Propagation Delay

Propagation delay is the distance of a network wire divided by the propagation speed (or the speed of light, according to some) in computer networking. It measures how long a signal takes to travel from a router to a recipient.

Networks have multiple types of delays. Transmission delays occur when data is waiting to be placed onto the wire. Data, separated into packets, is transmitted through a router, but only so many packets can stay on the wire at once. A transmission delay affects how quickly a packet can enter the network. Although these delays are typically quite miniscule, multiple delays can add up and slow network speed.

A queueing delay, on the other hand, is the wait time to process a job or packet, since a router can only process a certain number of packets at one time. After the packet of data is transmitted onto the wire and processed, it travels the wire and reaches its destination. If that travel is hindered or slowed, a propagation delay has occurred.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Pardot

What is Pardot? Pardot is a B2B marketing automation (MA) solution by Salesforce that...

Veeam

Veeam Software is a global vendor...

Akamai

Akamai Technologies is a global web technology company specializing in content...