What is a Good Latency?

Feb 16, 2022

Latency measures how much time it takes for your electronic device to respond to an action or activity e.g. when you click on a link.

For most internet users, latency isn't that important. However, it is a big deal for gamers and satellite internet users as it can have a significant impact on these online activities and the user experience.

Here are the main things you need to know about latency, plus tips to help you improve it.

What is Latency?

In simple terms, latency refers to the amount of time it takes a data signal to travel from point A to point B and then return to point A again.

In scientific terms, latency is a function of time, distance and the speed of light. The speed of light in the air is slightly slower than in a vacuum and this small delay is called latency.

Latency is commonly used in gaming to describe the average time that it takes a gaming device to send data to the corresponding server, and then back to the device again. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms), so if latency is "70ms" then it will take 70 milliseconds for your gaming device to respond to a request from the hosting server.

How is Latency Different from Bandwidth?

The main difference between bandwidth and latency is what they are measuring. Bandwidth measures how much data can be transferred from one point in the network to another while latency measures the delay in moving that data.

Latency vs Bandwidth

Bandwidth and latency are relatable terms, but there are some key differences that you should be aware of. One of these is likely to be more important depending on your online activities and goals.

Bandwidth is crucial when you need to move large files. Whereas latency becomes essential if you need those files to arrive 'on time.' A Zoom Video with audio delays is an example of poor latency. Check out this article by Guiding Tech for advice on how to fix this common latency issue.

What is a Good Latency?

According to Optimum, optimal latency in gaming is typically between 20ms and 40ms although anything up to 100ms is considered 'good.' The lower your latency the better your gaming experience will be. Whereas, high latency can cause frustrating connectivity issues such as continuous buffering and slow gameplay running.

What Affects Latency?

There are several things that can affect latency. This includes:

Distance

The further you are from the server hosting the website, the greater the latency as it'll take longer for information to be sent from there to your computer and back.

Connection

Your internet connection type will also affect how high or low your latency is. Cable, DSL, and fibre internet usually have lower latency, while satellite internet typically has a higher latency.

Congestion

Latency usually works hand in hand with bandwidth and other network congestion issues. If your network is congested, then your data will have to wait longer to get through so you will experience higher latency and internet delays.

Router

An old, slow router can harm your internet connection and reduce your internet download and upload speeds, especially if you have a lot of people and devices connected to your router at the same time.

How do you fix high latency?

There are several things you can do to reduce your latency and avoid the frustration of delays. Using a wired connection can enhance your internet connection and lower your latency as wireless data can become lost or rerouted while transmitting resulting in delays.

Increasing your internet bandwidth is another way to reduce your latency as it will help your device transfer data faster and more efficiently. You could also try restarting your network hardware to see if this minimises internet signal delays and lowers your latency.

Upgrading to a new router may also reduce your latency, but it's unlikely to have a massive impact.

Upgrade your Network

If you play games or use satellite internet, then latency can have a big impact on your online experience. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve your latency and enhance your user experience.

Get in touch with the experts at Netomnia if you would like to discuss upgrading your network to improve your latency and enhance your internet connection.