- Valorant is Riot Games' multiplayer tactical shooter that lets you choose your favorite character and compete in a 5v5 match with and against other players like you.
- Like any other online game, Valorant can face a bunch of connectivity issues. One of the most frequent (and annoying) ones is packet loss.
- Check out our best VPNs for Valorant that can reduce lag and improve gameplay.
- Visit the Gaming Hub to discover more awesome guides about gaming with a VPN.
Valorant is Riot Games’ multiplayer tactical shooter that lets you choose your favorite character and compete in a 5v5 match with and against other players like you.
Some players compare it to Overwatch, while others compare Valorant to CS:GO. However, in reality, Valorant is in a league of its own. There are definitely some similarities between the titles, but each game offers a different experience.
Yes, both Valorant and Overwatch are hero shooters, but that’s about it. Yes, you can defuse bombs (sort of) in Valorant, as Counter-Strike lets you do. But the games are very different when it comes to mechanics.
Long story short, Valorant is an awesome game and made thousands of players (yours truly included) watch endless Twitch streams in an attempt to grab one of those closed beta keys.
However, things are not all rosy. Since it’s an online-exclusive game, Valorant can sometimes face a bunch of connectivity difficulties. For instance, packet loss.
What is packet loss in Valorant?
Generally speaking, packet loss tends to behave the same, regardless of the environment you notice it in, whether it’s in a VoIP, streaming multimedia content in your browser, or playing an online game such as Valorant.
As its name boldly suggests, packet loss means that one or more data packets have trouble reaching their destination. As a result, data doesn’t reach you or the remote server at all, which makes the connection lag.
When a device expects incoming data that never comes, it artificially delays the delivery, to give packets another chance to arrive. More often than not, the device makes another request and the data ultimately gets delivered.
However, there are some cases where the packet loss percentage is so severe, that the connection chooses to shutdown instead of waiting for incoming packets indefinitely.
Both cases can be equally frustrating when you play online games such as Valorant. Leaking packets means high latency, unresponsive menus and buttons, rubberbanding, and even sudden crashes.
What can cause packet loss in Valorant?
The reasons behind packet loss are various, and we don’t say that lightly. Even using WiFi instead of wired connections or having subpar Ethernet cables can trigger this issue.
However, there’s one cause that seems to weigh a bit heavier in the occurrence pattern of packet loss: network congestion.
Network congestion is exactly what you think it is. When the network becomes unable to accommodate users or requests, it starts failing at balancing resources.
Stable networks that are properly routed have it easier since they can balance resource usage in a more fair, logical way, by equally distributing it among all its users.
However, when the network is not properly configured, it may start to allocate more resources to some users, and next-to-none to others. Guess who will encounter packet loss then?
Long story short, there are a lot of potential reasons behind packet loss, but the most frequent one is network congestion.
How to detect packet loss in Valorant?
1. Use the game’s built-in option
- Launch the Valorant client
- Log into your Riot account
- Update the game to its latest version
- Click the gear-shaped button
- Access the Video section of the configuration screen
- Go to the Stats category
- For the Packet Loss option choose between text, graph, or both
That’s it, your packet loss will be displayed for you while you’re in the game. It’s not too complicated and displays only packet loss percentage between you and the Valorant server.
2. Use Windows’ pathping tool
- Launch Valorant
- Connect to a server in your region
- Use third-party apps like Wireshark to trace the IP of the server
- Launch an instance of CMD prompt
- Type pathping x.x.x.x (replace x.x.x.x with server IP)
- Wait for the pathping test to finish
- Check the hops for any traces of packet loss
The second way of detecting packet loss in Valorant may take a while, so we don’t recommend it, especially considering that you’ll likely ruin other players’ experience.
More so, Riot Games servers might be difficult or downright impossible to trace. Using tracert yielded a request timeout in our case, which made us believe they’re not exactly out there for you to see.
How to fix packet loss in Valorant?
1. Use a trustworthy VPN service
- Buy a Private Internet Access subscription plan
- Install PIA on your computer and launch it
- Log into your PIA account
- Choose a server that’s closer to your physical location (closer = faster)
- Launch Valorant once more
- Check if you still experience packet loss
Private Internet Access is an excellent VPN service brought to you by Kape Technologies. Among the usual features, PIA also comes with 24/7 customer support, which not a lot of other VPN providers can say about their service.
You can safely use PIA to reduce packet loss in Valorant, but this VPN has even more perks under the hood. For instance, it can help you improve in-game ping, circumvent geo-blocking, and stop ISP throttling in a jiffy.
Private Internet AccessHaving packet loss while playing Valorant? Try Private Internet Access.
However, keep in mind that this packet loss VPN fix will only work if your ISP causes it by limiting your connection. A good VPN such as PIA can circumvent bandwidth throttling and improper traffic routing.
2. Restart the game client
Although it may sound stupid at first, trust us, restarting the game did wonders for packet loss reduction. We even tried it during such an episode and it worked without a flaw.
Granted you’re not in a Competitive match, just give the game the old ragequit Alt+F4 and launch it once more.
Sure, you’ll probably ruin the game for your teammates, but staying online and perpetually losing packets can be even worse, don’t you think?
Either way, you’ll end up annoying a bunch of players, but in one scenario you’ll get rid of packet loss.
3. Perform some manual troubleshooting
- Check if there’s anything suspicious with any part of your home connection (cables, router)
- Replace/repair troublesome components on your local connection (cables, adapter, drivers)
- Update drivers to their latest version to avoid compatibility issues
- Flush your DNS
- Restart your PC, router, and/or modem
- Try to avoid peak hours if your network has a history of congestion (or use a VPN)
- Always try to use wireless instead of WiFi (WiFi packet loss occurs more frequently)
- Close any bandwidth-heavy apps on your PC while playing Valorant
- Make sure your router runs on the latest version of its firmware
- Contact Riot Games and inform them if there’s something wrong on their side
- Call your ISP if you suspect there’s something wrong with your connection
We know that most of these suggested fixes sound like your usual customer support conversation: have you tried turning it off and on again? However, sometimes it’s the little things that go unnoticed.
There’s nothing wrong with trying the steps we’ve mentioned above. A little bit of maintenance on your local network can go a long way, and can even help reduce packet loss, if not eliminate it altogether.
Valorant packet loss is easy to fix
All things considered, if you’re experiencing packet loss in Valorant and are ready to call it quits, listen up. We know how annoying packet loss can get, but fortunately, it can be easily fixed if you’re patient enough.
One of the most common fixes we’ve discovered is simply restarting the game. We have no idea why it works, but it does, so we’re going to advocate for it.
You can also start using a VPN, but this fix only works with network congestion, or if your ISP throttles your bandwidth. Thus, you’ll need to make sure that you got the cause right before purchasing a subscription.
Last, but not least, when’s the last time you’ve performed maintenance on your network? Never? Well, it’s never too late to do it, especially knowing that it can help improve packet loss, and in some cases even eliminate it.
FAQ: Learn more about Valorant packet loss
- Can VPN improve packet loss?
Yes, you can use a VPN to improve packet loss as quickly as possible. However, you should know that it won’t work unless it’s your ISP that causes the issue by rudely limiting your connection or managing it poorly.
- Is it possible to reduce ping with VPN?
Yes, it’s been proven that VPN can help improve in-game ping. However, as with packet loss, this technique only seems to work if your ISP limits your connection by throttling your bandwidth or offering bad routing.
- What’s the best VPN for Valorant?
If you want to try reducing in-game latency efficiently, you should check out our best VPNs for Valorant that will help you keep lag at bay.