Jitter (VoIP)

What Does Jitter (VoIP) Mean?

In regard to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), jitter refers to a delay in receiving a voice data packet. This delay affects the transmission of voice quality and voice data.


Techopedia Explains Jitter (VoIP)

Data transmission is critical. Thus, managing jitter is an important part of data transmission implementation. The three major types of jitter experienced with virtual phones are as follows:

  • Random jitter: Usually the result of issues related to clock timing or unpredictable electronic timing noise. Also known as unbounded jitter.
  • Deterministic jitter: May be predicted or determined. Reproducible and bounded and may be periodic.
  • Total jitter: Calculated by using a bit error ratio (BER), as well as combined random and deterministic jitter. The mathematical formula used to calculate total jitter is: Total jitter=Deterministic jitter+2*BER*Random jitter.

Because jitter management is essential for the successful transmission of voice/video data and computerized signals, there are a number of jitter mitigation techniques, including:

  • Jitter buffer: Used to mitigate jitter in video and audio signals transmitted over a network.
  • Anti-jitter circuits: Formed by a group of electronic circuits, this technique contains the level of jitter in signal pulses. Re-times output pulses for closer alignment to ideal signal pulses.
  • Dejitterizer: This is an elastic buffer in which a signal is temporarily stored and transmitted at the average incoming signal rate. Not effective at mitigating jitter with low frequency.

Leading VoIP phone services employ the latest audio technology to keep jitter to a minimum, as their model is designed to ensure individuals and businesses can have high-quality calls over long distances.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.