1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

What Is a Lag Switch?


Homemade lag switch
Alex Mickla / Flickr
Question: What Is a Lag Switch?
Answer: A lag switch is a mechanism installed on a home network that allows you to insert delays into the flow of local traffic to the Internet. Lag switches are normally used by unscrupulous players wanting to cheat at online video games. Lag switches are unrelated to normal network switches.

Design of a Lag Switch

The basic lag switch design is a small Ethernet device where either the orange or green wire of a CAT5 cable has been spliced to a push button or other physical switch. This hardware is connected between the game device (PC or console) and the home network router (or modem if no router exists).

Operation of a Lag Switch

When the switch is activated, the device is designed to function for a few seconds on a timer, effectively blocking all network traffic between the local game device and the Internet temporarily. Used during gameplay, the device causes the person using a lag switch to appear to opponents as frozen while in fact they are still able to play locally and gain advantages in the game. When the lag switch timer expires, the local game device will resynchronize with the online game that appears to opponents in a sudden burst.

Reputable online gamers do not use lag switches.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.