Vodafone and Nokia make huge breakthrough in quest for zero latency broadband

Online test results in just 1.05ms of latency

Gaming keyboard and mouse
(Image credit: PonyWang / Getty Images)
Quick Summary

Vodafone and Nokia have conducted a trial of their L4S technology – a system that reduces online latency to as low as 1.05 milliseconds.

In comparison, a typical broadband connection has lag of around 550ms.

A joint broadband technology venture between Vodafone and Nokia has resulted in almost zero latency when using the internet  – the Holy Grail for gamers and video streamers alike.

The two companies recently trialled their L4S (Low Latency, Low Less, and Scalable) tech over a replica fibre-to-the-home link, with some amazing findings. The response time to access an online site was cut to just 12 milliseconds when using a Wi-Fi connection, 1.05ms over Ethernet.

The latency over a typical broadband connection is 550ms, and while that is a little over half-a-second in real terms, it can still be highly noticeable. Reducing that lag to just over 1ms means that data can be transmitted and received almost instantly. For example, the best gaming monitors usually claim a 1ms response time.

The L4S technology essentially tackles queuing delays whereby packets of data get held up in buffers across a network. This is a significant source of peak latency and by speeding up the process, the system can run more quickly.

If rolled out more widely, it could revolutionise online gaming, video streaming, and anything else that requires more responsive interaction. Cloud gaming would certainly benefit as it could run with similar latency to a home console.

"“As a leading broadband provider, Vodafone aims to give customers a faster, more responsive, and reliable service unhindered by lag even during peak hours.

"L4S is an exciting technology with huge potential to achieve this goal, as well as deliver a more interactive and tactile internet experience for our customers," said the network's head of its fixed access centre of excellence.

Vodafone and Nokia Bell Labs, which carried out the tests, claim that the technology can be used over any access connection, including home broadband and mobile.

As well as entertainment, it can benefit the use of remote services, such as surgery and drone control.

It's not yet known when the companies' L4S tech could be deployed across existing networks, but the successful November 2023 proof of concept trial is a great step in the right direction for a lag-free future.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.