What is jitter?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls work by converting your analog voice into digital data packets so they can travel through the network to reach the other caller.  

Jitter happens when those packets don’t arrive on time or arrive at irregular intervals because a network may be suffering congestion. The end result? Slow transfer speeds and delayed data packets causing a communications “traffic jam.” 

Jitter measures the time it takes a data packet to reach its destination in milliseconds. A high delay can negatively impact the quality of your audio or video call. 

The most common types of jitter include: 

  • Constant: Involves a generally consistent level of delay from each packet. 

  • Transient: An Incremental delay brought on by a single packet. 

  • Short-term delay variation: The continual increase of both delay and packet jitter. 

Why should you care about jitter? 

Most networks test for jitter by sending out multiple data packets and measuring the average and minimum delay for a round-trip. Minor fluctuations in network performance are expected, so most companies have a threshold for acceptable levels of jitter. 

However, high levels of jitter can directly impact the user experience, leading to poor call quality, dropped calls, and other frustrations. 

While jitter typically results from network congestion — other causes may include poorly configured hardware or excessive use of wireless networks. 

How does Sinch work with jitter? 

Whether you’re looking for a business phone system or a more complete UCaaS solution, there are many reasons to work with a reputable communications service provider.  

Sinch’s industry-leading network offers 99.999% uptime and uses data compression, jitter buffers, link fragmentation and interleaving, and packet queues to provide the best possible user experience.