What is latency?

What is latency?
Mark Engelmann
Mark Engelmann
    2 minute read
What is latency and how to fix it?

One of the unique challenges in delivering a high-quality internet experience across continents is the constraints applied by global internet pathways (literally, physical undersea cables passing through national and commercial jurisdictions). Yep that’s right - there are thousands and thousands of kilometres of cables laid out on the ocean floor. The most frustrating thing when you are trying to work productively online is a slow internet connection. Latency is one of the main causes of network delay over the internet, because latency describes how fast data can travel from one point to another via the undersea cables. Fortunately, latency is completely manageable with the right tools and knowledge.

Latency describes the global path aka ‘route’ that data takes between, in this case, the Philippines and the server or application that the remote team member is trying to access. Basically, it is the amount of time the data takes to travel under the ocean from point A to point B. Several factors affect the quality of routes, particularly the amount of data being transferred through the cable, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and how many routers the data has to travel through to get to its destination. Global internet congestion is much like traffic congestion, but instead of cars, it’s bits of data.

There are multiple connections and ‘routes’ available between Australia and the Philippines. At Beepo, we routinely monitor the best route for each clients’ specific destination IP address and can use a process called ‘forced routing’ to force traffic to use the offshore connection with the lowest latency.

So what do I do if I have high latency?

To determine latency speed, we use a test called a “traceroute” between the IP address of Beepo and the onshore infrastructure. The test works by measuring the amount of time it takes for the data to travel from its origin to its destination. Latency is measured in milliseconds and it typically ranges between 80ms and 500ms, the lower the number, the better. If your latency test results are high, in some circumstances a third-party Private Global Gateway service can be utilised. This is a direct dedicated tunnel between the Philippines and Australia. It is a cost effective and fast way to solve high latency challenges. This service can be rented on a per user per month basis. If that is not a viable option, a change in your onshore ISP needs to be considered. This is because ISP agreements can greatly impact latency. Beepo has two Internet Service Providers to ensure the best possible speed.

Find out more about the internet quality and infrastructure in Clark Pampanga, Philippines.

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