These are all results of internet path congestion, and each affect your game in a different way:
Ping: This is the measurement in milliseconds (ms) of the time it takes a packet of data to get from your computer (or console) to your game’s server.
If running at a higher latency than your competition or the pace of the game in general, you will not be able to react to something in real time and this can lead to losing or being dropped from a game.
Analogy: You are competing in the 100yrd dash and your competitor gets a head start.
Jitter: This measures the amount of change in latency during a connection. High jitter (or lag spikes) means a constantly changing latency measurement. During longer periods of ping spikes, the game becomes unresponsive (e.g., your mouse feels sluggish).
Jitter can cause intermittent stopping and starting within a game and cause a person to win or lose if it occurs during an important time of the game. Commands are sometimes received in batches causing the game to slow down to process the commands.
Analogy: You're watching a TV show and the video pauses and fast forwards now and then.
Spike: Spikes are short random increases in response time that cause the game to feel choppy (e.g., someone bumps your elbow). They are the amplitudes of the high jitter occurrences. Unstable connections have more frequent and longer periods of in which there is high jitter.
You may have become accepting of the occasional fluctuation in game play, however if that fluctuation or latency continues to occur over an extended period of time, you could be forced to give up playing the game until your connection becomes stable.
Analogy: You're watching TV and it keeps going black for 2 seconds every 2 minutes.
Packet Loss: This is a measure of how many data packets that are being sent and received actually make it to their final destination.
This impacts your gaming experience because when you tell the game to do something and it doesn’t happen, you have to repeat the request or it could be too late and cause you to lose.
Analogy: You have to ask your child multiple times to clean up their room.
These are the four main factors to consider when looking to improve your gaming experience, each of which the Cox Elite Gamer Service is built to optimize.
To see the difference, all four of these metrics are measured and displayed in real-time on your "Performance" dashboard. If you ever forget what the terms mean, simply hover over the white "?" square for a definition of each metric.