Last Updated on 1st February 2023
Packet loss in Team Fortress 2 occurs when data packets that are sent from your computer to the game server and vice versa don’t make it to their destination. This can happen for various reasons, such as network congestion, physical obstructions, or faulty hardware on either end.
Packet loss can cause noticeable lag, high latency, and even cause disconnections from Team Fortress 2, making it difficult or even impossible to play. Understanding what packet loss is and knowing how to get rid of it can help you have a smoother and more enjoyable gaming experience.
In this post, you will find a lot of general fixes for the most common causes of network packet loss in Team Fortress 2. Packet loss issues are hard to troubleshoot since it’s not always clear what’s causing it.
To help you get started, I wrote this detailed guide to help you fix packet loss and network connectivity issues in Team Fortress 2 in a few easy steps once and for all.
How To Fix Packet Loss in Team Fortress 2
Below you can find all the possible fixes for packet loss in Team Fortress 2 and easy methods to diagnose if you or your internet cable company screwed up your connection.
Close all background apps & services
First, close all apps that could be using your network and are not directly related to Team Fortress 2. It could be anything from your mouse software updating and using your download speed to OneDrive uploading backgrounds and using your upload speed.
What I personally recommend is getting Autoruns, and disabling every single process that is not crucial to Team Fortress 2’s functionality.
Run Autoruns as Administrator and navigate to the Logon tab and uncheck anything that is not related to Team Fortress 2.
Next, go to the Scheduled Tasks tab and do the same exact thing.
Last but not least, navigate to the Services tab and uncheck any services that could be using your internet connection.
Disconnect all devices from your network.
One of the most common causes of constant packet loss is when others use the internet while you are playing Team Fortress 2. The TV that you never use might be updating in the background, or somebody from your household might be watching some 8K Youtube video/stream causing the entire network to throttle.
The best practice would be to completely disconnect every single connected devices from the router and just connect the PC that you play Team Fortress 2 on. Check to see if you are still having lag issues and packet loss. If you don’t experience any network issues after disconnecting all network devices, you can start reconnecting the devices one by one and see which one was causing it. If it doesn’t, just follow the next steps in this guide.
Test your connection
Before we proceed to more technical network troubleshooting steps, I highly recommend you do a packet loss test.
First, hardwire your computer to your modem via an ethernet cable to eliminate the faulty wi-fi variable.
Second, turn your modem off by unplugging or holding the reset button.
Now that you ruled out the two most basic technical issues is time to start network monitoring for potential packet loss.
Let’s visit PacketLossTest.com.
Don’t get intimidated by all the options you will see when you open the page. Just leave everything at default and press start.
Once the test is done, you will see the packet loss percentage, average latency, and average network jitter.
You are looking for 0% packet loss and, ideally, a maximum of double digits on latency and jitter.
If the test comes out with zero percent packet loss, but you still experience it in Team Fortress 2, then follow the next steps.
Update your network drivers.
A lot of times Windows will install old network drivers and never update them again. One of the most common causes of network-related errors is corrupted and outdated drivers or software bugs.
There are two methods you can use to update your network drivers:
- Navigate to your search bar and type “Device Manager “, and click on it.
- Look for Network Adapters and once you find it, click on the bottom arrow to collapse the list.
- Locate your network adapter model. ( Realtek / Killer / Intel )
- Depending on the model you have, navigate the official website by using the links above.
- Download the driver.
- Install it on your PC and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Restart and test to see if there are still packets being lost in network transit.
This method is much easier and less time-consuming.
- Go ahead and download the free trial of DriverBooster, install it on your PC, and open it.
- Navigate to the main page and click on scan for drivers. It will take a few minutes to finish scanning.
- Once it’s done, go ahead and update your network driver as well as any other driver that it suggests.
- Follow the on-screen instructions, restart your PC, and you should be good to go.
Disable Network Power Saving Features
Power-saving options can sometimes throttle the network in order to save power. We don’t want that at all so we are going to disable anything that could be messing up our network performance.
Go into Device Manager, look for your network adapter, right-click on it, and choose Properties.
Navigate to the Power Management tab and uncheck the option: “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power “.
Navigate to the Advanced tab, and disable any power-saving feature like:
- Energy-Efficient Ethernet
- Green Ethernet
- Power saving mode
- Disable any other power-saving feature.
Use different ethernet cables.
Ethernet cables like most hardware, can break and malfunction. Fortunately, the solution is pretty easy and cheap.
Replace your old ethernet cable with a new one and monitor your network to see if there is any difference in performance metrics.
Configure the Windows Update delivery settings
Navigate to your search bar and type” Windows Update Delivery” and click on Windows Update delivery settings.
The first thing to do here is to disable the option” Allow downloads from other PCs”, navigate down, and click on the advanced options tab.
Switch from “Absolute Bandwith” to “Percentage of measured bandwidth”, limiting both percentage bars to 5%.
Scroll down to Upload settings and limit the first option to 5%.
By applying the above setting, you ensure that Windows will not use more than 5% of your total bandwidth while you are playing Team Fortress 2.
Use a dedicated IP
If you have to use a VPN to play Team Fortress 2 for whatever reason, then, it’s a must to have a dedicated IP address. You can’t be gaming on the public servers of any VPN because you will be experiencing slow and unstable connections and more than likely packet loss.
I recommend using NordVPN because they have dedicated IP addresses which means that you will be the only person connecting to Team Fortress 2 from them.
What are the benefits of a dedicated IP vs a normal VPN subscription?
- You are the only one using the specific server.
- Lower and more stable ping.
- Higher quality connection and no packet loss.
- Better security.
- The IP was not previously flagged, banned, or blacklisted by Team Fortress 2 like most of the public VPN servers.
- You won’t be blocked by game servers including Team Fortress 2.
Use a wired connection instead of a wireless connection.
Using a wired connection instead of a wireless connection is the best option when it comes to network performance and the transfer of data packets. While wireless connections are convenient and can save you the trouble of having to run cables around your home, they’re not as reliable as wired connections.
With a wired connection, your data travels over an Ethernet cable directly from one device to another without any interference from physical elements.
Disconnect your PC completely from the wireless network and connect your PC to the router via the ethernet cable.
Login into Team Fortress 2 and play a game or two to see if packet loss still occurs.
Call your ISP
All your network and packet loss issues on Team Fortress 2 should be gone by now. If not, maybe it’s a good time to call your internet provider and explain precisely what’s going on and all the troubleshooting you’ve done.
There are cases that the network routes from the internet providers to the game servers are not optimized, causing issues for their clients.
Now that you’ve fixed your issues it’s time to optimize your network settings and lower your ping.