Lag is an expression used to describe impaired computer functionality often associated with network performance. In gaming, when you lag, you lose.
Ping has become a generic term to describe network performance. Low ping is good, high ping is bad…or “laggy”. But it’s helpful to understand that ping is made up of three components: Latency (Ping), Jitter, and Packet Loss.
- Latency is a measurement of the time it takes a packet (piece of data) to get from one device to another, such as from your PC to a game server, or vice-versa.
- Jitter is the fluctuation of latency over time (standard deviation); high jitter gives you unpredictable performance.
- Packet Loss is the percentage of packets that do not arrive at their destination within a certain amount of time. Some “lost” packets are really just slow, but so slow they get ignored by the game server. When packets are lost, your commands may be ignored. When packet loss is especially high, you risk the possibility of being disconnected mid-game. Not a great way to improve your rank or reputation.
For the best experience, all of these metrics should be as low as possible. Haste offers a feature called Haste Check that allows you to test your performance (Latency, Jitter, and Packet Loss) before committing to a game. See What is Haste Check?