Jitter vs. Ping: What’s the Difference?

Blue and white light on fiber optic cable

The internet is a crazy place. It can be really hard to figure out how it works sometimes, and that goes doubly for the difference between “jitter” and “ping.” These two terms are often talked about in relation to bandwidth testing, but what does each one mean?

What Is Jitter?

Jitter is a term used to describe the inconsistency in latency (or time delay) between packets of data traveling over a network. This can be caused by congestion on your ISP’s connection or slowdowns that happen further along in your route. If you’ve ever noticed some lag when playing an online game, this could be due to jitter.

What Is Ping?

Ping is also a term used in relation to the testing of network speed and reliability. It refers to your data packets’ response time as it travels between your computer and a specified destination. The term can be used interchangeably with “latency,” but it’s important to note that the two are not exactly the same thing.

What Is the Best Way to Reduce My Ping?

Use Ethernet Cable

Although wireless access is convenient, you’ll experience a lower ping if using wired Ethernet instead. This is because–unlike Wi-Fi routers which operate on radio frequency waves–Ethernet cables use copper wire to more efficiently conduct data between your computer and the internet source.

Restart Your Router

You can test whether your router is the source of latency by simply turning it off and on again.

Upgrade Your Router

If you notice that your router is more than five years old, it may be time for an upgrade. New technology can better manage heavy traffic loads and improve speeds.

Call Your ISP

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to do this simple step when they’re experiencing network problems. Your ISP will also have additional tools that you don’t necessarily have access to, so give them a call to see if they can help!

What Are Jitter and Ping Used For?

At its core, ping is one of several tools we use for testing bandwidth speed or finding out if there might be an issue with our connection. It’s often used in conjunction with other tools like traceroute, which can show us the route a packet takes to get from one point to another and how long it takes each step of the way.

Jitter is often used in network monitoring to determine how consistent a connection is. If you have jitter on your line, it means that the data packets are arriving inconsistently and not necessarily when they’re supposed to. This can contribute to latency problems or slowdowns in gameplay for online gamers.

What Is the Difference Between Jitter and Ping?

The difference between jitter and ping is that jitter measures inconsistency while ping measures latency. Jitter means that packets are coming in at different times, which can be caused by congestion on the network or issues with your ISP’s connection. Ping tells you how long it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another along its route.

The Best Way to Test Your Connection Speed

Use a service like Speedtest.net. This website will show you your ping and the download/upload speeds of your connection. You can also use the site to test your connection with other servers around the world.

Conclusion

Jitter and ping are both important that can be used to measure bandwidth speed or test a connection’s reliability. It’s also worth noting that the two terms aren’t exactly interchangeable; while latency is what we’re measuring when using these tests, they each have slightly different applications in assessing your network performance.

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