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.