• Post last modified:January 12, 2022
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What is jitter, when testing your internet speed?

Have you ever done an internet speed test and saw the measurement called Jitter?

Have you ever wondered what it is and why it is also being measured?

In this blog we will cover as much as possible to give you a basic understanding of what jitter is, how you can measure it, the acceptable jitter speeds and we will also talk about the difference between ping speed and jitter speed.

Do a speed test to know your Download speed, Upload speed, Jitter & Ping.

Understand how to read speed results, what upload & download speed is, etc.

Good Download & Upload speeds are essential. Learn what these are.

The different types of internet connections and what is best for you and your home.

Try these techniques to improve your internet speed.

What is jitter?

Jitter is a term used to measure the variation or inconsistency of your ping speed. In other words it measures how consistent your ping speed is. 

If we dive a little deeper in understanding what jitter is we need to know that everything that happens online comes down to packages that are being sent and received over a network.

We will use an example to explain what jitter is and why it happens.

Imagine your internet being a road that is supposed to take you from place A to place B and in this example you are a package that needs to go to place B and then back to place A.

If the road is empty, you will reach there faster than if the road is very busy. It will take some time to reach there if the road has holes or there is a traffic jam.

This traffic jam or holes can only be in one part of the road but not the entire road.

So parts will be faster than other parts.

This inconsistency in speed is called jitter. You can experience jitter the most when you stream, call or video call over the internet. It won’t matter as much when you are just sending a text or an email. Jitter is measured in milliseconds (ms).

What causes jitter?

A valid question you may ask is what causes jitter, and there are several reasons. We will use the example above to go through the reasons why jitter occurs.

Hopefully this gives you an understanding why there is jitter in your network and some pointers on how to fix them.

Low Bandwidth

If a road is too small, it cannot handle a lot of traffic right? The same way if your bandwidth is too low it takes longer for packages to reach their destination. If this is the reason for your jitter, you may want to consider upgrading your internet bandwidth to solve this problem.

Busy Network

Just like when a road is too busy and slows you down from reaching your destination, the same way it is with networks. This also slows down packages to be sent and received in time and causes jitter. If this is the case, you may want to check what keeps your network busy and try to minimize that as much as possible.

Poor hardware performance

Using old and unreliable cars with issues can be very challenging when you need to reach your destination.

So does using old hardware or hardware with issues. It could be an outdated driver, a router, a switch or a cable.

All of that will make a difference when we talk about jitter. If this is the case, make sure that you check your devices frequently and make sure they perform to the best of their capabilities.

WiFi Connection

Using a WiFi connection can be a challenging factor to troubleshoot but could also cause jitter in your network.

There are many factors for a healthy connection and sometimes the position of your router or even a wall in your house could make a great difference in jitter. 

A tip to simply know if you get jitter because of your wifi connection or your network itself is to switch to using a cable and testing again.

If that solves the problem you may want to consider relocating your router or your device to get the best possible WiFi connection.

If there is no way you can change that, you may consider using a cable connection instead of a WiFi connection.

How do I check my Internet jitter?

With all of this information about jitter, I know you got very curious and you would like to know how you can test if you have jitter on your network. Here are some ways to test your network jitter.

Using a speedtest service like www.speedtestgo.com will not only tell you what your download and upload speed is, but will also tell you what your ping speed and jitter speed is. This is an easy way to know what your jitter speed is.

Another way of knowing what your jitter speed is, is to calculate the average time difference between your ping speed after 24 ping speed tests in a sequence.

The ping speed of the second ping minus the ping speed of the first ping gives a difference, so does the ping speed of the third ping minus the ping speed of the second, and so on and so on.

After you have calculated all of these time differences you calculate the average and that is called your jitter speed.

What is a good jitter speed for gaming?

A good and acceptable jitter speed is below 30 ms. The lower the jitter speed is,the better your connection is and the better your gaming experience will be.

Higher jitter speeds may cause your video games to lag and decrease your gaming experience. If your jitter is too high, the game server may disconnect you from playing the game.

What is the difference between jitter and ping?

Ping is used to measure the quality of your network. The difference between ping and jitter is that jitter measures the variation or inconsistency in ping over a certain amount of time while ping measures the time it takes for a package to be sent and received from a device to another.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have learned today that jitter is the variation or inconsistency between ping and is a measurement to determine the quality of your internet connection.

We have also learned why jitter happens and some basic steps to undertake to solve those issues. We have also learned how to calculate or measure jitter in your network.

An acceptable measure for jitter is below 30ms and we have also explained the difference between jitter and ping.

We hope that this gives a better understanding of what jitter is.

Shawn Stolting

A web developer who is trying to get better with each day. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop...

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