The so-called Nagle-algorithm is enabled in Windows 7 by default and is supposed to reduce the overall network load. The basic idea behind it is simple: Instead of sending many smaller network packets with more protocol than user data, network drivers collect a larger amount of data in bigger packets before sending them on their way, creating a much more efficient network traffic in the process.
There's a catch, however: If you rely on quick reactions - such as in competetive video games - this kind of algorithm can prove to be more of a hindrance than an asset. In the worst case scenario, Windows will continue collecting data to reach a certain network packet size long after you made your move, resulting in a significant input delay and lag. Consequently, switching the algorithm off may improve your online experience considerably.
See also: How to Benchmark Your PC for Free
Before we go on with this How-To, a quick word of warning: Disabling the Nagle algorithm requires modifying the Windows registry, which can become fairly techy fairly quickly. Also, please be advised that the algorithm does serve a purpose, so that deactivating it might have a noticeable impact on your regular bandwidth. However, turning it back on by reversing the steps explained below is possible at any time, of course.
Deactivating the Nagle-Algorithm
First, open up your registry by pressing the Windows-Button to the bottom left of your screen and search for "regedit.exe". Once inside the Registry Editor, track the following path:
In this key (folder), you will likely see multiple NIC interfaces disguised in the form of a cryptic combination of letters and numbers. The easiest way to identify which of these NIC-IDs corresponds to your active internet connection is to note down your IP-address and search for it in each of them. You can quickly do the former by summoning the command prompt (Press Windows-Button + R, type "cmd", click OK) and entering "ipconfig". Typically, your IP-address is going to be displayed as the "IPv4-Address". Next, go through the NIC-IDs in the Registry and search for any entries with the same IP-Address on the right side (try "IPAddress" or "DhcpIPAddress"). See also: How to measure your network speed
Once you have found your respective adapter, create two new DWORD entries within it by right-clicking on an empty spot > New > "DWORD (32-Bit) Value". Name the fist entry "TcpAckFrequency" and the second one "TCPNoDelay" (both are case-sensitive). Double-click each of them and set their values to 1. The first entry will be responsible for sending off packets immediately, while the second one disables the Nagle-Algorithm.
As a last step, close the Registry Editor and restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
This article is based on a segment by our sister publication PCWELT.de.