What is Latency & How You Can Reduce It (All You Need To Know About Latency)

What is Latency & How You Can Reduce it( All You Need To Know About Latency)

Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to be exchanged between a client and a server that is being accessed. Ideally, the latency should be minimal. When the latency levels are high, there will be several delays in the content which will affect your website negatively. In this blog post, you will learn all you need to know about what is latency? and how to reduce it.

What is Latency?

What is Latency?
What is Latency?

Latency is the time required for a signal to travel from its source to its destination. Latency can be affected by many factors, and it’s always measured in milliseconds.

The term latency is sometimes used interchangeably with ping and lag. A high ping means a longer time spent processing data. It results in slower gameplay, and in extreme cases, it can render a game unplayable.

Also, keep in mind that lag refers more generally to any kind of delay during gameplay. Lag might affect your internet connection or even your computer’s performance.

High latency can be caused by several factors, but it’s often due to network congestion and poor routing decisions along the way. If you’re playing an online multiplayer game on your PC and getting pings of hundreds or thousands of milliseconds (ms), you’ll probably want to reduce that as much as possible. You should also pay attention if you’re using your PC for VOIP calls or streaming content online.

What Causes High Latency?

High latency is caused by several factors in a network. The easiest way to explain high latency is that it’s the opposite of low latency. Low latency means that the network can process data quickly, while high latency means it takes longer for data to be processed.

There are many causes of high latency, but the most common are:

Because of the speed of light and the laws of physics, it takes time for data to travel through wires and space. It is a linear relationship: The farther away from data has to travel, the more time it takes. For example, if you have a server in Los Angeles and a client in New York, there is going to be more latency than if you have both in Los Angeles. (The speed of light is not infinite; it takes time for data to travel.)

Speed of light is not infinite

It takes time for data to move from one place to another and in the case of the internet, that time is measured in milliseconds. The distance light can travel through a fiber optic cable is roughly 300,000 kilometers per second. But that is not enough to explain why you experience latency while on a VoIP call or streaming video from Netflix.

Every hop on your journey from point A to point B will add some amount of latency. On average there are 12-15 hops between any two points on the Internet and each one adds about 1ms of latency (more or less). It’s not just the distance light has to travel through cables, it’s also about how efficiently traffic is handled at every juncture.

The capacity of the network along your route matters too. If a link connecting two ISPs has low capacity then traffic cannot get from point A to point B as quickly as it could if there were more bandwidth available. In other words, congestion can cause high latency.

Router congestion

Network routers must process traffic efficiently. If a router isn’t designed correctly or processes traffic incorrectly, then latency will build up because traffic gets stuck in queues waiting for processing. This is similar to when traffic builds upon a highway and cars start slowing down because the number of cars per lane per hour exceeds capacity.

Network congestion

High latency can be caused by several factors. One issue may be the speed of light through fiber, which is about 31 percent slower than vacuum. This may not seem like much, but it can cause problems when dealing with high-frequency signals. The speed of light also becomes an issue when circuits must travel long distances (for example, across countries and continents).

A more common cause of latency is network congestion. Congestion occurs when two or more nodes send messages to each other at the same time, which causes a buffer overflow at one or more of the receivers. Congestion can be handled by employing flow control, error control, or congestion control.

Why Is Latency Bad?

The main reason latency is bad is simple: because we hate waiting.

Most obvious is the impact on user experience. When a page takes too long to load, when an interactive element doesn’t respond right away, when a video pauses to buffer for several seconds, it frustrates people and causes them to abandon what they’re doing and perhaps go elsewhere.

There are other impacts as well. The longer a request takes to complete, the more devices are tied up in the process and unavailable for other tasks. Inbound requests could be delayed or rejected. Applications may not function properly due to lost data or expired sessions.

A prolonged outage can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue.

How Can You Reduce Latency?

How can you reduce latency
How can you reduce latency

There are two primary ways to reduce latency:

  • Use a better Internet connection (e.g., fiber optics). This isn’t always possible or practical; however, it can be worth investigating if you have a choice of providers in your area.
  • Switch to a connection that uses less bandwidth. Fewer bits have to travel across the network to achieve the same task when you use a different type of connection. For example, if you’re using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to upload files to your website, you can switch to Secure Copy Protocol (SCP) instead. SCP uses fewer packets than FTP, so it’s more efficient (and potentially faster). Another way is to use compression technology (e.g., Gzip), which reduces the size of data before it’s transmitted over an Internet connection.

FAQs

The difference between latency and bandwidth

Bandwidth is the maximum rate at which you can download data from the internet to your computer. For example, if you have a 100Mbps connection, it means you can download up to 100 megabits per second. The higher the bandwidth number, the more data can be transferred in a given amount of time.

Latency, on the other hand, refers to how long it takes for data to travel from one point to another. For example, how long does it take for data to leave your computer and reach a website? Latency is often measured in milliseconds (ms) or even microseconds (μs). The lower the number, the better — especially when it comes to online gaming or video conferencing.

What causes latency in video calls?

Latency is the time it takes for a video call to be processed by the software and the Internet. This is usually because of the distance between you and the server or software processing, though some latency occurs from slow hardware or software.

What does latency mean for video games?

For gamers, low latency means faster response times. This can make or break the gaming experience, especially when playing online. Because of constant updates between the game server and your computer, high network latency can cause lag — the delay that occurs when your system struggles to keep up with what’s happening in the game in real-time. In other words, low latency makes for smoother gameplay.

Conclusion

In the end, latency is something we have no control over. However, if you know what is latency & how You Can Reduce it, and what to look for, you can work around it when necessary. Ultimately, your network design will dictate your maximum potential latency. Work closely with your engineers to minimize it and you should see a significant improvement in the quality of your internet service. Enjoy!