Latency is an essential measurement to understand the quality of an Internet connection.
It is vital to understand latency to achieve better connectivity on the continent. Together with bandwidth, they are the main components for a connection capable of delivering excellent quality streaming content and live games.
What is latency, and how does it occur?
In simple words, latency is the response speed of the internet network to a particular action that we request.
A typical example is when you are watching a live sporting event, such as a soccer game, and you can hear your neighbors celebrate the goal, while that goal has not yet appeared in your signal.
High latency dramatically affects the performance and quality of the Internet, not only when watching a live event, but also at other times when the application requires a quick response.
Why High Latency Occurs
High latency is directly related to the distance between the end-user and the server’s hosted information.
If the information has to travel a long distance to reach the end-user, it will likely result in higher latency.
Latency in Latin America still has an excellent opportunity for growth and development. In most cases, the servers that host the content are in another country and even another continent. That is why it is essential to have local data centers, which are on the end-user side.
Why it is essential to have low latency in Latin America
Latin America is rapidly growing and evolving in terms of Internet access. Although there are many challenges to achieving access to quality Internet for the entire population, Internet access has increased in recent years. There are more use cases for a high-quality connection.
Today, having low latency is fundamental for everyone, from companies that migrate all their information to the cloud to those that offer streaming content and gaming, where milliseconds of delay can make all the difference in user experience.
The arrival of 5G
Although the implementation of 5G in Latin America is affected by different factors, including the microchip crisis; it is already a reality. Many countries such as Chile and Brazil are working hard to adopt this new generation of connections.
Low latency will also be vital in ensuring quality 5G in the region. Let’s see some sectors that would benefit if we have high latency in LATAM:
There are increasingly more users of video game consoles in Latin America. One of the significant challenges is reducing latency and allowing users to play live games without lag problems. As gaming has grown more popular globally, one of the main selling points for major video game retailers is online play across continents. However, South American gamers are at a disadvantage against players in regions with better quality Internet connections.
It is essential to mention that there is an increasing number of smart city projects. In these scenarios, it is vital to have a minimum latency if we want traffic lights, security cameras, and public transport to work with the Internet. As IoT grows its footprint and cities begin to implement smart devices, the power of AI can only be as strong as its Internet connection. With high latency and low bandwidth, choppy delivery can interfere with the very function of these programs, causing data loss and other problems.
Autonomous cars also require robust infrastructure and minimal latency to react instantly to an accident or any stimulus that demands a reaction. They need a constant connection to GPS and traffic data that dynamically flows over the Internet’s backbone from car to car. As these smart machines share data back and forth, they can reroute around traffic, avoid accidents and automatically move out of the way of emergency vehicles. With LATAM’s current infrastructure, autonomous vehicles would likely cause more problems than they would solve.
Technology in medicine does not stop evolving, and we are moving towards performing surgical interventions remotely soon. High latency issues may make advances like this impossible. If a surgeon is inside someone’s chest cavity remotely, they need to make instantaneous decisions about the appropriate next step. Any latency in the connection could prove fatal. A quick response time is, in many cases, what makes a surgeon great. Losing that to a poor Internet connection would be a step backward, rather than the progress we hope for with this technology.
High latency in Latin America
According to a report by Open Signal, which reveals latencies in Latin America and the world, Chile is the Latin American country with the lowest latency, indicating 52.2 milliseconds.
Although it is the continent’s leader, it is essential to note that there is still an excellent opportunity for improvement compared to Singapore’s latency, with 30.7 ms, one of the best recorded in the same study.
How to decrease latency in LATAM
The internet in Latin America is growing and evolving rapidly, as we can see in the article Digital Growth in Latin America, there is significant potential in terms of connectivity.
As we already know, the Internet is a mesh of networks made up of multiple partners. To reduce Internet latency in Latin America, many of the participants in the connectivity network must optimize their processes and implement localized infrastructure networks on the continent.
It is essential to have data centers and services locally. In addition to guaranteeing low latency across Internet connections, it will also help lower the costs of the Internet infrastructure in general and thus allow greater access for the population to the digital world.
If you want to know more about latency in Latin America and see how you can reduce it for your business, get in touch with us. We will be happy to answer your questions.