What is Lag?

"Lag" occurs when there is a delay in receiving a response to a command you have sent out over the Internet. When you send a command to InstantChess, it travels through numerous computers and communications equipment to the InstantChess server, gets processed, and is then sent back to you. With the increasing popularity of the Internet growing every day, many of these machines ("routers" that redirect data) and cables are being overloaded, and delays occur. It is similar to rush-hour traffic in a big city.

Questions about lag:

1) Why is lag good (less) on some days, and bad (more) on other days?
Sometimes "routers," owned by companies such as MCI and Netcom, have problems which greatly increase the lag till they are fixed / problem is resolved.

2) Why do some users of InstantChess have lots of lag, while others don't?
Each person has a different path from their computer to InstantChess. Each path passes through different routers and cables, with varying amounts of traffic. So lag will depend on your internet connection. A trace route utility can show you the routers along the your path to InstantChess, and may indicate where problems lie. (At the MS-DOS/Command prompt type "tracert instantchess.com" and press Enter or Return key ).

3) Why doesn't InstantChess buy a bigger, more powerful computer?
The "power" (CPU) of a computer is not a considerable factor in lag. The most significant factor is bandwidth congestion... If you are stuck in rush-hour traffic, driving a Ferrari won't help :-)
The bandwidth usage of a couple of thousand users playing chess at InstantChess is not a significant contributor to lag. When compared to the images and videos transmitted by other popular sites, the bandwidth usage at InstantChess is negligible.

4) What can I do about lag?
You can try different Internet providers, to see if there is one that gives you less lag. Different providers are connected to the Internet at different places, so their lag can vary. You can also play at times of the day when there isn't as much lag. This is usually before 9am EDT or after 6pm EDT, and on weekends.

Please test your connection visiting www.pingtest.net

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