Get to grips with gamer speak

It's not easy getting your head around gamer-speak - especially if you're new to gaming, haven't played in a while or are just trying to speak the same language as your kids.

No matter where you are on the gaming spectrum, the Gamer Explainer is here to help - with short vids you can dip into and digest in around 3 minutes or less.

It's fair to say that, with her impressive presence on Twitch  @HeyImNatalia knows her way around a gaming console. Even better, she knows how to explain complex concepts in a way that makes sense to everyone.

Go from beginning-to-end or jump to a specific episode:


What is a Teraflop?

Teraflops are the measurement of the raw mathematical data happening inside your GPU. Tera stands for Trillion and flops means Floating Point Operations Per Second.  Still confused? Don't worry @HeyImNatalia is about to make it super clear.

Along the way, you'll learn what a GPU is, why Teraflops matter (especially in multiplayer gameplay) and whether you need to rush out and buy more.


NATALIE: If you clicked on this video you're probably wondering -

"What on Earth is a Teraflop?

"Do they even really matter?"

"Will I become a God tier gamer because I have more of them?"

This, my friend, will all be answered in today's video. Let's jump straight into it.

So as a whole, Teraflops are the measurement - of raw mathematical data happening inside your GPU every given second. Now, let's put that in simple terms.

So essentially, Teraflops are how many different calculations your GPU inside your computer or your console can handle to render the games and images you're seeing on your screen. And to break it down even further, your GPU is your 'Graphics Processing Unit.' And this is what renders the images that you see within your games, TV shows, movies - all that kinda stuff.

It's important to have a really good GPU to handle the large amount of images that are happening at any given moment - especially in gaming. For a little bit of extra context- it's really important to know where the word 'Teraflop' has even come from.

So 'Teraflop', the word, is actually made up of two parts 'Tera' and 'Flops' 'Tera', meaning 'Trillion' and 'flops' being your actual performance metric. and the word 'flops' actually means: 'Floating Point Operations Per Second.'

Are you still with me?

But Nat, what is a 'Floating Point Operation?'

So a 'flop' or a 'Floating Point Operation' is a spontaneous calculation that your computer needs to figure out on the spot to render what you're seeing in front of you.

This is so that the information on the screen is correct at any given moment.

Online multiplayer games are an exact reason why 'flops' need to exist. Look, to put it into context, I'm going to use Fortnite as an example.

So, when you jump into a new Fortnite lobby filled with 99 other competitors - there's already new information that needs to get rendered. Your GPU needs to figure out who else is in the game, what skins they're wearing, where the Battle Bus is going, where the Llamas have dropped, where the loot is on the ground, literally all this new and random information that is not automatically known when the game is opened.

On top of this new information at the beginning of the game - it also needs to calculate all the player's movements at every given moment within the game. Their X, their Y and their Z location will be changing at all times. The amount of ammo they have, the loadout they have, the health they have, whether they're hitting their shots or not.

That all has to get calculated.

Fortnite as a game cannot predict in the game files every single little choice, movement, action, skin wearing, skins that they're going to bring into the game moving forward, they can't predict all that information.

So your PC or your console essentially has to calculate exactly what you're doing at any given moment, what everybody else around you is doing and display it on the screen accordingly.

Wait, I feel like that was a really good explanation. I'm kinda impressed.

So, hypothetically if you had a 1 Teraflop GPU - what you would get is 1 Trillion spontaneous bit calculations per second. Which is crazy! It is a pretty insane number.

So with that in mind, with a higher amount of 'Teraflops' you'd be able to have a higher amount of calculations happening in your computer at any given second.

This itself can result in faster render times and also smoother gameplay.

Now, does this mean you should go out and buy the highest amount of Teraflops you can possibly buy and what your bank account will allow you?

Uhhh, no.

Though you can approximately gauge the power of a GPU based on the amount of Teraflops it has - you'll find that your GPU does communicate with the game drivers, with other hardware, with memory, with bandwidth, all things that can impact your gameplay.

So, whether you're building a new PC, upgrading, doing anything with your gaming system - make sure you go out and do your research before buying the 'latest' and the 'greatest' and find something that works best for you and your gaming system.

Gaming subscriptions

With new games being released on the daily paired with the need to pick up as many titles as possible - Gaming Subscriptions come in clutch. 

Think about the music or video streaming services you currently pay per month, gaming subscriptions are just like that! In exchange for your regular payment - the subscription service provider will allow instant access to a large library of games plus on occasion special perks including early access to titles or demos, pretty cool right?

Xbox Game Pass is one of these gaming subscriptions that allow access to over 100+ incredible games plus they’re constantly bringing more and more gaming titles on board - did someone say that EA Play is coming soon to Xbox Game Pass? Oh right, we did. 

Our Gamer Explainer @HeyImNatalia will fill you in on all the above plus more in her video below!


NATALIE: With so many new games being released on the daily, paired with my overwhelming need to try out as many new games as possible, I run into a few problems -  where on earth am I supposed to find all these new games?

What happens if I don't really enjoy them enough to justify the cost that I spent on them?

This is where gaming subscriptions can really help a girl out. I could trial a heap of new games and categories without that same risk that comes with purchasing a game upfront and I think that's pretty cool.

Have a think about the music and video streaming platforms you currently pay for.

Gaming subscriptions are kind of like that -  in exchange for your regular payment, you'll have instant access to a large library of games which will keep you so incredibly busy.  In addition to that, some of the gaming providers do allow access to demos, early access games, and other special perks which is pretty cool.

Games that are created by the Xbox Game Studios are immediately available in the Xbox Game Pass which is pretty cool because it means you don't really have to wait around.  Another place that you do see this happen is with EA studios titles that released on the EA Play platform.

By having a gaming subscription service it completely takes out the need to; change out of your sweatpants, leave your house, go to a shop front, buy a copy of the game come home, and sit down and play it.

It is all completely accessible from home, as long as you have a good internet connection and enough storage on your pc or console, you as a subscriber will have access to the games during the entire duration of your subscription and no longer than that.

So if you did decide that one month you did not want the gaming subscription any further you would no longer be able to play your favourite game unless you resubscribed or purchased the game in its entirety - and if you do decide to buy a copy of the game you can then decide whether you do want to purchase it physically or digitally.

Xbox Game Pass is undoubtedly one of the biggest gaming subscription services on the market. When you do become an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you do get access to a library of over 100 incredible pc and console games which is pretty insane. 

There is always something to play and new titles being added every single month - so there's always something new - whether you're playing by yourself, with friends, with family.  You are able to discover and flick through the platform and find your next favourite game and hey you might actually try a new category of game and actually really like it. And if you do fall in love with the game and you decide you do want to own a digital copy forever, then you can absolutely go ahead and purchase one of those.

That's gaming subscriptions in a nutshell - it's a way to access new titles, enjoy some special perks, try games before you buy games and I get to stay home in the comfy clothes I'm in.


Frames Per Second (FPS)

When playing a video game, watching a movie or doing anything on a screen - your graphics card will be rendering out and sending a series of still images to your eyes constantly - these are known as "Frames".

When these images are viewed at speed it gives the appearance of motion or video. With that being said - frames per second (or, FPS) is the measurement of how many individual images are shown to your eyes every single second.

Your FPS can make or break your gaming experience and finding the right FPS for you and your gameplay is super important.

Let @HeyImNatalia talk you through all things FPS and you'll be an expert by the end of this video!


NATALIE: FPS is one of the most important elements of gaming, in my humble opinion.

It can make or break your gaming experience and finding the right fps for you is super super important but before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's start at the beginning.

FPS in the context that we're talking about is an abbreviation of the phrase Frames per Second, not to be confused with the gaming category First Person Shooters. Look, I don't know why they did that either -  let's just move on.

By playing a videogame watching a movie or looking at anything on a screen your graphics card is rendering out a series of still images to your eyes constantly. When these still images are viewed at speed, it does give the illusion of a moving image or video.  As we know it frames per second is a measurement of how many still images your eyes are seeing,  being rendered by the graphics card at any given second.

There are a few main tiers of FPS that include 30, 60, 120, 144, and 240 frames per second and you'll find that they all have their rightful placed within the gaming world. For example, consoles are usually capped at either 30 or 60 frames per second. It's generally the right amount of frames to pair with the hardware and software within the current consoles today and a lot of the games are actually developed with that amount of frames in mind.

Gamers today are realizing the importance of frames per second and for that reason, you are seeing more 60 frames consoles over the 30 frame consoles. The difference between playing on a 60 versus a 30 frame setup is that the 60 frames will be a lot more responsive and is generally a lot smoother than the 30 frames per second.

However, a lot of the next-gen consoles - including the Xbox series X are getting you more than that. All right, so now that we've got that out of the way, I guess it would make sense that the higher amount of frames per second we have, the better the gameplay.

Right well, in theory, yes.  However, there are actually times that lower frames per second will actually improve your gaming experience.  Let me explain.

I'm going to run through some of the benefits of higher FPS and lower FPS and you'll see what I mean.

We're going to start with higher FPS. With a higher FPS, you, first of all, will notice that your video will have a much smoother output and will feel a lot more cinematic.

For this reason, your video or game will feel a lot more immersive and you'll feel a lot more drawn in and connected. As your eyes are receiving a lot more images per second your brain is also receiving a lot more information per second this helps a lot with your reaction times and can also help you improve at the game. 

Higher FPS is incredibly important because games like first-person shooters require as much information as possible to get your reaction times up and help you win the game. It can literally be the difference between winning and losing.

Now that we've covered higher FPS, let's talk about lower FPS. Lower FPS can actually help out massively for PCs and consoles that are struggling to output that higher FPS consistently. Rather than your frames per second doing this, you'd be better off for capping it at a lower amount where it can actually consistently handle it.

By doing this you'll actually find out that you'll have a smoother gaming experience as you won't be experiencing things called frame drops which is essentially lost information or images that just never show. If you do find that you are having frame drops you will be missing information which will, in turn, mean that you will be missing shots and losing the game  - for reasons that are literally not your fault.

Another perk of capping at lower frames per second is when you are playing older games. A lot of the older games have a lot of trouble communicating with higher frames per second because they didn't have the same technology we have today. Motion capture is one of these ones that, if you try to play it on a higher frames per second, the game just looks out of whack.

It's harder to play and lower frames actually do save the day in this instance having a high amount of frames per second can actually make it more clunky which is not what you want.

Something to keep in mind, when it comes to frames per second, is that your TV or monitor will actually bottleneck the number of frames per second,. your console or PC is outputting. The hertz that your tv or monitor output directly translates to how many frames per seconds it can show. Meaning, that if you have a 60hz monitor you will only ever see 60 frames per second on that monitor regardless if your PC is pushing out 200 frames per second.

But what does this mean though? Does it really matter that my PC is pushing out 200 frames and my monitor is only doing 60?

Yes, yes it does.  Should your PC be pushing out more than the 60 frames per second your monitor is - you, my friend, will be in frame drop territory and ultimately you'll be experiencing some frustration so because your monitor is limited to the 60 frames per second it is randomly going to choose out of those 200 frames which ones to show. 

So essentially, your eyes will be receiving less than one-third of the amount of information your PC is giving you and also screen tearing can occur, which is all just a big pain.

That being said, there are technologies like V6 that do help out with the screen tearing department however, to just save yourself the headache, limit your frames.

If there is one thing you take away from this video I'd like it to be this - make sure you're using the right frames per second to make your gaming experience the best it can be.

Gaming Accessories

With the sea of gaming accessories on the market in all different colours, sizes and varieties - it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Don't fret! @HeyImNatalia is here to talk you through the basics of Controllers, Headsets & Hard Drives to arm you with a bunch of handy info to pick what's right for you and your setup.


NATALIE: When jumping into the world of gaming accessories, opportunities are endless. You've got so many new products releasing constantly - all while also promising you the best gaming experience. Plus on top of all that, they all come in different sizes, colors, and varieties that it can be so hard to know which way to turn.

I could literally be here all day talking about all the different types of gaming accessories but today we're going to be talking about controllers, headsets, and hard drives so you better buckle in.

Headphones are so incredibly important when it comes to gaming. Knowing what's on the market, and what's going to best suit you and your gaming setup, is really really imperative - you've got to make sure that you can find the best fit for you and your setup.

Now some of you out there might still be playing Call of Duty on the headphones that came with your new phone but I've got something to tell you. 

You might be thinking, well the sound is decent and I can hear pretty much what's going on, so why would I pick up a new headset?  Well, the headphones that come with your phone are built completely differently to the headsets that are made for gaming. There are differences in the types of audio and the hardware that is built is completely different and they work each to their own in terms of audio quality.

The headphones that come with your phone would be pretty decent overall great for music, great for other little bits and pieces but what you would be missing is the surround sound element that comes with a lot of the gaming headphones.

Surround sound is literally one of the most important parts of immersing yourself into a game. Trying to track enemies' footsteps with a headset that is not a gaming headset can prove to be difficult.  In addition to that, most gaming headsets do come fitted with a microphone which makes it a lot easier to communicate with your team in real-time, and on the flip side of that, a lot of the headphones that do come with your new phone won't include a mic which means you'll need to figure out another way to communicate with your team.

In this instance,  I would avoid using a carrier pigeon because they are impossible to work with (that was a joke). 

The age-old debate wired or wireless headphones. I personally have experience with using both a wired and a wireless headset and I would say that they both have their perks.  I currently play with a wireless headset and the audio quality is incredible.

With my headset, I'm able to track players really, really well with the sound but I'm also able to get up and walk around the room without tripping over a cable which is amazing.

The downside to this is that I'm constantly forgetting to charge my headset which leads to some pretty unfortunate gameplay when my sound turns off mid-game. 

And again, on the other hand, if you are using a wired headphone you'll obviously get amazing audio quality and you won't have to charge your headset but you will be leashed to your desk for the length of time that you are using them.

There are different types of headphones that come with both a wide and wireless option within the same box which is actually what I have so I can pick and choose depending on the scenario and also by having both options you're able to find which one you prefer.

Now, let's chat controllers.  We know them. We love them and they're pretty simple.

Right, they come in a box with your brand new console you turn them on and you're good to go there's not really much to be said about them, right? Wrong. 

Controllers have actually been designed in a way to give the customer the best gaming experience while also offering the ability to modify and customize them as they see fit.

Controllers aren't a one-size-fits-all situation - there are variants of different controllers made for more casual players and some that are made for more competitive players and that's because different players have different needs when it comes to gaming.

Being able to choose what you do and you do not need for your individual gameplay is something that the console world has actually discovered more and more with the rise of esports in gaming.

However, there is a more casual side of customization which is where you can change the colours of your controllers and make it match your gaming setup.

I get it,  I'm not going to judge - it all has to match.  I understand the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch all offer button remapping in terms of customization - which basically means that the gamer is able to pick and choose which button correlates to which action and find the one that best suits them. So basically, pressing the buttons will do stuff completely different from what it would have done if it had just come straight out of the box. 

This is usually more common with competitive players as they find that their reflexes and skills need to be at their A-game at all times. They're able to find what the optimized keybinds are for them and change their buttons accordingly, which is actually a really cool feature.

If you're a competitive player who calls Xbox home,  upgrading to the elite controller is something you should definitely consider - with the ability to change out your thumbsticks,  adjust the tension of them, and add backpedals for extra keybinds. 

You can adjust the trigger tension so you can make it just right - plus it has all the extra grip around the controller so, if you're in a super sweaty game, you're not going to slip and slide everywhere.  So pretty much it's a no-brainer - all these extra means of customization means you're able to find the most comfortable fit for you to get yourself those extra wins.

Another competitor on the market is the Scuf controllers which do offer customization. Similar to the Xbox Elite, they offer controllers for both Xbox and Playstation so regardless of the platform you play on there is an option there for you.

If we are comparing the Xbox Scuf controller with the Xbox Elite controller -  differences between the two are so so minimal, however, the Scuf price tag is generally higher so that is definitely something to consider.

That being said, if you are playing a Playstation, the Scuf controller definitely does hold its ground so that is definitely worth looking into if you are a Playstation player.

Last but very not least let's talk about hard drives.

Gaming collections can grow really quickly as I'm sure you all know and it is super important to make sure you have enough storage at all times on your pc and console -  to make sure everything's running smoothly.

If you do overfill the storage on your device, you will have problems with the game loading, the game running, and also saving any future progress.  How much space you will require is completely dependent on how you are saving your games - whether you're physical or digital and also how much you do play.

So yes, keeping an eye on your storage is super important, however, with the new next-gen console storage is becoming less and less of an issue. 

A lot of the next-gen consoles are coming with way more storage already built into the device so the need to expand externally is less frequent. Plugging in an external hard drive is super super easy - it allows easy expansion of your storage device but it also allows your pc and console to focus on what it was made to do, game.

While you are looking for a hard drive, it's likely you're going to come across the two terms hard disk drive and solid-state drive. The main difference is between the two of them is the mother hardware and the fact that the solid-state drive is made with newer technology - it moves away from the mechanical way of writing data and works with flash data instead.  This gives almost an instant communication between your Xbox and the drive which makes loading up a new game very very quick.

That being said, a solid-state drive is often more expensive, however, the amount you'll be using it and the convenience of it often makes it pay off.

All in all, the sea of accessories available to gamers is a lot easier to navigate than you expect but, before jumping in and buying every single new accessory on the market, have a think about your gaming setup and what improvements could be made to make yourself the best gamer you can be.

Optimise your gaming traffic

While playing your favourite online multiplayer game, a fast internet connection paired with a quick response time is so incredibly important to give you an edge over your competitors.

Should you be experiencing any lag, excess amounts of latency or dropouts - the connection between yourself and the game is disrupted and crucial information in regards to your gameplay can be lost.

In this video, @HeyImNatalia will teach you more about bettering your connection with the help of Telstra's Game Optimiser to prioritise gaming traffic on your home network!


NATALIE: While playing your favourite online multiplayer game a quick internet connection paired with fast response times is imperative to give you the edge over your competitors.

Believe it or not, just a fraction of a second difference between yourself and your competitor could mean the difference between winning or losing the round.

Should you be experiencing any lag, excess latency, or dropouts, you'll find that the connection between yourself and the game is disrupted and crucial bits of information in regards to your gameplay is lost.

It can be super frustrating,  I know but what can cause a disruption to the network?

Well, every situation is different but I'm going to talk to you today about a couple of different things you could do to help keep your connection nice and crispy.

Let's jump right into it.  Let's say hypothetically, you've got a family home with two adults and two kids.  As soon as the adults come home from work and the kids come home from school you'll find that everybody jumps onto the network.

Pretty quickly you may have the parents iPhones and Xbox a couple of laptops connected all at the same time while all doing different tasks with all of these different devices using the internet in some capacity. You will find that the network will become a little more congested.

Now your network will automatically action the signals in the order of which they appear and then have them simultaneously run with each other at varying speeds.

Let me explain. So let's just say that the mum starts uploading a huge album of family photos on Facebook and, just a moment later, the Dad starts up a zoom call for work, followed by the daughter turning on her favourite Netflix show - all while the son is logging into his favourite game. 

So now your network will be running all these different activities simultaneously which in turn will slow down the network. This is because the network becomes saturated and it starts to look a little like a traffic jam.

Let's think of every signal set by the family as a car. Now if there's a lot of signals being sent at the same time, that's gonna mean a lot of cars on the road.  It will start to look like peak hour traffic and the network will move at a slower speed.

It's important to know that, in this context, the variation of the speed of the internet is called 'jitter'. Sometimes the network can't actually handle this amount of traffic so things called 'packets' are lost.  Packets are essentially little parts of the signal.

This means that these packets have been temporarily lost and will have to attempt to be reset later, meaning that the time between the user sending the signal and the server receiving the signal becomes longer - which in turn means longer latency. This, my friends, is not good. 

You've heard of lag right?  That's what latency is. Something around the 50 milliseconds worth of lag is noticeable but still deemed playable. Whereas 30 milliseconds or below would be considered ideal conditions for first-person shooters.

Latency or lag can also occur when you're trying to connect to a server that's geographically further away.  This is regardless of how good your internet speeds are.

Doesn't matter if you have the best internet in town if you are trying to connect to a server that's further away you'll run into some more latency.

So how does one avoid jitter you ask?

It's not exactly like you can get your family to stay off the internet while you're trying to get those wins but don't worry, Telstra has found a solution that will work in this instance.

They've released something called the Telstra Game Optimiser, which can help gamers in this situation.

It essentially automatically identifies different types of traffic on the network and prioritises it accordingly. This means that everybody in the home gets a great user experience by making sure that small gaming traffic is able to be moved through the network quickly.

Gamers will no longer be able to blame other people in the network for their losses in-game.  With video stream buffering at a suitable internet tier speed you'll find that your Netflix experience will be just as good at the same time.

Let's go back to that traffic analogy so we can make this crystal clear.  In this analogy, let's think of the gamers as being motorbike riders and everybody else on the home network being in cars.

So picture this, you're standing at an overpass at the end of the day and there's some crazy bumper to bumper peak hour traffic in front of you. Things are moving pretty slow however they are moving at a steady pace with all the different cars on the road they all need to pay attention to each other and make sure everybody can move through at the same speed to keep things flowing nicely.

Again cars in this analogy are zoom users, Netflix users, and people that are doing general browsing here with me.  And now as you're watching the traffic you notice a single motorbike can move from the back of the traffic weave through nice and smoothly without affecting the other cars and continue on - and again in this instance, the motorbike is the gamer and no point in the traffic does the motorbike actually slow down the cars but it just filters through where there's space.

So essentially, getting to the destination as fast as possible without affecting anyone else -  this is what the Telstra Game Optimizer does.  It prioritizes the gaming information sent through the network without actually affecting anybody else using it because sharing is caring.

Remember another really cool feature that the Telstra Game Optimizer has is that it's got congestion control. Congestion control can help slow down greedy applications such as downloading a large file to ensure that smaller latency-sensitive applications like online gaming and Zoom don't get impacted by the home network congestion caused by this download whilst the speed of the download may decrease by 5 which is really not noticeable, both the gamer and the video caller will have an uninterrupted experience which, if it was interrupted, would be a little bit more noticeable.

All in all, optimizing your network for gaming traffic is a great way to get the best feeds possible and try to give yourself a leg up in gaming.  Take a look at your network and see what you could do to improve it and I'd also highly recommend giving the Telstra game optimizer a try

Home network tips for gaming

Did you know that the way your home network is set up could be helping or hindering you? No? 

Well, let @HeyImNatalia walk you through the different connection types you can see in your home and how they can help you boost that internet speed! 


NATALIE: When talking about networks the word bandwidth gets thrown around a lot.

There's a misconception out there that bandwidth directly translates to the speed of your internet and the responsiveness of your online gameplay which isn't entirely true.

Sure higher bandwidth does allow for faster download speeds but it doesn't guarantee it the way that your home network is set up can also help or hinder your ping.  Think about it this way - your bandwidth is the absolute maximum that your network can handle without any sort of outside interruptions or factors.

Congestion on your network and the type of internet connection can play a role so, more often than not, your internet speed will be slightly lower than the maximum your isp can offer -  your isp being your internet service provider.

Having more bandwidth does help you download video game files faster while it can also allow you to have multiple applications running on the same home network at the same time. However, having more bandwidth doesn't necessarily mean that the online responsiveness of your game will improve because that's more dependent on who else is sharing your internet.

Let's just say that you're the only one on the home network and you're playing an online multiplayer game which is a first person shooter. And let's say that this game in particular uses 1 megabit per second of your bandwidth -  the responsiveness of your gaming or your ping is not likely to improve whether or not you have a 50 megabits per second maximum bandwidth or 250 megabits per second maximum bandwidth.

However, let's just say that the whole network is completely congested in the instance of your entire family using the network at once. Then having more bandwidth will actually help reduce the amount of time that the network is spent being congested, which in turn will help the responsiveness of the gaming return faster to a state of what it would be like if it was just you on the network.

Now, there are ways to try boost your internet speed to try to get to that maximum bandwidth possible. It's not always guaranteed, but it's definitely worth a shot connecting your pc or console to the internet via ethernet cable is a great way to try boost your speeds. This is because your data can be transferred in a more direct and efficient way if you do need to play on wi-fi because your console's in a different room to your router. There are some options -  you could always set up a mesh network with wi-fi boosters but I talk about that in another video

Now, if you're having more issues with your ping than your bandwidth it might be worth considering doing the following:

Firstly, try restarting your router, you'd be surprised what the restart of some hardware can do. Basically, it forces your router to reset all the connections it currently has so hopefully if anything's gotten into a little bit of a twist it gets itself sorted. Think of it like a fresh start.

Another thing that can help is making sure that the software on your router is up to date. Something that you do find is when things are out of date and you've missed an update, things don't usually work as optimally as they could this is also really important to make sure that you are patching any security vulnerabilities

Another tip to improve your ping and to reduce the amount of lag you are experiencing is to make sure that you're connecting to a game server that is closest to you. If your router is trying to connect to a server that's geographically further away from you, you are going to experience a higher ping and more latency when connected to a server that's physically closer to you - you will experience a lower ping which means less latency and lag. Within the settings of a lot of games today you do have the option to choose what region you're connecting to. Should that not be possible, there is a geo filter within the Telstra Game Optimizer that does allow you to do that. This gives you the upper hand on enemies so you want to make sure you get this right.

So even with these tips that I've mentioned, some of you out there may not be able to get the speeds that you're really wanting to get your gaming to the best it can be. With technology advancing so fast, the internet connection you have at home may not have caught up as of yet -  so in this instance, mobile data might be your best bet. This is because 4G and 5G have brought some incredible speeds that have seriously shaken up the gaming world.

Instead of your internet connection running through the cables into your house, it actually connects to the mobile towers around you. The speeds you can get on mobile networks can be quite impressive however, you do have to be mindful of your data limit to make sure you don't go over.

Now, with any sort of network connection, you're inevitably going to get some latency. In the instance of mobile networks, your latency will vary depending on how far your home is from the network tower. Now some of you out there are probably wondering "what on earth is latency?" and I have spoken about it in another video that you can check out in the description box down below.

Though for the sake of this video, I'll give you a really simple definition. So latency in its most general term is referring to the time between two things happening. So an example of this would be clicking a button on your controller and then that happening in game or it could be an electron traveling from one end of a wire to the other.  Latency is the time it takes for that to happen and the word ping is used to measure latency.

Internet speeds are getting faster and faster and that's all thanks to new technologies like 5G.  With the 5G network, we're seeing less latency, we're seeing faster download speeds and less congestion on the networks which is a win-win-win situation and, though we may not be at the zero millisecond mark when it comes to ping, engines are working every single day to get us closer and closer so we can get the fastest internet speeds we possibly can.

How important is my modem?

If you’re wanting to play video games online - there’s a really important piece of the puzzle that can’t be missed, the modem.

When you think of a modem you’re probably thinking of the box in your living room that connects into your wall that you don’t really think about all that much. Well - if you’re thinking of playing video games online - knowing a little more about your modem, what it does and how it benefits your gaming experience is not a bad idea.


NATALIE: if you're wanting to play video games online there's a really important piece of the puzzle that can't be missed - your modem.

Now, when you think about your modem, you're probably thinking about that big old box that sits in the lounge room and you pay really no attention to. It gives you the internet so what else is there to know?

Well, if you are thinking about playing video games online, knowing what your modem does, how it benefits and how you can make it better your gaming experience is not a bad idea 

Let's jump straight into it. Firstly, what exactly is a modem?

Your modem is essentially a piece of hardware that helps bring your internet inside your home and it maintains a connection between your home and your internet service provider. It translates the information coming in from the internet into a language that your devices can understand and then essentially translates the information the devices are sending into a language that the internet can understand.

You could kind of say it's like a data interpreter. But how does a modem impact your gaming experience?

First of all, making sure that your modem is current up to date and compatible with your internet connection is super important. This helps maintain the best speeds you can possibly get while also adding reliability to your connection.

Should you have a modem that's unable to maintain the top speeds required, you may find that you're going to have more latency, more lag and more dropouts - which are not a fun time. You'll find that older modems will run into more of these issues because the newer ones are built in such a way that they can handle these technological advances a lot easier.

Now, when we are talking about networks and modems a word you will find thrown around a lot is the word 'latency'. It's super important to understand what latency is and how it can affect your gameplay because too much of it can cause a lot of issues.

So latency is the time that it takes for the data to travel from your home network to the server that the information's sending to, and then for the server to process that data.

So a gaming example of this would be when you press the trigger on your controller to take some shots at an enemy -  the amount of time between you pressing the trigger, the information sending over the internet to the gaming servers, and then the service registering that shot is essentially what latency is. You guys picking up what I'm putting down? So if there's too much time between your action and the response of the game you'll find that the game is harder to play and will put you at a disadvantage

Now does wi-fi or ethernet give you less latency? Well, if we're generally speaking connecting your pc or console through an ethernet cable straight to your router is a more reliable way of internet connection.  This is because there's less room for the signal to be lost as it's being transferred in an enclosed capacity.

In the past, wi-fi has actually been seen as a less reliable method of connection due to the fact that it's not enclosed. This is because a wi-fi network runs through the air which does cause issues with physical objects actually blocking the connection between devices this, in turn, can cause a weaker signal which can increase the latency.

That being said wi-fi nowadays are actually getting more and more reliable with lower latency and some gamers actually opting to play on wi-fi. Connections come with two different frequencies that can affect your gaming experience the first being a 2.4 gigahertz connection and the second being a 5 gigahertz connection but why is there the need for two different frequencies?

I am so glad you asked.

A 2.4 gigahertz connection, though it can be a little bit slower, actually reaches a further distance but on the other hand, a 5 gigahertz connection is a lot faster but covers a smaller area.  A five gigahertz connection can also pass through physical objects a lot easier.

You would typically find a 2.4 gigahertz connection used more with baby monitors fridges and smoke alarms - this is something to keep in mind because the more things you've got connected to the 2.4 gigahertz connection whether it's in your home or your neighbours can cause some interference.  My doorbell is on the 2.4 gigahertz connection and I believe next door is as well because when their doorbell goes off so does mine.  Yes, I did think that it was a ghost pressing my doorbell but we're not going to talk about that.

It just turns out that the 2.4 frequency in my area is pretty congested.  Now if you do decide to connect to the 5 gigahertz connection you will find that you will need to situate yourself a lot closer to the router. This is because the 5 gigahertz connection, though it is a lot stronger, it just does not reach anywhere near as far. So if you have your gaming setup in a permanent position right next to the router you won't have anywhere near as much risk of interference on the 5 gigahertz network that you would on the 2.4 and there will be a lot less congestion.

Lastly, how do we go about improving our wi-fi if gaming over wi-fi is our only option?

There are a couple of different ways to do this however today we're going to be talking about wi-fi boosting and home meshing.

Let's start with the meshing so as we've learned today the closer to the connection you are the better connection you'll have.  So what if you're trying to connect via wi-fi to the router on the opposite end of your house? You might find that your internet speeds will suffer and you may also experience dropouts. What you want to do is go pick up a Telstra Smart Wi-fi booster and connect that to your router.

Basically what the smart booster does is it spits out the same signal that your router is but you can put it anywhere you want in your house so that you have an extra source of connection. So instead of needing to be super close to the router in the lounge room, you might even have one set up in your bedroom. So essentially, if you had one of these in your bedrooms you could hypothetically have the same speeds that you'd have if you're sitting in the lounge room.

Another way to increase your speed if nodes aren't really your thing is by picking up a wi-fi booster. This option essentially takes a weaker signal amplifies it and then allows it to be connected to so essentially giving you a stronger and faster signal. With wi-fi boosters, you're also able to connect them via ethernet cable to your gaming pc or your console this can ensure that you're getting the maximum speeds you possibly can while also decreasing latency to the lowest you possibly can.

When you have a wi-fi boost it can help your connection reach the other side of the house different levels and you can also take your gaming outside - hey that's an idea.

Why gamers care about servers

If you’re an online gamer, no doubt you’ve heard the word “server” pop up every now and again. 

A server is a piece of hardware or software that acts as a “host” that all users, or “clients” connect to. What does this mean in terms of gaming?

Let @HeyImNatalia explain all things server related so you'll be in the know!


NATALIE: If you’re an online gamer, no doubt you’ve heard the word “server” pop up every now and again. A server is essentially a piece of hardware or software that acts as a “host” that users, or “clients” connect to. 

But what does this mean in terms of gaming?

When you’re playing an online video game, every single round will be different, because there will be different players making different decisions every single time.

With all this information changing constantly, it’s important that all players receive the same information consistently and at the same time. This means it's fairer all around the board and there will be a smoother gaming experience all around.

Players connect remotely to the gaming servers, which essentially receives the information coming in from the players and outputs it to the players as the game goes on. This transfer of information happens almost instantaneously.

Now for every single player that's connected to a server - will they receive all the information, at the exact same time? Well, not exactly. But, it's pretty damn close.

Your internet service provider's choice of routing can make a huge difference in this regard. Internet service providers with good routing will allow your information to go from A-B in the most efficient way possible. This, in turn, helps your connection speed.

Internet service providers with bad routing will actually do the complete opposite. Your physical distance from yourself and the gaming server can actually make a huge difference in the connection as well. Generally speaking, the closer you are physically to a server, the lower your ping will be. This basically means that the communication between yourself and the gaming server is faster.

On the other side of the coin, if you're connecting to a server that's a lot further away geographically, you will find that you'll have a little more latency and your ping will be higher.

As an example, I live in Canberra, which is a two and a half-hour drive from Sydney.

Sydney, Australia, being a bigger city is generally where a lot of the gaming servers are hosted, so that's where my game connects to. I'll get a much faster connection and a lower amount of ping connecting to Sydney than I would if I say, connected to somewhere in Europe. Europe is a lot further away from me geographically,  which means any sort of connection going from my house to Europe is going to take a lot longer than from here to Sydney.

And this is an obvious reason as to why I choose to stay on the servers in Sydney.

In some instances, games will connect you to a server that's further away, rather than one that's closer to you. This can often be because they'd like to fill up lobbies faster and if there is a lobby that's open further away - they may just put you in there.

If you want to ensure you stay on local servers,  you can always use the Geo-Filter within the Telstra Game Optimiser.

This way you can manually select that you're going to stay connected to a local server rather than automatically being filtered to one further away. Or alternatively, you can generally go into the game settings and pick manually through there.

You're probably wondering - is there actually a reason for me to want to connect to a server that's in Europe or America?

I have such great speeds here in Australia and I'd rather play on local servers to be more competitive with my ping. So why bother? Well, if you're playing an online game with a friend that's located completely across the world - there is a chance that you're going to need to manually select your server.

Otherwise, you're going to have an absolutely incredible ping and if your friend is connecting to the Sydney servers from Europe, they're gonna have a tough time.

So in this instance, you guys might actually try play around with the servers and try to find one that you guys have an equal amount of ping. Makes it fairer across the board.

Another reason why you may want to play on international servers is if Australian servers don't exist for the game yet. There are some games out there that don't have a big enough Australian player base to actually warrant getting servers here. So often we'll need to connect to another server, like Asia for example, to get online.

Connecting to an Asian server will give you a higher ping, however, it does mean you can get in and game - which I think is a good thing.

So there you go! You're up and running online.

And that's that, hey? Well, not quite.

One honourable mention that I do want to talk about in this video, is the trusty VPN. I know, yes, I've thrown yet another acronym at you. And as always, let me break it down.

So a VPN stands for a 'Virtual Private Network'. It's used to encrypt your data and help protect your privacy online with an extra barrier of security. This can be great for online gaming as it helps protect your IP address and other sensitive information from trolls online.

So essentially what a VPN does is it shows you online under a completely different IP address that is not your own. It also shows you online in a location that is completely different from where you are. Using a VPN is also a great way to connect to servers that are outside your current region if you're not normally able to connect

to anything besides a local one.

So essentially if you were doing this in an online game, what would happen is that your inputs would be sent from yourself to a server completely different from where you are, then to the gaming servers and back again. So this basically means the gaming server will pick up that you are actually located where the transition point was.

So for example if you were using a VPN going through Singapore, the game would pick up that you're from Singapore because your data would be going from here, to Singapore, to the gaming server and back home again. It's pretty cool right?

VPN's can be great and they definitely have their perks, however, it is important to note that having a VPN can cause more latency and make you have a higher ping. Though that being said, the trade-off for the extra protection could be worth it for you.

On this note, it's really important to know that a VPN is not a complete security protection online. It's important that you still have your wits about you online while also having a security system in place. And that's because there are other ways that you can be attacked and tracked online that a VPN can't stop, so it's super important to make sure your security is up to date.

So all in all, make sure your security is up to date and that you are taking care when browsing online.

Gaming and console streaming

What is cloud gaming? That’s a very valid question.

With new technologies being released so quickly, it can be really hard to keep up with it all. This, however, is one piece of technology you'll definitely want to keep up with!

Watch on as @HeyImNatalia runs through all things cloud gaming and how it can elevate your gaming experience.


NATALIE: What is cloud gaming?  A very valid question with all these new technologies releasing constantly it could be so hard to keep up with it all.

Cloud gaming, otherwise known as gaming on demand, is essentially the ability to access a console remotely and play those games on any device that's compatible. It's pretty much like borrowing a console without having to physically have it with you.

So instead of having to purchase a game in its entirety and take up all that valuable storage space, you're able to stream these games directly from the cloud gaming service. Think of it like Netflix but for games. Yes, I said what I said - how is this even possible you ask?

Let me explain. By having a cloud gaming subscription basically what you're buying is the access to a remote server that is hosting the game that you want to play. The server is doing all the heavy lifting in terms of hardware and all you need to provide is a screen to display it on. By having this run on a virtual server essentially it removes any need for any sort of hardware requirements on your device.

All you need is something with an internet connection and a screen and you're pretty much golden. It's pretty cool, hey?

So here in Australia, we have xCloud which is Xbox's version of cloud gaming. It is currently in public preview and you can request to get involved.  And hopefully, in the next couple of years, we'll have Google Amazon and Playstation's version of cloud gaming.

Now, what's the difference between playing on a console with gaming subscriptions and cloud gaming? There are a couple of things however the most important thing that does affect us online multiplayer gamers is something called latency.

With cloud gaming, you're often able to get into the game faster because parts of the game are stored on the device. You've also got direct access to the game server with a good internet connection and pretty much your internet speeds will be your biggest cap with lag.

However, with cloud gaming as amazing as it is to be able to have instant access to a whole bunch of games you do find that you have more issues with latency.

So instead of you having a console with a game on it, you're needing to download and upload the game at the same time as actually playing the game which of course will add a little bit of extra time.  This extra time can cause latency or lag and things can get a little bit frustrating - especially when you're playing an online multiplayer game where speed is key.

For this reason, cloud gaming is generally better suited for single-player games that are not super heavily reliant on reaction times and online speeds. Regardless of what you are playing on cloud gaming, the most important thing at the end of the day is to ensure that you have a fast reliable internet connection and also consider checking out the Telstra Game Optimizer -  it helps to optimize the gaming speeds within your home without affecting anybody else on the network and as we know every little bit of speed counts.