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Latency is a networking term to describe the total time it takes a data packet to travel from one node to another. In other contexts, when a data packet is transmitted and returned back to its source, the total time for the round trip is known as latency. Latency refers to time interval or delay when a system component is waiting for another system component to do something. This duration of time is called latency.
In data communication, digital networking and packet-switched networks, latency is used in two major contexts. One represents a one-way trip while the other is a round trip. One-way latency is measured by counting the total time it takes a packet to travel from its source to its destination.
Round-trip latency is measured by adding one-way latency from the destination to the time it takes the packet to return from the destination and arrive back at the source. Unlike one-way latency, round-trip latency always excludes processing time at the destination point. A service called ping is used to measure round-trip latency.
In formal network transmission, the following four elements are involved in latency: