How to Fix Lag and Improve Internet Speeds for Xbox One

XboxDIY will help you properly diagnose and fix your internet connection to reduce lag and provide a better online gaming experience while using your Xbox One (or any other gaming device).
Written By: Colin @XboxDIY
Published: January 17, 2017
Updated: January 9, 2024
How to Fix Lag Improve Internet Speeds Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Featured
Home 9 Troubleshooting 9 How to Fix Lag and Improve Internet Speeds for Xbox One

If you’ve been playing on Xbox Live (now known as you’ve Xbox Game Pass Core) there’s probably been a time where you’ve experienced poor connections during gameplay and wondered how to fix lag and improve internet speeds.

Our first reaction? Blame the ISP (Internet Service Provider).

After all, companies like Spectrum and Comcast are easy scapegoats

But what if you could diagnose and stop internet lag by fixing it yourself?

In this lengthy, yet in-depth article, XboxDIY will help you properly diagnose and fix your internet connection to reduce lag and provide a better online gaming experience while using your Xbox One (or any other gaming device).

In this Article:

**Before starting with this article, it’s important to also view our other guides on different types of slow connection speeds or lag you may be experiencing:

How to Diagnose and Fix Internet Lag on Xbox One

When solving any type of technical problem, there are a series of questions you must ask yourself to get to the root of the problem.

Typically, you review the items that you can control first and then move on to the more complicated and less controllable items. Doing so in a systematic approach will help you pinpoint the issue you’re experiencing and what you need to fix.

How to Reduce Lag on Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Problem Solving Matrix for Diagnosing Internet Connection or Xbox Live Issues

In this case, it’s the problem of internet lag or a slow connection that impacts your gaming experience. Let’s take a look at the first item you can fix to stop lag while playing your favorite games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.

Step 1: Check Your Internet Plan

The number one reason you may be experiencing lag, high latency, or a slow connection while gaming on Xbox One could be related to your internet package.

Truth is, if you’re not paying for a high-speed internet connection, there’s nothing hardware can do to fix it.

While a majority of gamers have access to broadband internet (and even more with access to fiber now), if you live on an island or a remote location it’s possible you may be out of luck.

How to Reduce Lag on Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Internet Service Providers ISP Internet Speeds for Xbox Online Gaming

Even the most basic broadband internet packages offer speeds of at least 5 megabits/second (not to be confused with megabytes), which is all that is required by Microsoft and other console retailers to access their online gaming services.

But even though this is the minimum requirement, typically this means you’ll get the minimum experience, which ends up being a lot less desirable than expected.

In 2020, there are broadband internet plans ranging from 5mbps up to fiber connections @ 1gbps (yes, that’s a gigabit). The first plan may run you just a few dollars per month, with the latter running you up to $250/month (click to compare providers in your area).

Like anything else, you get what you pay for.

After researching and experiencing different internet connection speeds, there’s a happy medium that does exist somewhere in between paying too little and paying too much.

Below is a graphic that shows the scale of what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to the speed of internet connections (in mbps [megabits per second]).

How to Reduce Lag on Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Internet Speed Scale for Xbox Online Gaming

Step 2: Buy Your Own Cable Modem

Another big reason why you may be experiencing internet lag or a slow connection while gaming is your cable modem.

The cable modem is your gateway to the internet. It’s where your connection comes in through a coaxial cable outlet and is either passed to your wireless router or is broadcasted through wireless technology that is built into your cable modem.

Most people are using a leased or borrowed modem that is provided to them by their ISP (Internet Service Provider). The problem with these modems is numerous. Typically, these modems are refurbished and have been used for many years by many people. This takes a toll on the parts and reduces the efficiency at which your modem can perform.

On top of that, these modems are also usually at the very low end of the requirement spectrum and are meant only for basic internet and web browsing. Gamers usually aren’t considered when ISPs roll this hardware out to the masses.

Last but not least, ISPs usually have these modems locked down so you can’t make any changes to the settings unless you specifically ask permission.

So, what can you do to reduce lag?  Buy your own modem.

Not only will buying your own modem free you from the monthly fee charged by ISPs for their old and washed-up technology, but it will give you the freedom to experiment with settings that work best for you depending on your situation.

Buying your own modem is pretty straightforward, but there are some key specifications that you need to look out for to make sure you’re buying the right modem to reduce lag for gaming:

How to Reduce Lag on Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Buy Your Own Modem

Tips for buying a cable modem:

  • Stick to a brand name. ARRISNETGEARLinksys, or Motorola, to name a few. Be careful of cheap hardware that will be impossible to replace, and could contain malware or spyware.
  • Faster connection? You’ll need a faster modem. Make sure the modem you’re buying supports the internet speeds from your provider. Most newer modems support at least ~150mbps connections, which is more than enough. However, if you buy a cheap or older modem, it may not support those speeds.
  • Make sure it has 8 channel download with 4 channel upload. This is the newest (affordable) technology and will help future-proof your modem so you can use it for years to come.
  • Buy a cable modem without wireless technology built-in. Typically the wireless technology in these modems is basic and won’t suit your needs for gaming, or allow for expansion of wired connections.

*If you have fiber internet, your ISP will typically install a modem at some location in your house. You may not have much control over this modem, but it’s important to know where it is and also look at upgrading or updating the wireless router that connects to it.

Step 3 – Buy Your Own or Update Your Wireless Router

How to Reduce Lag on Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X - Buy Your Own Router for Xbox Online Gaming

For the love of all things holy, please make sure you have a dedicated wireless router. Some cable modems come with a built-in wireless router, but like 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner, we all know it just doesn’t work that well.

Having the right wireless router will help you harness the proper speeds from your internet plan while expanding your ability to connect to the internet wirelessly or via an ethernet cord for nearby devices.

While looking for a cable modem is pretty straightforward, trying to find a wireless router that fits your needs, and budget can be a bit challenging.

Make sure you pay attention to the following items when purchasing a wireless router for gaming:

Tips for buying a wireless router:

  • Buy a Dual-Band Wireless Router. A 2.4 GHz power band will let you connect from further away, although at a slower speed. A 5ghz power band will allow faster speeds, but limit the effective range of the wireless connection. Having both bands will allow you the greatest flexibility when setting up your connection.
  • Use the Latest Wireless Standard. In this case, it’s 802.11AC, which supports gigabit speeds over wireless.
  • Stick to a Brand Name. Linksys, NETGEARASUS, and D-Link all offer a wide range of products depending on your needs and budget. These companies will also back their products with solid warranties should something go wrong.
  • Make Sure It’s Secure. Security is no longer a joking matter. Make sure your router has the security features to fit your needs (including dedicated VPN support, if necessary)

Related: The Difference Between 2.4ghz and 5ghz Wireless, and Which One You Should Use for Your Xbox

Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Wireless Internet (WiFi):

  • If you can, avoid using wireless altogether.  Plug your Xbox or Playstation directly into the router whenever possible. Wired connections are far superior and you won’t have to deal with any of the factors like wireless speeds, concrete walls, or interference from other wireless devices.
  • Change Your Wireless Broadcasting Channel. Wireless routers broadcast on a range of channels (typically between 1 and 12). If you’re router is running slow, change your wi-fi router channel to optimize your wireless signal and reduce lag. This could be the difference between having a great gaming experience, or a poor, laggy one.
  • Limit the Number of Active Devices Using Your Wireless Connection. It sounds simple, but today’s devices are always connected, and always using your bandwidth. Make sure you limit the number of devices actively connected to your router by turning them off or turning off background data/internet connections. Yes, cell phones and tablets count too.
    • The general rule is a 20mb/s connection will handle 2-4 devices, whereas 100mb/s connection (with the proper hardware) can handle 10 or more devices.

Related: How to Speed Up Slow Download Speeds on Xbox One

Step 4: Your Network Infrastructure Could Be to Blame

Hopefully, you’ve figured out a way to reduce lag for gaming by this point in the article. But if you haven’t, taking a good look at the infrastructure surrounding your connection could help solve your problems.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a brand new building or brand new fiber-optic line going directly into their house. The fact of the matter is that America (and other countries) are getting older faster than we are able to keep everything up to date.

There are a few areas of concern you should look into if all of the above suggestions haven’t helped:

Check Your Cable Outlets

This is where things get a little bit complicated, but knowing the proper ranges of Downstream Power, Upstream Power, and Signal/Noise Ratios can save you hours of headache while trying to reduce lag or fix your slow internet connection for gaming.

Although you can test these things yourself using a signal tester, there won’t be much you can do about it without having your cable guy/girl handy. Give them a call and make sure that they don’t leave until you have an answer that matches up with the information below.

Downstream Power

This is the measure of the signal level received by the cable modem. Although levels of -15dB to +15dB are supported, you’ll want this to be between +8dB and -8dB.

Upstream Power

This is the strength of the signal transmitted by the cable modem. Ideally, this should be between 42dB and 50dB. Anything higher will cause your modem to reset, and anything lower will start causing problems with packet loss or latency.

Signal/Noise Ratio

This is a measure of how clear the signal is. Anything over 30dB is best, but anything under 25mB will cause issues like lag, slower connection speeds, or dropped connections.

Make sure there are no unnecessary splitters on your line, either coming directly from your cable outlet or in between the telephone pole and your cable outlet. These can severely degrade power to your modem which in turn will cause internet lag and a slow connection for gaming.

Check Your Node

If all else fails, there is the rare possibility that your internet node is overloaded. This means too many connections have been made to the telephone pole. You can identify this as poor connection speeds, lag, or packet loss during peak hours of the day (such as 8am, or from 6-10pm).

Make sure you follow all of the above guidelines before coming to this conclusion, as the only way to fix this is to either have your cable company out to upgrade the node or move. It’s possible in heavily populated areas or old, out of date buildings.

Did You Reduce Your Lag and Fix Your Internet Connection for Gaming?

Like anything else, there are numerous factors in play that could be causing lag or a slow internet connection, so remember to consider everything when trying to reduce lag for gaming.

Did you find this article helpful? Are there any other tips and tricks that you would recommend to other gamers trying to fix this same problem? Drop us a comment below or head over to our Contact page to send us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Following XboxDIY’s guidelines and recommendations for how to reduce lag and fix your slow internet connection for Xbox One gaming should help you resolve a majority of your problems. It’s not always going to be straightforward, but the guide we have put together will help get you moving in the right direction. will keep this article up to date with any new technology, strategies, or tips for how to reduce lag for gaming. Happy gaming!

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