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Optimizing Connections: Improving Latency and Packet Loss

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This is a sub-page of the Network Troubleshooting Guide. To return to the start of the Guide, please click the above image or click here.

Optimizing Connections: Improving Latency and Packet Loss


Interruptions to a player's network connection may cause their gameplay experience to be impacted, and may cause a loss of connection to Destiny. For the best possible experience, players should configure their network to allow the optimal connection to Destiny. For more information on troubleshooting lag, latency, and packet loss, please see below.


Table of Contents


Lag: Common Symptoms and Causes

Lag is a noticeable delay between the action of players and the reaction of the server.
  • A common example of lag is when a player fires their weapon, but it takes a few seconds before the enemy receives damage.
  • Another common example of lag is when a player or enemy frequently stutters or “rubber-bands” while moving around.

The most common sources of lag and frequent disconnects are high latency and packet loss. Both can cause a poor experience but are very different in their root causes.
  • High latency is when information takes a very long time to go from a player's console to its destination (or vice versa), leading to a delay between when an action is taken and when that action is registered by other players. Note that latency is different from ping time. Ping measures round-trip time to a single destination while latency measures the overall delay between when data is sent and when it is received at different destinations.
  • Packet loss is when information is lost on the way from its source to its destination. Sometimes this information will be re-sent after a delay, while other times it will just be discarded as new information comes in.

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Troubleshooting High Latency

Latency can be caused by a number of different issues anywhere between a player's console, Bungie’s servers, or other players in Destiny. Latency is an increase in the amount of time it takes data to get from one location to another. Please see below for a few of the most common causes of high latency.

Network Congestion:

Whether it’s a player's home network, their ISP’s regional network, or even the major internet backbones, if network traffic is trying to go through an overloaded piece of hardware it may cause noticeable slow-downs.
  • To improve performance on a home network, players should remove other devices from their network, stop downloads, or otherwise reduce the workload on their router.
  • For performance issues at the ISP level and beyond, players should contact their service provider.

WiFi Network:

WiFi introduces much more latency than using an ethernet cable.
  • Players encountering high latency while playing on a WiFi connection may want to try switching to a wired connection to improve performance.
  • Switching to a wired connection is an important first troubleshooting step that can rule out WiFI strength or stability as a cause for the latency.
  • Players that cannot switch to a wired connection, may want to read through the Network Setup: Wifi v. Wired Connections portion of this guide for suggestions on how to improve wireless connections.

Physical Geographic Distance:

If a player is geographically far away from the people they are playing with, it can take a long time for data to get there and back.
  • Players that are playing outside of their geographic region’s “prime-time” may find themselves matched with players that live very far away.

Old Network Hardware/Firmware:

Device manufacturers frequently release updates to improve performance.
  • Older networking hardware may not support new network technology.
  • Players may want to check for updates to their router and modem.
  • Players may also want to consider upgrading older hardware.
  • For more information on this topic, please see the Common Hardware Issues portion of this guide.

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Troubleshooting Packet Loss

Packet loss usually indicates faulty hardware or a damaged/weak connection. There are, however, a few cases where packet loss can occur due to poor network design. Please see below for some of the most common causes of packet loss.


Modem Signal Level:

Modems require a signal that’s not too high or too low in order to function properly and each type of modem has a different optimal signal range.
  • If the signal from a player's Internet Service Provider falls outside this range, they may experience disconnects or other performance problems that seem to occur randomly, due to small amounts of unreadable data.
  • To troubleshoot this issue, players may want to try contacting their ISP to request that they check the signal levels while playing Destiny.
  • When checking signal levels, players should make sure they are actively playing Destiny or trying to login so that their ISP gets an accurate assessment of their signal levels while Destiny is running.

Damaged Hardware:

If any of the network hardware between a player's console, Bungie’s servers, or other players is damaged it can introduce packet loss.
  • This damage may not always be readily apparent or visible without advanced troubleshooting analysis.
  • To troubleshoot this issue, players may want to try bypassing or replacing network devices in their home.
  • They may also want to contact their ISP to ask about issues with infrastructure hardware in their neighborhood.

Network Congestion:

Sometimes when a network is being over-used, some packets will be dropped completely in order to prevent a catastrophic failure on the network.
  • This can occur on a player's home network or on public internet infrastructure.
  • To improve performance on a player's home network, remove other devices from the network, stop downloads, or otherwise reduce the workload on the router

WiFi Network:

Interference from other wireless networks, other WiFi devices, and household appliances can briefly interrupt the wireless connection between a player's console and router.
  • Wireless networks will have minor fluctuations in signal strength naturally, so if a player is running near the limits of their WiFi, they may experience regular packet loss.
  • To troubleshoot this issue, players may want to try switching to a wired connection to improve performance.
  • Switching to a wired connection is an important first troubleshooting step that can rule out WiFI strength or stability as a cause for the packet loss.
  • Players that cannot switch to a wired connection, may want to read through the Network Setup: Wifi v. Wired Connections portion of this guide for suggestions on how to improve wireless connections.

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Network Troubleshooting Guide Directory


This is a sub-page of the Network Troubleshooting Guide which is designed to help players through the recommended steps for troubleshooting network connectivity issues that may be impacting their ability to play Destiny. Please click the appropriate button below to return to the start of the guide or to read through the other pages.
Error Codes Network Setup Common Hardware Issues
Optimizing Connections Advanced Troubleshooting Return to Start

If none of these steps solved your problem, you may return to the help page to seek other answers.

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