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I've just tried to play Team Fortress 2 for the first time for quite a while, and I am afraid I am plagued with a very annoying issue.

When browsing for servers, I consistently see very good pings on the servers I previously used (~30ms). However, once I join an actual game I suddenly find myself with a ~800ms ping and everything becomes completely unplayable.

Searching the web, I suspected it might be the Multimedia Class Scheduler Service, so I turned it off. Sadly, that was no help at all, so I also tried this suggestion (to turn off TCP Auto-Tuning) to no avail.

I was once able to play TF2 just fine with my current network configuration, but with a different OS (I was on Windows XP, and recently installed Windows 7). My network card is a rather horrible Ralink Wireless card, which comes with its own configuration utility to set up network connections. Back when I was using XP, I would have similar issues unless I used the card's configuration utility instead of Windows XP's. While the configuration utility has a Windows 7 version, from reading some help files I tend to believe it hardly does anything other than provide an unnecessary coat of ugly paint over Windows 7's innate configuration.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would be grateful. In the event I break down and get another card (or punch holes in my walls for a wired connection), I'll be sure to update this with whatever effect such moves may have.

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Given your description of the card, it's hard to imagine that it's not the problem. Network cards aren't very expensive so I definitely suggest replacing it. –  Matthew Read Jan 18 '11 at 19:52
    
It sounds like you're saturating your connection when in-game, which causes massive latency. If you, say, download (or upload) a large file outside of the game, what does the server browser latency look like? –  Anon. Jan 18 '11 at 20:06
    
@Anon: While I understand why your suggestion makes sense, downloading/uploading a file will naturally eat up as much of my connection as possible, so I doubt it'll represent the actual amount of strain caused by the data transferred while in-game (which I would like to think isn't enough to clog my connection... could anyone point me to the minimum upload/download rates required by the game?) –  Aubergine Jan 19 '11 at 5:22
    
Might I just add that it's not really a good idea to start turning off Windows features at random? It's suggested often, but actually has negative effects. Things like messing with TCP Auto-Tuning, QoS and the like. The MCSS could only cause trouble if Windows Media Player was running in the background anyway. –  user56 Jan 19 '11 at 14:56
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I had a Ralink based Wireless card too and in particular with Windows 7 I had plenty of problems. High ping, disconnections, and so on.

My first suggestion is to try to connect directly to the modem with an Ethernet patch, only to verify that using this connection the ping problem is solved.

If it helps I can say that in my case I solved the problem without doing holes around, but I simply bought a couple of Netgear Powerline/Ethernet Adapters that worked perfectly.

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I was actually going to try out what you suggested but just haven't gotten around to moving my PC over to the living room and try a wired connection. I really hope to get around to that soon. –  Aubergine Jan 19 '11 at 17:24
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So it turns out the Ralink wireless card was indeed to blame. Not a hitch on a wired connection. The lesson here, boys and girls, is that Ralink + wireless + TF2 = horrible latency. –  Aubergine Jan 20 '11 at 15:44
    
I would add Ralink + Wireless + Any Multiplayer Game = latency problem. :) Try the power line, they are great. –  Drake Jan 20 '11 at 16:59
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I play TF2 on both wired and wireless.

I find that even with a good wireless connection I will get occasional patches of awful lag where I often then find myself falling off a cliff/dead when the connection goes back to normal.

Playing games over wireless is generally a bad idea as even though the amount of traffic in terms of bytes may be low the number of packets needed to play this kind of game is high. If you can do what Drake says and use a wired ethernet connection - like him I have also used Ethernet over Power adapters and they work great.

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You might be doing a few things.

1) If you are torrenting or uploading/downloading big files while playing; this will destroy your latency.

2) You might have some options not turned on or off in your registry. If you have messed with it at all, you might have nicked something.

3) You might want to try using Gamebooster to improve your gaming capabilities. The program temporarily shuts off processes that might bog down your latency and RAM/CPU.

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