Speed, Latency, and Jitter Explained

You just had Ting fiber internet installed, and our technician ran a speed test to show you exactly how fast it is.

Speed Test Numbers 

Here is an example of a SpeedTest along with definitions of the measurements and related terminology.

Image of Ting SpeedTest.

Download | The speed at which you can receive information from the internet.
Upload | The speed at which you can send information out to the internet.
Ping | The time it takes for a server to respond to a request from you and then back to you.
Jitter |    The variation in that ping means the level of consistency.
Latency |  The time delay between sending a request over the internet & receiving a response.

Download and Upload Speeds

Speed is how fast you download or upload information. Downloading is receiving information, and uploading is sending information. When you stream a movie, you're downloading it from the internet.

When you post photos on social media, you're uploading them.

Measured in Mbps and Gbps

Speed is commonly measured in Megabits per second or Mbps. The higher the Mbps, the faster you can send or receive data. For instance, a 5 Mbps connection from Ting, which uses fiber optics, is just as fast as a 5 Mbps connection from a cable or DSL provider. Therefore, when comparing Ting's services to those of other providers, it's important to know the Mbps offered in their packages.

Also, 1000 Mbps (megabits per second) is also referred to as 1 Gbps (Gigabits per second), which is what Ting primarily offers: a 1 Gigabit per second connection, commonly shortened to Gigabit.

Ting compared to its competitors

Ting Internet is pretty fast and we're confident in saying that. It uses fiber optics from end to end, which is faster and more reliable than the aging copper wiring that other providers may use. Fiber is designed specifically for the Internet!

One of the biggest advantages of Ting is that it offers symmetrical Gigabit, which means you get the same download speed as upload speed, unlike virtually all other providers that offer an asymmetric connection where uploading is significantly slower than downloading. For instance, a common non-Ting plan provides 25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, which means that you can send information out only five times slower than you can receive information.

In contrast, Ting's plan offers 1000 Mbps download and 1000 Mbps upload speed, which is symmetrical Gigabit and incredibly fast.

What does this number mean in the real world?

Everyone uses the internet a little bit differently, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer. However, as a general guideline, multiply the following examples by the number of users who may use the services simultaneously in your household or business. 

- Packet transmission overhead. Each packet transmission has a small amount of overhead, so the real-world limit of a 1000 Mbps transmission is about 940 Mbps. 
- Modern Wi-Fi technology is not as fast as a wired connection. In the best-case scenarios, you can expect up to 400Mbps over Wi-Fi. However, speeds ranging from 100 to 200 Mbps are more common. 

  • To browse modern web pages smoothly, having 3 Mbps or more does the trick. However, you need faster speeds if the page is heavily loaded with images and media content. Also, keep in mind that your device's processing power can affect your browsing speed. For example, an older machine may lag behind even on a faster internet connection.

  • For stable video streaming, you generally need 3 Mbps for non-HD content, 10 Mbps for HD, and 30 Mbps for 4K. As resolutions continue to increase, we'll all need faster speeds to play videos and movies.

    Check the speed recommendations for these popular services:

  • This would be the general downloading and uploading of files. There is no minimum required speed for downloading and uploading files, but having more bandwidth can make the process faster.

  • Contrary to popular belief, online gaming doesn't require lightning-fast internet speed. Instead, low latency is more important for a smooth gaming experience. However, having a faster connection can help you download games quicker but won't affect your gameplay.

Latency

Latency is the time delay between the user's action and the page starting to load. It's the time it takes for a request to travel from the user to the destination server and back. Lower latency is desirable, but it's not always in the user's control, as the farther the server is, the more latency there is.

  • Latency is measured in milliseconds. And a lower latency results in faster response times.
  • Ping measures round-trip latency. The time it takes for a request to reach the server and for its response to travel back to the user.
  • Latency under 100ms is acceptable, while under 50ms is ideal. Internet providers offer 30-50ms latency to most services in North America, but it varies depending on various factors. Slightly inflated latency doesn't affect most activities, but lower latency is always better.
  • Activities that require quick reflexes require low latency. They include online gaming, live streaming, online stick market activities, and video conferencing.

Minimizing latency

Ethernet is the best way to reduce latency if possible, since Wi-Fi can cause high latency due to air travel, especially on the 2.4 GHz band. 

Most game consoles only support 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, which is heavily congested. Therefore, it's recommended to use Ethernet for these devices. For online games, choosing a game server near your physical location often helps, but most game services do this for you automatically.

Jitter

Internet jitter refers to the variation in the delay of network packets as they move across the internet. Minimizing it is crucial for a smooth internet connection.

  • Jitter is measured in milliseconds (ms).
  • Low jitter is when the latency is relatively stable from packet to packet.
  • High jitter is when there are random spikes between packets. High jitter can lead to occasional stuttering in online gaming, choppy audio or video, lag, and poor user experience.

Most everyday tasks are unlikely to be affected, even if you experience some jitter.

  • Here's an example where five packets are sent. In example A, the latency is consistent. In B, two of the five packets had latencies above the norm, resulting in jitter. 

    5 packets are sent. This is how long each took to transmit round-trip.
    Example A Example B
    3ms 3ms
    4ms 41ms
    4ms 5ms
    3ms 4ms
    4ms 56ms
    Result: Little to no jitter  Result: Jitter is present

Minimizing jitter

Here are some tips to minimize jitter.

  1. Wait. Sometimes, slow internet speeds can be caused by a heavy load on the server. Give it some time, and the issue may resolve itself.
  2. Use an Ethernet cable whenever possible. This will provide a more stable and reliable connection.
  3. If Wi-Fi is your only option, choose the 5 GHz band. Also, try to move closer to your router to minimize transmission distance, noise, and signal loss.
  4. Restart your wireless router. It will automatically reconnect to the least congested channel available, which can improve your internet speed.

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