Google Nest Wi Fi Pro router front view on table

Credit: Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about satellite internet providers and Starlink. This has inevitably brought up discussions about latency. Still, what is latency exactly, and why is it so important? In this short explainer, we dive into the answer. For clarity, latency can also be used to talk about the lag time between computer operations or even disk latency. In this article, we’re focusing specifically on network latency.

Latency vs Bandwidth vs Throughput

You’ve likely heard the terms latency, bandwidth, and throughput before. What do these things mean, and what’s the difference? Latency measures the time it takes for data to transfer from one point of a network to another. The lower the latency, the faster the server and your mobile device or computer communicate. Meanwhile, bandwidth is the amount of actual data that can go through the network at any time during these transfers.