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What Is Network Jitter and How to Fix It

What Is Network Jitter and How to Fix It

A man fixing network jitter

Network jitter is a frequent problem in computer networking, which can seriously affect the functionality of real-time applications like VoIP and video conferencing. A combination of hardware improvements, optimization techniques, and efficient network management tactics are needed to fix network jitter.

As a leading supplier of cloud-based networking solutions, Teridion helps organizations across  the world to overcome this obstacle. With the use of sophisticated routing algorithms and a global network architecture, Teridion’s advanced technology optimizes network paths while reducing jitter and latency.

In this article, we’ll discuss what jitter is, what causes jitter, how to fix  jitter, and how Teridion can help in mitigating jitter-related problems. 

What Is Jitter in Networking?

Before understanding the concept of jitter in a network, let’s recap how data travels throughout the internet. The transmission of information takes place in small bytes or  “data packets”. There are regular intervals that happen in milliseconds (ms) causing delays in the transmission of data. This delay in data is known as network jitter. For instance, when you start a video it is transmitted into small packets of data without causing any time delay. If there is  network jitter then you might observe lag in the video and the image starts becoming blurred. 

Why Network Jitter Matters

Network jitter is a critical concern for businesses across various industries for several reasons. Firstly, it directly impacts the Quality of Service (QoS) provided to customers and internal users. For example, in the realm of VoIP and video conferencing, even minor fluctuations in latency caused by network jitter can degrade call and video quality, leading to dropped calls and disrupted communication. Maintaining a smooth user experience and ensuring clear communication requires minimizing network jitter to guarantee consistent and minimal delays.

Secondly, network jitter significantly affects user experience, especially in scenarios such as online gaming. Even slight increases in latency due to jitter can result in frustrating lag for gamers, leading to a poor user experience, decreased customer satisfaction, and potentially higher customer churn rates.

Network jitter can also have detrimental effects on productivity within organizations. Delays or interruptions in communication channels caused by high jitter levels can hinder teamwork, decision-making processes, and overall output. In today’s interconnected business environment, real-time communication tools are indispensable for facilitating meetings, collaboration, and efficient decision-making. Any disruptions caused by network jitter can impede commercial operations, ultimately impacting profitability.

Ultimately, maintaining a network with minimal jitter can provide a competitive advantage, particularly in sectors where real-time interactions are critical, such as finance and customer service. Businesses that can offer smooth communication and seamless service delivery are better positioned to attract and retain clients, ultimately gaining an edge over competitors.

How Teridion Assists in Network Jitter:

Organizations  working on a multiple cloud provider network can implement Teridion’s Network as a Service solution. Our smart AI routing  enhances applications by increasing throughput as well as avoiding latency and network jitter for seamless communication.

What Causes Jitter?

Here are some of the most common causes of network jitter:

Packet Loss:

Data packets can be dropped or lost because of hardware issues, a busy network, or a transfer mistake. When packets are dropped, the transfer of data stops and the receiving end experiences  jitter as it tries to make up for the lost packets. 

Poor Routing or Prioritization:

Packet delivery problems and delays can be caused by network setups or routing methods that are not optimized or prioritized correctly. When packets take longer routes or hit bottlenecks, they may cause jitter. 

Network Interference:

Devices like walls, electromagnetic waves, and others can mess up wireless networks by weakening the signal and stopping data flow. Changes in signal strength add noise and make packet delivery delays vary.

Hardware Limitations:

If your networking hardware, like switches, routers, and network input cards, is old or outdated it might not have the processing power or features needed to handle data flow well.  This means that jitter and delay may get worse when the hardware has trouble sending and processing packets. 

Problems with Quality of Service (QoS):

Packet delivery delays can happen if the QoS settings are wrong or network traffic isn’t given enough attention. If information that needs to be sent quickly, like audio or video data, is not prioritized, jitter issues may worsen.

Distance and Lag:

Jitter can be caused by both the distance between network locations and the delay that comes with talking over long distances. It’s more likely that there will be a packet delivery time difference when data moves farther because it takes longer to get there.

Inadequate Bandwidth and Network Congestion:

Network congestion can make packets take longer to send and cause jitter. This issue gets worse when there is a lot of traffic during busy times or on networks that are used often.

What Is Acceptable Jitter?

Levels of jitter that are considered acceptable depend on the application and the network’s needs. Here’s a general rule for how much jitter is okay for different types of networks and applications:

Voice over IP or VoIP:

You can handle jitter levels from 30ms to 50ms using a VoIP system without issues. Through this, you can achieve clear, uninterrupted, and distortion-free communications.

Meetings via Video Call:

Like VoIP, 30 to 50 milliseconds (ms) or less delay is usually fine for video conferencing.

Jitter levels must be stable and low for video and audio streams to stay smooth and in sync during talks.

Online Games:

Real-time responsiveness is very important in online games, so jitter should be much smaller, ideally less than 20 milliseconds (ms). Lower jitter levels help keep lag minimum and ensure the game goes smoothly without pauses or delays.

Streaming Services:

In most cases, streaming apps will accept jitter values below 50 ms. Low jitter levels may be necessary to play high-definition (HD) or ultra-high-definition (UHD) material without stuttering or buffering.

Data Networks:

Acceptable jitter may not be as important in data networks that handle non-real-time tasks like web browsing or file exchanges.

Most of the time, jitter values below 100 milliseconds (ms) are fine for data network traffic.

Getting rid of jitter can still improve the network and give users a better experience, especially in apps that need low latency.

How to Measure Network Jitter?

Different test methods can be applied to measure network jitter, including ping jitter tests and online speed tests. Ping jitter tests primarily focus on measuring the variation in latency or delay in data transmission over a network. They assess the stability and consistency of a network connection by revealing fluctuations in latency, which can impact the performance of real-time applications such as VoIP or online gaming.

Comparatively, online speed tests primarily measure the upload and download speeds of an internet connection. These tests provide insights into the overall bandwidth available for transferring data between the user’s device and the internet, helping to assess the network’s capacity for handling data-intensive tasks like streaming videos or downloading large files.

More advanced network monitoring solutions can help network administrators address performance issues and measure jitter levels over time. They frequently offer real-time monitoring, historical data analysis, and customizable dashboards and reports.

How to Fix Network Jitter?

Network connection tests like the kind described in the previous section should be performed on a regular basis to determine overall network health and functioning.  Also, wired connections are recommended when lag is high since wireless connections are not always reliable or safe. In fact, sometimes it’s possible to reduce the amount of interference and jitter that occurs simply by connecting devices to the network through an Ethernet connection.

If these basic options don’t work, consider increasing WAN network bandwidth and upgrading to a device that can reduce overcrowding and decrease jitter, particularly during working hours.  Prioritizing packets by setting Quality of Service (QoS) rules lets you put time-sensitive traffic like VoIP or video conferencing ahead of less important data on your network. This keeps jitter to a minimum by ensuring important bits are delivered quickly.

Jitter and packet loss are connected because packet loss can make jitter worse. When mistakes or network congestion cause packets to be lost or dropped, it throws off the order of data delivery. This causes latency to change and jitter to enter the network.

Interference from other devices using the same frequency band can also lower the quality of the signal and make jitter worse for Wi-Fi links. If you check and change your device’s frequency settings, you can reduce disturbance and stabilize the network.

Jitter buffers store incoming packets briefly to even out changes when they arrive. Setting up a jitter buffer can help real-time apps like VoIP and video streaming deal with network jitter better by storing packets and playing them out at a steady rate. Regardless, be sure to use a reliable VoiP provider with a strong network infrastructure and optimized routing.

Fixing Jitter with Teridion

Teridion’s technology redirects traffic in real time to minimize packet loss and the effects of network jitter by dynamically avoiding crowded or unstable network channels.

With an affordable SLA, it prioritizes traffic for latency-sensitive applications and helps users with high-quality communication experiences by guaranteeing steady and low-latency connections.

Teridion is the only Network as a Service that leverages 500+ Points of Presence (PoPs) distributed across the world to deliver a robust global backbone. With fewer network hops and a shorter distance between users and apps, this global footprint minimizes latency and jitter for geographically distributed users.

Offering real-time monitoring and analysis of jitter levels gives Teridion’s customers valuable insights into network performance parameters. Businesses get more visibility and control over their network infrastructure to detect and resolve jitter-related issues before they arise and negatively affect user experience. 

In a world where network resilience is increasingly complex, Teridion makes global end-to-end connectivity unbelievably simple.