Latency

(1) In general, the period of time that one component in a system is spinning its wheels waiting for another component. Latency, therefore, is wasted time. For example, in accessing data on a disk, latency is defined as the time it takes to position the proper sector under the read/write head.

(2) In networking, the amount of time it takes a packet to travel from source to destination. Together, latency and bandwidth define the speed and capacity of a network.

(3) In VoIP terminology, latency refers to a delay in packet delivery. VoIP latency is a service issue that is usually based on physical distance, hops, or voice to data conversion.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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