How Latency, Packet Loss, and Distance Kill Application Performance


Latency, packet loss, distance, and application performance. What do all these terms have to do with each other? More than you think.



Latency, packet loss, distance, and application performance. What do all these terms have to do with each other? More than you think.

And if you manage IT networks for a global enterprise, it’s important to step back and look at big picture, so you can more clearly see how they all impact one another.

This may sound like “Networking 101”  to some of you, but it’s critical to understand the relationships between these terms and their combined impact on application performance.

Definitions:

  • (Network) Latency is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another.
  • Packet loss is the failure of one or more transmitted packets (could be data, voice or video) to arrive at their destination.
  • Distance is the intervening space between two points or, for the sake of enterprise networks- two offices.
  • TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a standard that defines how to establish and maintain a network conversation via which application programs can exchange data.

Big picture:

When there is distance between the origin server and the user accessing that server, to complete a task the user needs a reliable network to connect. This network may be a private network, like a point-to-point link or MPLS. It may also be public, typically over the Internet. If the network has packet loss, the overall throughput between the server and the user significantly reduces with increasing distance. This means that the further away the user is from the origin server, the more unusable a network becomes.

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