I have been getting a ton of lag for the past 10 games and it is getting very annoying. so is there any known way of lowering it? is it my connection or the MW3 servers?

  • did you try resetting your console/computer? Nov 15, 2011 at 15:56
  • I have had a terrible time with Black Ops and MW3. I play with the same group of guys since Halo 3. We were competitive in Halo 3, Reach, and MW2. Enter Black Ops and my game has tanked. MW3 is even worse than Black Ops. I have changed out my entire home network, everything is brand new including the XBOX. Playing alone the experience is ok and I really enjoy the game. Playing in a party results in constantly being 1 step behind the game. Playing is futile.
    – user18358
    Jan 15, 2012 at 16:50

4 Answers 4


You only connect to the servers to find games (or when you're hosting, to upload statistics, but it still shouldn't affect your game lag), so your connection to MW3 servers isn't the issue. It's all about finding good hosts. There are a couple of things you can do to help finding less laggy hosts:

  1. Make sure your NAT type is 'open'. This means you can receive incoming connections in addition to sending outgoing ones (NAT types 'moderate' or 'strict' do not allow incoming). Try this link or any of the ones you find on Google for instructions on opening up your NAT.
  2. Pay attention to the ping shown when attempting to match games. It starts out trying to match < 50ms ping games, then moves up. I usually bail out and try again in a few seconds or switch game modes if I can't find a <50ms game.
  3. Geographically closest hosts are generally the least laggy, so try to play at the same time that people around you do. Usually this will be between 5-10pm local time.
  4. Unfortunately it's harder to match games if you play in a party. More people in your party means more free slots have to be open, and there are always fewer games with lots of open player slots. Also, hosts that match well for other members of your party will not always be the best match for you. So if the lag is really getting to you go solo.
  5. Use a wired connection to your router instead of wireless. This will help eliminate packetloss on your end.
  6. Any downloads or web surfing or anything that uses the internet connection will contribute to lag on your end. Unless you have QoS set up on your router AND at your ISP endpoint, which is never the case, extra traffic will affect your perceived lag (even when your connection isn't saturated). So avoid having other computers connected to the network while you're playing.

Infinity Ward removed a lot of the lag-mitigating features from Black Ops (most notably local only host searching), instead giving "artificial lag" to hosts. However there are a few steps you can take to get a better connection.

The first method with the best results, is to set up a dedicated port-forward for the game. portforwarding.com does an excellent job at providing instructions for doing this, if a bit tedious, and can significantly improve lag for bad connections.

The easier method is to disable theatre mode recording from the options menu, as this attempts to save what is going on in-game while trying to keep up with the actual match at the same time. And removing that extra factor can free up a lot of bandwidth.

And lastly, make sure you aren't downloading anything, or using any internet heavy services at the same time as playing.


The #1 thing you can do to control lag is to limit how much other traffic is on your internet connection. Things like streaming Netflix, downloading files or games on Steam, torrents, etc will all cause very serious lag.

Other than that, you can try exiting the lobby you are in and searching for another game; it might be that you're in a lobby with players who are far away from you (latency-wise).

Some people say having your Xbox on a wireless connection to your router is worse than a wired connection; I haven't noticed this personally.

If you're not already Open NAT (ie, it is restricted or closed) you should change your router settings to fix this, see the following Xbox.com article:


You could also try switching Internet Service Providers (ISPs) although that's a more extreme measure.


The answer is no. The latency compensation is widely believed to be to blame here. Much like BlOps, your success is at the mercy of their net code. For some unfathomable reason, they abandoned the awesome MW2 net code and changed it for the worse.

Your best solution is to go play BF3 or Gears 3. Both are on dedicated servers and work amazingly well. MW3 was going to be my game of the year and then I played it and realized I can't win a battle on my own: I can shoot first, hit a guy in the back or play amazingly well and still get owned because it has absolutely nothing to do with how good I am much of the time; it was more about how the latency compensation either worked or bent me over a sandbag.

At this point, they can't overhaul the net code, they can only tweak it. This means they can maaaaaybe make it incrementally better, but it's not going to ever be fixed. BlOps never got better through at least the first 3 months until I maxed and quit. I have no faith in IW/Act to fix this, if it's fixable. The latency is the biggest reason I'm selling this game.

  • Sounds like fanboyism here. That is not the only possible explanation for lag
    – SSumner
    Nov 15, 2011 at 16:06
  • 'MW3 was going to be my game of the year...' So, I tell you MW3 was my most anticipated game and you think I'm anti-CoD? I played MW2 for a ridiculous 49 days - that make me anti-CoD? Those other two shooters work BETTER - this is a fact. They are hosted on dedicated servers. While latency compensation is not the ONLY explanation for lag, it is still greatly at fault. I played Gears 3, BF3 and MW2 (MW2 the night BEFORE MW3 released) and saw no lag issues. Did my internet connection suddenly suck for the 1st time since BlOps, via some coincidence? You're half-right: I AM a fanboy...of quality.
    – Yatrix
    Nov 15, 2011 at 16:20
  • I don't think you getting owned is the game's fault - I have never had problems with playing well and getting owned - if there's lag, it's noticeable and I either find another server or get off for awhile. Granted, I have had better experiences with BF3 but I would say they tend to put more quality into their games while CoD knows they can make tons of money so they don't put as much effort.
    – SSumner
    Nov 15, 2011 at 16:27
  • What I'm talking about above is 100% their fault. I can get 5 hit markers and then die the second the guy looks at me? I die 10' around the corner by Wanted bullets? Playing a situation perfectly shouldn't get me killed. Too often I outplay someone and lose. You even hear yourself? I should get offline for a while in hopes I can enjoy the game I paid for later? Seriously? "It's cool it's broke, I'll just try again later". Really? So if you buy a new car and it breaks down pulling out of the lot, you gonna be like "it's cool, man. Enjoy my money. I'll try it again later."?
    – Yatrix
    Nov 15, 2011 at 18:23
  • All I was saying you should wait until your connection calms down - that's what I do. Sometimes I get absolutely lit up and can't seem to win a single gun battle, but it's almost always when my connection is poor. Obviously if it really was their fault, getting off wouldn't help but if it was your connection's fault, then it would. I'm not convinced that it is their fault, but it doesn't seem to affect me so if it bothers you, then do whatever you need to.
    – SSumner
    Nov 17, 2011 at 15:36

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