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Is there a way to decrease the ping on my PS3, or is the latency as good as it will get?

In my house there are four computers and my PS3. At any given time three of those are on and connected to the Internet. Though they are not in use, could it be possible that a certain amount of the bandwidth is still allocated to them?

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If they are not in use, they don't consume bandwidth. Also, and more importantly, you mistake bandwidth/throughput and latency. These two measures don't have anything in common in packet switched networks. Your other machines could theoretically download at the highest rates while your PS3 could still maintain a relatively low ping time. –  slhck Jun 25 '11 at 16:17
    
What sorts of ping times do you see between your PS3 and your router, your PS3 and your primary DNS? Do they differ from any other computer on you network? If you answer yes, then you might be able to affect change by modifying your network, but if the times are equal, you're at your ISPs mercy. Run tracerouts/mtrs to the locations that your PS3 normally connects to and look for oddities. If you think your ISP can provide a better route for you, contact them, but for the most part you'll get dead air and a "we can't do that, sir" from them. –  MaQleod Jun 25 '11 at 16:28
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2 Answers 2

Ping refers to network latency, i.e. the time it takes for one packet to reach its destination (and back). This time inherently depends on two factors:

  • The time it takes to travel over the medium (i.e. over the air, fibre and other cables)
  • The time it takes to process the packet (in every router there is on the way, that could be quite a few)

This however has nothing to do with bandwidth (or "throughput"), i.e. the amount of data that can be pushed through in a given timespan. This depends on the following factors:

  • The physical transmission rate of the weakest member (e.g. your WiFi)
  • Additionally: Bandwidth caps by the ISP or traffic shaping
  • Lost data that needs to be sent again due to lossy channels (e.g. WiFi, 3G, etc.)

Because of that, it does not matter whether there are 5 other machines in your network or your PlayStation is the only one. It also wouldn't really matter if the other clients would download at a really high bit rate. Note that playing games does not involve so much traffic as it involves keeping latency low.


Any decent router for home usage will be capable of processing the data fast enough. So even if you were able to get the fastest router there is, you would only see a marginal benefit. This is because the ping time you experience is the accumulated ping time from your PlayStation to the game server you are playing on.

So if that game server happens to be a thousand miles away, that means your data has to eventually go through several routers, where each router inspects the packets being sent and forwards them. This takes time, and it will add up, so that in the end, you have a high ping rate.

Summarizing: If your other computers experience the same latency (ping time) as the PlayStation, there is nothing you can do. You will have to either blame your ISP for that, or the game server that is too far away.

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You can use a QoS-enabled router. QoS is Quality of Service. You can get this by putting the dd-wrt firmware on your router if you can. This lets you specify that all PS3 traffic is highest priority, keeping it fast while every other connection can only use the leftover bandwidth.

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QoS won't necessarily affect latency. Bandwidth and latency are two completely different things and QoS used in that sort of fashion will mainly only affect bandwidth out of the router, not latency anywhere else on the route. The effects you'll see will be marginal at best. –  MaQleod Jun 25 '11 at 16:21
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