All About Ping, Latency, and Packet Loss

Whether you are playing online games, streaming/broadcasting videos online, talking to someone using Skype, Messenger, LINE, or similar messaging app, having a good latency and minimal packet loss is very important. With high latency and packet loss, your gaming, communication, or multimedia experience will suffer.

In this article, we are going to talk everything about ping, latency, and packet loss.

Ping, Latency, and Packet Loss

The importance of a good latency and low packet loss is very important for everyone who wishes to use the internet. We are going to cover the basics of these terms to help understand them better.

You might have noticed that we are only talking about having a good latency and lower packet loss and not about ping. So, what is ping? Ping is actually the method of sending a data packet from one computer to another in a network, then the sender measures the time it takes for the ping to go to the destination computer or server and back. The total time it takes to travel back and forth is called the latency.

Take a look at speedtest.net and try to measure your ping, download, and upload speed. Below is a sample speed test result that you can get:

You can see the ping is 12ms, the download speed is over 200Mbps and the upload speed is around 11Mbps.

Ping is actually a service that’s used to measure the latency, which in the case above, the network has a latency of 12ms and this is a very good value. Typically, a good latency should be under 100ms, which is sufficient for any kind of internet related tasks. On the other hand, a latency of 20-40ms is required for an excellent online gaming experience, especially RTS games like DOTA 2 and FPS games like Counter Strike.

Packet loss, on the other hand, can be measured using an online service like Freeola’s Line Test. Packet loss means that a packet doesn’t reach its intended destination and when a packet is lost, it will take additional time to resend the lost packet again.

Combined with high latency, a very high rate of packet loss is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone who is using the internet. Those who are watching YouTube videos, engaged in a live video chat, live streaming etc. can experience huge delays and lag. It’s even worse to gamers as this means that their commands (such as a keyboard or mouse input) will get massively delayed or not even get executed at all, resulting in an unfair advantage for their opponents.

Overall, a good latency and 0% packet loss will result in overall better experience when surfing the net or playing online games. To achieve this, make sure that you don’t have any other bandwidth-hungry devices, software or applications using the internet while you are streaming of playing an online game. If doing that still results in a poor latency and high packet loss, then it’s most likely a problem with your ISP, which in that case, you’d have to contact them directly about the problem.

DSL vs Cable Internet

DSL and cable modems are the two most popular internet technologies used by home users. If you are looking for your next ISP or if you are looking to change your internet plans or internet providers, then you’ve probably heard about DSL and Cable internet connections. What are the differences between the two? In this article, we are going to see the main differences between the two as well as their main advantage and disadvantages.

What is DSL Internet?

First, we are going to understand what they mean, first with DSL, which stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It uses your phone line to access the internet – but don’t confuse it with dial-up. Unlike the latter, DSL doesn’t disconnect when you’re using a phone and it’s much faster. DSL internet is most often offered by telephone companies at a discounted bundle price which includes a landline. Therefore, if you need a landline and an internet connection, this may be an excellent choice.

What is Cable Internet?

Cable internet, on the other hand, transmits data using existing cable TV lines. Like DSL your Cable ISP will also provide you with a modem. Cable internet connection works by using a TV channel for data transmission. One channel is used for data downstream and another is used for data upstream. Like DSL, Cable internet is mostly offered by cable TV operators at a discounted bundle price which includes both internet and cable TV plans. If you want maximum entertainment, it might be the best choice.

Face-Off: Cable vs DSL

Cable internet is superior compared to DSL in terms of speed. While DSL can reach speeds of up to 100 Mbps, Cable can reach up to 300 Mbps, three times faster than DSL. However, in a real-world scenario, the speed advantage of cable internet is diminished, thanks to its “shared” nature. In most cases, the more people in your area are subscribed to the same Cable internet ISP, the slower your connection will be, especially during peak hours. DSL, on the other hand, isn’t heavily affected by the number of simultaneous users in your area, but expect to pay slightly higher monthly fees.

DSL Pros:

  • Provides faster speeds than dial-up
  • Doesn’t disconnect when someone is using your telephone
  • You get to have discounted landline fees (if purchased in a bundle but varies per provider)
  • More reliable than cable internet

DSL Cons:

  • The farther you are from the main office, the slower and more unreliable your connection will be
  • Slower upload speeds
  • Availability on remote areas may vary and is often unadvisable

Cable Pros:

  • Faster than DSL at times
  • Performance doesn’t suffer from the consumer’s distance from the main office
  • Faster upload speeds

Cable Cons:

  • Shared bandwidth with others in your neighborhood
  • Slowed down during peak hours
  • Might be unavailable in some areas

Bottom Line

In reality, both Cable and DSL internet offers the same level of security and reliability. Modern advancements in technology have made the difference between the two almost obsolete (aside from the obvious fact of how they connect to the internet). But as a general rule of thumb, choose DSL if you are close to one of your prospect ISP’s service office as it will offer more stable download speeds. On the other hand, choose cable if you have few neighbors using the service in your area as it will provide faster upload and download speeds in general (and if the closest service office of a DSL provider is more than 2.5 km away.

The Best Internet Providers for Gaming in 2017

In many households, gaming is an important aspect of daily life.  As more exciting features are added to video games such as online multiplayer, or video game streaming, these become more dependable on a powerful internet connection.  But how powerful is good enough for gaming?  And, what are the best internet providers for gaming in 2017?

Factors that we Consider

It is not only about having a fast speed connection.  It is also about stability and reliability.  Because when it comes to an online multiplayer, if you cannot pause it, you can’t either ditch it.  So, to select the best ISPs for gaming we consider:

  • Latency.  More than how fast a connection downloads, the time that it takes for data to travel matters more.
  • Packet loss is when data fails to reach its destination.  This happening will really affect your gaming experience.
  • Actual download speed (compared to advertised).  Arguably, download speed is the second most important thing when it comes to gaming.  Not all companies deliver the download speed they advertise.  Using data from the FCC report, one can see which companies actually deliver and in what percent.  Optimum, for instance, delivers more than advertised while clients from Windstream only get 42% of what is advertised.  Now, a 3 Mbps connection is the least you need, just make sure that if somebody is binge-watching Netflix, they leave you enough bandwidth.
  • Actual upload speed (compared to advertised). This is also important and it has an effect on latency.  This is important if you are streaming your video gaming.  But even if you do not, you might want to know which companies are actually delivering on this.

The Winners

Considering all of the above aspects, it was not really too hard to select the best.  Here are the winners.:

  • Verizon Fios was easily found to be the best ISP for gaming.  The latency of this provider is at around 15 milliseconds and when it comes to actual/advertised speed ratio, it goes at 92%.   Fios also has really good upload speeds and their packet loss is at a very low 0.20%.
  • Optimum (former Cablevision) has the lowest latency of all the ISPs studied.  Latency is about 14 milliseconds, it has an actual/advertised download speed of 101%, and has a packet loss of 0.10%.  The reason why Optimum is not our first place is that being cable internet, it suffers congestion during peak hours.  When it comes to availability, it is worse than Verizon, which is shortly available itself.
  • Comcast Xfinity. When it comes to online gaming, many believe that Comcast Xfinity is the best.  The worst downside of this company is the terrible customer service.  It has a latency of 22 milliseconds, it delivers 92 % of actual-to-advertised download speed and has a packet loss of 0.10%.  The reason why it is considered the best is that it is available in much more areas than the first two.  So, this one is probably available in your area.

 

 

 

How Much Internet do I Really Need?

We probably just love to boast that our internet speed is so fast it can literally blow off the hairs on your head. But the real question here is if you should be paying more for a faster internet?  What if you are paying for 12 Mbps and, on a daily basis, your household only consumes 8 Mbps of those at the toughest of times?

On the other hand, we like it or not, when it comes to stability, well, let´s just say that internet is like those fad relationships you have been in.  Sometimes you are going super fast and that 45 Gig game downloaded in record time but others, the Roku started to buffer in the best part of the Netflix movie.

Let´s take a look at the advice of some experts regarding the amount of internet you need when it comes to your overall activities.

How does Internet Speed add up

First, little basics.  The bandwidth you pay for gets distributed among your devices based on need.  Now, you can make a partition to assign a certain amount of bandwidth to a specific device, but why would you want to do that?  Plus, not all ISPs might give you enough administrative privileges to do that.

So, in easy terms, if your Netflix device is using 25 Mbps and you have a connection of 30 Mbps, you will have those extra 5 Mbps for the rest of the house.  Which is fine, since not many devices use that much bandwidth.

Video Streaming

Video streaming is one of the activities that spends the most bandwidth.  Netflix says, for instance, that you need a 5Mbps bandwidth to stream in HD.  This is a rough average since you could do with less speed but if that is the only speed you have available, sending an email might make your stream buffer.

Now, if you are planning on streaming ultra-HD at 4K, you might want to consider packages that offer more than 25 Mbps.  That is the amount of bandwidth required for such streaming.

Online Video Gaming

If you are a hardcore gamer and love to do online gaming, our guess is that a 25 Mbps of download speed should be good.  Even if you stream video games, that amount should be enough.  Just remember that online gaming or video game streaming will usually take up all of your bandwidth.

Other Activities

Your ISP provider will probably want you to take up their most expensive package and the fastest speed.  As stated before,  you should consider your household.  Plus, a faster connectivity does not always mean a faster connection.  Some websites might limit the download bandwidth they allow, giving you a slow downloading.  So much for a super fast speed.

Experts agree that, for an average household, you should not be paying for anything above 20×5.  That is 20 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.  If you are paying for a 100 Mbps download speed, you will not always be using all that bandwidth but whenever you have 4 devices all connected to Netflix, for example, you will have what you need at that moment.  This is like having a car that can speed up to 160 mph but you nearly never go at that speed.

The Best Satellite Internet Providers of 2017

As the year comes closer to end, we present the best satellite internet providers of 2017 based on what matters the most:  speed.  Then we consider options, amount of data, and fees.  Now, one must remember that streaming from space means, well, less speed.  But when it comes to sat internet providers, there are two major names in the industry:  HughesNet and Exede Internet.

Now, one must remember that streaming from space means, well, less speed.  But when it comes to sat internet providers, there are two major names in the industry:  HughesNet and Exede Internet.

Let us take a look at 4 of the top satellite internet providers of 2017.  Now, there is a reason why we mention that there are only two giants in the market and that is because HughesNet bought Earthlink and Exede Internet purchased  Wildblue.  Now, with no further ado, here is the list of top 5.

HughesNet

When it comes to internet speed, HughesNet steps far from its nearest competitor, Exede Internet.  While Exede offers a bandwidth of 12 MBps HughesNet offers a speed of 25 MBps.

In 2016, the company offered, through its fourth-generation service (Gen4), a top download speed of 15 MBps.  This year they came stronger with a top download speed of 25 MBps and upload of 3 MBps with its fifth-generation (Gen5) service.

But that is not it.  HughesNet not only increased the speed of its cheapest plan, it did so without increasing the price, which is one of the reasons why it is here at the top of this list.

Exede Internet

The first runner-up used to be the top one.  But that changed in 2017 when HughesNet increases their speed.  Exede Internet´s top speed is 12 MBps, offered in all the plans.  Back in 2016, that posed some threat to HughesNet, but that changed with the company’s increase in speed.

Now, Exede does offer a 25 MBps upgrade but it is not readily available.  If you find that the upgrade is available in your zip code, you have to pay an extra $10 to your plan.  Does not sound like much availability.

DishNet

DishNet has available plans for a variety of uses.  These plans are basic, intermediate, and premium. They pretty much fit any budget.  The base plan, for instance, gives users a download speed of 5 MBps and 1 MBps of upload.  When it comes to data, the smallest offer is 5GB but you get a late-night bandwidth of 50 GB that you can use from 2 am to  8 am.  They are not easy hours truly but they can help you catch up with downloads or with Netflix streaming.

Wildblue

Wildblue has the advantage of having the largest selection of plans so you will surely find something you like.  But compared to other providers, it has significantly less bandwidth.   On the other hand, Wildblue offers satellite internet coverage across the contiguous United States and Alaska and Hawaii.

Earthlink

Earthlink offers more anytime bandwidth than its competitors but the basic and premium plans only offer 1 Mbps for upstreaming. But you can still enjoy a higher bandwidth and satellite internet than any other service in your lineup.  The basic and premium plans can offer a speed of 6 Mbps.

5 Tips on Choosing an Internet Service Provider
5 Tips on Choosing an Internet Service Provider

Nowadays internet is very important for any business to run effectively.  The speed and quality of your internet determines how your business will perform.  Poor internet connection and performance affects many services in a business.  Services like cloud email, cloud storage, cloud hosting, among others all depends on internet quality and speed.  Looking for the best internet service provider(ISP) is important and very critical, but before that, you have to look at your budget and business needs.  Now let look at 5 tips you must consider before deciding on the type of internet service provider you choose to use in your business.

1. Connection type

There are many internet connection type available,but let now look at some of the options available.

DSL

Is the most common option for many business because it is cheap and usually uses the already existing telephone lines for your digital data transmission.The performance of DSL depends highly on the ISP exchange and your location.DSL connection speed reaches to approximately 15 Mbps.  Here are the different internet connections explained.

Cable

This type of technology is usually more expensive compared to DSL.  The cable connects the TV and your phones.  The internet speed varies from 1.5 Mbps to about 100 Mbps.

Fiber Optic

This connection type usually transmits internet longer distances and has higher bandwidth than cable connection and DSL connection. The average speed for this type of connection is approximately 200 Mbps.

2. Speed

Your business needs will determine the type of internet speed you choose. In order to determine the right internet for your business, consider the usage needs and the number of users in your business. For instance,file download and video streaming will use more internet bundle.

3. Storage space and number of email accounts.

Some internet providers offer storage space.  You should also consider the webmail offered by each ISP,based on different accounts, email and mailbox. You can decide to use your company domain name or get one from the internet provider.

4.Type of equipment you need to install the internet.

Each ISP provide different hardware. Some service provider will give a gateway,and it will contain router which has firewall protection, Ethernet ports or a inbuilt router.Others will provide only a modem and nothing more.

5. Internet security and support from the provider

Check on the type of virus and spam protection software and backup provided by each ISP before making conclusion on which is the best for your home or business needs.  Also consider other services like websites hosting. Some providers offer website space for free,while others charge a fee for the same.  Lastly, check on after installation services offered by each company. Some service providers will give free check on your internet for a guaranteed period of time,while charges for the same.

Questions To Ask Before Signing Up With An Internet Service Provider
Questions To Ask Before Signing Up With An Internet Service Provider

There are several things to consider when signing up with a new ISP. All aspects need to be considered before signing up to ensure that you do not sign a contract or agree to something that you are not happy with. Below are some of the typical questions that customers ask when they are wanting to sign up to a new internet service provider:

What type of internet connection do you provide? Is it Cable? DSL?

Answer: Depending on the internet service provider, you will be able to choose between Cable, DSL, Fiber-Optic or Satellite. Wifi (wireless) is also relevant as you will be accessing the internet on your phone from home.

What is the cost for installation?

Typical installation costs are between $50-$200. Additional costs may be incurred if needing to connect and configure with software. In this case it is usually around $100 extra.

Do I need to pay for installation plus the modem?

Yes, in most cases installation costs are on top of the modem or router costs.

Will I need a router?

If you want to connect multiple devices to the internet it is advisable to buy a router. This is your own responsibility to purchase. However, in some cases internet providers will provide you with a modem/router combined.

What are your different plans and rates?

On average, these are the costs for different internet speeds in the US:

  • 4 to 6 Mbps is $34.99
  • 30 Mbps is $54.97
  • 100 to 150 Mbps is $69.99

Plans can vary depending on your needs. You may wish to purchase a domestic plan, business plan or an entertainment plan for use with Netflix, Stan etc.

What speed is your internet service? What is your download and upload speeds?

These are the speeds in the US amongst the leading providers. Speeds can vary for download, anywhere between 49.78 Mbps to 125.53 Mbps. As for upload 7.49 Mbps to 15.26 Mbps.

If I want unlimited or a premium service how much extra will that be?

There are additional costs for unlimited or premium services, each provider’s fees are different. However typically it will you an additional $50 a month. Consult your provider for further details.

Do you have download limits?

Some providers have download limits, such as Comcast which is 1 TB. Other leading providers have no download limit.

What hours are your technical support open from? Do you have 24-hour technical support?

Leading providers have 24-hour telephone and chat support. Smaller providers vary.

Will you help me to configure my software?

Some providers have an additional service for customers who need their software configured at installation. Some do not offer this service and you will need to ring their technical support line.

Overall, choosing an ISP is complex task. However, if you use the questions listed above as a standard guide you will be able to work out whether the ISP will be a good fit for you. If you find that a provider is not suitable there are plenty of other options out on the market for you choose from.