February leading into March is packet loss month. At least according to Twitter it is.
Twitter has had a high amount of traffic commenting on packet loss. Specifically, in the online gaming community, and most of the attention is for Xbox.
Before we make the conclusion that Xbox is having a packet loss problem, we need to dig a bit deeper. First, we have to ask whether packet loss is the issue. If so, is it an Xbox problem, or is it affecting other online gaming platforms, too?
Speaking with the guys at the Datapath.io office, PS4 is also experiencing high latency. This could mean it’s not isolated to just Xbox. Also, it might be a general latency issue, not a packet loss issue.
The first point to mention is that packet loss to the Gamer looks like latency. The only real way to determine if it is in fact packet loss, is to run a packet loss test.
How to check for packet loss?
Is game lag time packet loss or general latency? This is the first question we need to address. We can answer this with a simple ping test. Xbox One has a ping test you can run in the console. You can find it in the “Xbox Speed Test”. If you have a PS4, you can open your PS4 browser and go to the following website:
This will provide the necessary ping and packet loss test.
The ping test should provide the latency time in milliseconds (ms). Then the percentage of packet loss. Once the packet loss checker is running, you can confirm your suspicions about whether it is packet loss or general latency.
Causes that lead to test Packet Loss
If you find the issue is packet loss, there are many causes. A short list is the following:
- High latency
- Network congestion
- Software quality
- Hardware quality
Some of these causes an easy fix. Others are a bit more complex. Our recommendation is to try and solve these issues with some of the following quick fixes.
- Switch from Wi-Fi to a hard-wire connection
- Upgrade your current cables
- Reset your console
- Reset your Internet connection (i.e. router)
If these do not solve the issues you are experiencing, it might be time to contact support at Xbox, PS4, or your ISP.
Packet Loss from the Xbox Update
After taking a look at the issues associated with packet loss, let us get back to our original point. The recent Twitter explosion of Xbox targeted packet loss complaints.
The twitter support inquiries to excessive packet loss have users claiming 50% – 90% packet loss. Microsoft did provide a handy guide to begin addressing these issues.
Although the issue is complex, one theory going around is that the high packet loss, or higher than normal latency, has to do with recent Xbox updates.
The updates came to the Xbox One Preview and Xbox Beta App features. The online gaming community is associating the increased latency to the update.
Whether this is the issue, we will have to see. In the meantime, Xbox support has been providing many great insights into the inquiries. This is ensuring you may continue to play games. The best course of action is to first try the quick fixes above, including a packet loss test. Second, take a look at the Xbox guide in the link above. Last, move to the support community.
PS4 Network Latency
The guys at Datapath.io have been experiencing a bit of high latency with PS4. This could be packet loss or just general latency. If you are experiencing issues, you may need to run a packet loss test.
One of the Datapath.io colleagues was recently joining a FIFA game with a friend here in Germany. This turned out to be unplayable due to latency. Trying to use the PS4 game sharing feature, he was unable to add the friend to the game. Thus, not being able to play the game. What this means is the Xbox community is not alone.
Latency and packet loss are problems in the online gaming community. These go from a slight annoyance to rendering games unplayable. We may or may not be in an official packet loss month, but the issue remains. Packet loss and latency in the gaming community need network optimization. This will need to come from the game makers themselves.
To learn more about preventing packet loss, download the AWS Network Optimization Whitepaper.