Let’s start by talking about ping, latency, and its peaks. We will also talk that, depending on the activity we are doing, it can be more or less annoying. Then we will continue to offer some solutions to avoid latency spikes.
Ping, latency, and their latency spikes
Ping and latency are two elements that have a very close relationship and that have a great influence on our connection. Thus, the network latency We could define it as the time delays that we have within a network. This delay will be produced by the delay in the propagation and transmission of packets within a network. Regarding the factors that influence so that we have a lower or higher latency, both the size of the packets sent and the buffers of the equipment intervene.
In that sense, to measure latency we can use the typical Ping which measures in milliseconds and whose abbreviation is ms. As you can see, they are two closely related concepts. Thus, the moment we ping we send a message ICMP Echo Request to the destination host, and when the destination server receives it, it sends a reply. That answer that he emits is made with a message ICMP Echo Reply.
For that reason, when you occasionally increase the Ping with high values, that wants to decide that we have high latency spikes. So, at that moment that service that we are using works slow or we cannot use it.
In latency, an important element is delay. Another concept that we may be interested in knowing is the Jitter or delay jitterWhich refers to the temporal variability during the sending of digital signals, a slight deviation from the accuracy of the clock signal. The Jitter it is often viewed as an unwanted noise signal. In this case, it would affect the execution time of the packages in which we would suffer a delay that can become very annoying, as we will see below.
Ping and high latency spikes based on activity
Surfing the Internet and using email are two of the things we use the most. In case of high latency peaks, unless it is very exaggerated, we could continue using these services. That does not mean that we cannot carry out these activities, but it does mean that we will have a more or less annoying delay. This will, for example, take longer to load web pages or our email.
However, there are a series of activities, for which it is essential to have a low ping to be able to enjoy them, such as:
- IP telephony
- The online game
- Internet radio
- The streaming video from YouTube, or from a payment platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or HBO
- Video call
In case of high latency peaks we find that, for example, in a streaming video the audio does not coincide with the video. In the online game you see the opponent’s movements too late and you cannot do anything, it is what is known as LAG. These delays, the more pronounced they are, the more negatively they will affect our experience. Therefore, we will have a ping so high that it will not allow us to use these services properly.
Check the status of our Internet connection
An example that we could use to check the latency of our connection is to ping one of the most popular DNS servers. We could use Google’s with IP 184.108.40.206 or CloudFlare’s with 220.127.116.11. To do this in Windows we are going to Start Menu, CMD more enter and we use the Ping command adding the IP that we are going to use.
Here’s an example of PING a Cloudflare DNS:
In relation to the results obtained, the lower the ping, the better it will be for us. Thus, at the moment that the Ping occasionally increases with high values that wants to decide that we have high latency spikes. To avoid problems with those game servers, streaming servers, and making video calls, we need the Ping to have certain values. Therefore, recommendable is to have a ping less than 50 milliseconds. A good ping would be between 20 and 50, and if we can lower than 20ms it would be the Ideal situation.
Moreover, from 70 or 80 ping, we are already to the limit, and when it is exceeded, we will start to have more serious problems.
What can cause high latency spikes
On many occasions we have a high latency because in the place where we are located we have a poor Wi-Fi coverage. Some examples that can cause this is that we are far from the router, that there is interference with other Wi-Fi networks or devices and also that our router has problems of some kind.
In that sense, if we do not have adequate Wi-Fi coverage, in addition to the fact that it is damaging the speed of the Internet connection, it will also negatively affect our ping.
Another factor may be that we have computers in our network that use background programs. If our connection has low speed, it can harm its quality and latency. You also have to take into account the P2P programs, which can consume a large part of the bandwidth, saturate the router’s NAT table and cause high latency spikes.
Nor should we forget about the users and equipment connected to our network. If there are many and they perform intensive downloads, they can end up saturating the network. A good option is to enter the router configuration through the web and observe those that are connected. It could also help us to detect if we have an intruder in our Wi-Fi network. We should also check for malware or some kind of harmful software. Thus, it would no longer be possible to scan that computer with an antivirus and, if possible, also with antimalware software.
How to lower the ping or latency of our Internet connection
One of the best options would be connect us via Ethernet network cable to the router, if possible. This way we will reduce the Ping and we will have less high latency peaks.
Regarding the router we could test Wi-Fi channel change. Also if we are far from the router, use the 2.4 GHz band, which is the one that offers the best stability over long distances.
In addition, in case the Wi-Fi signal does not reach well in some areas, we could consider buying an access point or Wi-Fi Mesh system. Finally, those high latency peaks may be due to our router becoming very obsolete, or that the Wi-Fi part is starting to fail. In that case, what would touch is the router replacement.