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Understanding Latency: The Crucial Factor in Network Performance

In the world of networking, latency reigns as a critical metric that can make or break the experience for end users.

Whether you are providing connectivity to businesses, high-definition streaming, engaging in real-time online gaming, or conducting business-critical transactions and meetings, latency plays a pivotal role in determining the responsiveness and overall efficiency of your network. In our latest article, let’s delve into what latency is, why it matters, and how low latency network solutions like peering at an internet exchange point (IXP) such as LINX can significantly enhance network performance.

What is Latency?

Latency refers to the delay between the initiation of a data transfer and the actual delivery of the data. It’s often measured in milliseconds (ms) and can be influenced by various factors along the network path, including distance, network congestion, routing inefficiencies, and the speed of light in fiber optic cables.

Why Does Latency Matter?

  • User Experience: High latency can result in sluggish response times, leading to frustration for end-users. Whether it’s loading web pages, streaming videos, or playing online games, users expect instantaneous interactions. Any noticeable delay can degrade their experience significantly.
  • Content Delivery: Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) leverage low-latency networks to distribute content efficiently to users worldwide. Reduced latency means faster content delivery, resulting in improved user engagement and satisfaction. Take a look at some of the global CDNs LINX has peering at their interconnection hubs
  • Real-Time Applications: For real-time applications like video conferencing, voice-over-IP (VoIP), and online gaming, low latency is paramount. Even minor delays in data transmission can disrupt the flow of communication or gameplay, leading to disjointed experiences or, in competitive gaming scenarios, a competitive disadvantage.
  • Financial Transactions: In financial markets, where split-second decisions can translate into substantial gains or losses, ultra-low latency is non-negotiable. Trading firms rely on networks with minimal latency to execute trades swiftly and capitalize on fleeting market opportunities. Find out more about peering for financial services here.


Low Latency Solutions: Peering at Internet Exchange Points

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) serve as vital hubs where multiple networks interconnect to exchange traffic. Peering at IXPs facilitates direct connections between networks, bypassing intermediate providers and reducing latency significantly. LINX (London Internet Exchange), one of the largest IXPs globally, exemplifies the benefits of peering for achieving low latency.

  • Reduced Distance and Hops: By peering directly at an IXP like LINX, data packets travel shorter distances and encounter fewer network hops, minimising latency. Direct interconnection between networks at interconnection hubs like LINX helps to eliminate the need for data to traverse lengthy paths through multiple providers, resulting in faster data transmission. Less hops!
  • Optimised Routing: Peering at an IXP enables networks to exchange traffic more efficiently through optimised routing. By selecting the shortest and fastest paths between interconnected networks, latency is further reduced, enhancing overall network performance.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Direct peering at IXPs enhances network reliability by providing redundant connectivity options. In the event of network failures or congestion, alternative paths can be quickly established, ensuring uninterrupted service and minimising latency-related disruptions.
  • Cost Savings: Peering at IXPs can also yield cost savings for network operators by reducing reliance on transit providers for data exchange. Direct peering agreements at IXPs often involve lower costs compared to transit arrangements, making it an economically attractive option for achieving low latency. Check out the multi-service port options at LINX here.


If you’re looking for low latency interconnections solutions for your network, reach out to speak to the LINX team.

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