This is the first in a short series of articles looking at how to make the absolute most out of your Stadia setup. In this series, we will be looking at technical tips, tweaks, and changes to really make sure that your Google Stadia is performing as well as it possibly can.
In this first article, I will be walking you through how to perform a range of Stadia speedtests. During this set of tests, not only will we show you how to perform both internal and external Chromecast speedtests, but we’ll explain what all the results mean.
Stadia Speedtest – Basic Internet Connection
Ensuring that you have an internet connection that is not only fast enough but stable enough is absolutely crucial for an enjoyable Stadia experience.
We will now show you how to perform a reliable speedtest which will be used as a benchmark for the tests that we will perform later on.
Ensuring that your internet connection is stable and up to spec. speed-wise is the first step to ensuring that Stadia has a fast enough and reliable enough connection to work with.
GlobalGeek has teamed up with Ookla, suppliers of the massive speedtest.com website, to provide you with a highly reliable and accurate speed testing platform that we shall use to benchmark your initial internet connection speeds. Let us show you how:
Step 1 – Choose your best benchmarking device
In this first step we will be trying to measure the fastest speed available from your ISP. Therefore, you will want to perform this test on the fastest device you have. If you have a device hardwired to your modem/router via an ethernet cable, this will usually be your best option. However, if you are using WiFi, make sure you are connected via 5Ghz if possible. As a general rule, 2.4Ghz WiFi will usually give you slower speeds than 5Ghz WiFi within a set range.
Step 2 – Perform initial speed test
Once you have selected your device run the test below. The speedtest is also available at speedtest.globalgeek.net.
Understanding Speedtest Results
Before we can move on to the stadia speedtest or chromecast speedtest, we must understand what the results mean.
The results are broken down in to 4 sections:
- Download Speed
- Upload Speed
Download/Upload – What is a good download/upload speed for stadia?
Download speed is the speed that your internet connection can receive data from the internet. It is generally measured in megabits per second (Mbps or Mb/s), not to be confused with megabytes per second (MBps or MB/s).
Exactly the same applies for upload speed. Although, upload speed is speed that your internet connection can send data to the internet.
That depends on the stream quality you use when playing Stadia. Below is a table showing minimum and recommended speed requirements for
As you can se, the Upload speed requirements for Stadia is much lower than the Download speed requirements for Stadia. This is because you send very minimal traffic back to Google’s Stadia servers – namely your controller/keyboard & mouse inputs and timing packets that confirm the receipt of packets received from Google’s Stadia servers. We suggest a flat minimum of 0.5Mbps (this is the same as 500Kbps) for upload. However, we recommend a flat recommended of 5Mbps upload speed for Stadia simply to allow plenty of overhead while gaming.
What is ping?
Ping is a tool used to measure latency times across networks. However, in this specific case, ping represents the result of of a ping test. This result is measured in ms (milliseconds).
There are 1,000 ms in 1 second.
What does ping stand for?
PING stands for Portable Inter-Network Groper
How does ping work?
At the start of the speed test that you have just done, your computer will have sent a ‘PING’ request to the speedtest server computer. When the server receives this ‘PING’ it will reply with a ‘PONG’ (no joke, that’s what it’s called). The entire time that it takes for your computer to send a ‘PING’ and receive the ‘PONG’ response is your RTT (Round Trip Time) latency. This RTT latency time is your ping result on the speed test.
To put it simply, ping is the amount of time it takes for a signal to reach its destination and come back again.
If you are near to your destination server, you are much more likely to have a low ping time. This is because the data has a short physical distance to travel.
If you are far away from your destination server, you are much more likely to have a high ping time. This is because the data has a long physical distance to travel.
There are other factors that can affect a ping result. However, I won’t go in to that here. Leave a comment below if you would like me to write another article going in to this subject more.
What is a good ping?
Short answer: Lower is better. Ideally below 40ms. When you start hitting 70ms+ you may start noticing a reduction in performance.
Long answer: To perform an ideal ping test, you would want to “ping” the Edge POPs (Point Of Presence) or Google Edge Node that your Stadia instance is played on or routed through, respectively. However, Google’s entire Edge network is huge – consisting of a dozen or so Data centres; 70+ Edge POPs, spanning 32 countries; and over 7,000 Edge nodes worldwide! Basically, there is no sure-fire way of knowing which Edge POP or Edge Node you will be connected to when you fire up Stadia. However, the chances are that you’ll be connected to somewhere nearby.
What this means is, the ping result you get via the speed test will be different to your ping to Stadia. Basically, the ping result from the speed test is just a general guide.
Preferably, your ping shouldn’t be any higher than 40ms. Anything over 70ms is likely to start causing playability issues.
If you find the topic of Google’s Edge network interesting and would like to learn more on how this massive infrastructure works, or if you’re curious about finding out where your closest Edge Node or POP is head on over to Google Edge Network. There you will find a breakdown of how the Edge network is constructed and you will be able to find interactive maps showing you locations of all the Edge Network Data Centres, Edge POPs, and Edge Nodes.
What is Jitter?
Jitter is the mean average measurement of the variation of delays of data packets sent across a network.
Uhhhm, u wot m8??
Let me break it down a little.
If I open a command prompt window in Windows (Click Start>Type “cmd”>Press Enter) and perform a “Ping” command, I will get something like this:
C:\Users\LilNinja>ping globalgeek.net Pinging globalgeek.net [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data: Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=18ms TTL=53 Reply from 220.127.116.11: bytes=32 time=14ms TTL=53 Reply from 18.104.22.168: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=53 Reply from 22.214.171.124: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=53 Ping statistics for 126.96.36.199: Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss), Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds: Minimum = 14ms, Maximum = 24ms, Average = 20ms
(I actually had to change these results for the sake of this explanation due to the time being too consistent)
We need to look at the variation of delays between the time it sent to complete a ping transaction.
As you can see, there were 4 ping tests performed here. The first took 18ms; the second took 14ms; the third took 24ms; and the fourth took 24ms. There is a clear variation in the results.
First we need to work out each of the variations of each test compared to the one that proceeds it. Therefore,
The first test took 18ms and the second test took 14ms. That means there was a 4ms difference.
The second test took 14ms and the third test took 24ms. That means there was a 10ms difference.
The third test took 24ms and the fourth test took 24ms. That means there was a 0ms difference.
Now we simply need to calculate the mean average by adding all the results up and then divide by the number of results.
(4 + 10 + 0) / 3 = 4.66666666667
rounded up to the nearest decimal place
Jitter = 4.7ms
A simple way to look at all this and the way it applies to you playing Stadia is as follows:
If you have low Ping, you will have a small but steady delay in your Stadia stream. Because this delay is small and steady, it is usually not noticeable.
However, if you have high Jitter, this affects the steadiness of your stream. Delays and sudden rushes of packets of data can become irritatingly noticeable if the difference in time of those delays and sudden rushes becomes too high.
What is acceptable/good jitter?
Jitter has the same caveat as ping. However, this article is getting long and technical enough so I’ll just give a short answer this time.
Ideally you want a Jitter below 30ms when playing Stadia. If your have a Jitter higher than 50ms, it is likely you will start to notice negative changes to the quality of your gaming experience.
Stadia Speedtest – Stadia Hardware
So far, you have benchmarked the maximum speed you can achieve with your Internet connection. You have an idea of your ping, and jitter rates. Also, you now understand how to interpret Stadia results, how they can affect your experience, and what good and bad values look like.
Our next step is to apply this to your Stadia hardware and compare it to your original benchmark results.
For those of you who play Stadia on your Chromecast, I am going to show you how to perform a simple Chromecast Speedtest. You will require an android device to perform this test.
- Download and install Internet Speed Tester by Cast Tools from the Google Play Store – [Link]
- Ensure your Android device is connected to the same network as the device you want to perform the Chromecast speedtest on
- Select “Start Chromecast Detection” – It should then display “Chromecast Found!”
- Hit “Test speed of your Chromecast”
- Select your Chromecast device
- The Chromecast Speedtest will commence on your selected device
- After a short period, your Chromecast speedtest will be complete
You may notice that your download/upload speeds are slower or that your ping and jitter results are higher then your original benchmark that we performed earlier. If they are about the same then that’s awesome. However, if the results are considerably worse, then we need to figure out why. This is exactly why we performed the benchmark speed test – your overall internet download speed might be great, but that doesn’t mean that your Stadia download speed will be great, too! Read on to the troubleshooting section below to find out some simple fixes to common slow Stadia download speed problems.
Performing Stadia Speedtest On Other Devices
If you are running Stadia on another device, such as Mobile or Desktop/PC, you simply want to run the speed test as outlined at the beginning of the post. You can use the test available on this page or you can visit speedtest.globalgeek.net
Troubleshooting Slow Stadia Speeds
If you find yourself asking, “Why is Stadia so laggy?” or “How to make Stadia run better?” then let me give you some tips that may help improve your stadia performance.
Will Stadia run on my hardware?
Just because Stadia will run on a certain device, doesn’t mean that it will run well. Trying to run Stadia on very old mobile devices, laptops or PCs may be the cause of your problem. Sure, you don’t need an amazing system to run Stadia by any means. However, if you’re trying to run it on an old Pentium 3 or Celeron then you’re going to have issues. Although Google doesn’t list specific hardware requirements, we found these minimum system requirements on pcgamebenchmark.com:
- Memory: 4 GB
- Graphics Card: Intel HD 3000
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
- File Size: 1 GB
- OS: Windows 7 and higher
Generally speaking, if you are getting good internet speed test results and the game is still choppy, pixelated, and having a hard time running smoothly (or even at all) then it’s almost certainly going to be because your hardware isn’t quite up to spec. Try playing on a different device, consider an upgrade, or get hold of a Chromecast.
Fast Benchmark results but slow Stadia/Chromecast results
This is usually down to one of 2 things:
- Poor Networking Hardware
WiFi is terrible for Stadia. Even with a near-perfect connection, you will expect to see slower speeds, higher latency (ping) and even increase in jitter. Try and avoid WiFi if at all possible. Chromecast users, check to see if your power plug has an ethernet port in it and use that to hardwire your Chromecast to your internet router – if not, purchase one. This goes for people playing on laptops/PCs, use an Ethernet cable wherever possible. Consider getting a Powerline Adaptor if running an ethernet cable through your house is impractical – I use a TP-Link one that I got from Amazon for about £35 – one of the best purchases I’ve made.
If you MUST use WiFi then do everything you can to ensure you are as close to your WiFi source as possible and don’t use Poor Networking Hardware!
Cheap Wifi routers and WiFi cards will cause you all kinds of headaches, especially with Stadia. Spend that extra few quid and buy something decent. This is especially true if you are using WiFi.
If possible, I would suggest changing your routers default DNS to use the Google DNS instead of the ones provided by your ISP.
This isn’t likely to give you any huge speed performance increases or anything. You may see a few ms reduction in latency. However, I have heard stories of how Stadia went from unplayable to perfect for a few people out there. So, it’s certainly worth a try.
DNS (Domain Name Servers) are the system which converts a human-readable domain name (e.g. globalgeek.net or stadia.google.com) to a computer-readable IP address. The default DNS that your ISP provides can sometimes be slow or even contain outdated information. Therefore, changing over to Google’s DNS will cut out these potentially slower performing servers and switch you over to their high-performance ones.
To do this you will need to log in to your router’s admin panel. Most routers will have details on how to do this, along with the default admin password, on the bottom. Default Router Settings – Router Network (router-network.com) is a great resource that will guide you through logging in to your router’s admin panel if you are unable to find the instructions on the bottom of your router.
My admin panel is located at http://192.168.1.1 – Yours may be different but will probably be similar.
Once there you will be asked to enter your admin password – again, this will be located on the bottom of your router.
Once you are logged in you may need to select “Advanced Settings” or something similar.
You are looking for something along the lines of “Internet Settings” or “DNS Settings”
Once you have located your DNS settings, you will need to change “Use Default Settings” to “Use Following Settings” – This should allow you to enter your own DNS settings.
Set DNS 1 to: 188.8.131.52
Set DNS 2 to: 184.108.40.206
Hit “Apply” or “Save” – Your router will probably want to restart now.
Congratulations! You have now changed to Google’s superfast DNS servers.
If you need any help with any of this then please leave a message below and we will try and help you out.
It’s no secret that you need a half-decent internet connection to enjoy Stadia (or Cloud Gaming in general). Knowing what your internet is capable of and understanding how connection speeds and quality can change within your internal home network is the first step to ensuring that you are getting the most out of your Stadia service.
The tools, tips, and information we’ve provided in this article will ensure that you’re prepared to troubleshoot connection issues if they arise.
If you are still having trouble with your Stadia’s connection then feel free to leave information about your problem below and we will do our best to try and assist you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Keep a look out for the next article in the series of Making The Most Of Stadia.