1stel Academy

Latency: Less is More

It seems like just yesterday women and men were sporting hair-sprayed, wispy locks and ensembles splashed with an array of neons and acid-washed denims. Although the 1980s are most commonly reminisced in Halloween costumes and themed parties for its wild extravagance, we tend to gloss over the art movement brought by the late 80s that took a less lavish approach– minimalism.

Minimalism was all the rage in architecture, interior design, and fashion alike. The minimalistic movement highlighted searching for invisible qualities (natural light, elements of nature, etc.) and simplified to avoid criticism of over-design (talk about stereotypical sensitive artists).

Art and science are often thought to be two different worlds. The reality is they’re not all that different. In telecommunications technology, we see an echoed minimalism in unseen elements. I’m talking about latency. Latency holds the same mantra as late 80s art– less is more.

Oftentimes, latency gets mistaken for its paternal twin, throughput (the average rate of successful data transfer through a communication path). Throughput emphasizes the number of bytes you can move over a network in a given amount of time. Latency is more concerned with a time interval of response, or how long it takes the smallest package of data to get from point A to point B.

We can think of latency as a Lamborghini on the response time super highway. It can get from point A to point B quickly, but with very few passengers. Throughput is more like a pickup truck. More bytes can be hauled in the bed of the truck, however, it will take longer to get to point B than with the Latency Lambo.

Let’s say you want to move a multi gigabyte video. In this situation, you would care about bandwidth and throughput. Unlike latency, throughput is more ambiguous in the amount necessary for your business. Services like VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) rely on low latency for its speedy reaction time. The implications of a delayed phone call are endless– frustrated customers, business image compromised, lower sales, etc. VOIP is tolerant to some degree of latency since a minor delay between input from conversation participants is generally attributable to non-technical issues, but substantial delays may impair communication.

Although minimalistic art is not necessarily appreciated by all (“How is that art? He just painted a red square. I could do that!”), all types of businesses can agree that minimalistic latency is sanctioned and that less really is more.


Jaime Baldwin- 1stel Digital Marketing Specialist

About the author

Jaime Baldwin

Jaime Baldwin

Jaime Baldwin is a PR and Social Media Specialist at our advertising agency, werkLabstudios.