Latency

Information about Latency

You have been directed to this page because we have identified that your Internet Connection is having High Latency issues.

Description of Latency

Latency is the time it takes data to travel from your computer, to a destination, and then back again. Think of it like a work commute with your home being the base and work being your destination. Latency would be the time it takes you to get to work and back home again.

Low Latency is the ideal situation. That would be like you getting to work without hitting stoplights and experiencing no traffic.

High Latency is obviously not a good thing, it would be like hitting every traffic light as red and nothing but traffic on your commute to work and back.

Your work applications require a relatively fast and stable connection. When these speeds slow down too far (High Latency), you will start to experience connection issues.

Symptoms of High Latency

  • Delay in getting applications to respond
  • Long login time
  • Delay in launching/opening applications
  • Delay in navigating within an application
  • Disconnect/Reconnect and Time-Out messages
  • Typing Delay – i.e. you type in chat and it seems to take longer for the post to appear in the room

Latency Parameters

We suggest aPing Test to see what your latency is. Once you complete the test and send us the results, here are the guidelines we use:

Average Round Trip

  • 100ms or less: Ideal
  • 100-150ms: Borderline
  • 150+ ms: High Latency

We will also take a look at your Maximum Round Trip time as well and then compare it to the description of your issue. If you are having occasional times where you get delay or a timed-out message and we see a high number for your Maximum Round Trip time, then these results would match up with your issue.

Suggested Troubleshooting Steps

Many factors can affect latency, here are some suggestions that you can try before contacting your ISP:

  1. Other PC’s – If you have other PC’s on and connected to your Modem or Router, turn them off. Then, retest your connection. If there is no change in speed, than the other PC’s are not an issue. If your speed got better, consider these items:
    • Online gaming uses a lot of bandwidth. If someone is playing games on another PC it could definitely affect your speeds.
    • Viruses/Trojans/Malware – These infections can sometimes use your connection without you even knowing.
    • File Sharing – This uses a log of bandwidth as well. If file sharing (sharing music, games, files, etc) is being used on another PC, turn it off. Also, the PC doesn’t have to have someone using it for this time happen. Many filesharing applications run in the background on their own.
    • Online Videos – Streaming video through the internet uses a lot of bandwidth. If someone is streaming videos while you work, it could affect your speeds as well.
  2. Online Console Gaming – If you have a console game (like Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo) and games are being played online, try turning the console off and restest. If your speed gets better, than be sure that the console isn’t being used while you work.
  3. Power Cycle your Modem and/or Router. Modems and routers are like mini-PC’s and, just like your PC, sometimes need a clean reboot to keep them running in top shape. To do a correct Power Cycle, follow these steps:
    • Power of your PC (shutdown, not restart)
    • If you have a router, unplug the power to your router.
    • Unplug the power to your Modem. Be sure that once you do this, all of the lights on the front of the modem turn off. If they don’t, your modem has a battery. In order to power off the modem, you will need to also slide out the battery and then put it back in.
    • Wait 60 seconds
    • Plug the power into your modem only. Wait for all of the lights to come back on before continuing to the next step.
    • If you have a router, plug the power back into it. Wait for all of the lights to come back on before continuing to the next step.
    • Power on your PC, boot to Windows and ensure you have a connection to the internet by browsing to several different websites.
    • Re-test your speed. If it got better, than it just means that your Modem and/or Router needed a refresh. This is normal and not a symptom of an issue unless it starts occuring with frequency. If you need to Power Cycle more frequent than you used to, it may be a sign that your Modem or Router are going bad.

If none of the above help, than it is best that you contact your ISP next. Providing evidence and details of your issue are a key step to achieving a positive resolution from your ISP. Don’t just tell them “my connection is slow” because you may not get the response from your ISP that you would like. Instead, tell them “I am having latency of XXX miliseconds” and then detail the troubleshooting you did prior to contacting them.

More Information

For more information: About.com, Bandwidth.com (article refers to VoIP paramters which are very similar to ours)

Remo Moroni has written 15 articles