What can cause high latency spikes

Every day millions of Internet users access the network of networks to surf, play online, watch streaming content, make video calls and more. For some of these tasks, having high latency can make the user experience unbearable. The connection speed that we have contracted, or if it is fiber or ADSL, will also have an important influence. Therefore, to have the best possible sensations, it is best to have a fiber connection, with the highest possible speed and lowest latency. In this tutorial we are going to talk about why our Internet connection has high latency peaks and offer you some solutions to fix it.

Let’s start by talking about ping, latency, and its peaks. We will also talk that, depending on the activity we are doing, it can be more or less annoying. Then we will continue to offer some solutions to avoid latency spikes.

Ping, latency, and their latency spikes

Ping and latency are two elements that have a very close relationship and that have a great influence on our connection. Thus, network latency could be defined as the time delays that we have within a network. This delay will be produced by the delay in the propagation and transmission of packets within a network. Regarding the factors that influence so that we have a lower or higher latency, both the size of the packets sent and the buffers of the equipment intervene.

In that sense, to measure latency we can use the typical Ping that measures in milliseconds and whose abbreviation is ms. As you can see, they are two closely related concepts. Thus, when we ping, we send an ICMP Echo Request message to the destination host, and when the destination server receives it, it sends a reply. That reply it emits is made with an ICMP Echo Reply message .

For that reason, when you occasionally increase the Ping with high values, that wants to decide that we have high latency spikes . So, at that moment that service that we are using works slow or we cannot use it.

In latency, an important element is delay. Another concept that may interest us to know is the itter or fluctuation of the delay which refers to the temporal variability for sending digital signals, a slight deviation from the accuracy of the clock signal. The J itter is often seen as a noise signal unwanted. In this case, it would affect the execution time of the packages in which we would suffer a delay that can become very annoying, as we will see below.

Ping and high latency spikes based on activity

Surfing the Internet and using email are two of the things we use the most. In case of high latency peaks, unless it is very exaggerated, we could continue using these services. That does not mean that we cannot carry out these activities, but it does mean that we will have a more or less annoying delay. This will, for example, take longer to load web pages or our email.

However, there are a series of activities, for which it is essential to have a low ping to be able to enjoy them, such as:

  • IP telephony
  • The online game
  • Internet radio
  • The streaming video from YouTube, or from a payment platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or HBO
  • Video call

In case of high latency peaks we find that, for example, in a streaming video the audio does not coincide with the video. In the online game you see the opponent’s movements too late and you cannot do anything, it is what is known as LAG. These delays, the more pronounced they are, the more negatively they will affect our experience. Therefore, we will have a ping so high that it will not allow us to use these services properly.

Check the status of our Internet connection

An example that we could use to check the latency of our connection is to ping one of the most popular DNS servers. We could use Google’s with IP or CloudFlare’s with To do this in Windows we go to Start Menu , CMD plus enter and use the Ping command adding the IP that we are going to use.

Here’s an example of PING a Cloudflare DNS:

In relation to the results obtained, the lower the ping, the better it will be for us. Thus, the moment the Ping occasionally increases with high values, that wants to decide that we have high latency peaks . To avoid problems with those game servers, streaming servers, and making video calls, we need the Ping to have certain values. Therefore, it  is recommended to have a  ping of less than 50 milliseconds . A good ping would be between 20 and 50 , and if we can go below 20ms it  would be the  ideal situation .

On the other hand, from 70 or 80 ping we are already at the limit , and when it is exceeded we will begin to have more serious problems.

What can cause high latency spikes

On many occasions we have high latency because in the place where we are located we have poor Wi-Fi coverage . Some examples that can cause this is that we are far from the router, that there is interference with other Wi-Fi networks or devices and also that our router has problems of some kind.

In that sense, if we do not have adequate Wi-Fi coverage, in addition to the fact that it is damaging the speed of the Internet connection, it will also negatively affect our ping.

Otro factor puede ser que tengamos en nuestra red equipos que utilizan programas en segundo plano. Si nuestra conexión tiene poca velocidad, puede perjudicar a la calidad y latencia de la misma. También hay que tener en cuenta los programas P2P, que pueden llegar a consumir gran parte del ancho de banda, saturar la tabla NAT del router y provocar picos de latencia alta.

Nor should we forget about the users and equipment connected to our network . If there are many and they perform intensive downloads, they can end up saturating the network. A good option is to enter the router configuration through the web and observe those that are connected. It could also help us to detect if we have an intruder in our Wi-Fi network. We should also check if we have malware or some kind of harmful software . Thus, it would no longer be possible to scan that computer with an antivirus and, if possible, also with antimalware software.

How to lower the ping or latency of our Internet connection

One of the best options would be to connect via Ethernet network cable to the router, if possible. This way we will reduce the Ping and we will have less high latency peaks.

As for the router, we could try changing the Wi-Fi channel . Also if we are far from the router, use the 2.4 GHz band, which is the one that offers the best stability over long distances.

In addition, in case the Wi-Fi signal does not reach well in some areas, we could consider buying an access point or Wi-Fi Mesh system. Finally, those high latency peaks may be due to our router becoming very obsolete, or that the Wi-Fi part is starting to fail. In that case, what would touch is the replacement of the router .


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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