Latency Comparison – DSL, UMTS, LTE and Fiber

Speaking of the 1 ms 5G latency myth in my previous post on the topic let's have a look at what round trip times are to servers on the Internet today over different access networks – with surprising results!

(V)DSL: When I ping a sever pretty close to my location and within the network of my access provider I get ping round trip delay times over my VDSL connection of around 24 milliseconds. Since that's what I have at home it's my reference and quite far away from the mythical 1 millisecond 5G latency. About 3-5 ms are spent on the Wi-Fi link, the rest are a result from delays in the fixed access network. Delay after that to the server is minimal, in the order of a millisecond or two.

UMTS: To the same server my round trip delay times are in the order of 100 milliseconds, so quite a bit more.

LTE: Here, I get round trip times of around 45 milliseconds to that server, so quite a bit of improvement over the UMTS network

Fiber: In Paris I have a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) GPON Link. From a server connected over Ethernet to a router which then connects to a fiber/Ethernet converter I get round trip times to a server close to the edge of that network in the order of 3-4 milliseconds. That is quite a bit closer to the mythical 1 millisecond 5G delay time already. I then pinged a server around 600 km away in Germany and got round trip times of 15 milliseconds. Out of those, 6 milliseconds is due to the physical delay of the light in the fibers, the rest is processing delay.

There we go, I was quite surprised about the phenomenal delay performance of the fiber connection, it's not far away from the physical limits. The question now is if and how this efficiency can be ported to wireless as well, when even VDSL has far more delay, even though it's a fixed line technology.