What is Jitter & How do I Fix it?

It’s a typical Saturday night for you and your buddies. You’re playing Call of Duty: Warzone with your friends and killing it in Verdansk. You’re owing Battle Royale and finishing off those campers. With UAV and cluster strike by your side at all times, you’re invincible.

However, as soon as you’re down to ten teams, your shots start to miss targets. You start doubting your skills, but you keep missing targets repeatedly. From almost conquering the Warzone Victory title, you end up getting pinned by another team. If you’ve experienced this, you are probably experiencing network jitter.

What is Jitter?

Metaphorically speaking, jitter is the audio equivalent of seeing a blurred image in a video. One of the pitfalls of digital transmission is jitter. Jitter is sometimes referred to as ping spikes or stuttering.

Before we dive deeper into the root cause of jitter, it’s crucial to understand networking. During a digital transmission, information is transmitted from your device across the web in the form of data packets. These packets are small bundles of information that will be read by the computer or server that receives it.

Data packets contain information that typically takes a set amount of time to reach their destination. This entire process is known as latency. To give you a clear understanding, while playing a game, you might get around 40ms latency, with usual spikes to 100ms. At some times, you might even experience 200ms before it drops back down.

While a low latency is optimal for online gaming, you tend to adjust to a high latency over time. However, jitter completely ruins this natural adaptation as you experience the worst latency. In short, jitter is your foremost online enemy that disrupts your online gaming experience.

Symptoms of Jitter:

  1. Internet distortion
  2. Choppy video and audio quality
  3. Delayed connection and sudden connection drops

The Effects of Jitter

Jitter seriously congests your network, which results in packet loss. With network congestion, pages won’t load properly or might not load at all. With packet loss, the data packets might arrive at abrupt timings, rendering them of no use.

While watching a video or playing an online game, jitter can pixelate and cause unexpected lags. You might be moving in a direction but struggling to get there. With continuous skips on-screen, the opponent team can gain an edge and wipe you out.

How to Fix Jitter

The primary cause of jitter is the extended time it takes for your data to get transmitted and received to your device. Fortunately, there are ways to fix jitter:

Get a Robust Router

When you’re looking for a router, make sure to review the router before you make the purchase. While it’s unclear which router is best to handle jitter, it’s evident that a high-end router will efficiently handle it. Make sure to check the router’s reviews and ask around, especially online gamers, since they are mostly well-equipped with such components.

Also, ensure that you have optimal internet speed. A high-speed internet connection is especially required in households with numerous devices connected to the same WiFi network. A high-end router, coupled with a high-speed internet connection, makes an excellent pair for uninterrupted internet connectivity.

Use a Wired Connection

While wireless network connections are convenient for regular everyday use, they tend to underperform when compared with a wired connection. A WiFi connection suffers from weak signal strength. In contrast, a wired connection delivers the exact internet speed as received by your ISP.

Wired connections are incredibly beneficial for online gaming where you can’t afford any jitters. Since interference is out of your control, it’s best to employ measures that can stop any interference. A wireless connection may lead to higher latency, packet loss, and jitter.

Once you connect your device with a wired connection, you’ll notice a smooth, uninterrupted internet connection.

Use a High-Speed Internet

While there is no direct correlation with high-speed internet and a lower ping/jitter/packet loss, it’s always good to have a high-speed internet connection. A low-speed internet connection won’t suffice for your needs, especially if you have numerous devices connected to the same network.

A high-speed internet connection can conveniently deliver the adequate speed needed by devices connected to the network. At the same time, lower internet connection speeds have been known to increase jitter, especially when the bandwidth is being shared with other devices.

In this case, fiber internet connections are the most preferred connections for optimal online usage. You’ll notice significant reductions in jitter, ping, and latency with fiber connections. 

In a Nutshell

To sum up, you must control your variables that are in your reach. A simple speed test might tell you the ping, download, and upload speeds, but it won’t tell you if there’s a jitter on your connection.

If you’ve got a gaming setup in place with high-end components, it’s better that you invest in a high-end router. Remember, upgrading the router and getting a better internet connection with an Ethernet cable is much better and well within your control.

Ather Owais Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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