I've seen the term used in many online games. What does it mean? Also, is higher or lower ping better?


Ping is the amount of milliseconds it takes a packet of information to reach the server from you and back. Basically it's a measurement of connection speed, and it influences lag quite a lot.

According to pingtest.net:

[Ping] tells how long it takes a "packet" of data to travel from your computer to a server on the Internet and back. Whenever you experience delayed responses in Internet applications - this would be due to a higher than desired ping. Similar to packet loss, lower is better when it comes to ping. A result below 100 ms should be expected from any decent broadband connection.

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    It comes from the sonar ping that submarines use to find other vessels in the ocean – txwikinger Jul 15 '10 at 2:21
  • Basically, you care about ping because it is twice the amount of time your action take to reach the server... approximately. – badp Jul 15 '10 at 7:16
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    A ping is the time taken by a round trip so yes, twice. You should probably edit your answer because technically your statement is not correct. – JamesRyan Jul 15 '10 at 10:03
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    Also, ping is not connection speed. It is rather connection latency. Sure you could get a 100bit/s connection that can have a ping of 1ms, but it won't be of much use if to transfer all the data needed for a single "action" takes 100kbytes. Both latency and actual bandwidth is important in determining how good a connection actually is. – Earlz Jan 27 '11 at 3:18
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    @Earlz That's correct, however in practice few people suffer from not having enough bandwidth, it's latency that's often lacking. For a game once you have "enough" bandwidth, any additional doesn't help, but better latency almost always helps (up until the point where the human eye is unable to discern anyway) Also most games have some sort of predictive client that helps mitigate latency somewhat, but it's not perfect. (Yeah, I realize this is a necrocomment :p) – Davy8 Mar 13 '11 at 2:38

Ping is the measure of latency (lag) from your computer to the server and back to your computer. A ping is sent to a server (which contains a packet of information 32 bits long, those are a combination of 32 0's and 1's) and then the server sends that back.

pings with packet loss and averages

The time taken for the information to get from your computer, to the server and back to your computer is the amount of latency that you have. Lower ping is better than higher ping because it means that you will send information and receive the server's response back quicker. If you have a high ping (>500ms) it means that it is taking over half a second to get to the server and back. This means you will notice that there are jitters and jumps and a term called "rubber banding" during online gameplay.

A high ping (or latency) can therefore influence the outcome of an online game.

It's worth noting that there are many things that can influence your ping and that is:

  • Distance from server. For example, if you live in the US and you try to connect to a server in the EU then the ping will be higher than if you tried to connect to a US server close to you (this is taking into account that both the EU/US is evenly matched in terms of speed, etc).

  • Your internet connection. For example, if you have a 56k modem the ping will take longer to come back to you than if you have a decent broadband connection.

  • The amount of hops. This is, the route and servers the ping has to take to reach the destination and back. The further away from you in the World it is the more hops you have to go through.

Some other things to consider when looking at ping:

  • How many of the pings actually made it to the target site? If the pings don't reliably arrive, there might be packet loss due to an unreliable internet connection between your computer and the destination. This unreliability could be at any point in the internet connection, so the next step is to do a traceroute and see where the problems occur.

  • What is the average and standard deviation of the pings? If the ping is a low 20ms, but has wildly variable results of over 100ms, that can be much worse than a constant 80ms ping to the target site.

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Ping is a measure of how is your connection to the server (in a multiplayer online game).

Obviously a low value is better and you should prefer that server, a high ping may even get you kicked (it wouldn't be possible to play anyway as you'd see things that already happened for everybody else, making it hard to, for example, hit an enemy that's no longer where you see him).

See this wikipedia article

In multiplayer online video games, ping refers to the network latency between a player's computer (client), and either the game server or another client (i.e. peer). This could be reported quantitatively as an average time in milliseconds, or qualitatively as low ping or high ping. The latter usage is common among players of first-person shooter and real-time strategy games. Having a low ping is always desirable because lower latency provides smoother gameplay by allowing faster updates of game data.

Ping is often conflated with lag. One may "lag out" due to unacceptably high ping. Servers will often disconnect a client if the ping is too high and it poses a detriment to others' gameplay. Similarly, client software will often mandate disconnection if the ping is too high. A high ping does not cause lag; rather, a high ping value is the result of lag. Rather than using the traditional ICMP echo request and reply packets to determine ping times, game programmers often instead build their own latency detection into existing game packets (usually based on the UDP protocol).

Some factors that might affect ping include: network protocol engineering, Internet connection speed, the quality of a user's Internet service provider and the configuration of firewalls. Ping is also affected by geographical location. For instance, if someone is in India, playing on a server located in the United States, the distance between the two is greater than it would be for players located within the US, and therefore it takes longer for data to be transmitted. However, the amount of packet-switching and network hardware in between the two computers is often more significant. For instance, wireless network interface cards must modulate digital signals into radio signals, which is often more costly than the time it takes an electrical signal to traverse a typical span of cable.

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Ping represents "latency" between your PC and the server; i.e. how many milliseconds will pass between you clicking the mouse (or something), the server receiving the instruction, and your PC then receiving the result.

A lower ping is generally more desirable, but note that a higher ping is only really an issue for time-critical instructions, such as for fast-twitch FPS-type games. The maximum practical ping in this case is around 300ms (or about a third of a second). Any higher, and you will appear to "stutter" to the other players (and you will see them doing the same thing). Many FPS game servers are set to disconnect high-ping players automatically.

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Short answer is: Time that i takes to send event to server and get response, the lower the better.

A bit longer answer is: The other term is also latency - connection speed has two parts badnwidth (amount of data you can transfer within given period of time) and latency (time for given amount of data to travel). Ping is latency of small amount of data. Unit of latency is time - specificly milliseconds.

In fact latency is corret term for what ping is now used. Ping is small program on all platforms (Win/linux/mac) that lets you messure latency over TCP/IP network. It uses specificly ICMP protocol, and is originaly used to test connection. It sends small amount of data and waits for response. result of pingis the time that was taken to send and receive data.

Your game doesn't use ping [program], it messures latency in it's way. (for example it sends your movement and waits for response) - you need to have latency less than 120ms to be able to play FPS. The lower the better. In game the lower latency/ping the faster the response is.

In comparsion if you are downloading a large chunk of data, you don't care for the latency, you only care for bandwidth.

The term ping comes from echolocation - if you have ever seen a movie wth submarines yoou should know how echolocation works - you make low sound like 'ping' and listen for echo of it.

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Ping calculates the round-trip time of the data packet's route from its source to the destination and back, and determines whether any packets were lost during the trip. Lower ping time is better.

If you have a high ping time, your interenet speed is low. So you can't play any game on the internet. You can check whether your ping is high or not using Who is XY.com. I hope it will be helpful for you.

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