Bandwidth vs Latency: How They Affect Your Servers

Bandwidth refers to the maximum capacity of an internet connection. The more bandwidth you have, the more data can be transferred for a fixed period. It is usually measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. If you subscribe to a dedicated server with 100Mbps dedicated bandwidth, the most data your connection can download at one time is 100 Mbps. However, your actual internet speed is likely to be less than 100Mbps most of the time because of network congestion and other external factors. To see how fast your internet connection is, you can use a speed test

Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. It may also be called “ping time” during a speed test. It is usually measured as milliseconds, or ms. The lower the latency, the less delay you can send and retrieve the signal from the server. In general, the longer the physical distance, the higher latency it will be. So, it is recommended to choose a server location that is close to your users.

While bandwidth affects your network speed, latency is usually the cause of lag or buffering. With higher bandwidth, download speed is increased and latency becomes more noticeable. For example, an image may only take 5 milliseconds to download, but latency may cause users to wait 100 milliseconds before receiving the first byte of data. That means latency accounts for 90% of total time it takes to download the image. High latency can certainly drag down an application’s performance no matter the size of your bandwidth.

How Bandwidth and Latency Affect You

When we consider how much bandwidth and latency impact us, it depends on what activities your server does. For gaming servers, high bandwidth enables more gamers to play the game simultaneously. If you do not have a lot of people gaming at once on the same connection, the impact of bandwidth is minimal. On the other hands, latency plays a vital role in offering a good online gaming experience. High latency can cause lag in games and lead to noticeable delays between your input and your character’s action. Your character may already be dead before you know it in fast-paced games like Call of Duty.

For video and audio streaming servers, both bandwidth and latency are important. Since streaming requires downloading content from a server, low bandwidth will either cause long buffering time or terrible video quality. Whereas high latency will cause a significant delay in live streaming. Having a high bandwidth connection is essential for servers that deliver high-resolution streaming media or those that deliver large data downloads.

For web hosting servers, low bandwidth will cause pages to load slowly and affect your user experience. Your users may lose patience to wait for the pages to load and leave your websites, hurting your bounce rate and conversion rate. And with high latency, pages may load superfast but there will be a maddening delay at the beginning where it seems like nothing is happening.

We offer high performance dedicated servers with exceptional bandwidth and fully redundant connectivity. We partner with 12 global telecommunication carriers and provide over 1Tbps global network capacity. Feel free to contact us by phone +852 3959 1888 or email for your network solutions.