Does bandwidth affect latency?

Does bandwidth affect latency?

If you are out in the market in search of a router/modem, you will often find very catchy marketing materials from ISPs offering the most bandwidth. It is evident that people are in search of speed when looking for internet connections.

But, not all that bandwidth equals more speed. Latency and throughput have a direct bearing on your network speed and you need to on the lookout for high latency – especially when you are streaming live videos. Bandwidth refers to how much data is transferred over a device for a predefined period of time – mostly seconds. Latency on the other hand, measures how much lag there is from the moment a packet of data is sent and received.

What affects latency?

Latency is the time it takes for a request to travel from the sender to servers and back. If the period is long then we say you are experiencing high latency (which is not good) while if you have shorter round trip from the servers we say you have low latency.

Type of connection:the type of connection that you use to access the internet will have a direct bearing on latency. When the internet was first introduced, satellite connections were mainly preferred by consumers as they enabled them enjoy high internet speeds coupled. This came with downside of high latency. In this scenarios, web pages would load faster but one would experience some lag after some time. Cable connections have become common place today, they provide high speeds with low latency making them ideal for normal web browsing and live streams.

Distance:If you want to reduce latency get closer to the server as possible. This can be done through the use ofContent Delivery Networks(CDN). In this case, you place servers as close to the end user as possible. When the CDN are closer to the user, it means the cached resources travel a shorter distance making retrieval of data faster. A request from a user only needs to identify the closet Point of Presence. This prevents a request from going to the original server hence cutting down on latency.

Routers:The type of router you are using can affect your latency. Whenever, packet data comes to the router it takes some time to analyze it. In most cases, additional information is added to the packet data. This transfer of packet data can have some delay hence affecting latency. The same applies if your router is connected to switches and bridges.

Bandwidth:bandwidth does have some direct effect on latency. If you are using small bandwidth then the chances of experiencing network congestion is higher.

How to reduce latency

Once you have settled to the fact that you are experiencing high latency, the next question is how to fix the issue. Purchasing more bandwidth from your service provider may not adequately change your situation but there some technical issues you can deploy:

Prefetching techniques:While this does not directly reduce latency it helps in improving your web browsing experience. Prefetching web resources ensures that certain processes that are latency intensive operate in the background. This enables most of your web pages to load faster.

Using CDN:CDN enables you to reduce the time it takes for a packet to travel from the sender to the servers as the data does not necessarily go to the original server. If your servers are closer to you, then the latency time is reduced as your request goes to the nearest Point of presence.

HTTP/2: if you want to reduce the number of round trips to the servers then try using HTTP/2. You can also make efforts to reduce the number of HTTP requests – especially when it relates to images. External HTTP requests are a major cause for latency increase.

Browser cache:Your browser has ways of caching various web resources that you use frequently. When it does this it reduces the number of requests you are making to the servers hence reducing latency.

How bandwidth differs from throughput and monthly transfer

We have defined how bandwidth affects latency next is to distinguish between monthly data transfer and throughput. Bandwidth defines the capacity a network has while monthly data transfer is the sum total of all the data that is consumed over a network in a month. If we use an example of a pipe, bandwidth is the width of the pipe while monthly data transfer is the actual amount of water passed through the pipe.

Throughput is how many successful messages are passed through a network. A low throughput means few of your messages are been successfully passed to the servers. High bandwidth does not solve the issue of low throughput.

Most of the time you hear gamers complain about the speed of their internet connection they are referring to latency rather than bandwidth. There is a limit to how fast data travels over a network and the laws of physics apply. If your bandwidth remains low no amount of change to servers location will reduce latency. The interplay between bandwidth and latency still remains a delicate one.

Interrelationship between latency and bandwidth

How to decrease it
Delay in the transmission of data packets from the source to the destination. Measured in milliseconds
Reduce distance between servers through CDN


For gamers use wired connection instead of wireless



The capacity of a network in transmission of data, in pipe analogy it is the width of a pipe. Measured in Kbps, Mbps, Gbps
Upgrading your package with ISP


If you have tried to play online multiplayer games then you know how irritating lag can be. You type in a command on your computer and it takes ages to get a response. If your game requires a prompt response then this can lead to you losing the game. Latency is very much important for gamers, VOIP and streaming live videos. Bandwidth is something many ISPs advertise to get customers on board to their packages. However, latency is something you need to know before purchasing a router. It is what influences internet speed. You can check your latency by performing a speed test.


Does an increase of bandwidth lead to a decrease of latency

No, it does not. If you want to decrease latency change to a wired connection, close unnecessary applications and use fiber instead of satellite

What is bad latency?

This is when you are experiencing latency rates of more than 100ms. Anything below this is considered good


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