Disable Firewalls, Antivirus, and Antispyware Tools

I know, I know. Everyone is paranoid that they are going to be hax0red the moment they disable these programs. If you are that afraid, unplug the internet from the network while you play games. In any case, programs like Norton, McAffe, Zone Alarm, Avast, Windows Firewall etc... will do nothing but harm your gameplay experience. These can cause lag issues, and the lack of connectivity altogether. Just remember to re-enable these programs when you are done!

 

"Stop all the downloadin'"

It may seem obvious, but please, disable any auto-update services that may be running (Windows, Adobe, antivirus, etc...). Oh, and I shouldn't even have to say it. Don't download torrents or transfer files during a game!

 

Disable Unused Adapters

On most modern computers, you may find two or more network adapters. This poses a problem for some games, and it is highly recommened that all unused LAN adapters are disabled, whether it be a physical plug, wireless, or even virtual (like hamachi or some other vpn software). The ideal scenario is to have ONE and only ONE adapter in use. This way the game can't somehow get confused as to which adapter it is trying to send/recieve information from.

The video below in the 'Network Stack Order' section demonstrates how to disable an adapter.

 

Network Stack Order

Setting the network stack order determines the order of your network adapters that programs will try to access the network with. So if you have a connection "Local Area Connection" set on the top, but your physical plug is plugged into a different adapter, your program will first try to access the network via "Local Area Connection". Make sure you set the adapter you are using on the top, even if all the other adapters are disabled.

This video shows how to disable un-used adpaters, and set the stack order correctly. If you don't know how to get into "Network Connections" to begin with, go to start > control panel > network connections.

 

Check Your Hosts File!

This file maps hostnames to IP addresses. It is located in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc. Open it up in notepad and make sure you don't have any bad entries in this file! I only have "127.0.0.1 localhost" in mine. Having various entries here can interfere with your ability to connect to other games.

 

Windows Workgroup

Joining the same Windows workgroup shouldn't matter when it comes to playing games on a LAN. However, from past experience, it does seem to help for whatever reason. So regardless of the reason WHY it would help, just do yourself a favor and have everyone join the same workgroup. It's good preventative maintenance, and also helps when it comes to file sharing anyway.

 

Kill Punkbuster

If the LAN game you are joining isn't going to use PunkBuster, there is no point in leaving it running. It's just one more application that can interfere with a successful LAN. To turn it off, simply:

  • Push CTRL+ALT+DEL
  • Click on the "Processes" tab at the top
  • Sort the processes by name by clicking on "Image Name"
  • Look for PnkBstrA.exe and/or PnkBsterB.exe. You may not see both services. But whichever one you see, right-click on it and select 'End Process'.