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Majority of us have heard the term latency that is being used by people around but does we know what is latency exactly? Well, when we speak of what is network latency, then it is simply the term often used to indicate any sort of delay that occurs during data communication over the network.

Latency is measured in milliseconds. It is often referred to as a ping rate during the speed tests.

The network connections where short delay occurs are referred to as the low-latency networks while the network connections that undergo longer delays are known to be high-latency networks.

It is obviously desirable that the network latency should remain closer to 0 as far as possible. High latency creates a lot of obstruction in network communication.

It prevents the data from taking advantage of the network pipe and considerably reduces the communication bandwidth. The impact of latency on network bandwidth can persist for long or can be even temporary based on the source of delays.

What is the cause of network Latency?

It is obviously desired for the latency to remain as close to 0 as possible, however, there may be a few things that lead to higher latency times. Let us see some of these:

Distance: One of the major causes of the network latency is distance, to be more specific it is the distance between the client devices that make requests and the servers that respond to those requests.

To understand this let us consider an example i.e. a website hosted at a data center in Columbus, Ohio would give a quicker response within 10-15ms to the requests made by the users in Cincinnati that is 100 miles away as compared to the users in Los Angeles which is 2200 miles away and comes across longer delays i.e. about 50ms.

The farther you are from the ISP, Hub, satellite connection the longer it takes for the information to be transferred.

Congestion: This is similar to the bandwidth i.e. the smaller is your bandwidth connection the more is the network congestion i.e. you experience slower Internet with low latency.

An increase in few milliseconds of latency measure may not seem to be much but it is constituted by all the back and forth communication important for both the server and client to establish a connection, any issue with the network equipment through which the data passes and the total size and the load time of the page.

When the client places request the amount of time required for the response reach a client device is called as the RTT or round trip time.

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs): Data traversing across the internet generally crosses not only one but multiple networks. The more the number of networks that the HTTP response has to pass through, the more is the chance of delay.

For Example:  When the data packets traverse through the networks, they pass via Internet Exchange Points i.e. IXPs. There, the routers need to process and route the data packets and at times the routers may need to break those into smaller packets, and all of these add some milliseconds to RTT.

The Webpage Construction

The slower performance sometimes is also due to the way the webpages have been constructed. Some of the web pages are featured with an increased amount of heavy content or even load content from several third parties might show a sluggish performance, as in this case the browsers are required to download larger files to display those.

How to reduce Latency?

Here are some of the ways to reduce latency time:

Use of CDN (Content Delivery Network):

Using CDN is one of the major steps taken to reduce latency. CDN caches the static content and reduces the RTT. CDN servers are distributed in several locations in order to store the content closer to the end users so as to reduce the distance for the data to travel and reach them within no time. Thus, this helps loading webpage quickly and improves the website speed and performance.

Code Minification

The web developers can reduce the number of render-blocking resources, reduce file size wherever possible and optimize the images to load faster. To reduce the size of the JavaScript and CSS files the Code minification can be done.

Perceived Latency can be reduced by strategically loading certain assets first

The webpage can be configured to load the above-the-fold area of the pages at first for the users to start interaction even before the page loads completely.

The webpages may also load the assets as required, by using a technique of lazy loading. These approaches don’t really improve the latency instead it improves the user’s perception towards the page of speed.

How to fix Latency at the user’s end?

Most of the times, the issue of network latency comes from the user’s side and not the server.  Though purchasing increased or more bandwidth does not guarantee for the website performance, yet consumers tend to purchase bandwidth in case latency is the consistent issue.

However, switching onto the use of Ethernet rather than WiFi would comparatively result in a more consistent internet connection.

Applying the firmware updates, the users must ensure that their internet equipment is up to date and must also replace the equipment if necessary.

The relation between Network Latency, throughput and bandwidth

Network latency, throughput, and bandwidth are all correlated but are used to measure different things.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that passes through a network in a given time.

The average amount of data that actually passes over that network in a given time frame is termed as throughput. It is affected by latency and is necessarily not equivalent to the bandwidth.

However, Latency refers to the measurement of time and not the data downloaded at a particular time.

Summary

This post has hopefully helped the readers understand what is latency; it causes and how to minimize the latency. Latency is an important part of the networking ecosystem today that cannot be eliminated completely, however it can be minimized.

The suggestions listed above can help you in reducing the website’s latency and help them enhance the time taken to load pages. After all the significance of Internet speed, today is important and changes in milliseconds of latency may impact the million dollars profit gained or lost.

About Test My Internet Speed

Test My Internet Speed is a website dedicated to performing internet speed tests for the various network connections. It has been offering free bandwidth speed test.

The website works well in all the web browsers without any plugins and is quite easy to use. The internet speed test at tesmyinternetspeed.org provides exclusive result displaying the statistics about your bandwidth that is rare to find with other speed tests.

The internet speed test results obtained at Test My Internet Speed have illustrated in a such a way that it is easy to understand and possibly allows you to compare the results of your network speed to other users of the same ISP, other testers as well as other people in your city.

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More about Test My Internet Speed

  • Test My Internet Speed Test’s speed test can be made to run on both PC as well as mobile web browsers because it makes use of HTML5 instead of Flash or Java.
  • One of the best features of Test My Internet Speed is that it records the results obtained for every speed test in its database that can be helpful for you to compare the results and also see the users, cities, ISPs, and countries with fastest internet speeds in the most recent times.
  • The speed test check at testmyinternetspeed.org allows you to run upload speed test or download speed test individually or you can also combine both with the Automatic speed test servers that Test My Internet Speed uses and is located in Asia, North America, Australia, and Europe.
  • You have the choice either to set any of the servers as default or you may use some or all of those with this multithread speed test.