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Difference between Latency and Jitter in OS

  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 23 Jun, 2021

What is latency ?
The literal meaning of latency is “delay”.

In an operating system , latency is the time between when an interrupt occurs, and when the processor starts to run code to process the interrupt. It is considered as the combined delay between an input or command and therefore the desired output and measured in milliseconds.

A few examples of latencies are –

1. Latency of Networks :
The latency of a network is the time delay while reaching some data such as a “knowledge packet” from its source to the destination. It is usually measured in milliseconds. These types of latency tools measure the quantity of time a packet takes as it’s transmitted, processed and then finally reaches its destination after being decoded by the receiving machine.

An allowable range of  latency depends upon the network and the bandwidth of the applications used on it. These applications have a varied range of bandwidths. Among them, such as the video calling applications, require more bandwidth and a lower range of latencies to function proficiently. Whereas, some other applications ( for example -Gmail) which allows higher latency range. These factors are taken under consideration by the Network Admins to allocate sufficient resources and bandwidth and guarantee critical operations of the organization run efficiently.

2. Latency of Disks :
The time delay between any single input output (I/O)  operation on a block device.  It looks very simple thing, but is very critical for the performance of the system. These latencies are determined by a few specific calculations such as rotational latency , seek time and transfer time . These factors directly affect the RPMs(rotation per minute) of disks. 

Many other sorts of latency exist, like –

RAM latency
CPU latency 
Audio latency 
Video latency 

Within the computing world, these delays are usually only a couple of milliseconds, but they will add up to make noticeable slowdowns in performance.

What are jitters?
Operating system jitter (or OS jitter) refers to the interference experienced by an application thanks to scheduling of background daemon processes and handling of asynchronous events like interrupts. It’s been seen that similar applications on mass numbers suffer substantial degradation in performance thanks to OS jitter.
Talking in terms of networking , we can say that packets transmitted continuously on the network will have differing delays, albeit they choose an equivalent route. This is often inherent during a packet-switched network for 2 key reasons. First, packets are routed individually. Second, network devices receive packets during a queue, so constant delay pacing can’t be guaranteed.
This delay inconsistency between each packet is understood as jitter. It is often a substantial issue for real-time communications, including IP telephony, video conferencing, and virtual desktop infrastructure. Jitter is often caused by many factors on the network, and each network has delay-time variation.

What Effects Does Jitter Have?
Packet Loss – 
When packets don’t arrive consistently, the receiving endpoint has got to be structured for it and plan to correct. In some cases, it cannot make the right corrections, and packets are lost. As far because the end-user experience cares , this will take many forms. For instance , if a user is watching a video and therefore the video becomes pixelated, this is often a sign of potential jitter.

Network Congestion – 
As the name suggests, these congestions occur on the network. Network devices are unable to send the equivalent amount of traffic they receive, so their packet buffer fills up and they start dropping packets. If there’s no disturbance on the network at an endpoint, every packet arrives. However, if the endpoint buffer becomes full, packets arrive later and later, leading to jitter. This is often referred to as incipient congestion. By monitoring the jitter, it’s possible to watch incipient congestion. Similarly, if incipient network congestion is happening , the jitter is rapidly changing.

Congestion occurs when network devices begin to drop packets and therefore, the endpoint doesn’t receive them. Endpoints may then request the missing packets be retransmitted, which ends up in congestion collapse.
With congestion, it’s important to notice that the receiving endpoint doesn’t directly cause it, and it doesn’t drop the packets.  

How does one should catch up on Jitter?
In order to form up for jitter, a jitter buffer is employed at the receiving endpoint of the connection. The jitter buffer collects and stores incoming packets, in order that it’s going to determine when to send them in consistent intervals.

  • Static Jitter Buffer – 
    These buffers are implemented within the hardware of the system and are mostly configured by the manufacturer.
  • Dynamic Jitter Buffer – 
    These buffers are implemented within the software of the system which are configured by the network administrator and can easily suit network change.

Difference between Latency and Jitters?

  • Interrupt-Latency is the Delay from occurrence of an Interrupt until the Interrupt-Service-Routine (ISR) is entered.
  • On the contrary, Jitter is that the time the instant of entering the ISR differs over time.

In terms of COMPUTER NETWORKS, Jitter and latency are the characteristics attributed to the flow within the application layer. The jitter and latency are used because the metrics to live the performance of the network. The ultimate difference between the jitter and latency in terms of a theoretical point of view is such that the latency is just a delay through the networks whereas the jitter is variation within all the latencies present.

This increase in latency and jitter occurs when the speed of the 2 devices doesn’t match; Congestion causes the buffers to overflow and traffic bursts.

Latency and jitter are innately linked, but they’re not an equivalent . Latency is the time it takes for data to maneuver from one endpoint on the network to a different . It’s a posh measurement suffering from multiple factors. Jitter, on the opposite hand, is the difference in delay between two packets. Similarly, it’s going to even be caused by several factors on the network. Though jitter and latency share similarities, jitter is simply based off of the delay, but it isn’t like that.

In a Nutshell ,  
Latency = Delay between an occasion happening within the world and code responding to the event.
Jitter = It is considered as minor differences in latencies between two or more events.


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