Checking and monitoring the network and/or server...
When you are in a Halo game your PC is sending updates to the Halo server and the Halo server is sending updates to you. These are sent as data packets over the Internet (using UDP). Each packet travels over many network segments and through many routers (hops).
The Ping time is the time it takes for a packet to get from your PC to the server and back to you. An overload or error anywhere along the way can cause a data packet to get delayed or dropped.
There are tools that can help you monitor your ping times and packet loss. I recommend HLSW
You can download HLSW here: HLSW site
(get the latest version)
HSLW will encourage you to sign up for an ID but you don't need to unless you want to use it as chat software. For our purposes you can use it "Offline
" with no ID.
After you've installed it you'll see an HLSW icon in your Programs list:
Click on the "HLSW Trace Route
" icon. Depending on your version of Windows you may get prompted to allow the program to make changes... say Yes (it uses low-level routines to send packets).
Type in the IP address or name of the server you will be playing in or want to check (eg. pc1.poqclan.com) and click Start. You should see a list of hops and a graph after each hop, like this:
The area that is circled in that graph is an example of some delayed packets. As we can see from the graphs, the delay didn't start at the last hop (the server), it actually started much earlier on the Internet connection. I'll go into more details on how to read these graphs in another post.
If you suspect a network or server problem is causing your lag, I recommend that while you play you leave this program minimized to monitor the server you're playing in. Then if you experience lag in the game, check the graph at the time of the lag to see if there are any red blips in the bottom graph.