Latency: Making Fast Internet Feel Slow

By Katy R. on November 13, 2017

There are more & more satellite companies that are now offering speeds of up to 25 Mbps, but why does the connection still feel so slow?  The internet connection’s speed isn’t always about just its bandwidth.

Latency is a major issue when it comes to your connection & speed.  Wired network connections tend to have the lowest latency, & wireless connections generally have higher latency.  So where does your connection speed fall in terms of bandwidth versus latency?

Internet connections from companies are advertised with fancy words like “speeds up to 25 Mbps.”  It makes you, the potential buyer, assume that the connection speed would be comparable to the experience of using a cable Internet connection, but that’s where you are wrong.

What do these “techie” words really mean?

  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth determines how fast data can be transferred over time. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred per second.
  • Latency: Latency is delay. Latency is how long it takes data to travel between its source (satellite/tower/home office) & destination (your home), measured in milliseconds.

What is your connection speed really?

Let’s say you are browsing the web on different types of connections. Here’s what latency would “feel” like:

Satellite Internet Connection (High Speed, High Latency): You would click a link on a web page &, after a noticeable delay; the web page would start downloading & show up almost all at once.

Kansas Broadband Internet Connection (Moderate Speed, Low Latency): You would click a link on a web page & the web page would start loading immediately. However, it would take a while to load completely & you may see images load one-by-one.

Cable Internet Connection (High Speed, Low Latency): You would click a link on a web page & the web page would appear almost immediately, downloading all at once.

How does Latency affect my internet connection?

Latency is really just a delay in your connection.  For example, if you were playing a first-person shooter game and you have high-latency, you would shoot at your opponent on your screen, but the delay means they would be long gone by the time your virtual bullet got there. 

Latency Bullets