Difference Wiki

Jitter vs. Latency: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 3, 2024
Jitter refers to the variability in time delay in packets arriving over a network, whereas latency is the time taken for a packet to travel from its source to its destination.

Key Differences

Jitter in networking refers to the irregularity or variability in time delay between data packets arriving over a network, which can lead to inconsistent communication quality. On the other hand, latency is the total time it takes for a data packet to travel from one point to another across the network. While jitter affects the stability of the connection, latency affects the speed.
In the context of network performance, jitter is critical in applications where timing is crucial, like video conferencing or online gaming, as it can cause disruption in the flow of data. Latency, however, represents the delay that affects the responsiveness of the network, being a key factor in how fast the data or information is accessed or transferred.
Jitter is usually measured in milliseconds and represents the variance in latency over time. For a stable network, jitter should be as low as possible. Conversely, latency is also measured in milliseconds, but it represents the average time taken for a signal to travel from source to destination, and lower latency implies a faster network.
Jitter becomes particularly problematic in real-time communications, where consistent timing is more important than the overall speed of transmission. In contrast, latency is more about the delay experienced overall, affecting how timely and responsive network communications are.
Both jitter and latency are crucial in assessing the quality of a network, jitter deals with the variability in delay of data packets, and latency deals with the overall delay of data transmission across a network.

Comparison Chart


Variability in time delay of data packets
Time taken for data packets to travel from source to destination

Impact on Networks

Affects stability and consistency of connection
Affects speed and responsiveness of connection


Measured in milliseconds as the variance in latency
Measured in milliseconds as the travel time of packets

Importance in Real-Time Communication

Crucial for maintaining consistent timing
Important for overall speed and timeliness

Typical Desired Level

Low, to ensure stable connection
Low, to ensure fast communication

Jitter and Latency Definitions


Irregular transmission or reception of data packets.
Jitter caused uneven gameplay experience in the online game.


Time taken for a packet to reach its destination.
The latency affected the response time of the online application.


Variation in the delay of received data packets.
The jitter in the video call caused the audio to be out of sync.


Delay experienced in real-time applications.
Online gamers often face challenges due to high latency.


Variance in latency over time in a network.
The jitter in the connection resulted in an inconsistent download speed.


Time interval between stimulation and response.
The system's latency affected its performance in processing commands.


Fluctuation in the timing of signal pulses.
High jitter in the network led to disrupted streaming.


Delay in data transmission over a network.
The high latency caused a lag in the video conference.


Instability in the perceived quality of a network connection.
Users experienced jitter during the peak hours of internet usage.


Period between the initiation and execution of a process.
Latency issues slowed down the website loading time.


(computing) A program or routine that performs jitting; a just-in-time compiler.


The time interval between initiating a query, transmission, or process, and receiving or detecting the results, often given as an average value over a large number of events.


(electronics) A delay, an interval between the initiation of something and the occurrence.


(computer science) the time it takes for a specific block of data on a data track to rotate around to the read/write head


The time that elapses between a stimulus and the response to it


Is jitter more critical in certain applications?

Yes, especially in real-time applications like video streaming or online gaming.

How does jitter affect VoIP calls?

It causes poor call quality, with choppy audio or out-of-sync video.

Can jitter be eliminated completely?

It's challenging to eliminate jitter completely, but it can be minimized.

How does high latency affect user experience?

High latency causes delays, resulting in slow and unresponsive network interactions.

What causes jitter in a network?

Jitter is often caused by network congestion, route changes, or imperfect network configurations.

What tools are used to measure jitter?

Network testing tools and software analyzers are used to measure jitter.

How is jitter measured?

It's measured in milliseconds, indicating the variability in packet delay.

Can latency be reduced in a network?

Yes, by optimizing network settings, using faster connections, or reducing the distance data travels.

Why is low jitter important in live streaming?

Low jitter is crucial to maintain a smooth and consistent streaming experience.

Is jitter a concern in local networks?

Yes, jitter can occur in any network, including local area networks.

Are certain geographical locations more prone to high latency?

Yes, remote or distant locations from the server can experience higher latency.

What is a good latency for gaming?

Typically, a latency below 50 milliseconds is good for online gaming.

How does network congestion impact latency?

Network congestion can significantly increase latency, slowing down data transmission.

Is latency the same as bandwidth?

No, latency is the delay in data transmission, while bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer.

Does jitter matter in non-real-time communications?

It's less critical in non-real-time communications like email.

Can software updates reduce latency?

Yes, updates can optimize network performance and potentially reduce latency.

Do wired connections have lower latency than wireless?

Generally, wired connections offer lower latency compared to wireless connections.

Does improving hardware reduce jitter and latency?

Upgrading hardware like routers and cables can help reduce both jitter and latency.

Can jitter affect data integrity?

While it doesn't usually affect data integrity, it can impact the quality and timing of data delivery.

Is latency a bigger issue in mobile networks?

Latency can be more pronounced in mobile networks due to varying signal strengths and distances.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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