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Why simulate network latency?

There are many instances when the Internet is not perfect.  Many users have slow and unreliable connections to the Internet.  Smart phone and tablet users operate over wireless links with radically different bandwidth, latency, and reliability compared to the local area network. 

Before deploying a new device or app on your network, find the optimal combination of factors affecting performance.  Simulate these network conditions using a high performance local area network,  add the app or device,  then adjust bandwidth and latency from the user to the device or app.

Some examples:

  • Simulate the conditions of a VPN at a remote site.
  • Simulate a real time video transmission to a mobile device over a satellite link.
  • Simulate access to a business application on a remote server from a desktop computer and a tablet.

Network latency:  the basics

Network latency is generally the time between sending a packet and the receipt of that packet at the destination.  Latency may also be expressed as "delay".   You can set delay to a particular number of milliseconds.  Latency on a DSL network may be 100 ms, whereas latency on a satellite may be 500 ms or more.  To truly optimize the performance of your app or device under adverse network conditions, it is best to simulate the worst case, then examine the effect on your app or device.

Unfortunately, bandwidth and latency are not the same thing!  There's a huge difference between the emulation of a reduced bandwidth link and rate limitation as outlined in our white paper.

Beyond latency

Networks are non-linear and constantly changing.   Network congestion, slow links, time outs, and many other adverse network conditions occur and cannot be simulated by simple simulated latency (packet delay) adjustments.

In addition to network latency (packet delay), other conditions that should be simulated include packet loss/drop,  packet jitter, packet reordering, and packet duplication.  The statistical distribution of these network events is also important, as depending on the cause, the distribution can be bursty or periodic. 

Care should be taken to incorporate appropriate packet filtering.  Certain types of packets exist on the local area network, but are not present on the Internet, Cloud, satellite, wireless, or other connection types.  These packets should be filtered out so that the network simulation will be accurate.

Want to get started with simulating network latency?

We are happy to discuss the scenario you have in mind, help you identify all the factors that may affect performance, and recommend the best simulation solution.

You can choose the member of our Maxwell product family that's the best match for your budget and best fit for your requirements.  (See the comparison chart.)


Learn How to Emulate 3G/4G Networks

Read the White Paper

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Maxwell Executive Overview

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