You must have often come across the term latency which people around generally use but are we aware of what exactly is latency? Well, while we speak of what is network latency, then latency simply is the term that is often used for representing any sort of delay that might occur at the time of data communication over the network.
Measured in milliseconds Latency during the speed tests is often referred to as a ping rate.
Low-latency networks refer to the network connections that experience a short delay while the network connections that witness longer delays are identified as high-latency networks.
As far as possible it is undoubtedly desirable for the network latency to remain closer to 0. A lot of obstruction is created in the network connection due to High latency. It inhibits the data from taking any kind of advantage of the network pipe and thus decreases the communication bandwidth considerably. The effect of latency on the network bandwidth can last longer or based on the source of delays it can be even temporary.
What is Good Latency?
Just like bandwidth or anything associated with the Internet a good figure for latency is relative. In practice, the measure of time between the user action and response received to this action from the required website or application is termed as Latency.
For instance, while a link is clicked by the user on a webpage and is displayed by the browser then, the delay between displaying and this clicking of the page is termed as the measure of the latency. To answer the question that what is a good latency would be easier when you know what are you going to use the Internet for?
Generally, latency under 100ms is considered to be reasonable. If you want to play games, especially the first-person driving or the shooter’s game then you might expect the latency to be lesser than 50ms and to be even better it should be less than around 30ms.
What is the cause of network Latency?
Latency obviously should remain as closer to 0 if possible, however, there might be certain things that may lead to greater latency times. Let us have a look at some of these:
One of the major factors that lead to network latency is distance. To be more specific and precise it is the distance amongst the client devices that sends requests and the servers that respond to such requests.
In order to understand this let us take an example i.e. if a website is hosted at a data center in Columbus then Ohio would respond quickly within 10-15ms to the requests that have been made by the users of Cincinnati located 100 miles away in comparison to the users of Los Angeles as it is 2200 miles away and thus comes across considerably longer delays i.e. about 50ms.
The farther you are from the satellite connection, ISP, Hub the longer it would take for the information to be transferred.
Congestion affects in the way as the bandwidth does i.e. the smaller is the bandwidth connection the greater is the congestion in the network i.e. you experience much slower Internet with considerably decreased latency.
Although an increase of some milliseconds in latency measure might not seem to be much yet it is constituted by the back and forth communication which is significant for both the server as well as the client to establish a connection or any issue related to the network equipment via data passes and the entire size as well as the load time of the page.
When the client makes a request then the amount of time needed for the response reaches a client device known as the round trip time or RTT.
Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
Data that traverses across the internet generally cross multiple networks and not just one. The greater is the number of networks through which the HTTP response needs to pass through, the greater is the chance of delay.
For Example: When the data packets traverse via networks, they pass through the Internet Exchange Points i.e. IXPs. At this point, the routers are required to process as well as route the data packets and at specific times the routers might be required to break those into smaller packets, and all these might further add a few milliseconds to the RTT.
The Webpage Construction
The way the web pages have been constructed is also sometimes responsible for the slower performance. Few web pages feature an increased amount of heavier content or might even load content from various third parties and then show a sluggish performance because in this particular case, it is required for the browsers to download heavier files in order to display the same.
How to decrease Latency?
Below listed are some of the ways to decrease latency time:
Usage of CDN or Content Delivery Network:
One of the major steps taken to decrease latency is the usage of CDN. Content Delivery Network reduces the RTT and catches the static content. CDN servers are distributed in various locations with the purpose to store the content near to the end-users in order to decrease the distance for so that the data travels and reaches them in no time. Therefore, it assists in loading the webpage quickly while improving the speed and performance of the website.
Perceived Latency can be reduced by strategically loading certain assets first
For the users to begin interaction even before the page loads completely, the webpage at first can be configured for loading above-the-fold area of the pages. The webpages might also load the assets the way it is needed, by utilizing a technique of lazy loading. These approaches actually do not improve the latency instead these improve the user’s perception in the direction of the speed of the page.
How to fix Latency at the user’s end?
The issue of network latency in most of the cases does not come from the server instead it comes from the user’s end. Although purchasing an internet connection plan with increased or higher bandwidth does not guarantee the performance of a website, the consumers tend to buy bandwidth in case latency proves to be the constant issue. However, switching to the usage of Ethernet instead of WiFi will result in a much more consistent internet connection as compared to WiFi. The users must ensure that their internet equipment is up to date before applying the firmware updates, and should also replace the equipment if required to do so.
The relation between throughput, Network Latency and bandwidth
Network latency, bandwidth, and throughput are used to measure varied things but all are correlated.
The amount of data that passes through a network within a particular time is referred to as bandwidth.
Throughput refers to the average amount of data that actually passes over that network within a specific time. It is affected by the latency. It is not necessarily equal to the bandwidth.
Latency, however, is not the data downloaded at a particular time instead it is the measurement of time.
I hope this piece of information has helped the readers understand what is latency, how to minimize the latency, why is it caused? And More. Latency is an essential part of the networking ecosystem today which cannot be eradicated completely, however it can be reduced. The suggestions stated above can assist you in decreasing the website’s latency and assist them to improve the time required to load pages. After all the Internet speed currently is important and any alteration in milliseconds of latency might impact the million dollars of profit gained or lost.