How to Reduce Network Jitter

We’ve all been on the freeway when cars refuse to merge and multiple vehicles try to jam themselves onto the same space at once. The smooth flow of traffic becomes a jumbled mess.

This same scenario happens on a computer network when packets of data arrive over the same IP address at irregular spaces.

Networks usually rely on Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) which guarantees delivery and stipulates that if packets are not received at the other end, they are re-sent in the same order.  This ensures that information arriving in file format makes sense.

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However with real time protocol (RTP) which is used for video conferencing and streaming media, time restraints do not allow for this to happen.  Packets end up getting lost en-route, resulting in network jitter which negatively impacts the network in several ways. For example, if you were mid-conference call with an important client – video may become pixelated and begin skipping ahead or a business VoIP calls could jumble and parts of the conversation, lost. 

Unsurprisingly, this is a frustrating experience for users and can result in a whole host of negative implications for your business – from reduced employee satisfaction, impeded productivity and even increased turnover to reduced customer satisfaction, potential loss of customers and consequential impact on profitability.

What causes Jitter?

Jitter results from any issue that affects the ability of packets to arrive at to their destination in the correct order, such as limited bandwidth capacity, latency and packet loss.  For example if a network has a capacity of 10 mb per second and more than that amount of data is trying to be sent the system will begin dropping packets.  

How to Solve Network Jitter

Network optimisation
Once the root cause of the network jitter is established, solutions can be applied which may include packet shapers or WAN optimisation appliances and mitigate negative consequence for your business. 

Simple solutions include

  • Increasing the bandwidth available
  • Choosing to operate on a fixed ethernet rather than Wi-Fi
  • If Wi-Fi is the only option, reducing the number of devices being operated on the same channel.
  • Holding off on large data file transfers while VoIP meetings are being held

Network Monitoring

However, if you want to stay on top of the issue and prevent it from impacting your daily business operations – network monitoring tools are crucial. Installing Network monitoring tools can alert the IT professional to problems that need addressing to avoid Jitter.  Specific tools such as the IR, SolarWinds VoIP and Network Quality Manager are designed to provide QoS metrics and WAN performance data.  These tools allow quality troubleshooting, Cisco VoIP gateway and visual VoIP call path tracing.  Other features can include automated accelerated provisioning, automated workflows and less management complexity.

A well designed network jitter monitoring application will be able to closely monitor all VoIP calls and call detail records (CDRs) and enables the IT professional to identify metrics like maximum jitter and current jitter and quantify the VoIP traffic quality and performance.

Algorithms, such as those used by Skype, have been designed to overcome this problem by compressing and uncompressing data to make it smaller and more easily transmitted avoiding issues like high latency networks.  

Meetings that rely on a well running network will appreciate the smooth delivery of VoIP to conduct vital negotiations.  With Covid-19 increasing the use of video communication world-wide, addressing Jitter quickly has become an imperative for the IT or telecommunications officer in any business and government department.

About Author
Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.

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