The Difference Between High and Low Latency

Posted in Latency, Streaming on Apr 26, 2022

Before understanding the differences between high latency and low latency, a top level understanding of what exactly latency is, should be in place.

Latency - The length of time it takes for a piece of data to move from its origin to its destination. The lag between sending and receiving is what constitutes latency.

Sometimes, the delay you experience when watching a YouTube show or live stream is more often than not due to latency. Latency also affects online gaming, as lags can cause serious problems for a gaming experience.

When it comes to performance optimization, it's critical to optimize for latency reduction. Part of doing this is to test site performance under high latency conditions to optimize for consumers with poor internet connections. Read our article on Internet Speed for Video Streaming to learn more in-depth about how the PingPlotter Service with StreamGuys can help with testing for latency.

Everything from streaming protocols to hardware or software used has an impact on latency.

What Is High Latency?

When a network request takes an exceptionally long time to receive a response, this is referred to as high latency. Latency greater than 10 milliseconds may be considered significant latency for time-sensitive applications, such as high-speed trading. However, for common applications like internet browsing, gaming, apps, and SaaS, latency greater than 100 milliseconds is high.

Most of us are familiar with this concept of lag. If you’re in a video-conference having a conversation with someone, one person might be interrupting flow and providing answers or commentary for topics 15 seconds in the past. Those 15 seconds between question and answer make smooth communication almost impossible.

That’s high latency.

Now, consider in broadcasting, a livestream you’re producing has a 15-second lag for your viewers. That’s unacceptable for your stream. Not many viewers are going to continue to watch your livestream if there’s a 15-second lag.

What Is Low Latency?

On the opposite side of the spectrum from high latency is, of course, low latency. This is when a network doesn’t take a long time to respond. Cisco defines low latency as, “the ability of a computing system or network to provide responses with minimal delay.” Ultra-Low-Latency (ULL) refers to the response time being less than one second and is measured in nanoseconds rather than milliseconds. ULL-Streaming is ideal for broadcasters operating in time-sensitive fields like news or sports.

Using the same example as above with the video-conference, if conversation is flowing, everyone’s video is matching their sound, and people are giving immediate responses with no delay, that’s low latency. Interruptions may still happen but you know this time it’s nothing to do with the network!

Low latency improves user experience by ensuring that things run smoothly and easily, without lag or delay. Having consistent low latency will assist in growing an audience base and build trust and loyalty with existing listeners.

This means a more seamless livestream experience for broadcasters, with little to no lag, ensuring their viewers will remain watching their streams.

How Can You Improve Your Latency?

One of the best things you can do to improve your latency is to move your broadcasting or podcasting content over to StreamGuys. They are the leaders in the field of streaming media professionals, focusing on being consultative solutions-based partners.

Their litany of tools enables broadcasters, podcasters, and content creators to provide content to their audiences with ultra-low latency for seamless and smooth broadcasting. Their tools are easy to use allowing any user at any level high quality and harmonious production.

StreamGuys use “fully compliant standards-based CMAF (Common Media Application Format) HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) for low-latency, adaptive-bitrate HTTP Live Streaming.”

Kiriki Delany, President of StreamGuys goes into further detail about how CMAF improves latency issues with HLS. “We are excited to support ultra-low latency and simplify deploying HLS. HLS provided efficient ways to switch networks while maintaining a stream, as well as savings on power consumption for mobile devices. It also introduced much higher latency than traditional true-streaming systems. CMAF changes that by allowing encoding to happen much faster, which greatly reduces file-based buffers.”

If you’re a broadcaster or a podcaster, you know that high latency can be a huge problem. In this day and age, where another podcast or broadcast is just one click away, the need to maintain your audience’s focus is huge. If you’re experiencing high latency, there’s a good chance that your audience will simply move on, and that’s not good for your bottom line.

If you find that you’re experiencing high latency and don’t know how to fix it, contact StreamGuys. Our ultra-low latency can get your broadcast or podcast back on the right track. No one wants to be known as the laggy podcast when there are two million other ones out there to choose from. Visit the rest of our website to find out how we as industry leaders can help you today.

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