More Options to Reduce Lag on the PS4


Lag Gaming

More Options to Reduce Lag on the PS4

So in our lengthy first article we look at some things we can try to reduce latency or lag on the PS4. These included changing our monitor settings, strengthening our console’s connection to the router,  settings and a couple of other tricks that are worth trying. Are there any other things we can try to further reduce lag on the PS4?

There are some more things we can do to try and get our latency or ping down even further for online gaming. In this article we will look at some more advanced topics for reducing lag, like Quality of Service Settings, DNS and MTU settings, and other things we can do that have the potential to reduce our latency even more. Again we should stress that some of the things we recommend are experimental changes only and are not guaranteed to be successful but as with the first article they are easy to implement and easy to reverse if needed.

Quick Summary

  • Adjust Quality of Service settings if available on your router to prioritise games consoles
  • Change DNS settings – may improve bandwidth but probably not latency
  • MTU settings changes do not appear to improve either bandwidth or latency when fully tested
  • See if a faster fibre package is available from one of the main ISPs if bandwidth demands in your home are heavy
  • See if a full Fibre to the Home (FTTH) service is available in your area

Adjusting Quality of Service (QoS) Settings on Your Router

Another excellent way to reduce lag on the PS4 in high internet use households is to alter Quality of Service settings on your router to prioritise the PS4 over other devices in the house. This effectively means the router deals with traffic to and from the PS4 before it deals with anything else, hopefully reducing latency in the process. See our full article on the subject.

QoS can be used to prioritise PS4 traffic over other traffic on your network

quality of service

This is especially useful in houses where you have multiple people using the internet at the same time as someone is trying to play online on the PS4. Without QoS settings enabled the router doesn’t always know what traffic is more important latency wise and so gamers often report that they lag when other people are using the internet to stream Netflix for example.

Enabling Quality of Service sets an alogrithm on your router telling it the correct order to process the traffic going to and from it to make sure gamers don’t lag. Online gaming does not use much bandwidth but the bandwidth it does use needs to be sent to it as quickly as possible. In other words, it is a latency intensive activity and as such needs to be dealt with first by the router when there are competing uses.

Quality of Service settings are not available on all routers but where it is available it is usually fairly easy to set up. It just requires you to note down the IP and MAC address of your PS4, log in to your router and add your console and then set it’s priority to “highest” under the QoS settings. Our article on the subject gives a full step by step rundown of the process; here is an excellent video also running through the process and showing how QoS can reduce latency for online gaming.

When implemented correctly this is an excellent way for online gamers to reduce lag even when other people are on the internet. Also it should not affect other people’s activities such as streaming; QoS merely prioritises traffic in the correct order so that activities like gaming which cannot tolerate a high ping are dealt with first. Gamers can keep their ping down and streamers should not be affected also so it keeps everyone happy!

See also:

Changing the DNS and MTU Settings: Myth and Reality

Here we will deal with the claims often made that changing DNS and MTU settings can reduce lag for PS4 gamers. DNS stands for Domain Name System and MTU stands for Maximum Transmission Unit, and both settings can be manually altered in the Network Connection setup options on the PS4. Is there any truth to the claims that customising these settings can reduce lag on the PS4?

Looking through the data available and following the analysis of the people who have tested this most thoroughly, we have come to the following bottom line conclusion:

Changing DNS Servers may improve download and upload speeds for some users but not latency; Changing MTU settings does not appear to improve either download or upload speeds or latency when rigorously tested

We will go into a little more detail on each of these settings below, see our full articles on the subject (DNS article here and MTU article here) for a more thorough breakdown of each topic.

DNS Servers are effectively a phonebook for web addresses on the internet, and are by default set to ones provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). These can often work fine, but are not always the best ones you can use for your location. It is possible to change your DNS Servers for example to Google’s public DNS servers, to see if that helps. See our full article on DNS servers linked above for more details.

This is a confusing issue as technically speaking DNS servers should not have an impact on latency in gaming. After an initial connection to a game server, to enter an online lobby for example, the DNS server is usually not contacted at all and so should not influence latency after that point. However, some gamers have definitely reported that changing their DNS servers over to Google public servers reduced their ping and increased their download speeds so it may be worth trying if you are looking to reduce latency.

In our article on the subject we come to the conclusion that changing DNS servers MAY improve network efficiency (download and upload speeds) but not latency. Nevertheless some people swear by it as a method of reducing ping so we put it in here so people can try for themselves.

Changing your DNS servers manually is easy to do on the PS4. You simply head over to your Internet Connection settings and go through the set up of your connection again from scratch, selecting “Custom” instead of “Easy” setup and then clicking through every setting as “default” or “automatic” before switching to “manual” for the DNS servers.

You then input Google’s DNS servers manually into the two boxes, which are 8.8.8.8 for the Primary DNS and 8.8.4.4 for the Secondary DNS. Save the connection settings and then test download speeds and latency using an online test tool to see if there are any improvements in download speed and latency. Other DNS servers you can try are listed in our article on the subject.

This is definitely not guaranteed to work for everyone and our research into the topic indicates that it does not appear to impact latency. Even any bandwidth improvements depend on a lot of factors like your location and the location of Google’s nearest servers. It is another test that is very easy and free to do though so it is worth trying out to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, you can easily revert back to default DNS settings by re-configuring the internet connection through the “easy” setting instead of custom.

MTU stands for Maximum Transmission Unit and dictates the maximum size for any packet of data that is sent. MTU is measured in bytes and has a maximum value of 1500 so the largest packet of data that can be sent in one go is 1500 bytes. The MTU by default is set to 1500 on the PS4, with some articles claiming that lowering the value manually reduced their lag.

The idea behind this is that smaller packets of data can be sent more quickly to their destination. There are lot of videos and articles online selling a lot of sophistry implying that changing the MTU to a certain specific value like 1473 will solve all lag for all gamers everywhere in the world. See here for an example.

Again more thorough research into the subject appears to show that changing the MTU value does not affect either download speeds or latency when rigorously tested. There may be fluke results that appear to show a difference but when tested repeatedly the MTU setting does not appear to make any difference overall to latency or bandwidth. See our article on MTU for a thorough breakdown of the subject.

Changing Your ISP – See if A FTTH Package is Available

If you are trying all these things and your latency is still not improving then consider contacting your ISP and raising the issue with them. As long as you sort everything out on the LAN side of your connection within the house then there is no reason for gamers on a broadband connection to consistently experience lag, especially with the superfast fibre optic internet that is available in many countries now.

If you have a lot of internet users in your house at peak times and you are struggling to meet bandwidth demands then you could try and get a faster internet package from your current provider or one of their competitors.

We have embedded a table below of faster standard fibre packages from the main UK ISPs. These are Fibre to the Cabinet packages, as opposed to the even faster but less widely available Fibre to the Home, which we will cover below.

Faster Fibre to the Cabinet Packages in the UK

ProviderPackageAverage Download/Upload Speed (mbps)Monthly Data UsageMonthly Price (Initial Contract Term)Rising to (After Initial Contract)Total Setup Costs (Install/Activation/Router)
BTSuperfast Fibre 267/18Unlimited£39.99 (18 months)£59.99£59.99
Virgin MediaVivid 100108/6Unlimited£40 (12 months)£47£60
Virgin MediaVivid 350362/6Unlimited£42 (12 months)£57£60
Talk TalkFaster Fibre Speed Boost63/17Unlimited£28.50 (18 months)£38.50£39.95
Now BroadbandSuper Fibre63/18Unlimited£30 (12 months)£43.99£9.99
PlusnetUnlimited Fibre Extra66/18Unlimited£28.99 (18 months)£39.98£49.99

* Competition in this sector is fierce and the ISPs are constantly offering flash deals and discounts so it is always worth checking each provider out to see what offers they have on at any time.

If you are not getting anywhere with your ISP then consider looking at alternative ISPs that you could switch to if you have a choice in your area. We will look at producing an article at some point on the best ISPs for gaming based on different criteria for the major countries. Which brings us to our last option….

Get a Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Internet Package if Available in Your Area

Another option to look into for gamers looking to reduce lag is to see if an affordable Fibre to the Home (FTTH) internet package is available in your area. This means that your data is carried on super fast fibre optic cables all the way to your house and not just to the nearest street cabinet like in a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) package.

Whilst it could be argued this shouldn’t make a huge difference to latency in theory, many FTTH users find that their latency does significantly improve when tested, as we go into in our article on FTTH for gaming. Some users find they have ping times under 5 milliseconds within the UK and under 20 milliseconds to Western European servers, which is extremely impressive and something standard fibre optic packages will struggle to match.

Picking through the details of different ISP packages can be difficult as some of them are advertised just as “fibre” without differentiating whether they mean “Fibre to the Home” or “Fibre to the Cabinet”. A Fibre to the Cabinet package means that it is fibre optic until the nearest street cabinet (those green things with BT written on them in the UK!) and then a copper connection from the cabinet to your house, which is usually pretty fast in it’s own right.

For gamers looking to shave every last bit of latency off their connection though, it is worth seeing if an affordable FTTH package is available in your area. This will route your connection as fibre optic all the way to your house and router, which can carry the data much faster than copper and reduce ping. See our full article on FTTH internet for gaming and also our overview article of UK FTTH providers.

fibre optic internet cable

A Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connection can give you a faster more reliable internet connection with more bandwidth and lower latency

 

For a great value FTTH package in the UK look to see if Hyperoptic is available in your area. They offer great value Fibre to the Home packages that could keep your latency to a minimum. Their starter package is just £19 a month and you will get a FTTH 30mbps download and 1mbps upload. Their standard installation is expensive at £240, but they have flash deals where they waive these up front costs so you can get online cheaply. See our article on Hyperoptic for more details.

For multiple heavy users or gamers a 1mbps upload may be pushing it so they also have a mid level package for £28 per month for the first year with £240 installation that will give you 150mbps symmetrical download and upload speed. This would be especially useful for gamers who like to stream or upload content and also those who like to host online lobbies a lot, as the symmetrical speeds will take care of any upload demands you need for this.

Symmetrical means you get the same upload speed as you do download, which is very rare in conventional broadband packages. This would be perfect for a house with multiple gamers and streamers and with a FTTH connection you should have no problems with lag. Check out their packages page for more details if you like.

For a no nonsense FTTH internet only option you will struggle to get better value than this from one of the main ISPs so it is definitely worth visiting their site and checking them out. If you visit their homepage and put your postcode in they will tell you if they are installing in your area.

They are currently available in the following cities: Greater London, Basildon, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Preston, Reading, Reigate, Sheffield, Slough, Southamption, Southend-on-Sea, Warrington, Watford, Woking.

Even if they are not installing in your area at present it is worth registering your interest and if enough people in your area do the same they will install there. They are also aggressively expanding, hoping to spread their coverage to around 50 major UK cities by mid 2019.

Elsewhere BT do offer Ultrafast FTTH packages that can deliver around 200mbps download and 20mbps upload speeds, but it is costly at around £66 per month and is only currently available to around a million homes in the UK. They are hoping to quickly expand the availability in the next couple of years. If Ultrafast is not available then their Superfast packages are the next best alternative, which mostly deliver Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), but will still deliver impressive download speeds and latency.

Virgin Media offer their own VIVID packages which also deliver FTTH in some cases, again around a million homes. Depending on where you live the VIVID pacakages may be FTTH or FTTC; a map of the intended roll out areas of the FTTH packages is in this article, but availability will continue to grow in the next few years. Either way their VIVID packages can deliver impressive download speeds of up to 350 mbps with 20 mbps upload, and fibre optic packages that run at least to the cabinet are available almost nationwide now.

Gigaclear also offer full FTTH packages from 50 mbps right up to 900 mbps download speeds, but their packages and installation are quite expensive and again availability is limited. They currently serve the following rural areas: Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon , Somerset , Essex, Gloucester, Hertfordshire, Herefordshire , Kent, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, West Berkshire. If you live in one of these areas there is no harm in checking them out.

UK Fibre to the Home Providers – Quick Summary

ProviderPackage 1 (DL/UL Speeds - mbps)Package 2Package 3Prices per Month (Initial Term)Upfront CostsArea Served
Hyperoptic30/1150/1501000/1000£19 - £48 (12 months)£240See below*
Gigaclear50/50200/200900/900£41.30 - £76.60 (15 months)£229See here*
Community Fibre40/40200/200920/920£20 - £50 (12 months)FreeLondon - Westminister, Wandsworth, Camden
Vision Fibre Media50/50100/1001000/1000From £35 (12 months)FreeLondon
Pure Fibre5/1*100/100500/500£15 - £60 (Monthly)Free*London - Greenwich Peninsula
B4NR1000/1000--£30 (Monthly)£150Rural Lancashire - see map
Cambridge Fibre500/10900/20900/40£32 - £48 UnknownCambridgeshire
Trooli300/100500/2001000/300£50 - £80 (18 months)£80Kent - see map

* Hyperoptic available in – Greater London, Basildon, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Preston, Reading, Reigate, Sheffield, Slough, Southamption, Southend-on-Sea, Warrington, Watford, Woking. Coverage is growing rapidly across the UK

* Gigaclear available in – Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon , Somerset , Essex, Gloucester, Hertfordshire, Herefordshire , Kent, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, West Berkshire

Summary

In this article we have gone through a couple more options for reducing lag for the PS4 for online gaming to supplement our first article on the subject. We have explored Quality of Service settings as being an excellent method of reducing ping by prioritising gaming traffic on your router so it is processed first.

We have also broken down the claims that changing DNS and MTU settings on your console to reduce lag. Whilst there are some people that still swear by this a method of reducing latency, we are not convinced as the more thorough tests on this appear to show that these settings do not make a difference to lag.

In some cases changing your DNS settings may give you better download and upload speeds on your PS4, which will help you to download games and patches faster and stream more easily, but there is no real definite evidence it can reduce lag. Changing MTU settings doesn’t appear to improve either download speeds or latency when it is thoroughly tested.

Finally we looked at ISPs as they are the last resort if all other methods are not working in reducing lag for online gaming. If your ISP is not delivering a good enough service to game without lag then consider changing provider as there is no reason why they should not be able to with the prevalence of modern fibre optic cables.

Also if you are lucky enough to live in the currently limited parts of the country that have access to Fibre to the Home (FTTH) internet then that is definitely a good option for online gamers as it will reduce your latency to an absolute minimum, often single digits milliseconds ping which is superb for gaming.

Availability of FTTH packages is limited but slowly growing and as these package become more available then online gamers serious about reducing their lag should consider going for one of them as they deliver traffic in the fastest way possible all the way to their house.

See also:

See also our Gamers Section for links to accessories and some of the latest releases.

Oliver

Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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