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Round-trip time

Round-trip time

(also RTT)

Round-trip time definition

Round-trip time (RTT) is the millisecond duration for a packet of data to travel from the source to the destination and back. It is a crucial metric in networking to measure the efficiency and performance of data transmission across a network or the internet. RTT is closely related to latency, but it includes the entire journey of the data packet, including the time for the response to return to the sender.

See also: low latency, packet loss, bandwidth

Round-trip time examples

  • Online gaming: High RTT values may result in noticeable lag during online gaming due to the delay in data transmission.
  • Video conferencing: Low RTT is essential for smooth, real-time communication in applications such as Zoom or Skype.

Pros and cons of round-trip time


  • Diagnostic tool: RTT is a helpful metric to diagnose network issues and optimize network performance.
  • Network performance: A lower RTT is indicative of a more efficient and faster network, which is crucial for many online activities.


  • Uncontrollable factors: Numerous factors can influence RTT, many of which are out of the user’s control, such as network congestion, physical distance, and server capacity.
  • Incomplete picture: RTT doesn’t necessarily give a full understanding of a network’s performance, as it does not account for packet loss or bandwidth.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security