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Whether you’re playing online games, streaming online video, or engaging in other bandwidth-intensive activities, ensuring that you can test internet latency is vital for the smooth operation of your computer. Latency is a delay in the processing of network data. In the industry, high latency means that a connection experiences significant delays, while low latency means that the connection is performing fairly well. It is important to note that while the bandwidth going into your home is technically fixed, the actual internet speeds you experience will vary based on the level of latency on your connection.
Common Causes of Latency
The most common causes of internet latency include excessive internet usage during peak times, slow servers on the end of the website operator, and weather and other natural interference that can trigger performance issues on the network. The reason your internet might be slower during peak hours is that you’re sharing a massive bandwidth pipe with all the customers in a region. In fact, the reason many rural areas still rely on dial-up connections is that the regions don’t have enough subscribers to justify the investment.
As internet speeds have improved, many internet providers have been scrambling to upgrade their infrastructure to support the demands of the consumer. Unfortunately, between deteriorating copper/fiber and exponentially increasing usage, internet latency is a significant issue in today’s society.
How to Test Your Internet Speed
If you feel that you are experiencing significant latency on your network connections, your best course of action is to use an internet speed test tool to measure your network speed. In particular, you will want to use a responsive tool because that means you will be able to run the exact same tool on smartphones, tablets, and traditional computers without needing to worry about compatibility. If your internet speeds turn out to be lower than what your service provider advertises, you will need to contact your provider and have them test internet latency from their end.
Once the test is complete, the provider will then make the needed adjustments to ensure that your portion of the network is able to reach the advertised speeds.
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.