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What is Jitter and how to monitor it?

Jitter is the variation in latency as measured in the variability over time of the packet latency across a network. A network with constant latency has no jitter.

In quantitative terms, jitter is the average of the deviation from the network mean latency. The standards-based term for network jitter is Packet Delay Variation (PDV). PDV is an important Quality of Service (QoS) factor in assessment of network performance.

The delay is specified from the start of the packet being transmitted at the source to the start of the packet being received at the destination. A component of the delay which does not vary from packet to packet can be ignored, hence if the packet sizes are the same and packets always take the same time to be processed at the destination then the packet arrival time at the destination could be used instead of the time the end of the packet is received.

For interactive real-time applications, PDV can be a serious issue and hence VoIP and video streaming may need QoS-enabled networks to provide a high quality channel.

The effects of PDV in multimedia can be removed by a properly sized play-out buffer at the receiver, which can only cause a detectable delay before the start of media playback.

There are many tools in the market that monitor jitter, but most of them monitor network transportation only and nothing more. Among the best known network monitoring tools are: PRTG network monitor, OpManager, Cisco IOS SAA, Iperf and SolarWinds VNQM.

AimBetter is an all-in-one monitoring tool that monitors operating system servers, database servers and web servers including all the relevant metrics for each type.

In the following screenshot you can see the network jitter of a few servers:

Network jitter of a few servers

In the following screenshot you can see the jitter trend of a server:

The jitter trend of a server

While most network monitoring tools only allow you to view the current state, AimBetter records your metrics every minute and stores them for as long as you set it to so you could analyze trends and troubleshoot even when you don’t have the trouble in real time, moreover, AimBetter enables you to compare trends of equal periods, as shown in the following screenshot:

compare trends of equal periods

Not only that AimBetter allows you to view the average of each presented time frame, as most tools that present trends do, it also allows you to view peaks of time frames, as presented in the following screenshot:

View peaks of time frames

If your systems include VoIP, video streaming and/or UDP transportation using applications it is very important for you to monitor jitter in order to assure high QoS for these applications and AimBetter is designed to make it as easy as possible for you.