How do I get low latency broadband?

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How do I get low latency broadband?

Posted on 3 April 2020 by Beaming Support

Latency, also referred to as lag or ping rate, is not as widely discussed compared to other measures such speed, bandwidth and contention ratio.

But if you have a business process that requires low latency to work efficiently, you will need to make sure latency is taken in to consideration when choosing both connection type and also the internet service provider that is delivering that connectivity.

What is latency?

In simple terms latency = delay. It is a measure of how long it takes for a unit of data (or “packet”) to travel across a network from your device to its intended destination. A Ping is a way of measuring the latency of a network by sending a packet of data to a destination and back again.

How is latency different to bandwidth?

Bandwidth – which is often referred to as the “speed” of an internet connection – is the amount of data that can be transferred in a set time and is measured in bits per second, for example you may have an SOGEA connection capable of transferring data at a rate of 80Mbps.

Latency is not a rate, it’s the measure of the delay in the transferral of data, measured in milliseconds. A network with high latency has a longer delay, therefore low latency is the aim.

As a simple example, on a connection with high bandwidth and high latency a website would be delayed in loading for a short while, but would load all at once when it did. If there was low bandwidth and low latency there’d be no delay in the website starting to load but it would take longer to fully load the page elements.

Why is latency important?

Low latency connectivity is necessary when a delay cannot be tolerated. Though latency is often a major concern for gamers, it’s important for many businesses processes that require a quick response, including:

Broadcast: Between the recording of a live TV or radio show and its broadcast to the wider world there are numerous steps, such as encoding, that can add delay. By keeping network latency to an absolute minimum the broadcast is as close to live as possible.

VOIP & Video conferencing: Experiencing “lag” or echoes in a phone call or video conference is frustrating and often results in participants talking over each other. This disruption is caused by high latency.

High Frequency Trading (HFT): In HFT, markets are analysed and shares traded at ultra-high speed with the help of powerful computer programs. The traders that act quickest are most profitable, so low latency networks are imperative here. Similarly, online auctioneers also require a low latency connection.

CCTV monitoring: For obvious reasons, it’s important that there’s as little delay as possible on the network between video being captured at the monitored location and it reaching the person monitoring it.

Paging systems: Emergency paging systems, such as those used in hospitals or by the coastguard should be run over a low latency network that ensures as little delay as possible when time is of the essence.

How do I get low latency broadband?

The latency of your connection is partly dependent on the connectivity technology you’re using; some types of connection are inherently lower in latency than others. An ADSL broadband connection had lower latency than a SOGEA or FTTP connection, while latency on a leased line will be significantly –and consistently – lower.

Your choice of ISP will also affect the latency of your connection. A congested broadband network results in increased latency, as can traffic shaping. If low latency connectivity is integral to your business operations, look for an internet service provider that commits to providing a network with low congestion, invests in top of the range technology and creates direct links to ensure data can get where it’s going to quickly.  Find out more about low latency connectivity provided by Beaming.

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Beaming can help your business with low latency connectivity.

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Adam Findlay, Head of Radio at DC Thomson Media


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