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Dated: Nov. 22, 2013

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Networking In General

Network latency is a term used for stating the time it takes for information to travel for the sender to the recipient. It is always present, even in the smallest amounts, but that amount depends on a lot of factors. Network latency is more commonly known by the name lag.

The Internet must abide the laws of physics

The laws of physics come into play here. If you a basic understanding of physics, and the world, you will know that nothing can travel faster than light. The same goes for Internet traffic. Over small distances this is unperceivable, but on greater distances it can cause delays. But, the speed of light can't be achieved because of the use of cables and because of refraction. This makes the speed of the signal significantly less than the speed of light, even when using optical cables.What causes lag?

Latency measures

But, there are always other factors that slow the signal down even more. Various issues and interferences can affect Internet speed greatly. This depends a lot on the devices that are being used, but it also depends on the type of network that is being used. A recent study has shown what the common network latency measures are. For fiber optic the usual latency is somewhere around 18 milliseconds, for DSL it is 44, for satellite networks it is 638 milliseconds and for cable Internet it is 26 milliseconds.

What causes latency on your network?

The values you have seen above are not constant, which means they vary greatly as time passes. Considering the fact that the smallest amounts of latency increase slow your connection considerable down, you should do everything to decrease it. There are several causes, and you should try your best to avoid them.

Time of the day affects latency

The time of day has great effect on the speed of your connection. The time when most people use the Internet is the time when you will encounter the most latency. Unfortunately, you can't don anything here.

Server overload

Almost the same as the point above, it is just server overload. When a huge number of people visit a certain web site it can slow down or even crash.

Bad weather can cause high latency

This is pretty obvious. If there are thunderstorms, it rains heavily or a blizzard is happening, it is normal that your network won't be as fast as usual.

If this text has made you think about network latency, you can read our article about general Network Latency.

Visit us tomorrow to read the second part of this article about the causes of lag in networks.

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