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.

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.