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Ask Slashdot: What Is an Acceptable Broadband Latency?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the insert-rant-about-3g-dongle-speeds dept.

Networking 396

holmedog writes "A simple question with a lot of answers (I hope). I recently had issues with my DSL broadband at home, and after a month of no resolution, I was told 300ms latency (to their test servers) was the acceptable range for Centurylink 10.0Mbps. This got a shocked reaction out of me to say the least. I would think anything over 125ms to be in the unacceptable range. So, I have come to you to ask: What do you consider to be acceptable broadband latency and why?"

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Latency (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263051)

I used to work for AT&T Uverse and over 200ms was enough to get a tech onsite to look at the problem.

Re:Latency (4, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263305)

What exactly would he do? Latency is a function of all the hops between you and the other machine. I doubt they're going to reconfigure their network topology for a single user.

Re:Latency (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263359)

PS: Talking of hops, tracert will show you how many hops are between you and their "test servers". Finding that out would be a good starting point.

Re:Latency (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263389)

Your comment assumes that all the devices and media between locations were functioning properly. Latency can also be caused by bad wiring, bad modem, etc. Hell, even line noise can cause it because the line noise forces re-transmits.

Re:Latency (4, Informative)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263483)

No, but if you point out that the latency between everything up to your street is low, and you have massive latency over the last two hops, it helps show them that something isn't normal.

Re:Latency (5, Informative)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263557)

More often than not, latency is caused by congestion and not number of hops. Hops do introduce latency, but few modern applications need to go very far. So, whether the customer intentionally (bit-torrent) or unintentionally (malware) introduced this congestion is the first thing a tech will check for - usually by disconnecting the local network and running a speed-test directly from a laptop. The latency could also be caused by a local wireless network which is saturated, underpowered, or experiencing interference. So if the wireline speed-test passes, a wireless speed-test is likely to happen next with the tech standing right beside the modem.
In the much more unlikely scenario that the latency is being introduced by the network itself, the technician will usually escalate the problem and check both the street-side cabinet (DSLAM in this case), and customer profile at the B-RAS deep inside the provider network. It is not uncommon to see a low-speed DSL profile applied to a poor quality local loop, or for the wrong Layer 3 profile to be applied by provisioning error on the B-RAS itself. Both scenarios would result in poor performance for the user, leading to congestion and therefore, latency.

Re:Latency (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263603)

Yes, but ISPs can make a big difference, as I mentioned on another post, I played an MMO 8 years or so ago, where the other players (pretty much all using TW, a few Comcast I think), complained of server lag at certain times, and experienced 500-1500ms latency. With my DSL connection, I was getting 75-100ms latency at the same time - not server lag. Some users were farther from the west coast servers than me, most were closer, pretty much all of them had higher-throughput connections than me. Local maintenance of the network, and load handling can make a huge impact. At the time (I suspect it isn't nearly as bad now), these companies didn't handle their loads very well.

Re:Latency (3, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263535)

I had AT&T's DSL and did some gaming. I live in Ohio, and the servers were west coast. I typically had 75-100ms latency when the TimeWarner users were complaining about server lag and 500-1500mls latency. When they were down to 150-200ms (good for them), I typically hovered around 50-60ms.

This was 7-8 years ago.

IMHO, 300ms is unacceptable.

My current cable gives me around 100ms average latency with SW:TOR.

To me, "acceptable latency" comes with the type of service, and the distance to the target. This covers my views with servers in the continental US:
With my previous DSL experience, I would be pissed with a DSL service that had 100ms or more latency except at the busy hours
With cable, I expect upwards of 200ms, but the average should be closer to 100-150ms.
With WiFi in the equation, I'd add a bit more, and be surprised if it were less than +50ms, but would still be pissed if it were more than +100ms.

Mind you though, this is from anecdotal experience, YMMV.

Well let's see... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263055)

if you can't get first post on slashdot, then it's too slow. :(

Latency (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263069)

First pos... Dammit!

Re:Latency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263445)

Actually, you were first, but /. bumps you down automagically when it sees "First".

300 Acceptable? (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263071)

Maybe if you're coming from off-continent.

300ms is the typical latency of an analog modem.

Re:300 Acceptable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263199)

Yeah, this was all the rage for the hpw vs the lpb back when we played quake.

Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263371)

No need to be anon to post that... it's true.

Hell, back in the day I averaged 250ms from a 28.8K modem connection in rural Arkansas... (28,800 was the best you could hope for given the local telecom infrastructure, no matter how fast your modem was). An LPB (low-pinged bastard) could average 100ms to many servers, and latency of 50 wasn't unheard of.

Mind you, this was in 1998-1999.

Re:300 Acceptable? (0)

pinfall (2430412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263241)

What is the air speed of an unladen swallow?

Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263317)

African or European?

Re:300 Acceptable? (0)

captinkid (1224428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263335)

African or European swallow?

Re:300 Acceptable? (5, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263349)

I consider anything past 80ms to be slow for my cable connection (to

I just tested 19,17,18,18

I previous test had a 60 something thrown in. This is via a boring home VPN router, shared connection, but under a dozen, and all light users.

13 hops to from here.

33,34,33,63 to /.

300 is what I get on hotel wifi, or my cellphone (to be fair, on my cell phone it goes up to 1000), as can hotel wifi become unusable, I swear most hotels must have 300+ rooms sharing a T1 line.

Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263393)

Thanks! I'd mod informative if I had the points. Just as a baseline, what kind of latency would you expect between computers in a room? I assume at some point the speed and quality of your router, NIC, drivers, etc have to start to matter.

Re:300 Acceptable? (4, Informative)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263641)

Generally 1ms or less.

Pinging one of my servers in co-lo on the other side of London and traversing my moderate-speed (~4Mbps/1Mbps) ASDL only takes just over 14ms round-trip.

Pinging my server in the US gives ~110ms.

Singapore: ~270ms.

Sydney, Australia: ~310ms.

So I can get right round the globe and back in about 300ms, *starting* the trip over ADSL.





Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263653)

I ping 16 or 17 to google. .4 or .5 to my router 1 to my router's router.
7-10 to the gateway on the other side of my modem.

Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263477)

Yup, my best pings were 300ms back when I used to play Jedi Knight online.

Re:300 Acceptable? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263649)

Hahaha, first thing I thought of when I saw the post about latency over a modem+phone line.

I pwned at Nar Shaddaa. Tower and Drazen Isle were my favorite maps, though. Hell, I wish every multiplayer shooter had a game mode like the one in the Drazen Isle map.

125 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263083)

Over 125ms is definitely unacceptable in the same continent.

Latency is the forgotten casuality... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263109)

...of the broadband wars. All consumers really seem to care about is faster download speeds, so networks offer it - by munging up their network so much that latency is measured in seconds. With the death of the network engineer, people just aren't educated enough to realize that part of the whole broadband experience is getting your packets sent and received fast, not just your GET or retrieve request getting all the data it asked for quickly. If you have to wait more than a second or two for your requests to even get there, then most people are gonna give up and try somewhere else.

Re:Latency is the forgotten casuality... (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263327)

How about a car analogy? All people care about is Horsepower. It's a single number that advertisers can sell. Transmissions, rear ends, torque curves, who cares?

Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263113)

Well it's really up to you on what "acceptable" is. It could be 0ms or 100ms, but obviously you don't think 300ms is.

I try for anything 150ms personally.

Depends... (3, Informative)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263117)

What are you using your connection for?

If you're sending emails, then 300 is perfectly fine.

Turn based games would be fine. Real time games would be rough.

Re:Depends... (2, Informative)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263619)

300ms is the serialization delay on a 56kbps modem. Doing any modern email with any sizable attachment would be painful at best and would more likely experience timeouts. Browsing the web with 300ms of delay would be painful.

Keeping in mind that this delay is apparently inside his ISP network I think that there is no reason that he should accept 300ms unless his ISP is an inter-island carrier and the test servers are on another island or something.

Escalate your trouble ticket (1)

lw54 (73409) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263127)

Request an escalation of your trouble ticket. No reasonable person would expect 300ms latency as the norm.

Re:Escalate your trouble ticket (3, Informative)

glop (181086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263301)

Yup, I'd say 10ms is not uncommon for modern
The FCC Says:
Results by ISP. The highest average round-trip latency among ISPs
was 75 ms, while the lowest average latency was 14 ms.
This is from "Measuring Broadband America - FCC" found on the FCC website.

Re:Escalate your trouble ticket (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263555)

I would also think with those latency numbers you would have a hard time reaching 10Mbps. My guess is that you are a bit too far from the nearest POP which is cause attenuation in the line. Do a bandwidth test; see what the actual speeds are.

No one can define your requirements (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263139)

We can't really tell you what's "acceptable". That ultimately depends on what you're using it for.

Maybe the right question is, are you getting a worse ratio-vs.-price situation than is found in most markets in your country?

Or are you asking whether or not the provided is in breach of the law because they're offering something so bad that their advertising is deceptive?

Re:No one can define your requirements (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263589)

Or are you asking whether or not the provided is in breach of the law because they're offering something so bad that their advertising is deceptive?

I see what you did there...

Re:No one can define your requirements (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263663)

That makes one of us...

Not the case for a 10Mbit connection at all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263145)

I live in Argentina and have a 1 Mbit Cablemodem connection, my latency is around 10~40 ms!

Good for Spartans, crap for latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263147)

300ms on a wired line is absurd. I wouldn't want much more than 60. Hell, even wireless Internet connections like Clearwire would usually manage under 100, maybe 130 on a poor day, if my days in support were anything to go by. I'm probably a bit biased as I spend a lot of time gaming online, and a latency over 60 starts to visibly affect gameplay.

It all depends on distance... (3, Informative)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263149)

I can't see 300ms being acceptable anywhere in North America unless you are on a satellite link, however if you are testing over continents then yes.

Testing to the providers own test servers within the same country seems insane to be that high.

Re:It all depends on distance... (1)

baenpb (1343241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263545)

Their "Test servers" might be the key word. If they're diagnosing a problem, perhaps their bandwidth-limited test servers are to blame, and connecting to their live servers would automatically be faster? Speculation, don't eat me if I'm wrong. 300ms is unacceptable for a high-speed connection. Yes it works for email, but that's not what you're paying for.

300ms? Maybe 30ms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263151)

Even 100ms is enough to pretty much ruin almost any real-time application (voice chat, gaming, etc). If your internet provider believes this is "acceptable", and they're selling anything other than satellite, ditch them.

Re:300ms? Maybe 30ms (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263613)

Sometimes that isn't possible.

I use CenturyLink out here in the sticks, and my wee 8Mbit line averages 36ms to the nearest test server according to Picking something known to be slow, such as a former employer's UEN (Utah Education Network) server gives me 77ms. SanFran from here (Oregon) gives me 56ms. Funny thing is, it even feels snappier than my previous Comcast line in Portland, which was an alleged 20Mbit (latencies were dog-slow, 80-100ms at times at level best).

A lot of it depends on the local infrastructure, and your own in-home bits. For example, until I rectified things, my Ubuntu install had some rather horrendous lag. May want to check there too.

Nothing but the best for me. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263161)

If there isn't a perfectly linear tube filled(emptied?) with hard vacuum between their GBIC and my GBIC, providing the lowest possible roundtrip time(that fiber crap can slow your photons by 30-50%), the connection isn't good enough.

Re:Nothing but the best for me. (4, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263315)

Denon makes one of those, I think, and for only a few thousand dollars more it can include a high-speed copper track to provide a stable surface the electrons can travel on.

Re:Nothing but the best for me. (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263383)

Oh, you mean this one? []

The reviews are amazing.

Re:Nothing but the best for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263559)

HAHAHA couldn't resist reading some comments on that amazon product. Here's one I liked:

This connection isn't sound. If my calculations are correct, it should be sometime around 2007 for whomever is reading this. DO NOT USE THESE CABLES. Something... happens with them. Something came through, something from somewhere else. We were overrun in days, not many of us are left. WE LIVE UNDERGROUND! ONLY YOU CAN STOP IT NOW. SAVE US. DO NOT USE THESE CABLES.

I don't have much time. This connection isn't sound. If my calculations are correct, it should be--

or this one:

I have to say that all other reviews not taking this product seriously need to stop disrespecting the rating and review system. Anyway; I installed the cable to my Flux Capacitor and once the information stream had reached 88,000 000,000,000,000 miles an hour I was able to listen to live music/entertainment from any year in history. A dark Jedi friend of mine also used this cable to connect various equipment on his personal Star Destroyer, and couldn't express more positively how he was able to enjoy the latest CD from Michael Buble in such high quality whilst shooting down several Republic starships. Buy this cable now people.

Re:Nothing but the best for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263489)

Denon? Psssh. Everyone in the know gets the Advanced High Speed cables from Monster.

50-100 (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263163)

I'd prefer 50 or lower, I probably couldn't argue below 100, above 100? Yeah, I'm going to make a fuss.

If there server gives me that as a min, it'll only escalate in other programs, which I'd use that against them.

Re:50-100 (1)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263429)

I agree with your comment. Below 50 is preferable, above 50 is bad but can't complain / have had worse, over 100 (domestically) is heads will roll

Holy Collisions Batman (2)

walkerp1 (523460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263167)

My 10Mbps cable gets 33/80ms at average/peak. A church I set up with 3Mbps DSL gets 60ms. My old satellite rig got about 500ms (less with modem uplink). Do they keep their test servers local, or does a tracert show a number of hops? 300ms is completely unacceptable for the first hop.

Location of Test Servers (4, Insightful)

Bookwyrm (3535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263177)

Just where exactly are these 'test servers' in relation to you? What, exactly, was this 'test'? This seems a bit of a worthless test. It's entirely possible your DSL has less than 100 ms latency, but the delay is on the server end or the links in between. This is too vague a scenario to comment on.

My feelings about 'acceptable' latency depend on how much I am paying for it, at what bandwidth, with what level of SLA, and for what purpose.

Re:Location of Test Servers (1)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263385)

+1 on this. Without more information from the OP about the test nor its destination, it's nearly impossible to draw any conclusions.

FWIW, I have CenturyLink 12.0mb/s DSL in the Seattle metro area. I just pinged their (CenturyLink's) local DNS server (205.171.3.x) from my router, and have latency consistently in the 20-25ms range - which I consider perfectly fine. (traceroute shows five hops total, bwt, all in the network).

Pinging Google's public DNS server, outside of at, gives 75-80ms latency. Again, just fine in my book.
. /tsg/

Re:Location of Test Servers (1)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263569)

Nerd fail. Was actually pinging from the wrong shell, which includes the latency of my laptop's wireless link. So the actual CenturyLink DSL latencies are 5ms or so less for me: 15-20ms to the local DNS server, 70-75ms to Google DNS.

We now return you to more competent geek programming.

Re:Location of Test Servers (1)

daha (1699052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263635)

I have CenturyLink 10mb/s DSL in the Minneapolis suburban area and got 27-32ms to

Re:Location of Test Servers (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263647)

I would run some traceroutes and see where the latency is at.

Depends on what you're connecting to... (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263187)

If you're connecting to the house next door, I would expect 25ms or under. If you're connecting to a tentacle porn henti site in Japan, latency can be upwards of 128ms. In other words, there is nothing magic about broadband that reduces the size of the world or gets around the speed of light limitations.

Varies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263201)

Here on the West coast of the US, I generally get anywhere from 30 - 100ms to a well known Level3 server (
I consider that acceptable because to get to (from most carriers) my pings have to go through my LEC, ISP, and into another AS.

If you run a traceroute to your carriers speed test server, is it many hops away? Does one hop give a noticeably higher latency than others? What about doing that test at odd hours of the day?

Iirc Centurylink is a cable provider. See if your neighbors have the same problem. It could be that your neighborhood's segment has been over subscribed.

Good luck

To Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263207)

15ms average, on cable network.

For what? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263209)

For gaming 100ms is shit. For general browsing 300ms is still pretty poor, but not the end of the world on a cheap and nasty connection.

It really depends, but for you, 300ms is high. (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263215)

It really depends on 'to where you measure' and 'under what conditions' and 'what technology'. EG, satellite broadband will just have bad latency, period. Its the nature of the beast. And cellular/wireless can vary all over the place.

But for fixed, land-line connections? I'd say well under 50ms of latency for the last hop, so perhaps 125ms latency max to an in-ISP test server (giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming 75 ms latency to their test server because its somewhere in the middle of the US).

However, this is 'no traffic' latency: if you are doing a file transfer, BitTorrent, etc, the bad buffering in many networks can make the latency under load much much much worse.

It is also "no WiFi latency": your WiFi connection can introduce all sorts of problems, including bottlenecks etc. So it should be the latency you see when plugged into the wall.

Two other resources I'd recommend you look at: Ookla's [] , which is a very good speed tester for latency and bandwidth, and Netalyzr [] , which is a very comprehensive network tester.

Latency schmatency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263225)

You are lucky, I wish I had some latency. It's the bandwith that I need. My up speed == my down speed most of the evening. Signed Mahomet Citizens for a Better Internet Today.

DSL performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263227)

I would assume even over 50mS is BAD. I have close to 20 mS myself. I live in The Netherlands. Within a year they will roll out a fiber optic network to _each_ house in the city here and we get much better speed and latency still. My current ADSL over copper does 8Mbit/S and we get >50Mbits/S entry level.

Maybe I am slow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263233)

But nowhere do I see specifics to know what this 300ms refers to. Is he wired or wireless? What is the latency in terms of? A CentuyLink server? Google? Some server in Japan? Give me some details.

This is why I have DSL (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263235)

Anything over 60ms screws up VoIP badly. Comcast builds in buffering in the modems to cause latency and jitter.

These ISP's are getting as bad as the crap Dial up guys in the late 90's.

180 to me is unacceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263237)

I have charter cable 30meg internet my latency from Alabama to DC is about 45-50 ms about 18-25 from Alabama to Atlanta my brothers AT&T DSL averages 80-110 ms now.... on the other perspective of things my cell phones latency iv never seen it even in the 200 range it averages 125-155 ms at 8 meg. anything like dsl thats wired in should not have such a high response time if a cell phone on H+ can do better i feel something is wrong..... so to me 300 for anything wired is way to high that would be awful for gaming almost like your on satellite...

Latency has a couple of sources... (5, Insightful)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263239)

When you say the word "latency" most tech-savvy folks think about the propagation speed of the technology (e.g. electricity in copper, or light in fiber), and thus assume it's basically proportional to distance.

However, latency comes from other things as well. Serialization delay adds latency, and the lower the symbol speed the more it adds. Multiaccess media adds latency while waiting to transit. Multiplexing anything adds a small amount of latency looking for a time slot.

The biggest culprit? Bufferbloat. This is a term that has been coined to describe the fact that many networking devices have entirely too much buffer. In the best case someone has sized the buffer for the max line rate that device may see (perhaps 25Mbps for your DSL modem, when your link is only 10Mbps), in the worst some misguided engineer thought "more == better" when figuring out how much to buffer, or just didn't care. There are a number of efforts to try and fix this poor situation, is the place to start. Basically buffers add latency. A small amount of buffering increases throughput, but beyond that it does nothing but increase latency and generally make the user experience crappy. When the link is full you need to drop packets _quickly_, because that's the signal to TCP to back off. Packet loss is a _good_ thing on a full link.

Try running ICSI's Netalyzr ( which will attempt to estimate your uplink and downlink buffering. If you have a "router" in front of your DSL modem it may have some tuning, or "QoS rate shaping" that will help. If it's a device provided by your service provider you may not have access to the settings, and it may simply be configured wrong. With some vendors asking for a different model of device may help, with others, you may be screwed.

The technologies involved should deliver 20ms latencies if properly configured. You should absolutely expect that, but getting them to acknowledge a problem may take latencies over 50ms. If your service provider thinks 300ms is normal, you need to escalate or move to a different provider.

Depends on what you're doing. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263249)

I'd have no problem with 300 most of the time, but I'm not a fan of multiplayer games that require twitch reflexes, nor do I do anything significant on OnLive.

Another place you might have trouble is streamed content -- this is one of the reasons I do not like streamed content. I'd much rather use the model of "download the content, use it, and then discard it", which is much less sensitive to latency, lets you get higher quality regardless of bandwidth (as long as you allow the download time to be longer than the viewing time), and lets you schedule your traffic for times when the network isn't congested.

(Alas, it seems to me that content-owners think of streaming-instead-of-downloading as a form of DRM, and so attempt to make the other options look less attractive. Makes it more like TV/cable, I guess.)

where is there test server? (1)

BulletMagnet (600525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263257)

Mars? 300ms latency is getting into satellite territory.

Depends on where but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263263)

That seems like a pretty bad latency to me. I'd expect something more like 30ms than 300 especially for something that should theoretically be in their network and pretty close to you network wise. It should end up being even worse when you are leaving their network to go someplace on the internet. Have you tried an independent speedtest site to compare?

None. (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263265)

I'm paying for a service, I expect no less than my minimum promised broadband.

What do you mean by "latency"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263267)

Do you mean ping time? Connection setup time? Some other scenario involving server processing?

Try a fast traceroute? (1)

fredmunge (717927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263273)

This is kind of a simplistic test and I am sure I will be chided for it but if you do a simple traceroute with a free graphical tool like "sam spade" you can get an idea exactly where in the path the latency is. Assuming someone in the next room isn't seeding tons of torrents, assuming you don't have a virus etc etc I think a traceroute would be a next step in troubleshooting this. When you identify the offending hop, you can give the provider the IP address of the bad or overloaded / misconfigured device in the path. Tech support people have no incentive to look at their own equipment and always always always blame the customer first. Sadly they are correct in doing so all too often. Good luck! Mike

CenturyLink (1)

bannerman (60282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263277)

My CenturyLink 10Mbps DSL in WA State delivers 65ms ping to a Google DNS server. I get 6-7ms ping to their gateway. It's rock solid unless my connection is saturated. They were significantly oversubscribed and were listing our area as having an "outage" for over a year before they finally got our backbone upgraded, but it's amazing now. You can ask them to switch you from Interleaved mode to Fast mode if your line is decent. That can reduce your ping time significantly. But it sounds like they have some other major issue in your area.

I was lucky, I scored a great contact with the central office tech in my area. I'm able to give him timely notification of outages and things, and he is able to provide excellent service through bad times. Their residential customer service is on par with Comcast.

Re:CenturyLink (1)

Wolfraider (1065360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263667)

60ms here for a 1.5Mbps CenturyLink DSL connection and they have a few repeaters thrown in there to get it to my house (12 miles from town).

300ms is unreasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263279)

If this is latency to THEIR servers, I'd expect no more than 80ms and I would think that that was high. I'm assuming "their servers" means a server right at the start of the path that every one of your packets will need to take to go anywhere on the internet.

Which question are you asking? (1)

epte (949662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263287)

1) Is 300ms actually considered acceptable by some broadband customers?
2) Is 300ms typical for some broadband connections and/or modems?
3) Can 300ms acceptable as a general standard of service for broadband connections?

Personally, I cannot accept 300ms for my broadband, because I need to run RDC over a VPN, which would result in about 0.75 roundtrip for every GUI action I take. A little less than a second for every mouse click? No thank you. So, #3 should definitely be NO.

300ms? To what servers? (1)

Raxxon (6291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263291)

I consider anything >10ms to servers located within my ISP to be absolutely unacceptable. However I'm on a fibre link so my viewpoint is kinda skewed.

When I was on a DSL link (1998 - 2002) if I got >50ms to servers at my ISP I started looking at what may have been clogging my link (in one case I did a data capture and proved to the ISP that one of their Cisco routers was misconfigured and spewing garbage) and then started planning to lay siege to the ISP.

However given that you're dealing with an ISP that I'm unaware of, are their servers located in the same facility that your DSL connects to or are there other hops that it goes through? What is the layout of their network like? Is there traffic shaping between your ingress point and these test servers?

300ms is only acceptable if you're communicating across one of the trans-oceanic links or you're on Dialup/Satellite (and I think Sat links have improved, haven't they?)

24Mb/s ADSL2+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263295)

I get about 20Mb/s out of my "24Mb/s" service, and it is 10ms to the DSLAM, best case. Climbs to 20ms when kids get home from school in the area. It is 17ms to (nearest node I presume...). Central London, UK.

Results from (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263331)

I don't know what test servers you're referring to, but typically when I test a client's internet connection with using the automatically found best server I get results under 50ms. I would imagine anything over 100ms to a nearby server indicates some kind of network mismanagement.

I also have clients using satellite connections. Their latency is typically around 750 to 900 ms.

latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263343)


On their network anything 20 unacceptable (1)

quintesse (654840) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263409)

If you have over 300ms latencies to servers inside your ISP's own network then I would definitely call that unacceptable. With my ISP and fastpath enabled I often get 20ms to servers within the same country. Anything over 60 and I wouldn't be able to feed my Counter Strike addiction ;)

300ms is ludicrous (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263415)

I used to get better than that back in the dialup days using less than 56k-Flex from East Coast US to the Jolt servers in the UK. I would think broadband between you and your ISP's test server would be much less.

Positive latency is too much (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263421)

A good tachyon router and you'll have the bits before they're sent, the way it should have been.

The best part is, even if your ISP doesn't provide the service yet, if you plan to sign up, you already have it!

50 ms (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263431)

Personally I'd complain if it was anything over 50 ms for wireline. Wireless you are going to see higher; for satellite 300 ms is probably good (but I don't think you can get 10 mbps over satellite yet). With DSL I had ~13-20 ms reported to nearby test servers (well, ~70 miles as the car drives). Switched to U-verse recently, now I get about 22-30 ms to the same server on a bonded pair (interleaved). Don't think I've ever gone above 30 ms to test servers, but then I've only ever had DSL or a T1 at college (for broadband; I think back in the modem days latency was generally on the order of 200-300 ms, but I don't remember for sure).
The people that made also offer, which gives some decent information on latency.

Nice if you can get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263441)

You folks give me a terrible case of pee-pee envy. Being stuck out in the sticks of Hawaii with a satellite (Starband) connection, my latency runs out to 3 seconds at times! Frequently gmail doesn't connect on the first try. Typical latency runs around 700 msec due to the space transit times (think of the delays in speech vs image when the news correspondent is in the mideast). At $70/month I barely scrape 1mbs...SB actually has the balls to call this "broadband".. Forget Netflix streaming video. My Wii won't connect either. Still, it beats putting up with traffic, crowds, noise and bozos on their stupid phones yammering away.

If it anit..... (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263455)

Less than 30 forget about it.

Determine The Cause (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263461)

Generally speaking, on a 10Mbps broadband connection I would expect 1-3 milliseconds to the first hop and a few milliseconds per hop additional inside the regional network.

If you start hopping to other continents or if you're located on an island and have to have a satellite uplink or long haul inter-island or intercontinental fiber then you need to adjust your expectations upwards from there. Figure on a half second delay for a satellite link (accounts for both up and down) - 300 isn't enough for satellite so I think you're not having this problem.

What's your traceroute to various places look like (to their test servers for example, and to other locations around the Internet)? Is your delay right from the first hop or does it come later in the ISP network? (I'll assume the delay is on your own ISP network as the delay is to their own test servers).

Working at an ISP (3, Informative)

andydouble07 (2344014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263473)

I just averaged together the data for a few thousand DSL circuits, and it seems that the average response time is in the area of 65 ms. Anything above 150ms is out of the ordinary. There are even a few CenturyLink circuits in there (reseller), and the average response time for those is a little higher, around 70 ms. Usually slow response times are because of an over-utilized circuit, but if that's not an issue here, then you should probably check the signal and margins on your modem or have CenturyLink send a tech to do so.

Some measurements (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263495)

I do have a 10 Mbps DSL at home with the following ping time statistics:

First hop to ISP over DSL line in Finland: 22 ms
City 500 km away within the same ISP network: 33 ms
International connection to 10 hops and about 2500 km away: 50 ms
International connection over some European countries and over Atlantic to New York (~8000 km): 125 ms
Continuing journey from New York to Tokyo, Japan (lots of kilometers): 300 ms

How far is their test server anyway?

Depends on the Server (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263501)

A "test" server is probably hammered because it's a low end machine that's just there to test basic connectivity, and they direct a large number of people do "ping". They are essentially performing a DoS attack on their own test server.

A better test would be to do a trace route to google or yahoo and see how long that takes.

150 and less is decent to a server that's not being hammered, but latency for other things like Warcraft have additional things adding to it not just the connection so 300 is kinda high but not unexpected in some situations.

For Comparison (1)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263533)

Some points for comparison: []

With only 282ms you can get a ping from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.

Broadband in Serbia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263567)

I live in Serbia (which is a 2.5 world country) and I have 10 mbps broadband. Latency is around 60ms in multiplayer games such as TF2 and WoT. Go figure.

Latency maps and looking glass servers (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263573)

Latency depends on your destination. It is limited by the speed of light, and governed by how lousy the link itself is. It's how you sometimes get stories like the 500 mile email [] For some reference points:

A map of expected United States latency [] from some place in Texas.

Often times your first hop on DSL will be slower... my own network right now shows 40ms to my ISP's gateway. 300ms is my ping time from Maine in the US to Australia.

Another helpful source of references are looking glass servers [] that will let you drop right into another provider's system and see ping times from their perspective.

Definitely not 300ms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263579)

300ms to *their own* test servers seems disgustingly high. I would expect no more than 20-30ms to a company-run test server. 300ms is the latency to Europe or something. In Q3A days anything over 90ms was shite, and even for slower games like WoW anything over 150ms will impact you exponentially more as you go higher.

300ms, seriously? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263599)

300ms is usable, but not by much. Like in all things, it depends on what you're doing.

For an ssh connection, that's almost unusable. I'd not want to use it for much of anything.

For an AJAX web app, that will probably be unusable unless it was tested with such high latencies in mind and written by competent programmers.

For gaming, you can forget about it. 300ms is about 50% more than maximum for what was playable for network games, 15 years ago, and it'll probably prevent gaming outright on many modern platforms.

About the only thing that's acceptable for is casual internet browsing, chatting, and email. It'll probably make sites like Facebook unusable, but it's probably Enough for most.

as you suspected, they are full of shit (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263605)

I am on CenturyLink DSL, 1.5Mbps sadly, and I get about 100ms latency across the country. As good as 90ms from CO to AL. As much as 125 or so to locations further away.

latency from where to where (1)

innovative7 (2589715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263607)

One question you should ask yourself is: What test server is this? Latency is affected by many things so when thinking in terms of how many milliseconds does it take to get a response, you need to have a baseline. When my technition came to install our broadband, they used My latency to my closest test server is 35. If I ever saw 300 here, I'd consider that completely unacceptable for a typical advertised 10Mb wired broadband connection (cable modem, DSL). You can also try testing when you're ethernet cable is plugged in, instead of wireless to get faster speeds and probably a slight change in latency. I noticed this with a 50Mb up and down link from Toronto, the wifi couldn't utilize that efficiently.

In my opinion, CenturyTel is run by idiots... (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263615)

I had a VPN customer on CenturyLink and a previous network engineer had put their home office LAN on (which is pretty common). The outlying offices were on 10.x.x.x subnets. One day, suddenly, no one could reach the home office file server. I discovered that there was a whole collection of computers with addresses on the WAN side of the routers. This, of course, broke the VPN links. He didn't just have them on that subnet but he had addressed one as and up through a numerical sequence. When I finally got through to the chief admin guy (in Portland, OR) and told him he had internal IP addresses on a routable network he responded that the WAN side of our network was his INTERNAL network and he saw nothing wrong with putting a bunch of servers on those IP addresses. Nothing could convince him otherwise, either... because he was studying to take his Cisco Certified Network Administrator test.

We readdressed the home office (that was fun!) and then moved to a better provider; one who at least would listen.

Drop them like a hot potato (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39263617)

I live in a sublet house that has free CenturyLink DSL included in the rent (shared over wifi). The service is supposed to be ~768k, their lowest tier. I normally got about 600-700k so the speed was as advertised. However latency was normally fairly high (90-150ms to google) and any problems with the line (like a slightly bad filter) made it skyrocket. In addition any downloads on the connection would make latency shoot through the roof. One 240p youtube stream from one of my housemates would send latency to ~600-900ms. Anything using close to the max of the connection would send it to ~1200ms and start the connection dropping packets like mad. I still have this connection available to me, but opted to pay for my own Comcast Business Class service as I am a teleworker. My advice is go with someone else, quick.

Latency and you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39263645)

Latency is determined by several factors, including but not limited to: Route miles (between you and the destination), network congestion (QoS), network faults, media overhead, device overhead, device faults, and routing/QoS policies by your ISP, the ISP of the destination, or any point in between. The latency measurement you really need to pay attention to in traceroute output is the first "on-net" backbone hop. In other words, how much latency is incurred between you and the devices that directly connect to your ISP's inter-regional network. If that number reads excessively high, there is either a major network fault (fiber cut) or something wrong at your premise. Call the support line at that point.

Check out the "Internet Health Report" at and give this page a thorough read in your spare time:

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