Follow us

What is a packet loss and how to it is affecting the network

How to fix high packet loss, when it is an issue for you.

Updated: October 29, 2021 By Hamna Imran

Packet Loss because of pulled off network cable

Image source – freepik.com

What if you're playing a video game like Fortnite and you have the target precisely pointed at your opponent, but nothing happens to them? Instead, you've lost your life and are losing all your weapons. Packet loss might be the cause in this case.

It's no surprise that individuals spend money on a good internet connection and Wi-Fi while ensuring that their business operations function properly.

Despite these precautions, you may encounter large amounts of packet loss, affecting your connectivity, performance, and application availability. As a result, you could notice a lot of delays and a drop in operating efficiency.

Packet loss is a problem that affects every network at some point. These problems, on the other hand, seldom have a significant influence on network performance. When it does have an impact, you should figure out what's causing it and how to fix it.

What are data Packets

To apprehend packet loss, you must first learn what a data packet is. Everything you transmit over the Internet, including emails, phone conversations, video chats, and more, is technically a data packet.

Every online activity, from downloading films to sending emails, necessitates the passage of packets.

Network packets generally contain tiny quantities of data such as the addresses of source and destination, identification numbers, or protocols.

VoIP phone calls begin with pre-recorded sounds. These sounds are split into various, more manageable chunks of data and sent as packets across the Internet. To facilitate easier and quicker transfers, these packets are generally encrypted and reduced in size. When data is transmitted, it automatically finds and follows the most effective route. However, sometimes the information does not reach its desired destination.

The further the data has to travel, the more likely it is to be corrupted during transmission.

Packet loss

Packet loss occurs when data packets are not correctly transferred from sender to recipient over the Internet. One of the most important network performance measures is packet loss. It can cause disruptions, sluggish loading times, and the failure to receive messages.

Data flows in the form of packets at the top network levels, which transmit the information in a fashion that the recipient can arrange and use. When this information does not arrive correctly, it is referred to as packet loss. For all forms of digital communications, this might result in significant performance problems.

Lost packets in VoIP can cause communication to be delayed, generate distorted noises, and even jumble and rearrange portions of a discussion.

Factors contributing to packet loss

Factors contributing to packet loss

Damaged network hardware

Old and obsolete network infrastructure can cause packet loss by slowing down network traffic. If your business expands but your hardware capabilities do not, you may experience packet loss or even complete connectivity loss. Obsolete routers and modems, damaged connections, and faulty network card drivers can degrade network performance significantly.

Software flaws

Packet loss might be caused by faulty software. When was the last time your software was updated? If you haven't updated in a while, a few problems may have been fixed in the updates.

Overburdened device

To manage all of the traffic, network hardware is working harder than usual in this situation. These devices will temporarily store packets until they have enough time to process and transmit them.

Overcrowded network

When a highway is long, it becomes progressively difficult for all cars to navigate the route to get to their destination. The more challenging the path becomes, especially if it is a congested roadway. And when a vehicle is large, it moves at a slower pace.

The same happens with data packets, so there is congestion in networking depending on other tiny aspects of the packet, like what address it's being uploaded and downloaded, its size, and so on. Congestion is the amount of traffic that a packet encounters while being sent.

Security breaches

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack might be the cause of a sudden and significant spike in packet loss at your company. A DoS attack occurs when hackers flood the system with requests, causing the system to become overburdened and crash. A packet drop attack, for example, is when hackers instruct routers to skip packets to lessen the connection's quality.

Wireless networks

Packet loss on Wi-Fi networks is very common, as wireless networks are subject to various unforeseen and uncontrollable factors, such as interruption from other wireless networks, proximity, strong medieval walls surrounding Starbucks in Kraków, and so on.

How can packet loss be minimized?

Many of the factors that cause packet loss may not be at your end, but that doesn't mean you can't do something about it.

Restate your computer and router

The turn-off and turn-on-again approach, as simple as it sounds, is sometimes the most successful. Turn off and restart your router and computer to allow them to reset.

Set Your Networking Options

It can suck up your bandwidth and create packet loss if many users are downloading huge files, doing backups, and making VOIP calls on your network. Although increasing your bandwidth appears to be the logical answer, it is not always achievable in this case.

You can set up a VLAN (virtual local area network) or establish QoS (Quality of Service) settings to prioritize voice traffic. You may divide your network into virtual networks and allocate a specific amount of bandwidth to your VOIP phone service using a VLAN.

Examine your connections

It may seem simple, but cords that aren't correctly plugged in may create a slew of issues, so it's always worth double-checking. If your PC or laptop is connected through a wired connection, remove the cable, and reconnect it.

Update your software

Sure, updates might be inconvenient since they can bring your computer to a halt. They're also required, especially if earlier software includes vulnerabilities that cause your packets to be lost by the underlying device.

Prioritize wired connections

Data packets are less likely to be lost in transmission on wired networks than on wireless networks because the wired connection is more reliable. However, check whether the wired Ethernet cables have degraded since broken wires might cause packet delivery issues.

Disable any possible interference

Radiofrequency interference can be a problem with wireless equipment. That means you should turn off any non-essential wireless equipment, such as speakers, wireless headphones, and Bluetooth connections on tablets and smartphones.

Older hardware should be replaced

Older hardware may be unable to take advantage of the most recent networking technology or handle higher traffic volumes. Consider investing in modern technology if you haven't changed your gear in a long time.

Network stability is critical in today's digital age to guarantee that your business operations function smoothly. Never let packet loss disrupt your productivity by identifying and resolving the issues that cause it as soon as possible using the packet loss monitoring and testing solutions described here.

Packet loss may be fixed with the appropriate tools

Packet loss is less likely in a more closely-knit network, with stronger routers and links in place. However, the Internet Protocol is used in almost all communications, and not all hops are recognized along the route.

Fortunately, today's technology allows for some extremely effective network monitoring.


Network monitoring tool
Characteristics
  Solar winds        
Multivendor network monitoring software that scales and expands with the needs of your network
  OpManager manage engine
Monitors routers, switches, firewalls, servers for fault and performance
  PRTG
Monitor all systems, devices, traffic, and application in your IT infrastructure
  Nagios core
Comprehensive application, service, and network monitoring in a central solution
  WhatsUp gold
Monitors your network through SNMP and supports live alerts
  EMCO Ping monitor
Analyses the performance of host, carries out High precision latency measurement

SolarWinds

By using SolarWinds to measure packet loss, you can improve the performance of your network. With this simple approach, you can immediately figure out what's causing the failure and correct it.

The program automatically discovers network devices and monitors their current status using SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

topology map, automatically produced during the auto-discovery process, can help you see your network. This allows managers to see how packet loss and other problems affect network performance.

The program also has a bandwidth and traffic control function that allows you to monitor where traffic is coming from and leaving visually. This may be used to discover capacity concerns, repair packet loss quickly, and plan future network expansions.

SolarWinds, Packet loss test tool

Image source - solarwinds.com

Main features

This platform examines the following performance metrics

  • Packet loss monitoring in percentage
  • Latency
  • Protocol
  • MOS (Mean Opinion Source) to measure call quality

OpManager ManageEngine

ManageEngine is a powerful business monitoring solution that goes well beyond conventional packet loss monitoring. OpManger may be thought of as an uptime optimizer. Sensors may detect packet loss and changing network conditions and provide you an alarm. This automation can send out SMS or email notifications or run a script based on specific situations.

For example, if a device has a known fault that necessitates a power cycle, you may write a script to power cycle it after a certain number of seconds if it does not respond.

OpManager is one of the greatest solutions for detecting and preventing packet loss because of its automation and infrastructure management mix. Both Windows and Linux versions of OpManager are available.

Network Monitoring Software, OpManager

Image source - manageengine.com

Main features

Over 2,000 network performance indicators are monitored by OpManager, including:

  • Percentage packet loss
  • Performance bottleneck assessment
  • Network traffic, latency, and speed
  • Discards and errors
  • CPU and memory
  • WAN performance

Network monitoring through PRTG

PRTG (Paessler Router Traffic Grapher) is a highly adaptable platform that collects data on various topics, including packet loss, using small sensors. Each sensor can be customized to certain SLAs, results, or devices. PRTG, for example, provides three sensors that are pre-configured to monitor network performance statistics.

PRTG Network Monitor

Main features

On desktop PCs and mobile apps for iPhone and Android, users may set up custom notifications to get monitoring alerts for network events such as:

  • Potential bottleneck and bandwidth use
  • QoS (Quality of Service)
  • Packet sniffing and packet loss percentage
  • The signal intensity of Wi-Fi
  • Firewall status

You may also use an Event Log sensor to read messages and program logs to detect software problems. PRTG allows you to monitor all of your apps, devices, and traffic with a single monitoring tool and generate notifications if any issues arise.

It also aids in attaining your aim of achieving 0% packet loss, resulting in error-free and high-performance packets moving over the network.

Nagios Core

Nagios is a well-known name in the IT infrastructure world, and it's free network monitoring software. Nagios Core is widely used.

Its Configuration Management module analyses and logs the configuration of each network device. If any configurations are modified, Nagios logs these as well, allowing you to undo changes that are causing performance issues easily.

Packet loss monitoring through Nagios core

Image source - getvoip.com

Main features

  • Nagios XI allows you to build several dashboard versions.
  • The Core system is open-source and accessible for free.
  • There are a plethora of free plugins to choose from, making customization a snap.

WhatsUp gold

WhatsUp Gold has an SNMP-based real-time alarm system that immediately repairs packet loss and other network health concerns.

For enhanced visibility, WhatsUp Gold employs its network discovery capability to build a network map that highlights potential device problems and performance indicators like packet loss in red.

Network monitoring via Whatsup Gold

Image source - whatsupgold.com

Main features

  • Monitors your network using SNMP.
  • Device statuses are color-coded.
  • Features for discovering networks that are excellent
  • Support for live alerts

EMCO ping monitor

EMCO Ping Monitor allows you to keep track of connection quality and network device uptime. EMCO Ping Monitor employs ICMP for this purpose, estimating connection stability based on jitter measurements, latency, and packet loss.

The packet loss test will provide you with information such as latency variation, uptime %, average latency, and a list of outages, among other things. Ping Monitor makes it simple to locate hosts with various quality and condition characteristics and obtain comprehensive information.

Ping monitoring

Image source - cracktopc.com

Main Features

  • Monitoring of the host's availability.
  • Monitoring of the connection's quality.
  • Analyze the performance of the host...
  • High-Precision Latency Measurement

Conclusion

But what does the future hold for Packet Loss? You may be wondering if any of the solutions shown here will be of any help to you, given that we explicitly stated that they are not failsafe.

We all know that the solutions presented here are hacks for specific problems or old systems. If the issue remains after you've addressed the fundamentals and can't pinpoint the source, you may need to look into additional options.

We propose that you keep track of data packet loss, delay, and jitter. This will help you figure out where the data is failing and where it needs to be corrected. This will also aid in the resolution of other difficulties, saving time and resources.

Tags: 
Technology
Author
Hamna Imran
Cyber Security student and keen learner, writing articles for several other websites.

Leave a comment

click to select