Although a lot of gamers have cut the cord already and play over WiFi, many gamers still hold true to the belief that to win you must play over a hard-wired Ethernet connection. They believe that WiFi has too much latency to allow them to play competitively. The problem with that belief is that it is based on historical networking products and technologies rather than the latest and greatest networking products available in today’s markets.
Lets first take a look at latency. Latency can get introduced in 3 key places:
- The internet and the game server – your connection to your game server is one source of latency. The better the connection to the server, the lower your latency is.
- Your home network – having a great gaming router with solid QoS support is key. This prevents your game network packets from getting backed up, delayed, or even lost when there is a lot of contention in your home network as people within your house compete for bandwidth. We have an article on how to pick a great gaming router here.
- PC Latency – This is often called system latency and can come from the actual networking hardware or from contention on your PC caused from too many applications (games, streaming video, torrents, other downloads, etc…) using your bandwidth.
Lets focus on the system latency within the PC, the third one described above. Killer Networking is by far the best at ensuring that your gaming packets don’t wait on steam downloads, Microsoft updates, torrents, or anything else – so having Killer prioritize your packets is always a smart idea.
When it comes to the hardware, the data gets very interesting. When we measure the system latency of one of our Ethernet products, like the E2500 – we see system latencies around 250 micro-seconds (one quarter of a millisecond). When we measure the system latency of our Killer Networking wireless products we see system latencies at around 1.25 milliseconds.
So, the real difference between our Ethernet and WiFi products is about a millisecond (on average). What does this mean for you? If you want to game wireless… then game with confidence. Most gamers can play extremely effectively using our WiFi network products, and have a lot of fun doing it.
If you are the gamer that cares about 1 millisecond, then play over Ethernet… but don’t be surprised if you get beaten by somebody playing with a Killer Networking wireless product!