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4 Examples of Response Time

Response time is the amount of time that elapses between a request and an initial response. This is commonly used to measure technologies and business services. The following are illustrative examples.


In networking, a response time is the time between a network request and an initial response. On the internet, this is greatly impacted by how close you are to the server you are connecting too. For example, it can take a request 180 milliseconds to travel from Singapore to the US while a server may respond to the request in 100 milliseconds.
Response time = Outbound Latency + Processing Time + Inbound Latency
= 180 + 100 + 180
= 460 milliseconds


From a software perspective, response time is the amount of time it takes software to respond to a request from the time the software receives the request. This can be a useful metric when network latency is beyond your control. For example, a webserver may respond to requests in 50 milliseconds with a light load but take 500 milliseconds to response when processing a heavy load. This can be measured to determine when a software service needs to be scaled up with more servers. A typical way to do this is to use the milliseconds that have lapsed since midnight January 1, 1970, known as a UNIX timestamp, to subtract the request time from the response time.
Response time = time of response - time of request
= 1554945687757 - 1554945687257
= 500 milliseconds


Hardware response time is the amount of time it takes a device to fulfill a request such as a command. For example, the response time of a display device is the amount of time it takes a pixel to turn from one color to another in response to input. Response time is often a figure of merit that is used to compare products and technologies. A shorter response time is always a good thing. However, short response times may not be necessary depending on your requirements. For example, if you plan to watch television on a display you don't need as fast a response time as someone who plans to play video games. Modern display devices typically have a response time between 1 milliseconds and 10 milliseconds.

First Response Time

First response time is a business metric based on the amount of time that elapses between a customer request and an initial response. This may correlate poorly with customer satisfaction as customers are more interested in when you fulfill their request as opposed to getting an initial response. First response time is an important metric for emergency services such as police and ambulance that is calculated from the start of a call to when emergency services physically arrive to the requested location.
Overview: Response Time
The amount of time that elapses between a request and an initial response.
Response Time Formula
Response time = time of response - time of request
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about metrics.
Brand Metrics
Budget Variance
Business Metrics
Business Benchmark
Capability Rate
Cost Effectiveness
Customer Metrics
Cycle Time
Error Rate
Innovation Metrics
IT Metrics
Marketing Metrics
Experiment Cycle Time
Process Metrics
Project Metrics
Quality Metrics
Response Time
Labor Productivity
Sales Metrics
Time To Market
Turnaround Time
Net Present Value
Vanity Metrics
New Revenue Rate
Payback Period
Return On Investment
Revenue Per Employee
Time To Volume
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