Ethernet has challenged certain alternative network technologies because of its high data throughput rates. However, despite its throughput advantages, Ethernet has a key shortcoming: the exact time it takes any single packet to traverse the network cannot be predicted.

Unpredictable latency is not acceptable for certain types of applications, but the factors which influence latency in a switched Ethernet network are well known. So it is possible, using the techniques described in this white paper to make analysis of the maximum time a packet will need to travel from one end of the network to the other.