How To Measure Network Jitter

Network Jitter

Network Jitter is a common feature encountered by your network, even if you are unaware of it. To understand network jitter, you need to understand how information is transferred across networks. Although we might send information as a whole from one end to another (one computer to another), the information is relayed in data packets across the internet. The data packs are sent over a set period at regular intervals. Network jitter occurs when there is a delay in sending the data packets over your network connection. The reasons for the delay could be network congestion or route changes.

Whatever the cause, the longer it takes the data packets to arrive from one end to another, the higher the jitter. All data packets traveling through a network experience some kind of delay that is not often uniform. Some transmissions take longer than others, and jitter shows the difference between those delays. In other words, jitter is a sub-measurement of latency. Although low latency is good, consistent latency is more important for applications such as voice over IP (VoIP).

Network jitter has a negative impact on the audio and video quality. When a disruption occurs in the video and/or audio, it can cause great annoyance. Especially in a professional setup, jitters can lead to awkward situations if you are unable to make a conference call or connect to a team of co-workers. However, jitter might be why you are unable to enjoy a successful VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) call as it can turn it into a glitchy, disastrous call.

Measuring Network Jitter

That brings us to the question -what’s the best way to accurately measure jitter? Well, there are a variety of tools to measure network latency. One of the most popular methods is the common ping command. In this method, the factors used to measure jitter accurately are more comprehensive, and sometimes, you might have to use commercial products to measure the jitter. It means you might have to get a license or an annual subscription. However, if your jitter measurement requirements are temporary or short-term, several vendors offer you a limited period trial.

Here are some more methods to measure network jitter:

Single Endpoint

If your network controls single endpoints, then you can determine the jitter by calculating the mean round-trip time (RTT), and the minimum RTT of a series of voice packets.

Double endpoint

In the case of a double-ended path, you can measure jitter through instantaneous jitter, which is the variation between the intervals for transmitting and receiving a single data packet. In such a case, the Jitter is the average variation between instantaneously measured jitter and the average instantaneous jitter through the transmission of a series of data packets.

Bandwidth Testing

You can measure the jitter level by performing a bandwidth test. Such a test measures your internet connection upload and download speeds, jitter times, and overall capacity.

If your needs are limited, it is better to go for unified communications as a service provider, which offers a web portal that enables you to measure jitter, latency, and voice quality from your location. In most cases, you will be able to simply download the basic client and start your test for free. You’ll receive the results within minutes. Whether you use a free resource or a paid network management vendor that offers jitter monitoring as part of their product suites, you can choose from a wide range of options. The bottom line is that although there are a wide variety of ways to measure jitter, it is important you find the option that suits your needs the best.