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Glossary

Latency

Latency is the amount of time that passes between an action and a web application's response to that action due to network congestion or network distance.

What is latency?

Latency is the amount of time that passes between an action and a web application's response to that action. For example, if a user clicks on a CTA on a landing page the amount of time it takes for something to happen is latency. In a webinar or video meeting, latency issues are one of the very first causes of robotic sounds and audio issues during the live session and replay.

Latency vs bandwidth

Although bandwidth and latency are sometimes used interchangeably, they are two different concepts. Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. Bandwidth is how much data can be sent at a given time.

What factors impact latency?

Latency is impacted by the distance between network interfaces and network congestion. It is impacted by:

  • Distance between networks
  • Network congestion
  • Packet loss

Distance between networks

If client devices are located far apart network response times will be slower. These slower network speeds extend the Round-trip time or RTT. RTT is the time it takes for a network request to go from a starting point to a destination, and then back again to the starting point. If x is the latency from A to B and y is the latency from B to A, then the RTT is calculated as x + y.

Network congestion

Network congestion is related to bandwidth. The more congested the bandwidth is, the slower the RTT, and the higher the latency.

Packet loss

Data that is sent through the internet is called a packet. When these packets fail to reach their destination it is considered packet loss.

Packet loss could be due to the following reasons:

  1. On mobile and wireless networks, it can be common in high interference areas (imagine a small apartment building with tons and tons of wifi routers).
  2. Other types of interference can also be problematic - being too far from the router or the signal having to pass through too many walls or the bandwidth division among connected devices.

Sometimes this happens further upstream with the ISP. If they are facing a problem or are performing maintenance, that can also affect packet loss.

Troubleshooting connection issues

The best webinar software will have a way for users to check if their connection is stable, and troubleshoot any problems. Running connection tests before presenting will avoid any issues with latency.

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