Do I need to worry about Jitter?

I’m on the verge of committing to swapping my slow(ish) broadband for a 4G router.

My phone can get 25-50 MBs down as compared to up to 20 MBs on broadband, but the difference in jitter seems quite large and I don’t know how that might affect things.

I can watch HD through my Apple TV box without any issue and I don’t do any gaming.

Anyone know if jitter matters?

Any other things to look out for?

Any router suggestions?

Jitter matters for real time communications packets yes. Things like FaceTime or online gaming. It’s particularly problematic for gaming.

Other than that, not really. Streaming video buffers. It’s fine.


If your phone is faster than your broadband, a trial would be to configure your phone as a hotspot and connect everything that uses WiFi in your home to that hotspot network. Does it all work?

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Good to know, thanks. We don’t use FaceTime at all, just some WhatsApp audio calls.

Something to try tomorrow, I think.

I guess a router should perform better than a phone? What with bigger aerial etc?

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It matters for audio too. Anything real time, essentially. But it won’t be unusable. It should be fine. If you can tolerate WhatsApp calls over regular 4G from your phone, or just don’t notice problems jitter cause, it’ll be just fine.

Where you will start to notice problems to that effect though will be conference calls. WFH meetings on zoom and such.

A router will be able to handle more clients and manage them better (an iPhone will only let up to 5 other devices connect) as well spread the signal throughout more of your home. You’ll still be restricted to the speed and quality of your reception though, so it’s a good stress test before considering whether or not to proceed. The actual 4G service itself is more likely to bottleneck before the density of your home network environment does.

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Who are you planning to use it with?

Smarty. I can get unlimited data for£18pm and the Three network works well for me.

Jitter is only really important when you need to and fro communications (online gaming is a good example, needs real time back and forth).

If it’s solely web browsing and watching videos etc you shouldn’t really notice much.

You send a request, the end point has to respond, this is where ping/jitter come in.

If you’re only getting those speeds on a Three network, check out lebara (Vodafone) as it could be you’re in an area whereby one is better than the other.

Three/EE share masts, O2/vodafone share masts (both on wind down, but usually if one is poor, the other normally performs better).

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I’m pretty much settled on Smarty because of the price, and I know there are three local masts.

I haven’t tried O2 or Vodafone (there is a joint mast not far away) but anyone who visits who is on O2 always has to use our broadband to get connected, which isn’t a good sign.


Yeah O2 isn’t great but Vodafone usually out performs.

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We use 4G for our home broadband and I can play fps games online no problem.

We’re with EE.

Get yourself an external directional antenna and point it straight at the nearest tower. We saw a significant increase in speed, signal strength and quality when we bought one.


I’m EE data sim broadband 18 months via scancom £199, with a NR5103E router - separately purchased.

It’s been perfect!

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I got the router and antenna sperately too. From Amazon if I remember correctly.

We have unlimited data sim on EE. We moved our personal sims over to them too which meant we could negotiate a much lower price due to having 3 contracts.

EE allow you to gift 100GB of data from your unlimited sim too. So we cut our personal sims right down to the lowest tarrif and we each have 50GB of “free” data each month.

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That’s interesting. We currently spend about £45pm for our two Smarty SIMs and Vodafone broadband (the broadband will go up in March). I’d looked at EE, but it looked to be expensive, but hadn’t thought about spreading the data.

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You will likely be fine but check coverage for each provider in your area and that might help you narrow down your choices.

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Went with Three in the end. £11pm for six months, then £22pm for 18 months and it works fine.


My wireless printer has a 39 step process to change the wireless connection - so it’s not a wireless printer any more.

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Just change the router name and password to match the old one and it should connect fine.


That’s the sort of brilliance I come here for.


What kind of speed are you getting for the £11?

This right now, though I’d say that this is on the high side of normal. I’d say 35 is more typical, but can go down to 10. Better than my Vodafone broadband, and the router isn’t in the ideal position for reception.