Gamer's on PC and consoles to a lesser extent, will be very familiar with computer latency. Below I’ll explain satellite internet and how to reduce latency on satellite internet in detail. One of the best ways to reduce latency is to ensure you are using the most reliable internet providers.
How to Reduce Latency on Satellite Internet
If you have satellite internet you are probably already familiar with latency and have wondered “why is satellite internet so slow?” Latency is something that everyone has to deal with, not just gamers. There is latency with every action you take on a computer, it just usually isn’t noticeable because the latency is often faster than the human eye can see. If you are experiencing a lot of latency it can be very irritating and unpleasant, so here are a few ways you can reduce your latency and how to speed up satellite internet. First, you need to learn how to check internet speed and see how fast your connection really is.
Make sure you are using a wired connection to connect your computer to your router. Wi-Fi is extremely convenient, but it is also a much slower way to transfer data than using a wire and it has a tendency to be unstable. This is a very simple and easy satellite internet latency fix. I didn’t believe it before I tried it either, but it really works.
Ensure that you are not downloading anything in the background. This can often be overlooked when you are focused on a task or excited to hop into a game or movie, but downloading things from the internet will slow down your computer significantly unless you have very fast internet speeds which are often not possible for satellite internet users.
Many programs will tell you to make sure all unnecessary programs are closed while you are working with them and most people ignore them, but if you are having a latency issue then it is worth going out of your way to close any programs that connect to the internet like web-browsers.
It is also possible that your router is experiencing some kind of issue that can be resolved by simply restarting it. Some less tech-savvy people may be intimidated by this idea, but I assure you that you won't hurt anything by unplugging the power cable from the back, waiting a few minutes, and then plugging it back in. This resets the router and it may take a moment or two for it to boot back up, but no damage is caused.
For those that don't know, the power cable is the one that connects into the wall or power strip, you do not want to unplug any of the other cables so trace it back and ensure it is the one you want before unplugging it.
This is not always an option available to all users but making sure you are connecting to a server that is closer to where you are for your games is a good idea. If you have been playing World of Warcraft on the same server with all of your friends for years then you might be resistant to changing which is understandable, but it is worth considering to help with your latency issues.
What Exactly Is Latency?
Latency is something you won't notice much if at all while playing single-player games. If you play multiplayer games, on the other hand, you will likely be familiar with latency, or ping, and you probably curse it just as much as the next gamer. To understand latency, you have to have a little understanding of how a computer works.
Essentially, an online game is hosted on a server somewhere owned and operated by someone. To play that game, your computer needs to send information back and forth with that server. The amount of time it takes for information to pass between your computer and the server determines your latency or the time it takes for your computer to ping the server which is where that term comes from.
This is most easily noticed when you are experiencing a symptom called “input lag” which is a noticeable delay between when you make an input like a character movement or an ability of some sort and when your character actually does whatever you told it to do on screen. You might hit the forward movement key on your keyboard or gamepad and your character, instead of responding when you press the button or key, won’t move for a second or more. This is extremely noticeable and disorienting, it essentially makes whatever game you are playing unplayable.
How Latency Got a Bad Reputation
Many multiplayer games require a fast reaction time with precise timing and repetition of simple actions which tends to build muscle memory in players. When there is a dissonance between your muscle memory and what you are doing on-screen there is a very noticeable reduction in performance and it can be extremely frustrating.
This is how latency got such a bad reputation, it is often blamed for poor performance in gaming, so often in fact, that you will often be mocked in an online game for mentioning lag or ping at all. It is kind of a similar situation to the legend of the “boy who cried wolf”, people have claimed lag as the reason for their poor performance so often that nobody believes them anymore.
How Does Satellite Internet Perform?
Satellite internet, or dish internet, can perform sufficiently for a lot of games, but it is definitely the worst option you can get when it comes to gaming. Unfortunately, it is the only option available to many internet users and the only way to change that is to move, which isn’t always an option. Thankfully, Viasat, the most common satellite internet provider has started working with a satellite internet booster for faster speeds which should help with a lot of these problems.
About Getting the Signal to the Dish
Satellite internet uses radio waves to pass information all over the globe. Satellite internet is called satellite because there is a satellite orbiting the earth that all of the information you need is passing through and to your computer. Satellite internet relies on the satellite signal being able to bounce between it and the dish, which serves as a satelite signal amplifier, that is attached to the top of your home. This means satelite dish pointing is very important.
Optimizing Your Home Network in 4 Steps
There are 4 relatively simple things you can do to optimize your home network. I’ve listed them below.
Make Sure Your Dish Is Unobstructed and Aimed Correctly
A professional installer can and should do this for you when you are installing a satellite connection, but if you have to install it yourself then there are a few things to know. The satellites we use for information rotate around the earth at the same speed it does so your dish network satelite position should always be in the same place. Satellites usually float above the equator of the planet, so if you are in the northern hemisphere then your satellite will have to be pointed in a southerly direction, if you are in the south then it will need to be pointed north. Your internet service provider can give you exact directions.
Make Sure Your Modem or Router Is Running the Latest Firmware
Make sure to update your satellite router firmware regularly. This won't only help with latency issues but it is also a matter of personal security. If you fail to update your router you are leaving a hole in the security of your information that is easily exploited.
If You Are on Wi-Fi, Place the Router in the Open and in the Room Where You Use the Web Most
Routers work in a similar way to your satellite internet. If there are obstructions in the way of the signal then you might experience lag and connection issues.
For the Fastest Connection and Best Streaming, Use a Wired Connection
This cannot be understated. A wired connection is much more efficient than connecting wirelessly. Ethernet cables are cheap, there is very little excuse not to take a few minutes to order one online or go grab one from the local tech store and connect your device to the internet manually and it will significantly improve performance.
Other Internet Options
If you are using satellite internet it is likely because you don't have any other options. I feel your pain, I've been there. That said, if like me, you had previously used satellite internet for your whole life then you might not know that there are other options available in other places. Cable and fiber are the other internet options and they are both significantly faster and more reliable than the service that satellite internet can provide, so it is worth switching to them if you can.