Fix slow Nintendo Switch play with your Raspberry Pi

Is your Nintendo Switch behaving more like a Nintendon’t due to poor connectivity? Well, TopSpec (hosted Chris Barlas) has shared a brilliant Raspberry Pi-powered hack on YouTube to help you fix that.

 

Here’s the problem…

When you play Switch online, the servers are peer-to-peer. The Switches decide which Switch’s internet connection is more stable, and that player becomes the host.

However, some users have found that poor internet performance causes game play to lag. Why? It’s to do with the way data is shared between the Switches, as ‘packets’.

 

What are packets?

Think of it like this: 200 postcards will fit through your letterbox a few at a time, but one big file wrapped as a parcel won’t. Even though it’s only one, it’s too big to fit. So instead, you could receive all the postcards through the letterbox and stitch them together once they’ve been delivered.

Similarly, a packet is a small unit of data sent over a network, and packets are reassembled into a whole file, or some other chunk of related data, by the computer that receives them.

Problems arise if any of the packets containing your Switch game’s data go missing, or arrive late. This will cause the game to pause.

Fix Nintendo Switch Online Lag with a Raspberry Pi! (Ethernet Bridge)

Want to increase the slow internet speed of your Nintendo Switch? Having lag in games like Smash, Mario Maker, and more? Well, we decided to try out a really…

Chris explains that games like Call of Duty have code built in to mitigate the problems around this, but that it seems to be missing from a lot of Switch titles.

 

How can Raspberry Pi help?

The advantage of using Raspberry Pi is that it can handle wireless networking more reliably than Nintendo Switch on its own. Bring the two devices together using a LAN adapter, and you’ve got a perfect pairing. Chris reports speeds up to three times faster using this hack.

A Nintendo Switch > LAN adaptor > Raspberry Pi

He ran a download speed test using a Nintendo Switch by itself, and then using a Nintendo Switch with a LAN adapter plugged into a Raspberry Pi. He found the Switch connected to the Raspberry Pi was quicker than the Switch on its own.

At 02mins 50secs of Chris’ video, he walks through the steps you’ll need to take to get similar results.

We’ve handily linked to some of the things Chris mentions here:

 

 

To test his creation, Chris ran a speed test downloading a 10GB game, Pokémon Shield, using three different connection solutions. The Raspberry Pi hack came out “way ahead” of the wireless connection relying on the Switch alone. Of course, plugging your Switch directly into your internet router would get the fastest results of all, but routers have a habit of being miles away from where you want to sit and play.

Have a look at TopSpec on YouTube for more great videos.

18 comments
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Thanks, this is actually really helpful

Reply to Tyler

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“Chris explains that games like Call of Duty have code built in to mitigate the problems around this, but that it seems to be missing from a lot of Switch titles.”

Most games actually do this, not just call of duty.if you have ever seen a character teleporting around due to their lag, that’s almost definitely both your client and the server missing packets from the other player and attempting to guess what’s going to happen. Strange that switch games don’t have it, but it isn’t really possible in a game like smash bros. where there’s a lot of fast player input

Reply to Dewi

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“…speeds up to 3 times faster..” wow that’s impressive. I’ll have to try this out because I’ve experienced the same issue. Thanks for the information 👌😎

Reply to Sebastian Gordon

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Go into the network settings on the switch and change the MTU size to be 1500. Fixes most network issues with WiFi and for me roughly doubled the eshop download speed

Reply to SixSixSevenSeven

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You missed the opportunity to say ‘Nintendo Slouch’ instead of the other silly pun…

Reply to Icestonevulpix

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Powerline adapter does the same job.

Reply to James smith

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Why bother using the rpi if you’re already using a LAN adapter? Just plug into your router.

Reply to Chalter

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How is this better than a USB wifi adapter?

Reply to intel352

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It seems strange to buy a Ethernet adapter and tether yourself to a PI, and then to the wall/battery, rather than to your actual network with the adapter. Or even use the PI as a WiFi extender wired, or as a repeater wireless for your wifi, or sit closer to your WiFi. These all seem less cumbersome, less expensive, and more useful.

Reply to Mark

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I bet the pi has a better Wifi antenna. This makes me wonder if a eth-wifi adapter would work just as well or better. You know, the various wifi devices designed to take older eth only game consoles or other eth only devices and attach them to WiFi (basically standalone devices doing exactly what the Pi is doing in software).

Reply to Ben Pottinger

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What about a ethernet adapter just plugged into the USB 3 port of the dock? That’s what I do. Does Ethernet to USB-C work when plugged into the switch itself? Anyways if your router is near your dock.. still buy a pi just use it for something else. =]

Reply to d0x360

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“Of course, plugging your Switch directly into your internet router would get the fastest results of all.”
Oh…well isn’t that great.
I am directly wired in and I still get lag, pretty bad some times. So basically there’s no fix. Been playing multiplayer games for over a decade now and even with good internet and the wired connection I estimate the best I get is 90-100ms, which is still bad.

Reply to Myeroph

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This looks cool if you’re looking for a better wireless solution while docked but it’s also worth mentioning that there are USB to ethernet adaptors available for the switch which also provide a very stable connection. I used to do this kind of bridging on my netbook back when you had to buy a WiFi adaptor for Xbox 360

Reply to Matthew

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This is way too complicated of a solution for most people. Alot of people are going to look at this for one second and say to themselves that there’s no way they could figure it out and alot of people probably couldn’t. Many people wanting to boost up their switch network speed will read this and will probably ask ” what’s raspberry pie.” And that’s as far as they will get. Most people aren’t comfortable going and buying lan network adaptors, let alone even knowing what one is, and have to download software I make it work. This post sounds like we’re taking about a home P.C. not a wireless gaming console marketed towards children.

Reply to Phillip

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I think it’s great for individuals who have a pi laying around (I know a lot of people who have both a Switch and an unused pi) and don’t want to spend money on a wifi adapter. Also, like the author mentions, often times one’s router is not physically close to their Switch, and they don’t want to mess with a long, inconvenient Ethernet cable. Makers and DIYers like learning about these kind of things just for the experience anyway.

Reply to Hunter

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Thank you , that was actually helpful , exactly the information i needed

Reply to Fred

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If the switch connect with the raspberry pi routers to play the game Super Smash bros is it still lag for connecting WiFi ? And the routers can fix out the switch online problem ?

Reply to nancy

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Excellent work can u send video tutorial

Reply to Sugandhan

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