So what exactly is lag and how does it affect the gaming experience you ask?
The groundwork for multiplayer gaming was laid in 1993 with the introduction of Doom. Originally supported by network play via IPX networks, Doom allowed two to four players to play and interact in real time. Modem to modem support was added later, as was TCP/IP support. Using a peer to peer structure where each client or user handles its own representation of the game, it was fast in terms of connection speed, but ineffecient in resolving errors in communication exchange. When an error occurred, players had to disconnect, restart and reconnect to play again. A pain to say the least.
Its successor, Quake, changed this. Utilizing a client/server model where one computers acts as
a game server and the other computers connect to it, Quake was more efficient in error control.
Here, the server controls all of the data and sends it to the clients. This allowed for larger
packets to be sent over the network. The drawback is that larger packets take more time to travel.
There also is a greater likelihood of it being interrupted or even lost, which creates lag, the
single, most aggravating aspect of the online gaming experience.