how they differ when doing a speed test

What data does a speed test offer?

when we make a internet speed test, mainly the objective is to know what speed reaches us. For example, if we have contracted a new fiber optic rate, we want to know if what we have contracted reaches us. Also to see if the Wi-Fi connection is correct and we get a good download and upload.

However, many speed tests will not only offer the download and upload speed, but we will also see the ping or latency. This is important in certain circumstances, such as playing online games or making a video call. If that ping or latency is too high, we may have problems entering a game server or establishing communication, since everything will be delayed. If the connection is not good, this may be the case.

But in some cases you will see yet another metric: the jitter. It’s something different, but it’s related. It will also be useful to know if that Internet connection is working correctly or it may have a problem and we don’t know it. Sometimes these terms can even be confused, although as you will see they are not exactly the same.

Therefore, whenever you do a speed test you will find different data. Logically the download and upload speed will be present, but you will also see others such as latency or ping and jitter. It is convenient to know at all times what each of them means.

What is ping or latency

First of all, we are going to explain what ping or latency is that we see so much when we do a speed test. Keep in mind that this measurement does appear practically always, while the jitter only appears sometimes. The ping is the time it takes for the sending a packet over the network. It is measured in milliseconds and the higher the number, the worse.

For example, in a video call in which we are using a connection with a high latency, we will see that the image and sound arrive with time delay. It becomes uncomfortable to be able to communicate in this way. Just like in an online game, in which the actions that we carry out will take time to reach the opponents and vice versa.

We can say that a very good ping is the one that falls below 20 ms. Today, thanks to fiber optic connections, this is very common. Surely if you are connected by cable to the router and you have fiber optics, when doing a test you will see results below those 20 ms. On the other hand, if you are connected by Wi-Fi and the connection is more unstable, it will be higher.

The problem mainly starts after 50 ms and it becomes especially difficult to play or make a video call when it exceeds 150 or 200 ms. In those cases, there is something wrong with the connection and we should see what it is. Usually it’s because we have poor wireless coverage.

Therefore, the ping or latency It will measure the time it takes for a data packet to reach its destination. It is the time that will pass from when we start talking in an Internet call, until the other person receives it. It will measure the delay that has been generated.

Keep in mind that some speed tests will measure download latency and also upload latency. You may have different figures, although the ideal is to make an average.

Microsoft is going to improve ping

What is jitter?

On the other hand, when you do some internet speed tests you may see the term jitter. It is another measurement that will help you know if the connection you are using is working correctly or if it has a problem. But what exactly does it consist of? What this measure does is measure delay jitter. Basically it is in charge of measuring the variations in the ping in a period of time.

Ideally, that jitter should be as little as possible. That means there are low fluctuations. That is, the connection is stable and there are no latency spikes. There are no big differences and the ping is correct. Let’s say, for example, that a series of packets are sent and each of them takes exactly the same time to arrive. In that case the jitter will be low. On the other hand, if one packet takes longer than another, there is jitter and therefore it will be high.

Therefore, jitter will be directly related to the delay in sending or receiving packets on the Internet. Each packet is necessary to be able to establish communication on the network, start a game, send a file, open a page… If this fluctuation is high, this whole process will not be correct. We can even have problems and not be able to start a video call or play online. It will be here too measured in milliseconds or ms and the closer to 0 it is, the better.

How to improve ping and jitter

You should keep in mind that it is possible improve both ping and jitter. Both are directly related to the quality of the connection. If you have poor coverage, for example, it is more likely that both values ​​will be higher and you will have problems playing an online game or starting a video call.

One of the tips to improve both ping or latency and jitter is to connect by Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi. This will make your connection more stable and you will have fewer problems that affect the speed and quality of the connection. However, this will not always be possible and you will have to look for other formulas.

This is where devices such as Wi-Fi repeaters, Mesh systems or PLCs come into play. All of them help improve wireless coverage and have a better connection. This way you will prevent latency from being too high and you may also have problems with jitter.

On the other hand, if you connect through a VPN or a proxy, latency and jitter are often high. Always try to find reliable applications that work as well as possible and connect to good servers. Although you will always have a higher ping than if you connect directly to the network, you can prevent it from being excessive.

As you have seen, both terms are related to each other, although they are different. There are some key differences that we can take into account to know what jitter and ping or latency consist of. In this way we can have clearer these concepts that we can find when performing an Internet speed test. Latency measures the time it takes for packets to arrive, while jitter measures the fluctuation in latency.

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