From Academic Kids

Other meanings: Insulation method. An Old lag is also a slang term for a long-term jail inmate. A computer networking acronym for link aggregate group.

Lag often refers to delays experienced in computing communications, however it may also apply to written or other forms of communication.

Within computing, Lag refers to the time taken for a packet of data to travel between the local computer, the destination and back again. (see: Ping)

Whilst in the strictest sense every packet experiences latency, the term lag is implied to refer to noticeable delays to the user caused as a result of extended or unexpected delay. As the time taken for a packet to travel between a server in Italy and a client in Spain is likely to differ from a trip from Italy to Australia, it is possible that two users may experience different lags from the same source.


Causes of delay

Lag may be traced to two main causes:

  • Poor networking

The packets are either interrupted along their path by faulty routers, the network cannot handle the number of packets sent/required (see: bandwidth) or the packets pass through an unusually large number of routers before reaching their destination.

  • Inefficient or excessive processing

Lag may be experienced where the user submits an unusual request which is not yet cached, or where the reply requires a large amount of processing before it can be sent. This effects multiplayer gaming if the local user has insufficient processing power to keep up with the game.

The delay need not be related simply to geographical distances. The bandwidth of an area which the packets would normally pass through quickly may be disrupted during working hours (for example), thus the packet would need to 'queue' at each router before being sent onwards. A suitable analogy would be the effects of rush hour on everyday road traffic.


Lag, from "lag behind", is a slang term for slow Internet speeds or Internet latency; Lag is sometimes due to a server problem, but more frequently due to the connection between client and server. A slow or intermittent connection may often be referred to as laggy.

Lag Slang

A lagger or laggot (occasionally, High Ping Bastard or HPB) is someone who uses a relatively slow 56 kbit/s modem to connect to the Internet, then joins a multiplayer online game (usually a first-person shooter) and who therefore has a high ping time. In synchronous games, where all clients must know the exact game state, a single "lagger" will slow down the game for everyone, since the server has to wait for the client to get every communication packet. However, many online games use an asynchronous communication model, allowing the clients to continue even if they drop occasional packets. A high-pinger who does not inhibit the overall performance, just his own, is sometimes known as a High Ping Bait.

Low Ping Bastard or LPB is a phrase that originated during the time when Quake was a highly popular multiplayer online first-person shooter. The term came into common usage when broadband Internet connections first came into the reach of home users and were competing with people limited to a 56 kbit/s or slower modem connection. This term was so widely used because of the havoc wreaked upon the other users of these servers by the LPBs due to their overwhelming advantage in reaction time afforded by their connection.

A 56ker or 56k demon is a slang term for a person using a 56 kilobit modem connection. These connections are considered to be slow compared to modern broadband connections and generally result in lewd complaints from other higher bandwidth participants in the game or channel.

See also

  • Bandwidth - Measure of a connection's maximum speed
  • Ping - Tool for determining latency with regard to another system
  • Avalon - Movie by Mamoru Oshii, in which large parts of the portrayed society play an immense online virtual reality game, features lag as a phenomenon to which players react with bodily symptoms (convulsions, nausea).

de:Lag es:Lag pt:Lag


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