High latency and low landwidth – Red flags for web performance

Photo: Google class

There are certain ‘Yes’s’ and ‘No’s when it comes to running a fully functional website. One of the major no’s are certainly low bandwidth and high latency. To see which one is more fatal and crippling for a website, the first thing to consider would be what high latency and low bandwidth is.

When it comes to bandwidth, most people are under the assumption that bandwidth is internet speed. This is mainly because internet service providers (ISPs) claim they have a fast ‘50Mbps connection’ in their advertising campaigns. But in reality, true internet speed is the amount of data received every second and latency plays a major role in this as well.

Latency, which is also referred to as ping rate, simply means the delays typically incurred in processing of network data, the most obvious delay being the time it takes for a packet of data to go from a user’s computer to the website server they are visiting and back (round-trip-time or RTT). A so-called low latency network connection is one that generally experiences small delay times, whereas a high latency connection generally suffers from long delays. Latency is typically measured in milliseconds (ms).

The effect of bottlenecks created by excessive latency on network bandwidth can either be temporary (lasting a few seconds) or be persistent (constant) depending on the source of the delays.

It is easier to refer to latency as a road where a high latency means a longer road. The longer the road, the longer it takes to travel. Similarly we can refer to bandwidth as the width of the road. The wider the road, the more traffic that will be able to travel on it at once. As opposed to latency, a higher bandwidth is preferred so that more traffic can be accumulated on it at once.

There are many confounding factors that affect both latency and bandwidth. Some of the factors affecting latency includes the type of connection, distance from the server and width of bandwidth. Connection is impacted by the type of service used to access the internet. The shorter the distance between the user and the server, the faster the information is received and as for bandwidth, a smaller width may lead to congestion which would result in a slow internet.

There are many factors which affect bandwidth itself as well. Bandwidth Issues can almost always be traced to one or two specific activities. These activities almost always highlight two characteristics: large amounts of data, and extended duration. Common activities causing bandwidth problems include watching videos on internet, large file transfers, constant stream of data and downloading files from the internet. All of these contribute greatly to problems with bandwidth and must be done when there is light network traffic.

Even though low latencies and high bandwidth is ideal way to go, low latency has a much more impact on loading times than bandwidth. At low latencies the data transfer is almost unnoticeable but as the latency increases more of a delay is noticed.


Source: Global Dots