Whether you’re an avid gamer, who spends a lot of time playing online games or you like to stream your favourite movies and TV shows or engage in other bandwidth-intensive activities, ensuring that you’re able to test latency is super important for the smooth operation of your devices.
And in case you have no idea, latency is a very common jargon in the internet space. It usually means a delay in the process of network data. While this is a surface definition, we will give you a more detailed definition shortly.
In the internet space, when there is high latency, your connection is bound to experience significant delays. On the flip side, low latency means that your connection is performing exceptionally well.
Also, keep in mind that while the bandwidth being delivered to your home is somewhat fixed, the internet speeds you experience can vary based on the level of latency on your connection.
What is latency?
Latency is usually the time that passes between an action and a corresponding response. In terms of network, latency refers to the delays that happen within a network or on the internet.
To give you a very clear picture, latency is essentially the time taken for a user’s action to get a corresponding response from, let’s say, a website or an app been used.
For instance, the delay that happens between when you click a link to a webpage and when the browser opens the corresponding web page.
While data on internet travel at lightning speed, distance, and delays triggered by hardware equipment, means that you can’t eliminate latency. That said, you can minimize latency.
The thing is, a high latency usually affects a lot of things, including website performance, gaming, streaming, and other bandwidth activities.
What causes latency?
While there are many causes of internet latency, the most common factors include excessive internet usage during peak hours, slow server response, which is usually the fault of the website operator, and of course, weather and other natural interference, which can significantly cause performance issues on the network.
The most likely reason why internet users experience slow network during peak hours is that they share the same bandwidth pipe with thousands of customers in the same region.
What is low latency internet?
When it comes to streaming, fast online gaming speeds, and other bandwidth-intensive activities, low latency means a glass-to-glass delay of five seconds or less. Low latency is usually recommended for hassle-free online gaming and streaming.
So if you spend the bulk of your time streaming and playing your favourite online games, you should be aiming for low latency.
What is high latency internet?
While low latency is recommended for hassle-free online activities, high latency is the complete opposite. When high latency occurs, you’ll generally experience significant delays.
With high latency, you’ll experience bottlenecks that effectively prevents data from filling the network pipe.
Depending on the source of the delays, the impact of latency on your network can be temporary or persistent, so you need to figure out why you’re experiencing high latency and resolve it.
How to check your internet speed
If you are currently experiencing considerable latency on your network connection, your best bet will be to use a reliable tool to measure your network speed.
Thankfully, there are many online internet speed test tools out there you can use to explore your internet speed. To get the best information, you’ll have to use a responsive tool that works in all environments, including smartphones, traditional computers, tablets, and other devices.
To be specific, we suggest you go for a tool that you don’t have to worry about compatibility.
If from your speed test you discover that your internet speed runs lower than what your preferred internet provider advertises, you’ll need to reach out to your provider and ask them to test the internet latency from their end.
Once they are able to figure that out, they should be able to make the necessary adjustment to ensure that your network is able to reach the advertised speeds.
How to improve latency
If you’re struggling with high latency, there are many things you can do to improve latency so that you can get back to enjoying a hassle-free internet experience. Read on to find all the options available to improve latency.
Move closer to your router
If you’re experiencing high latency, which prevents you from enjoying your favourite online games or streaming your favourite movies, we suggest you move closer to your router. Doing this will no doubt improve latency.
Close background websites and apps
There is no doubt that bandwidth-heavy websites like Netflix and YouTube use up a large chunk of your data. Plus, they can affect your ping rate and latency. Thankfully, closing these background websites and apps can significantly improve latency.
Also, reducing the number of devices connected to your Wi-Fi can help.
Connect your devices using Ethernet
While many people enjoy the seamless connectivity that Wi-Fi offers, you should consider using wired connections instead of Wi-Fi when you’re dealing with high latency. That’s because wired connection helps to improve latency.
Restart your router
If you’re struggling with high latency, you should consider restarting your router to improve latency.
Frequently asked questions
How do I check my Internet latency?
To check for latency using online internet speed test tools, follow these steps:
- Start by clicking the launch Bandwidth Tester icon.
- Proceed to enter a value between 1-500
- Tap the Test Latency option
- Review the result provided in the report field.
Is 20ms latency good?
If you have a ping value of 20 ms or less, then you have an excellent latency rate. For gaming, any ping rate from 20 to 100 ms is okay for gaming.
Can latency affect my gaming experience?
When it comes to gaming, latency is a big deal. If you have high latency, then you may be unable to play your favourite games. On the flip side, low latency is excellent for gaming and other online activities.