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Lag is a slang term for a noticeable decrease in application speed, due to extreme network congestion or insufficient processing power. When traffic is heavier than network capacity, the network requires that a program wait before sending or receiving data.
In real-time applications (like games), lag refers to an application's failure to respond to inputs in a timely manner. Lag is commonly used to describe a time delay between a player's action and a game's reaction to that input. This may be caused by a lack of processing power in the case of games running on a computer or console. Online video games also experience lag during periods of network congestion and insufficient processing power. Lag is especially noticeable when playing online games via dial-up connections.
Lag primarily occurs because data requires a certain amount of travel time between applications, compounded by data application processing time. Specific types of lag include: