtest.sv.shadow.guru/
Paris DC - http://speedtest.shadow.guru/
Amsterdam DC - http://speedtest.ams.shadow.guru/
You can better your latency by making sure you are using the best available Internet Service Provider in your area. Sometimes you have to spend a bit more for the best quality Internet (or faster speeds).
If you use WiFi, invest in a decent router with a strong signal range. Also look into Cloud Gaming certified routers.
You can also switch to using direct Ethernet connection if it is feasible. This will give you the best experience.
Upgrade your Modem if it is older then 4 years. The average lifespan of a modem is 3-4 years.
Look into low latency peripherals and monitors. Most gaming keyboards/mice already have low latency, and shoot for 1ms refresh rates for monitors if you want the lowest possible latency.
Also, make sure all other downloads, video streams, etc are turned off before playing Shadow. This can affect bandwidth usage, and thus affect your Shadow latency.
What is ping?
Ping is often interchangeable with latency, however, the term "ping" means the process of sending packets to a destination, and then receiving a ping back. The time it takes for the ping to reach said destination and come back is your latency.
If someone is talking about ping/latency, they usually mean the same thing.
Is latency more important for Cloud Gaming vs gaming on my own hardware?
Let me answer this question... YES!!! When you are cloud gaming, you are theoretically streaming a video to your PC. When you are gaming on your own PC/console, your Internet only needs to support the minimal data sent too and from the game servers.
Cloud gaming uses a lot of bandwidth. And the added latency can affect game play. For some, this may not be noticible, but for those who play FPS games on a regular basis, you will notice a slight delay.
What latency should I aim for?
So, you decided to do a speed test to the closest Data Center for Shadow, and you are wondering what a good latency/ping is? I personally would shoot for anything less then 30ms.
Obviously, the lower the better, but if you go above 30ms, the delay may be extremely noticeable.
I personally play with a 15-22ms latency average, and I notice little, if any, input delay when playing games or using my Shadow PC.
High latency can make for a poor Shadow experience. I highly recommend doing a speed test to your nearest Data Center before purchasing Shadow. The lower the ping, the better.
Shadow has been doing some amazing work at lowering the latency that happens when using their platform. Hopefully Shadow continues to better their technology to make Cloud Gaming more accessible to those with higher latency!
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