Latency is the delay from input into a system to desired outcome; the term is understood slightly in a different way in various contexts and latency issues also vary from one system to another. Latency in communication is demonstrated in live transmissions from various points on the earth as the communication travels between a ground transmitter and a satellite and from a satellite to a receiver each take time. People connecting from distances to these live events can be seen to have to wait for responses. This latency is the wait time introduced by the signal travelling the geographical distance as well as over the various pieces of communications equipment. Latency in a network is an expressed as the time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. In some settings, latency is measured by sending a packet that is returned to the sender; the round-trip time is considered the latency. Ideal latency is as close to zero as possible. Reducing latency is a function of tuning, tweaking and upgrading both computer hardware and software and mechanical systems. Within a computer, latency can be removed or hidden by such techniques as prefetching (anticipating the need for data input requests) and multithreading or by using parallelism across multiple execution threads. Other steps to reduce latency and increase performance include uninstalling unnecessary programs, optimizing networking and software configurations and upgrading or overclocking hardware.

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