How to Retrieve Network Connection Information with JavaScript

JavaScript
2 minutes read

Introduction

In the modern web development world, it’s crucial to have access to user device information to optimize the user experience. One such piece of information is the quality of the user’s network connection. Fortunately, JavaScript provides us with the navigator.connection API, which allows us to retrieve this information.

The navigator.connection API provides us with an object that contains information about the user’s current network connection. This object provides us with various properties and methods that we can use to retrieve and analyze this information.

navigator.connection Properties

Here are some of the properties available in the navigator.connection object:

downlink

This property describes the estimated maximum download speed, in megabits per second (Mbps), that the user’s connection is currently capable of. For example, if the user is on a 4G connection, this value may be around 20 Mbps.

effectiveType

This property describes the effective type of the user’s connection, as determined by the browser. The possible values for this property are slow-2g, 2g, 3g, 4g, and 5g

This information can be useful for optimizing the performance of your application based on the user’s network capabilities. For example, if the user is on a slow 2G connection, you may want to reduce the number of images or videos on your website to improve the load time.

rtt

This property describes the estimated round-trip time, in milliseconds, for packets to travel from the user’s device to the server and back. This value can be useful for estimating the latency of the user’s connection.

saveData

This property is a boolean value that indicates whether the user’s device is currently in a data-saving mode. If this property is true, your application may want to optimize its data usage to reduce the amount of data sent to the user’s device.

Here are some examples of how you can use these properties:

// Retrieve the current downlink speed
const currentDownlinkSpeed = navigator.connection.downlink;
console.log(`Current downlink speed: ${currentDownlinkSpeed} Mbps`);

// Retrieve the effective type of the user's connection
const effectiveType = navigator.connection.effectiveType;
console.log(`Effective type: ${effectiveType}`);

// Retrieve the estimated round-trip time for the user's connection
const rtt = navigator.connection.rtt;
console.log(`Round-trip time: ${rtt} ms`);

// Check if the user is currently in a data-saving mode
const isDataSavingMode = navigator.connection.saveData;
console.log(`Data saving mode: ${isDataSavingMode}`);

In addition to these properties, the navigator.connection object also provides us with a method called addEventListener. This method allows us to register a callback function that will be called whenever the connection’s properties change. This can be useful for dynamically adapting your application to the user’s network capabilities.
Here’s an example of how you can use the addEventListener method:

// Register a callback function that will be called whenever the connection's properties change
navigator.connection.addEventListener('change', () => {
  const currentDownlinkSpeed = navigator.connection.downlink;
  console.log(`Current downlink speed: ${currentDownlinkSpeed} Mbps`);
  
  const effectiveType = navigator.connection.effectiveType;
  console.log(`Effective type: ${effectiveType}`);
});

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Further Reading

Conclusion

In conclusion, the navigator.connection API provides us with a powerful set of tools for retrieving and analyzing information about the user’s network connection. By using this information to optimize your application’s performance, you can provide your users with a better experience, regardless of their network capabilities.

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