I have a couple of dedicated servers in Europe. Lately I started to notice high jitter for traffic coming from USA.

After couple of MTRs and trace routes, I found that the source of the jitter (and sometimes packet loss) is one of the routes of tier1 (5th hop is multiple different IPs belongs to level3, one of them add high jitter and some packet loss).

Created support issue with the hosting company, but they are clueless. Moving from this hosting company to another one doesn't guarantee a solution because Level3 is used everywhere (and same problem can happen with other tier1).

Any recommendations to solve this problem?

Is there any way to tell my packets (UDP) to prevent this bad link? Can I talk to tier1 directly?


  • Running voip and audio streaming servers; which are sensitive to jitter.
  • Jitter is sometimes acceptable (less than 50ms), but it many times jump to 200ms and occasionally reaches 500ms.

EDIT3: - After trying MTR over and over, I noticed that sometimes packets pass through different tier1 networks (sometimes teliasonera and sometimes level3). And jitter increases when this happens. It seems that there is big difference is speed between providers.

  • 2
    I don't mean to be snarky, but you get what you pay for. If you need guaranteed performance, you will have to pay for it. – Ron Trunk May 17 '15 at 14:26
  • @Ron, I don't mind paying to get better connection. But what type of service to pay for to get this connection? – ItsMe May 17 '15 at 14:31
  • A lot depends on what your specific use and requirement are. But there are many providers that can offer global MPLS service with guaranteed SLAs. – Ron Trunk May 17 '15 at 14:40
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    The Internet is "best effort" delivery with no guarantee of service. If you need to control latency and jitter, you will have to buy a private VPN from a global provider. – Ron Trunk May 18 '15 at 11:29
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    Are you also seeing upto 500ms of jitter end-to-end, or only using traceroute or MTR? You could test by sending a constant stream of packets and use a sniffer like Wireshark to check the timing on the receiving end. – Gerben May 19 '15 at 9:00

You cannot tell your packets to avoid one specific hop in a different provider's network. You also probably can't talk to the different provider directly unless you have a business relationship with them.

Be careful when using per-hop latency from MTR or traceroute to make a determination. There are many reasons why a router will show elevated latency or even packet loss on traffic to the router (such as traceroute) when traffic through the router is not affected (see slides from a talk at NANOG 45, slide 28+).

If your traffic is especially sensitive to network conditions you should consider moving (or adding) servers closer to users to reduce latency and reduce the number of places where things can go wrong.

  • This is correct. When I tried with iperf3 I found that jitter is MUCH lower (~10ms) which is not bad. Seems MTR is not 100% accurate. – ItsMe May 19 '15 at 23:17

A tier 1 connection is one where your carrier owns the plumbing from end to end without riding a 3rd party network. A tier 2 connection is one where your carrier has to ride another carriers network at some point. On and on.

I highly doubt that Level3 is the source of significant delay or jitter. The most likely culprit is the access circuit(s). Try using an Internet friendly codec for your VoIP such as iLBC. As for audio streaming, proper buffering will solve any delay/jitter issues.

  • 2
    Your definition of tiers is a bit unusual. The "standard" difference between a tier 1 and tier 2 has to do with who pays whom for bandwidth. Tier 1 networks don't pay each other. Tier 2 networks need to pay at least one other network to reach parts of the internet that they don't peer with. Beyond that, there are many cases where tier 1 networks will use "plumbing" that they don't own. E.g. Level3 using a AT&T T1 for last mile, Verizon using fiber from other carriers in areas where they aren't the ILEC, etc. – jda May 19 '15 at 2:53
  • ^ Correct. Also too, saying you highly doubt that Level3 is the source of significant delay or jitter, based on no information isn't helpful. Provider's have issues ALL the time. – Jordan Head May 19 '15 at 15:55

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