Fighting the Lag Monster

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the Lag Monster

Fighting the Lag Monster, by Senior Counselor Mindtrip and Counselor Jondolar; edited by Xena Dragon

Fighting the Lag Monster

As all online gamers are aware, Internet lag can ruin an otherwise perfectly good gaming experience. However, what most players are unaware is that there are lots of things that can be done to fine tune your system for better Internet play. In most of our calls as counselors, we invariably find that the Internet does not cause the lag but rather the user’s settings are not configured correctly.

The purpose of this essay is to provide steps that players can perform to check their system for proper setup for Internet play. These advanced methods have provided great results for successful relatively lag-free experiences in nearly every kind of online game out on the market. Please understand though, that even on your best day, the unpredictability of downed routers, broken fiber optic lines, and a variety of other Internet issues will always be around.

With that in mind, lets look at what can be done to get you playing with less lag:

Analog Modem and Port Settings

Here you will find the proper settings for analog modems as well as the proper port speed settings for optimum performance.

While I believe the following will help a great many people who suffer the wrath of lag, please keep in mind that if you have not updated your modem driver in the last six months you should do so in addition to checking and/or changing the settings below. Follow the simple steps listed below carefully to configure your system for optimal online performance. Please keep in mind that there is a small risk associated with changing these settings and that you and you alone assume all risk in changing these settings. I recommend writing down all of your current settings so that should a problem arise you can easily revert to your old settings.

Modem Settings


  • Click your start button and choose ‘Settings’ and then ‘Control Panel’.
  • Double click the ‘System’ icon and choose the ‘Device Manager’ tab.
  • Click the small plus sign (+) beside ‘Modem’.
  • Single click the modem shown. There is usually only one in the list.
  • Click the ‘Properties’ button at the bottom left corner of that screen. A new window will open.
  • Now click the ‘Modem’ tab at the top of the new window.
  • There is a small input window there labeled ‘Maximum speed’. The speed for a 56k modem should be set to 115200, 33.6k modems should be set to 57600 and 28k modems should be set to 38400. Do NOT click the ‘Connect only at this speed’ button at the bottom of the window. Doing so will keep you from being able to connect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • There is no need to reboot after changing the modem setting however, if you intend to change your Port settings at the same time you will need to reboot after doing so.Port Settings
  • Click your start button and choose ‘Settings’ and then ‘Control Panel’.
  • Double click the ‘System’ icon and choose the ‘Device Manager’ tab.
  • Click the small plus sign (+) beside ‘Ports’.
  • Single click the ‘Communications Port’ that your modem is on so that it is highlighted blue and then click the ‘Properties’ button on the bottom left corner of that window. Be aware that some computers will have more than one Com port listed. Set the one that your modem is on (if you know which one it is) or, you can set all to the same speed without any risk of damage.
  • Click the ‘Port Settings’ tab on the new window that will open. There is a small input window on that screen labeled ‘Bits Per Second’. A 56k modem should be set at 115200bps. 33.6k modems should be set to 57600bps. 28.8k modems should be set to 38400bps. Systems with cable modems should be set to 921600bps.
  • Click the ‘OK’ button and then close all windows and reboot your system.The link below leads to a super free program from High Mountain Software called iSpeed. It will adjust your Max Transmission Unit (MTU/IPMTU) speed, your Calculated RWIN (Receive Window) Value, your Maximum Segment Size (MSS) value and your NDI Cache size to the optimal settings for your particular configuration. This program is freeware.Get iSpeed at
    Click on the Downloads link on the left and download the Freeware version, bottom right of the downloads page. 

    ** Note to WinModem users**

    Most of the folks who buy pre-made computers such as Compaq, Packard Bell and the like will find that they cannot adjust their port speed settings as described above. The program iSpeed will still be a huge help to you.

    Senior Counselor Mindtrip, Chesapeake Shard

    Counselor Jondolar, Chesapeake Shard

  • Last modified: October 20, 2011

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