Browser experiences are affected by three main causes of latency, which can roughly be categorized as hops, size and speed.
- Hops to servers and back can be very latent, depending on distance to servers and number of subsequent hops.
- Size of downloads affect bandwidth usage, and large assets can cause long delays.
- Speed of browser rendering is affected by how fast a CPU is and how much work it needs to do.
The relationship between Moore's Law and Nielsen's Law means CPU speeds can be expected to increase at a greater rate than bandwidth, so over time, size becomes more important than speed. Additionally, caching is a common solution for mitigating latency from hops, and small sizes are better for caching, both on CDNs (saving cost) and browsers (saving space).