What is Internet Lag? How to Stop It?


A fast broadband connection makes for greater surfing satisfaction, increased productivity, improved gaming experiences, live streaming and online video meetings. But then there is also the proverbial thorn with the rose, and its called lag or latency. Lag is known to slow down connectivity, pixelate your video calls, freeze up your video games, leading to delayed live experiences and generally lead to significantly reduced data transmission.

Internet lag basically refers to the time required for data transmission between sender and receiver. While a low level of lag is inherent in all connections, latency can suddenly become over-emphasized in some situations.

Internet lags happen due to two main reasons – distance and congestion.

Here is a look at ways to reduce lag:

  • Avoid using too many internet-enabled devices at the same time. The network may slow down as its unable to process so much data simultaneously, leading to lag. It would also help to close a few programs, if you have multiple programs running at the same time.
  • Try to avoid too many simultaneous downloads or online sessions across multiple devices at the same time as it can lead to lag. Lag is also affected by the speeds available.
  • Some applications can misbehave and hog the available CPU, leading to lag or delays in network processing for other programs. Its better to force such applications to shut down, if they aren’t responding on time.
  • Lag can also be caused by network contention in a neighborhood that’s saturated with internet traffic.
  • Similarly, too many devices linked to the same router can lead to network contention and lag, as the router gets bogged down by too many requests. Upgrade to a more powerful router to avoid this problem.
  • Sometimes viruses and malware can hijack the system, causing it to work sluggishly. Keep your anti-virus updated and run antivirus scans regularly.
  • Interestingly, you can utilize your browser cache to reduce lag in your system. If you don’t delete your cache of files, your system doesn’t need to download them each time you want to access them!
  • Sometimes a wired Ethernet connection is handier, as it ensures lower latencies and ensures a lag-free experience.

Other causes of latency include traffic load, wireless interference, lag switches, etc.