During your device test when you start up the lesson space, we check your internet speed, what browser you use, as well as the type of camera and microphone you have, so that we can offer better assistance should any problems occur. Part of the internet speed test is to measure two things called ping and jitter.
Ping, also called delay or latency, is the time it takes for a bit of data to be moved from the source to the destination. Therefore, it measures the time it takes for information to travel from our servers to your computer. It indicates the responsiveness of the connection and is independent from the download and upload speeds.
Jitter, on the other hand is the variation in ping and can be visually represented as the distance between the data packets. They are both measured in ms (milliseconds) and the higher the value, the more unstable the network will be!
Why does this matter?
When a static website (like Amazon, for example) is loaded in your web browser, data does not have to arrive in a specific order. Think of it like a puzzle - it doesn't matter which piece you put first and which one goes last. As long as you have all the pieces you get the whole picture. Also, if any pieces are lost one the way, you can always ask for them again to complete your puzzle. In this case ping and jitter are not so relevant. They can slow down the web page loading but you'll eventually have it on your screen. Any data that is missing can be recovered by the server sending it again.
When live video and audio communication happen however, ping and jitter are crucial. Data has to arrive in precise order and if anything arrives late, it is thrown away as it is no longer needed. In practice, this will cause audio and video to stutter and break up.
To improve your ping and jitter, have a look at our FAQ on improving your internet connection here.