20% packet loss

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Total Network Visibility Blog

Packet Loss and Its Causesimage-packet-loss-testing-large

Simply put, packet loss is when packets of data being transmitted through a network get “knocked off” before reaching their destination. Every network encounters issues with packet loss on occasion. However, these issues do not typically have much of a negative impact on network performance. When it does have an effect, you should know how to find the cause and resolve it.

We will look at a few reasons why packet loss happens, standard diagnostics and common fixes.

  • Packet Loss Effects
  • Why Packet Loss Happens
  • Detecting Packet Loss
  • Diagnosing Packet Loss
  • Finding Packet Loss

Packet Loss Effects

Packet loss affects different applications in different ways.  For browsing and downloading data files, it will cause slowdowns.  In many cases, the slowdowns may not be noticeable, as a 10% packet loss might just add 1 second to a 10 second download if you are working with a low-latency link.  If the packet loss rate is higher, or there is high latency (like when browsing a website internationally) it can cause the slowdowns to be worse.  For example: If you have 10% loss and ms of latency, a normal 10 second download might end up being over 20 seconds due to the number of packets that need to be retransmitted and the request time to have them re-sent.

For realtime applications like voice and video, the packet loss may be far more severe, as 2% packet loss is typically noticeable to a listener/viewer and can be irritating for conversations to occur without some amount of “what did you say?” questions being exchanged.

The impact of packet loss differs depending on the protocol/application. TCP is typically designed to handle packet loss because if a packet is lost, meaning it wasn’t acknowledged, it will be retransmitted. UDP does not have inbuilt retransmission capability, however, and does not handle packet loss as well. Regardless of the protocol/application, though, too much packet loss is a problem.

Typical examples of packet loss experienced by the end user are performance issues with Voice over IP and video calls. You have likely been on a Skype call or other type of virtual meeting, and there was a noticeable performance issue, like robotic sounding, or missed audio. This was probably the result of packet loss.

To learn more, watch our Webinar: Finding Packet Loss in the Network

Why Packet Loss Happens

Link Congestion

One of the common causes of packet loss is referred to as link congestion. Think of rush hour traffic when there are too many cars on the road, and no one can get anywhere or when a four-lane highway in a high-volume area merges down to two lanes. A very similar situation happens when more packets are arriving at a link than it was designed to handle.

Some links have been configured to drop packets after a certain limit though they can technically handle more traffic. Let’s say the link from your ISP can technically handle Mbps, but you have only purchased 50 Mbps; the ISP will configure your devices to ensure you will only be able to push 50 Mbps worth of traffic. Anything more than that 50 Mbps will typically be dropped.

Another cause of network congestion is when an ISP intentionally oversubscribes a link. The thought process is that not all subscribers will be using the link simultaneously. What happens, however, is during peak periods when many people are using the service at the same time, there will be packet loss due to the congestion.

This oversubscription can happen in enterprise networks as well depending on the design of the network and the application use.  If end users have 1gig connections to a 24port switch at the edge, and there are 10gig connections upstream, if more than 10 end users flood their links, the upstream trunk can become fully saturated.

Overburdened Devices

Similar to network congestion is overburdened devices. This is a device forced to operate beyond its capacity. Packets transmitted in a network may arrive faster than they can be processed. Usually, devices will have buffers that can hold packets temporarily until they can be processed and sent out, but if a device is overburdened, or the device’s backplane is saturated, the buffers can fill up too quickly, and excess packets will be dropped.

Take, for example, a Cisco ASA firewall designed to handle up to Mbps of throughput. Using such a device as an edge device for an organization pushing more than Mbps will most certainly cause packet loss issues. What typically happens is that the device will perform well enough during off-peak hours, but during peak times, there will be a perceptible drop in performance.

Defective Hardware

Faulty hardware can also cause packet loss.  A failing network interface, old CAT3 Ethernet cable, or fiber optic cabling with too tight of a turn radius can all cause packet loss.

Wired vs. Wireless Networks

The type of network can also be the cause of packet loss. Wireless networks, due to their nature, suffer more impediments than wired networks. Radio frequency interference, weak signal, and distance limitations are all causes of packet loss on wireless networks while on a wired network, the most common reason is faulty cables. If a cable isn’t terminated properly or damaged, it can inhibit the electrical signals that flow through it carrying data.

Faulty Configuration

A standard example of faulty configuration would be a speed and/or duplex mismatch between two devices. Let’s say one device was configured for half-duplex while the other for full-duplex, it can cause collisions as well as FCS errors resulting in packet loss.

Detecting Packet Loss

Detecting packet loss may be a simple as pinging the remote endpoint and seeing how many pings come back.  If one or more pings fail to respond, then packets were lost somewhere between the two endpoints.

There are Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions on the market that can aid in detecting packet loss.

For example: PathSolutions’ Call Simulator can be used to quickly confirm the presence or absence of packet loss between two endpoints.

Diagnosing Packet Loss

In order to diagnose where the packet loss is coming from, you will need to find out which parts of the connection are stable and show no loss, versus the parts of the network that are experiencing loss.  A two-step process is recommended:

  • Run a Traceroute to the remote endpoint to determine the router hops to the destination.
  • Perform a ping test to each of these router hops to see if the network is stable to a specific location, or if loss starts to occur at or beyond a certain point.

If everything is completely healthy to the 4th hop router, but encounters significant packet loss to every router beyond that hop, you can be confident that the problem lies just beyond the 4th hop router.

Note: Doing this type of testing may or may not expose the problem.  If the problem is transient and disappears before you are able to complete your tests, it may not disclose the problem.  Additionally, the problem may not expose itself due to the fact that ping packets do not create the same footprint on the network as the data or VoIP traffic that is actually suffering.

PathSolutions’ Call Simulator has the ability to do this test in an automated method, with the exact same footprint on the network as your applications.

Fixing Packet Loss

Resolving packet loss on a network can be as straightforward as collecting and analyzing the clues and finding a solution for that cause.

Network equipment vendors collect and store hundreds, sometimes thousands of error counters that can report conditions and types of packet drops detected on interfaces.  These error counters can tell a story of what is occurring on an interface so problems can be remediated.

For example: If you see FCS errors on an interface as well as Alignment Errors, but no Collission errors, it means that there is a duplex mismatch and this interface is running full-duplex, and the other end is running half-duplex.

If you see FCS errors and no Alignment or Collision Errors, you may have a cabling fault.

If there are Symbol errors, then there is definitely a cabling fault, but the Ethernet chipset has been able to repair the problem temporarily and no packet was lost (but cabling should be checked/repaired before it becomes an FCS error).

You can have links that show less than 5% utilization that can have oversaturation problems.  Imagine if you had a 5-lane freeway that was completely empty most of the time.  If you checked the status of the freeway every hour on the hour and saw it as mostly empty, you would think that there were no issues.  However, if you had a rock concert let out at pm that had the freeway massively overloaded for 20 minutes with lots of people complaining, that might mean you have a capacity issue.  This type of even is called a Microburst Link Flood.  If you see a number of Deferred Transmission errors, followed by a number of Outbound Discards, that will tell you that packets are being buffered and then discarded.

There are many other scenarios that should be considered based on the error counter interpretation.

Depending on the size of your network, manually checking every involved link and device can be tedious or even impossible and after spending the time to check every single one, the problem can mysteriously disappear leaving you no closer to a solution.

PathSolutions TotalView® software offers the ability to discover what each link and device was doing at the time of the event and with enough detail to determine why the packets were lost, all in a few seconds. 

Watch Recorded Webinar

Sours: https://www.pathsolutions.com/blog/diagnose-and-fix-packet-loss

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

VOIP technology transmits voice calls over the internet via data packets. During the transmission from one caller to another, there’s a chance that some of these packets can get lost, degraded, or sent out of order. 

When packet loss occurs, it impacts the quality of the call. It can cause static and sound like words are being cut short. In some instances, entire sentences and phrases might be cut from the conversation. 

For those of you who are using VOIP services for video chat, packet loss can lead to quality issues with the video stream as well.

Anyone who has experienced these problems knows how frustrating it can be. Fortunately, packet loss can be easily fixed, which is why we created this guide. Follow along below, and you’ll experience crystal-clear voice and video communication from your VOIP service.

Why Fixing Packet Loss is Worth It

On the surface, packet loss might just seem like a minor annoyance to the callers. But the cost associated with this problem can really hurt your company’s bottom line. Think about how much time can be saved if your staff doesn’t have to constantly repeat themselves when speaking to customers. Imagine how much faster your internal meetings would be if the audio and video connection didn’t stutter or drop out. 

Reducing the average call time internally and with customers alike can save your organization thousands of dollars at scale. You’ll experience a huge boost in operational efficiencies as well.

Brand reputation is arguably the most important part of fixing packet loss. This is tough to measure, so it’s often overlooked. But think about how poorly it reflects on your business if a customer can’t hear what your support agents are saying. Imagine being a prospect who can’t hear a pitch because the sales rep’s voice keeps cutting out. Think about an important conference call with company partners, stakeholders, or investors. You can’t afford to have packet loss in these scenarios.

Improving your company’s VOIP call quality might seem minor or unimportant at first. But it should be a top priority for any business that’s experiencing packet loss. 

The Investment Needed to Fix Packet Loss

In most cases, fixing packet loss will be relatively cheap. Quick fixes like software updates or minor hardware replacements won’t be expensive.

At worst, you might need to consider switching internet providers or even get a new VOIP phone service. While there will be a short adjustment period during this type of change, your current costs likely won’t change much. 

Sometimes fixing packet loss requires you to change the way your network traffic gets managed. This is not an expensive resolution but does require some technical knowledge. So if you don’t have a dedicated IT team, you’ll likely need to hire an IT professional to set this up for you. It’s not worth doing this on your own if you don’t have the proper experience. 

Regardless of the fix required, it will be marginal compared to the long-term savings you’ll experience by optimizing your VOIP phone service. 

The entire investment process can be summarized in just five simple but essential steps.

  1. Identify the Root Cause of Your Packet Loss
  2. Assess Your VOIP Service Provider
  3. Configure Your Network Settings
  4. Check Your Network Hardware Components
  5. Monitor Packet Loss

5 Steps to Fix Packet Loss

Follow the step-by-step instructions listed below to fix packet loss. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished.

#1 &#; Identify the Root Cause of Your Packet Loss

You can’t fix packet loss if you don’t know where it’s coming from. In this scenario, there are several potential causes that could be affecting the way data packets are transmitted during your VOIP calls. 

So it’s crucial for you to get organized and figure out the problem before you do anything else. 

We recommend running a VOIP quality test as the first step. There are dozens of online resources for this, but the 8&#;8 VOIP Test is one of our favorites. 

The test is designed to determine whether or not your existing internet connection can support a VOIP service. It will also give you a better understanding of the quality callers will experience. This should have been done before you signed up for a VOIP system, but many businesses fail to do so. 

If the test determines that your internet connection can’t handle VOIP calls, then you’ve found the problem. You need to switch providers or upgrade your service. 

In addition to upload speed and download speed, the 8&#;8 Quality Test will also measure your latency and jitter. You want both of these metrics to be as low as possible. Latency above ms and jitter above ms can lead to poor call quality, including packet loss. 

If all of these metrics pass the test with flying colors, you can eliminate them as potential root causes. But hardware failure, network congestion, and software issues haven’t been eliminated just yet. We’ll address those problems as we continue in the upcoming steps. 

#2 &#; Assess Your VOIP Service Provider

Based on your test results in step #1, you should know whether or not your internet connection can support VOIP calling. If you’ve ruled out your internet provider as the root cause, then it’s time to start looking at your VOIP software. 

Believe it or not, all VOIP systems don’t produce the same quality. You’ll experience different call quality levels using one provider compared to another, even if you don’t switch internet providers. 

This is something that we see all of the time. A company deploys a VOIP phone system without really exploring their options or doing their full due diligence. Take a look at this guide on the best business VOIP phone services to see our top recommendations. 

If you’ve already used 8&#;8’s test in the first step, it makes sense to evaluate them first since their information is right in front of you.

8&#;8 is our top pick for internal collaboration. They have an all-in-one communication suite for voice, video, and chat. It’s also a great service for contact centers, small businesses, and customer communication. 

With 1+ million business users worldwide relying on 8&#;8 for communication, it’s one of the most popular VOIP phone services on the market today.

RingCentral and Nextiva are two other popular options worth mentioning. They both offer all-in-one communication suites as well. If you use 8&#;8, RingCentral, Nextiva, or any of the other VOIP services listed in our guide, you’ll have a much easier time fixing packet loss.

All of these are roughly in the same price range, and they can accommodate businesses of different sizes across a wide range of industries. Even if they cost a bit more than your existing VOIP service, eliminating packet loss is definitely worth the upgrade. 

#3 &#; Configure Your Network Settings

Network congestion is another common cause of packet loss. Even if your VOIP quality test says your network can handle VOIP calling, that might change in certain conditions. 

If lots of people are downloading large files, running backups, streaming, and making simultaneous VOIP calls on your network, it can eat up your bandwidth and cause packet loss. Increasing your bandwidth seems like the logical solution here, but that’s not always possible. There’s a good chance that your network provider is already offering the maximum amount of bandwidth that your location can support. So now what?

You can set up a VLAN (virtual local area network) or configure QoS (Quality of Service) settings to prioritize voice traffic.

As mentioned earlier, this step is a bit technical. So if you don’t have an IT background, we recommend consulting with an expert. With a VLAN, you can segment your network into a virtual network to dedicate a certain amount of bandwidth to your VOIP phone service. 

Here’s an example that shows how VOIP phones can be set up on their own virtual network with a VLAN.

This process puts a high level of priority on your voice data packets, ensuring that other network traffic won’t take away from your voice transmission. Essentially, your VOIP phone system won’t be competing with other devices on your network for bandwidth. This process isolates your VOIP traffic and helps prevent delays in delivering data packets. 

The downside here is that other components of your network might be a bit slower. Your staff might notice that downloads or backups are taking longer than usual. That’s why it’s definitely in your best interest to consult with an IT expert before attempting this new configuration. They can set your parameters accordingly to ensure everything will perform appropriately. 

#4 &#; Check Your Network Hardware Components

If your network and VOIP software aren’t the culprits of packet loss, then it’s time to look at your hardware. It’s common for businesses to keep using their existing hardware when deploying a VOIP phone system. 

But if you didn’t take the time to assess your hardware before signing up for your new phone system, there’s a good chance it’s outdated and needs to be replaced.

Technology is always changing. Old routers aren’t always compatible with new VOIP software. So assess your routers, switches, wires, ethernet jacks, firewalls, servers, and other physical components of your network. Even a loose cable or port that’s not plugged in correctly can lead to packet loss. Take the time to do a full physical inspection of these components. 

Try re-arranging other devices that could cause static. If your VOIP phones are too close to speakers, cameras, headphones, Bluetooth devices, and more, it could cause packet loss as well.

If you’re ready to upgrade your VOIP hardware but you’re unsure where to start, consult with your VOIP service provider. All of the best providers will be able to steer you in the right direction. You can probably even find a dedicated resource on their website with recommendations.

Here’s an example from 8&#;8:

This resource of compatible devices is categorized by softphones, desk phones, wireless DECT phones, conference phones, headsets, QoS routers, generic SIP devices, and more. 

It even contains detailed instructions with guides for how to configure your router for VOIP phone service. If you have additional questions about hardware, just contact an 8&#;8 product specialist who can evaluate your needs. 

8&#;8 is just one example here. Regardless of the VOIP phone system, you’re using, your service provider should be offering you this type of support. If they don’t, then it’s a red flag, and you should consider switching to a more helpful service provider. 

#5 &#; Monitor Packet Loss

Even after you’ve fixed packet loss, it can still cause problems down the road. There might be additional VOIP quality issues between higher call volumes, more simultaneous calls, network traffic, and other potential causes.

That’s why it’s important to monitor packet loss and stay ahead of it before it becomes a bigger problem.

The best VOIP phone services offer call quality reports. Here’s an example from 8&#;8 that shows where packet loss would appear within the report:

In addition to the packet loss and burst gap loss information highlighted above, you can see that the report contains information about latency, jitter, and other vital data about call quality. 

If you notice packet loss becoming a problem in these reports, you should go back and repeat the steps listed in this guide to troubleshoot the issue and find the root cause. 

Next Steps

Your job doesn’t stop once packet loss has been fixed. There are still plenty of opportunities for you to consider here.

Now that your call quality has improved, you can start to focus on scaling your organization. Consider adding new support agents or new sales agents. Expand your reach, knowing that you can have the ability to handle higher call volumes. 

Take advantage of conference calls and video conferences as well. 

The second step listed in this guide is arguably the most important one of them all. You need to make sure that your VOIP provider can scale with you as your company grows. Whether it’s adding a new agent or upgrading your plan, this will be crucial to your business success. Check out our list of the best business VOIP phone services for our top recommendations. The use cases and superlatives listed in this guide will help you pick the best plan for your business. 

Sours: https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/how-to-fix-packet-loss/
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When it comes to monitoring network performance, knowing how to stop packet loss of all kinds—internet, Wi-Fi, or ping—is crucial. In this post, you’ll learn the ins and outs of high packet loss and how to handle it within your system.

I’ve also compiled a list of five of the most effective software programs for eliminating packet loss. While any one of these solutions can help get the job done, I’ll discuss why I personally recommend Network Performance Monitor or VoIP & Network Quality Manager from SolarWinds, and the important reasons why you’d use one solution over the other.

What Is Packet Loss?
What Causes Packet Loss?
How to Reduce Packet Loss
Best Tools to Reduce Packet Loss
How to Fix Packet Loss

What Is Packet Loss?

Before we get into packet loss, let’s unpack what packets are. Packets, or network packets, are small units of data carried over a network. Everything you do on the internet, from sending emails to downloading gifs, is made up of packets. Packets are sent to their destinations along the most sensible path to maintain network efficiency. By doing this, the network can more evenly distribute its load across many pieces of equipment, which enhances performance.

What does packet loss mean? Oftentimes, packets don’t successfully make it through the network to their destination. Internet packet loss, sometimes called latency, occurs when packets get lost in transit during their voyage. Wi-Fi packet loss is likely to occur in private, wireless networks because when things are sent through the air, it’s easy for them to get lost or dropped. This becomes even more likely on long-distance internet connections because the packets have farther to go and, by extension, more room for error.

Unsuccessful packets slow down network speeds, cause bottlenecks, and throw off your network throughput and bandwidth. Packet loss can also be expensive. If you don’t do all you can to cut down on packet loss in your system, you’ll have to spend a lot of money on extra IT infrastructure and more bandwidth to accommodate the lag.

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What Causes Packet Loss?

There are many causes of packet loss, most of them unintentional. The number one cause of packet loss is network congestion.

1. Network Congestion

Think of packets traveling across your network like cars going down a highway. At certain points in the day, like during rush hour or after lunch when all the employees in a large company are going back to their desks, there are too many cars on the road. Things get even worse when a four-lane highway narrows into a two-lane road, and a lot of cars are looking to merge at the exact same time. Inevitably some cars can’t merge and don’t reach their destinations on time.

Highway traffic is a fact of life and so is packet loss. Networks aren‘t indestructible or infallible, and they have space limitations.

When network traffic hits maximum capacity, packets will have to wait to be delivered. Unfortunately, packets are the first things to get left behind when a network is trying to catch up with traffic and the connection can only handle so much. Luckily, most software today will circle back for those discarded packets by automatically resending the data or slowing down transfer speeds to give each packet a chance to make it through.

2. Problems With Network Hardware

Glitchy, old, or otherwise outdated hardware can significantly weaken your network. Firewalls, routers, and network switches all take up a considerable amount of power. If your company grows but your hardware capabilities don’t expand with it, you could be in for packet loss or even total connectivity loss.

3. Software Bugs

Unchecked bugs in your system can disrupt network performance and prevent it from sufficiently carrying packets. Sometimes rebooting your hardware will solve this, but since bugs are often introduced during hardware updates, the whole thing will need to be patched.

4. Overloaded Devices

Simply put, this means your system is running at a higher capacity than it was designed to handle. In fact, packets on overutilized devices sometimes make it to their destinations, but by then the network is too weak to process the packets and send them back out. Many devices have buffers in place to put packets in holding patterns until they can be sent out. However, these buffers can get filled up quickly and excess packets are still dropped.

5. Security Threats

We also cannot ignore the possibility of someone deliberately tampering with your network and causing packet loss. Packet drop attacks have become popular with cybercriminals in recent years. Essentially, a hacker gets into your router and tells it to drop packets. If you notice a sudden drop in packet success or a significant slowdown in network speed, you could be in the midst of an attack.

There’s also something called a denial-of-service attack (DoS) where legitimate users cannot access their emails, files, or online accounts because of a cybersecurity threat. Hackers execute a denial-of-service attack by flooding the network with too much traffic for the network to handle, and it crashes. The attackers then take advantage of this vulnerability. If your system is already under attack, there’s not much you can do for packet loss, but if you act quickly enough, you can use an access list (ACL) to block the IP address of the hacker.

When it comes to network maintenance and cybersecurity efforts, I think it’s best to internalize Murphy’s Law—“anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” I like to tack on “so you should be prepared” to the end. Invest in a SIEM solution, create a disaster recovery plan, update your firewall and, as always, keep yourself up to date on the latest antivirus software.

Such attacks are rare—there are more common causes out there for packet issues. If you’re experiencing packet loss, it’s probably just your network.

6. Inadequate Infrastructure for Handling Packet Loss

Sometimes packet loss isn’t entirely the network’s fault. Many IT administrators cobble together a networking monitoring system out of different tools. Since most of the tools have limited functionality because they were engineered for a specific purpose, the network isn’t fully protected. Without a comprehensive, seamless network monitoring solution, opportunities to stop or prevent packet loss fall through the cracks.

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How to Reduce Packet Loss

Wondering how to reduce packet loss? Before we get into options for a packet loss fix, it’s worth it to say there’s no way to completely stop packet loss. Zero percent packet loss is unachievable because the things causing it, like network issues, too many users, or an overloaded system, are bound to pop up. Any solutions recommended here or elsewhere are ways to help fix the problem after the fact, not prevent them from occurring.

But there are some tried-and-true methods you can try on your own to fix high packet loss.

  1. Check your connections: First, get rid of the obvious options. Make sure your cables and ports are plugged incorrectly.
  2. Restart your system: If you haven’t turned off your system routers or hardware in a while, now is the time. This might give your network the jumpstart it needs to fix any tiny glitches or bugs.
  3. Try cable connections instead of Wi-Fi: Since everything is connected by Wi-Fi nowadays, packets are more likely to get lost. Using an Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi can help move things along. A fiber-optic connection is even better.
  4. Remove anything capable of causing static: Cut off surrounding cameras, devices using Bluetooth, wireless speakers, and headphones. You also might want to temporarily shut down your firewall since it uses a lot of bandwidth, and you shouldn’t be running more than one firewall program at a time.
  5. Update your software: It’s time to stop putting off your software updates. An up-to-date operating system is less likely to have bugs, which inevitably leads to fewer opportunities for packet loss.
  6. Replace out-of-date hardware: The same concept applies to your network infrastructure. Take some time to make sure your hardware is in good shape.
  7. Use QoS settings: Quality of Service (QoS) settings help you manage packet loss by triaging your network resources accordingly. This is especially important if your network transmits resource-intensive data like streamed content, online games, video calls, or VoIP. QoS settings will devote more network traffic to the places that need it.

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Best Tools to Reduce Packet Loss

Five top products to minimize packet loss

Software can’t totally fix high packet loss. The key to preventing or lessening the impact of packet loss is network visibility. A problem you can see is a problem you can solve. The tools listed below, in addition to boasting features specific to packet loss, can be used to give you a more comprehensive view of your network. The most important steps for handling packet loss are pinpointing exactly what’s causing the latency and then doing your best to maintain a healthy network. Both tasks are accomplished with networking monitoring best practices.

1. Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is one of the best all-inclusive, comprehensive network monitoring tools you can buy. It’s at the top of so many of my lists because its approach to network visibility is unmatched. A whole array of network visualization tools, including intelligent Orion® Maps, geographic maps, and SolarWinds Network Atlas, give you useful, in-depth ways to see what’s going on in your network.

Network Performance Monitor (NPM)

NPM is an excellent choice for admins who have to keep watch over a large systems environment—the hop-by-hop packet path maps are especially useful, as you can quickly see if the problem lies inside or outside the network, and the tool provides the info you need to start addressing the issue quickly. This software is great for the highly specific troubleshooting required when you’re wondering how to get rid of packet loss.

Its proprietary NetPath network path analysis feature will be able to tell you where an application or the network itself is responsible for your packet loss. This function highlights the problem links in red, making troubleshooting easy. Also, NetPath displays each router and switch in the network route as a node. If you hover over the node, it pulls up the latency and packet loss statistics.

Along the same lines, the LUCID (logical, usable, customizable, interactive, drill-down) user interface in NPM gives you a complete summary of all network activity, device status, and alerts, so you can see how your system is doing without having to toggle between different screens. Bonus: NPM is fully customizable. Being able to see everything is great, but at the same time, nobody wants to be bombarded with that much information all the time. It’s easy to play around with the configurations in NPM so you only see what you want when you want to see it.

The auto-discovery function in Network Performance Monitor also deserves a special mention. After you set it up for the first time, it recurs automatically, so any changes made to the network will show up in the tool. It also compiles a list of all the network devices in your environment and creates a network map. Finally, NPM offers SNMP monitoring features and picks up SNMP warning messages, so you can see which routers and network switches are nearing capacity. Now you can combat packet loss before it even happens.

2. VoIP & Network Quality Manager

SolarWinds VoIP & Network Quality Manager (VNQM) is specially designed to focus on the network conditions necessary for successful VoIP delivery. By pulling call data from Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Avaya Aura Communication Manager, you can easily identify what’s causing latency, jitter, and call noise.


Voice over IP (VoIP) is tricky for IT departments to negotiate because it’s hard to deliver reliable, quality telephone service using a network with a bunch of applications already competing for bandwidth. QoS settings can help by diverting bandwidth to the applications that need it most, which helps, but you need a way to troubleshoot voice calls and have visibility into their performance metrics. Since packet loss can be even more of a problem in networks using voice systems, if you’re juggling this issue, you may want to invest in a more specialized tool like VNQM over a broader packet loss monitoring solution like SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.

VNQM communicates with a lot of different systems, which makes for a more comprehensive monitoring experience. However, it’s a good idea to know your way around Cisco and the Orion Platform on general principle. In fact, if you’re already working on Orion servers, you can equip VNQM with Orion Platform High Availability. This protects your system’s environment from OS crashes, network connectivity problems, and availability issues in your database.

The visual metrics in VNQM are my favorite features. The dashboard shows you an overview of the path each voice call takes in the form of a dial-graph, like a speedometer in a car. The visualization module shows the health of each path using color-coded statuses. These features make it easier to visually get a handle on VoIP monitoring across your entire network. Need more information? Read more about how VNQM helps monitor packet loss.

3. PRTG Network Monitor

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

According to Paessler, you need three sensors to fix high packet loss. PRTG Network Monitor happens to provide them all, allowing you to ping packet loss easily. The Ping Sniffer Sensor measures your network availability, calculates the rate of packet loss for each device within your network, and breaks it down into a percentage—showing you past and present data in terms of dials and pie charts. The Quality of Service (QoS) One Way Sensor lets you keep an eye on network paths, which is a huge step toward reducing packet loss. Finally, the Cisco IP SLA Sensor measures packet loss specifically for Cisco devices, which will come in handy if you’re working with VoIP.

PRTG is also unique because most of its features focus on packet loss prevention. Prevent network overloads by selectively blocking traffic. This tool has a comprehensive alert system to let you know when warnings or unusual metrics have been detected in your network. Use this, combined with the other features, to track traffic or bottlenecking back to the source before it becomes a problem. Also, it’s one of the only two systems on my list to accommodate cloud-based services.

Like SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, PRTG Network Monitor also has an auto-discovery feature. With auto-discovery, PRTG Network Monitor automatically divides your network into segments and categorizes them by pinging specific IP ranges. From this point forward, PRTG will automatically recognize all your connected devices and systems and create custom sensors for them. Auto-discovery is the shortcut to end all shortcuts, in my opinion. This feature saves time when it comes to configuration, so it’s quicker and easier to set up than other software options.

Overall, I like PRTG because it has a winning combination of visibility, scalability, and ease of use. You get everything you need to monitor your network in one piece of equipment—auto-discovery, network monitoring, NetFlow analysis, cloud monitoring, VMware monitoring, and database monitoring. The only cause of packet loss PRTG doesn’t account for is illegal tampering, but since it’s not very common, so it might not be an issue for you.

4. OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager

The tools I’ve mentioned would be useful for businesses of all sizes, from small and medium companies to enterprises, in terms of capabilities and price alike. But ManageEngine OpManager is focused on (and priced for) network management for large, multi-vendor IT enterprise networks. The key for this product is unification. For instance, OpManager wins the Best Dashboard award for its unique balance of inclusivity and individuality. This tool boasts a clean and sophisticated dashboard, offering end-to-end visibility of everything in your network infrastructure—from applications to printers to your entire wireless network. It does especially well in large organizations because the dashboard is customizable from user to user, without sacrificing continuity and shareability across the board. Out-of-the-box capabilities include network health monitoring, VoIP monitoring, Cisco NBAR reporting, network mapping, server monitoring, and more.

Regarding packet loss, OpManager uses SNMP to constantly monitor your network health across all devices. Controller displays send out alerts called “traps” that immediately pop up on the dashboard. Traps can also be configured to send out text alerts or email notifications to the user. There are separate alerts specifically for packet loss to not only tell you when there are instances of packet loss in your system but also what device is responsible for it. If you click on the notification, OpManager will bring you to a new page about the device and visually present performance metrics. With a few clicks, you can detect, isolate, and solve problems with packet loss.

5. Nagios XI

Nagios XI

Like every other network monitoring tool on this list, Nagios XI helps reduce packet loss by cataloging all the devices connected to your network and showing relevant performance metrics on a customizable dashboard. Dashboard options and settings can be viewed directly in your web browser.

Nagios XI is a strong contender worth checking out if you’re looking for help with packet troubleshooting. It records and stores performance data you can use to run different traffic scenarios in your downtime. This adds an entirely new dimension to troubleshooting and packet loss prevention. Knowing what device is causing packet loss and latency is one thing, but using the information to plan ahead dramatically reduces your risk of high packet loss in the future. Automatically generated capacity graphs make proactive planning easy. Custom reports offer specific details on network events. This tool’s alert systems send out notifications with outage details to users beyond the IT staff, keeping everyone informed and working toward problem resolution.

I commend Nagios Core for creating a tool that doesn’t sacrifice power for openness and flexibility. This product is powered by the Nagios Core 4 monitoring engine instead of SNMP, which is meant to allow for greater efficiency. It executes active and passive host checks, monitors network performance, checks service, collects system information, and more. Free plug-ins are available in the plug-in library, so you can get even more from this software.

Nagios XI is the most diverse tool on my list in terms of scope, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your system and price point. This software will monitor cloud-based networks, virtual systems, remote sites, wireless systems, and traditional WAN. On the other hand, Nagios XI is not as diverse when it comes to operating system compatibility because it only runs on CentOS and RHEL Linux. You can work around this if you have VMware or Hyper-V machines.

Nagios XI comes from the Nagios Core family of free, open-source software. Unfortunately, Nagios XI isn’t free. To get a user interface, GUI capabilities, and full functionality, you have to pay for either the standard or enterprise edition of Nagios XL. Nagios Core offers a day free trial of this tool.

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How to Fix High Packet Loss

Detecting, troubleshooting, and preventing packet loss is key to optimal network performance. Again, I want to stress there’s no surefire way to eradicate packet loss from your system forever. In fact, you’re bound to come up against it because, well, packet loss just happens. Networks aren’t infallible.

But there are steps you can take to improve your packet loss situation. I suggest starting out with a well-rounded tool like SolarWinds NPM, or if your packet loss mostly impacts VoIP, SolarWinds VNQM. With either of these, you’re getting the most bang for your buck, as these tools make it much easier to find out what’s causing your network to drop packets. You’ll get more visibility into packet loss, tools for troubleshooting, and an incredible range of additional network monitoring features. It’s worth it to try to mitigate the effects of packet loss, thereby increasing productivity and lowering your bandwidth requirements. Take advantage of the available free trials to find the right network packet loss monitoring solution for you.

Categories Networking, Tool ReviewsSours: https://www.dnsstuff.com/reduce-packet-loss

What Is Network Packet Loss?

A complete guide to understanding, monitoring and fixing network packet loss.

Introduction – network packet loss

Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) is changing the world and the way we work. The worldwide implementation of VoIP and video as major communication solutions is making these changes possible. But all new technologies come with challenges and one of the major hurdles that IT teams face is network packet loss.

Packet loss describes packets of data not reaching their destination after being transmitted across a network. Packet loss is commonly caused by network congestion, hardware issues, software bugs, and a number of other factors which we discuss in detail below.

It sits in the trio of two other major network performance complications: latency, and jitter.

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about the causes of packet loss in computer networks.

We’ll take an in-depth look at packet loss issues, the reasons for packet loss in networking, and how to fix network packet loss.

Download a PDF copy of the Optimizing your Network Guide

What is internet packet loss?

In any network environment, data is sent and received across the network in small units called packets. This applies to everything you do on the internet, from emailing, uploading or downloading images or files, browsing, streaming, gaming – to voice and video communication. According to a survey from Statista, in , 24% of surveyed companies claimed that downtimes cost them between $, and $, In most cases, these situations of downtimes might have arisen from a seemingly simple issue that escalated into significant setbacks.

When one or more of these packets is interrupted in its journey, this is known as packet loss. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) divides the file into efficiently sized packets for routing. Each packet is separately numbered and includes the destination’s internet address. Each individual packet may travel a different route, and when they have arrived, they are restored to the original file by the TCP at the receiving end.

What causes packet loss?

1. Network congestion

The primary cause of network packet loss is congestion. All networks have space limitations, so in simple terms, network congestion is very much the same as peak hour traffic.

Think of the queues on the road at certain times of the day, like early mornings and the end of the working day. Too much traffic crowding onto the same road can become bottlenecked when it tries to merge, and the result is that it doesn’t reach its destination on time.

At peak times, when network traffic hits its maximum limit, packets are discarded and must wait to be delivered. Fortunately, most software is designed to either automatically retrieve and resend those discarded packets or slow down transfer speed.

2. Network hardware problems

The speed with which hardware becomes outdated or redundant these days is another major problem for your network. Hardware such as firewalls, routers, and network switches consume a lot of power, and can considerably weaken network signals. Sometimes organizations overlook the need to update hardware during expansions or mergers and this can contribute to packet loss or connectivity outages.

3. Software bugs

Closely related to faulty hardware is a buggy software running on the network device. Bugs or glitches in your system can sometimes be responsible for disrupting network performance and preventing the delivery of packets. Hardware reboots and patches may fix bugs.

4. Overtaxed devices

When a network is operating at a higher capacity than it was designed to handle, it weakens and becomes unable to process packets, and drops them. Most devices have built-in buffers to assign packets to holding patterns until they can be sent.

5. Wifi packet loss vs wireless packet loss

As a rule, wireless networks experience more issues with packet loss than wired networks. Radio frequency interference, weaker signals, distance and physical barriers like walls can all cause wireless networks to drop packets.

With wired networks, faulty cables can be the culprit, impeding signal flow through the cable.

6. Security threats

If you’re noticing unusually high rates of packet drop, the problem could be a security breach. Cybercriminals hack into your router and instruct it to drop packets. Another way that hackers can cause packet loss is to execute a denial-of-service attack (DoS), preventing legitimate users from accessing files, emails, or online accounts by flooding the network with too much traffic to handle. Packet loss can be difficult to fix during a full-blown security.

7. Deficient infrastructure

This highlights the importance of a comprehensive network monitoring solution. Some out-of-packet monitoring tools were not engineered for the job they’ve been assigned to do and have limited functionality.

The only way to effectively deal with packet loss issues is to deploy a seamless network monitoring and troubleshooting platform that can view your entire system from a single window. In a nutshell, comprehensive network monitoring solution = packet loss fix.

Ping and packet loss

When it comes to the determining what constitutes a strong internet connection, and the reduction of random packet loss, there are three factors to consider: upload speed, download speed and ping.

Upload speed

This is how fast you can send data to others. Uploading is used when sending large files through email, or in using video to chat with others. Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

Download speed

This is how fast you can pull data from the server to you. By default, connections are designed to download more quickly than they upload. Download speed is also measured in Mbps.


This is the reaction time of your connection, or how quickly you get a response after sending out a request. A fast ping means a more responsive connection, and this is especially important in real-time applications like gaming, and voice and video calls. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms).

Anything below a ping of 20 ms is considered ideal, while anything over ms would result in noticeable lag.

Even though your ping is good you may still be having issues with packet loss. because although the data is being sent and ultimately received quickly by the destination server, some data might not be getting there correctly.

The effects of packet loss

For users, packet loss can be more than annoying, particularly in real-time processes like VoIP and video conferencing. According to a QoS tutorial by Cisco, packet loss on VoIP traffic should be kept below 1% and between % and 5% depending on the type of video.

Different applications are affected by packet loss in different ways. For example, when downloading data files, a 10% packet loss might add only one second to a ten second download. If packet loss rate is higher, or there is high latency, it can cause delays to be worse.

Real-time applications like voice and video will be affected more severely by packet loss. Something as small as a 2% packet loss is usually quite noticeable to a listener or viewer, and can cause the conversation to be stilted and unintelligible.

The effects of packet loss also differs depending on the application/protocol (TCP/UDP) If a packet is dropped, or not acknowledged, TCP protocol is designed to retransmit it. UDP, however, doesn’t have the capability to retransmit, and therefore doesn’t handle packet loss as well.

Diagnosing and fixing packet loss

Everyone has experienced packet loss in voice calls. This is where comprehensive network monitoring and troubleshooting comes into its own. Network monitoring can quickly and accurately diagnose and identify the root causes of packet loss problems such as in the following examples.

Example 1:

During a Skype call, the quality deteriorates and becomes distorted and patchy, or eventually drops out completely. But even though Skype may be having issues, you might still be able to successfully communicate using TeamSpeak, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp. This is because of the difference in the way that each specific program transmits over the internet, and the route that the packets take.

Example 2:

You may be on a call with a perfect connection to a server in Springfield, IL but then find you’re experiencing an exceptionally high packet loss when connecting to a server in Richmond, VA. This would indicate problems with the pipeline between your location and the server in Richmond.

Do a ping test

A ping test is a diagnostic tool that provides data on how well an internet-enabled device communicates with another endpoint. A ping test can assess network delays or issues by sending an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packet – or ping – to a specific destination.

ICMP packets contain only a tiny amount of information, so they don’t use much bandwidth. When the ping reaches the device, that device recognizes and replies to the originating device. The total time taken for the ping to arrive and return is recorded as ‘ping time’ or ‘round trip time’.

If the number of packets sent and received are not equal, this means some packets never arrived to or from your phone. This inevitably leads to call quality issues like choppy voices, extended silences, jumbled audio and other call quality problems.

Deep packet inspection

Any organization with a private network will have hundreds or even thousands of unique connections and data transfers every day.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is an in-depth way of examining and managing network traffic. DPI is one of the most important tasks that network administrators need to carry out. It locates, identifies, blocks or re-routes packets with specific data or code. It examines the contents of packets passing through a given point and determines what the packet contains. Most network packets are split into three parts:

Header – containing instructions about the data carried by the packet such as length, synchronization, packet number, protocol as well as originating and destination addresses.

Payload – the actual data contents, or body of the packet.

Trailer – also referred to as the footer tells the receiving device that it has reached the end of the packet.

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Traceroute packet loss and high latency

Traceroute is a command-line tool that comes with Windows and other operating systems. Along with the ping command, it’s an important tool for understanding Internet connection problems, including packet loss and high latency.

If you’re having trouble connecting to a website, traceroute can tell you where the problem is. It can also help visualize the path traffic takes between your computer and a web server.

Monitoring packet loss

Every network experiences some degree of packet loss, but what is acceptable? The most important thing to remember is that prevention is better than cure when implementing packet loss solutions.

Network monitoring should be the first strategy you use to preserve and uphold the integrity of your network environment. Regularly scanning your devices will ensure that your routers are capable of handling capacity, and your system is equipped to prevent data loss.

Summary – addressing network packet loss

This comprehensive guide has been created to define network packet loss, and to help identify, understand and troubleshoot the most common problems related to packet loss in computer networks.

The key takeaways are that network jitter, network packet loss and latency, are major obstacles standing in the way of clear communication and can universally affect your user experience. For further insightful information on network performance complications, download our additional guides on the full explanation of latency, jitter and packet loss:

› What is Network Jitter? A Complete Guide to Understanding, Monitoring and Fixing Jitter.

› What is Network Latency? A Complete Guide to Understanding, Monitoring and Fixing Network Latency.

Prognosis UC Assessor is a % software-based solution that can find and fix problems before migration without the need for network probes.

Ensure a positive end-user experience with one-click troubleshooting for all network issues affecting UC performance. Deployment and getting started is quick, generating insights within minutes of installation across multiple sites within your environment.

You can improve IT efficiency with the ability to operate and troubleshoot your entire multi-vendor UC environment from a single viewing point.

Reduce costly outages and service interruptions with automated, intelligent alerts.

Plan, deploy and migrate new technologies with confidence.

Download a PDF copy of the Optimizing your Network Guide

Sours: https://www.ir.com/guides/what-is-network-packet-loss

Loss 20% packet

How to Fix Packet Loss in 8 Steps

How to Fix Packet Loss

Have you experienced overwhelming levels of packet loss that impacted your network performance?

Do you find that overloading occurs frequently on your network?

Which tools do you use to monitor your network connectivity and prevent dropped packets?

Packet loss is one of the most critical network performance metrics, but what is packet loss, what causes it, and how do you fix it?

Here is our list of the 5 best tools to fix packet loss:

  1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor EDITOR&#;S CHOICE Comprehensive network device health checker, running on Windows Server, that employs SNMP for live monitoring. Start a day free trial.
  2. Paessler Packet Loss Monitoring with PRTG A network, server, and application monitoring tool that includes a Ping sensor, a Quality of Service sensor, and a Cisco IP SLA sensor.
  3. ManageEngine OpManager Network management system for Windows and Linux that uses SNMP to check on device statuses.
  4. Nagios XI An infrastructure and software monitoring tool that runs on Linux. A free version (Nagios Core) is also available.
  5. Progress WhatsUp Gold Windows-based network management tool that uses SNMP procedures to communicate with network devices.

How to Fix Packet Loss: 8 Step-by-Step Solution

Although it’s impossible to remedy packet loss in your network, there are some meaningful network checks you can complete to improve speed and reduce the number of packets lost.

  1. Check physical network connections &#; Check to ensure that all cables and ports are properly connected and installed.
  2. Restart your hardware &#; Restarting routers and hardware throughout your network can help to stop many technical faults or bugs.
  3. Use cable connections &#; Using cable connections rather than wireless connections can improve connection quality.
  4. Remove sources of interference &#; Remove anything that could be causing interference. Power lines, cameras, wireless speakers and wireless phones all cause interference in networks.
  5. If your running WIFI – Try switching to a wired connection to help reduce packet loss on your network.
  6. Update device software &#; Keeping your devices updated will help to ensure that there are no bugs in the OS causing packet loss.
  7. Replace outdated or deficient hardware &#; Upgrading your network infrastructure allows you to get rid of deficient hardware altogether.
  8. Use QoS settings &#; Prioritize your network traffic based on the applications that are most important. For example, prioritize voice or video traffic.

What is packet loss?

Packet loss refers to any packets of data that are lost or dropped in transit during travel across a computer network.

Packet loss could be due to a failure or an inefficiency of a component that carries data across a network, such as a faulty router, a loose cable connection or bad wifi signal strength.

Lost packets can also be intentional, for instance when it is used to restrict throughput during VoIP calls or video streams so as to avoid time lags, particularly during times of high network congestion. This results in lower quality data streams and calls which negatively affect user experience. To fix packet loss and keep high latency, you need to determine which parts of your network are contributing to the problem.

What causes packet loss?

Causes of Packet Loss

Packet loss is less likely on private, wired networks, but highly probable on long-distance internet connections. The IP philosophy of passing data packets across networks gives each router the decision on where a packet should be passed to next. The sending computer has no control over the transfer speed or the route that the packet will take.

Router packet loss

The reliance on individual routers to make routing decisions means each access point on the route must maintain a database of preferable directions for each ultimate destination. This disconnected strategy works most of the time. However, one router cannot know instantly if another router further down the line is overloaded or defective.

All routers periodically inform their neighboring devices of status conditions. A problem at one point ripples through to recalculations performed in neighboring routers. A traffic block in one router gets notified to all of the routers on the internet, causing all routers to recalibrate paths that would otherwise have passed through the troubled router. The chain of information takes time to propagate.

Rerouting overload

Sometimes a router will calculate the best path and send a packet down a blocked route. By the time the packet approaches that block, the routers closer to the problem will already know about it and reroute the packet around the defective neighbor. That rerouting can overload alternative routers. If the defect on a router prevents status notifications from being sent out, then the packet will be sent to that router regardless.

In short, the further a packet has to travel, the more routers it will pass through. More routers mean more potential points of failure and a higher likelihood that dropped packets will occur.

When is packet loss too high?

You will never reach a point where your company’s network infrastructure achieves zero packet loss. You should expect this performance drag when making connections over the internet, in particular.

Once you understand the reasons for packet loss, keeping the network healthy, packet recovery becomes an easier task. Install a network monitor to prevent equipment failure, security risks, and system overloading that escalates packet loss to critical conditions.

Packet loss costs your business money because it causes extra traffic. If you don’t deal with packet loss, you’ll have to compensate by purchasing extra infrastructure and higher levels of internet bandwidth usage than you would need with a well-tuned system.

See also:Best VoIP Monitoring Tools

The best tools fix packet loss

The more tightly knit a network, with better routers and connections in place, the less likely it is to face packet loss. But invariably many communications happen using the Internet Protocol, and not all hops are known along the way.

Tools that monitor your network endpoints can help you detect, troubleshoot and fix packet loss.

The endpoints are in the best position to work out if re-transmission of dropped packets should take place. This means that we should always anticipate some level of packet loss and therefore packet recovery in data communications. Fortunately, some very effective network monitoring solutions are available today.

What should you look for in tools to fix packet loss? 

We reviewed the market for tools to fix packet loss and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • SNMP monitoring to check on network device statuses
  • Ping sweeping to test for device availability and network connectivity
  • Support for the implementation of queueing
  • End-to-end path testing utilities
  • Link testing facilities
  • An assessment period either as a free trial or as a money-back guarantee
  • A valuable collection of tools that will reduce packet loss and improve the business’s profitability

These tools both help you identify the equipment causing packet loss and provide continuous device monitoring to prevent packet loss whenever possible.

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor includes an autodiscovery function that maps your entire network. This discovery feature sets up automatically and then recurs permanently, so any changes in your network will be reflected in the tool. The autodiscovery populates a list of network devices and generates a network map.

The monitor tracks the performance of wireless devices and VM systems.

The tool picks up SNMP messages that report on warning conditions in all network devices. You can set capacity warning levels when monitoring router traffic to spot routers and switches nearing capacity. Taking action in these situations helps you head off overcapacity which results in packet loss.

SolarWinds VoIP Call Details

The management console includes a utility called NetPath that shows the links crossed by paths in your network.

  • The data used to create the graphic is continually updated and shows troubled links in red so that you can identify problems immediately.
  • Each router and switch in the route is displayed as a node in the path.
  • When you hover the cursor over a node, it shows the network latency and packet loss statistics for that node.

SolarWinds VoIP & NQM Search VoIP Calls

Network Performance Monitor extends its metrics out to nodes on the internet. It can even see inside the networks of service providers, such as Microsoft or Amazon, and report on the nodes within those systems.

NetPath gives great visibility to packet loss problems and lets you immediately identify the root cause of the problem. The SNMP controller module lets you adjust the settings on each device remotely, so you can quickly resolve packet loss problems on your network.

SolarWinds VoIP & NQM SIP Trunk Details

If you run your voice system over a data network, you should consider the SolarWinds VoIP and Network Quality Manager. This tool particularly focuses on network conditions important to successful VoIP traffic delivery. As packet loss is a major problem with Voice Over IP, this module hones in on that metric. The system includes a visualization module that shows the paths followed by VoIP, along with the health of each node in color-coded statuses. This tool extends VoIP quality monitoring across sites to cover your entire WAN.

Both of these SolarWinds products run on a common platform and can be integrated together. All SolarWinds infrastructure monitoring systems run on Windows Server. You can get a day free trial for both of these tools.

Key Features

  • Network device statuses
  • SNMP-based
  • Alerts
  • Device discovery
  • Path analysis


SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor: Map your entire network to get visibility on packet loss and identify the root cause of the problem. Overall, a vital tool that is great for reducing packet loss to 0% or as close as possible.

Get 30 Day Free Trial:solarwinds.com/network-performance-monitor/

OS: Windows Server or later

2. Paessler Packet Loss Monitoring with PRTG (FREE TRIAL)

Paessler PRTG Cisco IP SLA Sensor for Packet Loss

Paessler is a significant player in the network monitoring software sector and it puts all of its expertise into one killer product: PRTG. The company prices its product by a count of sensors.

A &#;sensor&#; is a network or device condition, or a hardware feature. You need to employ three sensors to prevent or resolve packet loss:

  • The Ping test sensor calculates packet loss rate and trip time at each device.
  • The Quality of Service sensor checks on packet loss over each link in the network.
  • The third is the Cisco IP SLA sensor that only collects data from Cisco network equipment.

Paessler PRTG Packet Sniffer Sensor

The ongoing system monitoring routines of PRTG head off conditions that cause packet loss.

  • First of all, you need to ensure that no software bugs or hardware failures will cripple the network. PRTG uses SNMP agents to constantly monitor for error conditions on each piece of hardware on the network.
  • Set alert levels at the processing capacity of each network device and marry that to a live monitor of the network’s throughput rate per link.

The build-up of traffic in one area of the network may cause overloading on the related switch or router and in turn cause it to drop data packets.

The PRTG system monitors application performance, too. You can prevent network overloads if you spot a sudden spike in the traffic generated by one application just by blocking it temporarily. You can also track the source of traffic back to a specific endpoint on the network and block that source to head off device overloading.

Paessler PRTG QoS One Way Sensor for Packet Loss

The dashboard of PRTG includes some great visualizations, which include color-coded dials, charts, graphs, and histograms. The mapping features of PRTG are impressive and offer physical layout views both on the LAN and across a real-world map for WANs. A Map Editor lets you build your own network representations by selecting which layer to display and whether to include the identification of protocols, applications, and endpoints.

Paessler PRTG&#;s monitoring extends into the Cloud, will enable you to monitor remote sites, uncover network problems, while also covering wireless devices and virtual environments. You can install PRTG on the Windows operating system or opt to access the system over the internet as a Cloud-based service. Paessler offers a day free trial of PRTG.

Key Features

  • Traffic monitors
  • Network discovery
  • SNMP processes
  • Status alerts
  • SaaS option

Paessler Packet Loss Monitoring with PRTGDownload day FREE Trial

3. ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager dashboard

OpManager features a very sophisticated dashboard that manages to crowd in a lot of information without overwhelming the viewer. You can customize the dashboard and make different versions for different team members. The installation process ends with a network discovery phase, which populates the OpManager system database. The monitor builds a graphical representation of your network that can extend to WANs and wireless equipment. If you have virtual environments, OpManager maps both the virtual and physical elements of your system.

The comprehensive network monitoring system uses SNMP to continue monitoring the health of all connected devices on the network. The SNMP system gives device agents the power to send out alert messages called “traps.” The controller displays these alerts on the dashboard immediately and can also be set to issue notifications by email or SMS. This monitoring system helps prevent any emergency performance issues that cause packet loss.

The alert logging system offers you the easiest way to detect and resolve issues that result in packet loss. One of the alert conditions is packet loss. That alert is tied to a specific network device. On clicking on the notification, the OpManager dashboard takes you to a page about that piece of equipment and shows performance metrics in visual formats. This gives you a quick way to check which condition caused the increased packet loss rate.

If no aspect of the router&#;s performance shows you problems, you can also click through to read the configuration changelog. If raised packet loss rate coordinates with a configuration change, you can roll back the settings of the device to its state before those changes to see whether that resolves the problem.

Key Features

  • SNMP monitor
  • Network device statuses
  • Network discovery

OpManager gives you all the information you need to prevent, resolve or reduce packet loss with just a few clicks. This system can be installed on Windows or Linux and is available for a day free trial.

4. Nagios XI

Nagios XI screen

Nagios Core is a free and open-source program. The only problem is that no user interface is included. To get full GUI controls, you must pay for the Nagios XI system.

Like all of the other recommendations on this list, Nagios XI discovers all of the devices connected to your network and lists them on the dashboard. It will also generate a map of your network. Ongoing status check head off potential packet loss-provoking performance problems.

Statuses are checked by the proprietary Nagios Core 4 monitoring system rather than SNMP. However, Nagios can be extended by free plug-ins, and an SNMP-driven monitoring system is available in the plug-in library. Traffic throughput rates, CPU activity, and memory utilization appear as statuses on the dashboard include. By setting alert levels on these attributes, you can get sufficient warning to prevent overloading of each of your network devices.

A Configuration Management module checks the setup of each device on the network and logs it. The log records changes made to those configurations. If a new setting impacts performance, such as increased packet loss, you can use the Configuration Manager to instantly roll back settings on a device to an earlier configuration.

The dashboard of Nagios XI includes some very attractive visualizations with color-coded graphs, charts, and dials. You can customize the dashboard and create versions for different team members as well as non-technical managers who need to stay informed.

The Nagios XI package includes all the widgets needed to assemble a custom dashboard through a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to stop packet loss. The system comes with standard reports and you can even build your own custom output.

Nagios records and stores performance data, so you can operate the interface&#;s analysis tools to replay traffic events under different scenarios. The capacity planning features of this system will help spot potential overloading that would cause packet loss.

Nagios XI will cover virtual systems, cloud services, remote sites, and wireless systems as well as traditional wired LANs. You can only install this monitor on CentOS and RHEL Linux. If you don&#;t have those but do have VMware or Hyper-V machines, you can install it there. Nagios XI is available for a day free trial.

Key Features

  • Device discovery
  • Status alerts
  • Traffic monitoring

5. Progress WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold dashboard

The Progress (formerly Ipswitch) product WhatsUp Gold monitors network devices and warns of possible error conditions, including device memory and CPU exhaustion. These alerts are managed via SNMP and you can head off capacity and failure problems that cause packet loss.

This software includes a network discovery feature, that collects all of the data for the monitor. It continually updates the topology of the LAN, detecting inventory additions, relocations, and removals. The discovery process creates a device list and builds a network map. This map is compiled from data gathered at the Data Link and Network layers. The map displays troubled devices in red. The mapping of network links extends out to the Cloud and also includes virtual environments and wireless devices.

Performance metrics like packet loss are shown in the device list and on the network map.

The WhatsUp Gold dashboard provides access to both live and historical data. This performs analysis on traffic demand trends. Live alerts raised when certain conditions are met according to pre-set rules, and you can set your own custom alert conditions. The alerts can be sent out to team members as emails, SMS messages, or Slack notifications.

WhatsUp Gold installs on Windows Server and you can get a free trial.

Key Features

  • SNMP monitoring
  • Physical statuses
  • Network discovery


Being able to easily remedy unforeseen buildup in packet loss will greatly assist you in performing your job well. Although the tools on this list are a little pricey, they pay for themselves in the long run through productivity increases and lower bandwidth requirements.

Fortunately, all of those tools we outlined above are available for free trials. Check out a few to see which gives you the best opportunity to prevent or reduce packet loss in your network.

Leave a message about your experience in the comments section below, and help others in the community learn from your experience.

Packet Loss FAQs

What causes packet loss on a network?

The most common cause of packet loss on a network is overloaded network devices. Switches and routers will drop data packets if they cannot process them in time. Other major packet loss causes include faulty equipment and cabling.

How do you calculate packet loss?

Take a count of the number of packets sent at one point on the network and the rate of packets received at another node. Subtract the number of packets received from the number of packets sent and divide the result by the number of packets sent to get the packet loss rate.

Why do I have packet loss with Ethernet?

Ethernet cables will lose packets if there is heavy electromagnetic interference nearby, if part of the cable is damaged or if the connectors at each end are loosely plugged into equipment.

Does packet loss affect ping?

Packet loss is one of the factors measured by the Ping utility. However, what is commonly referred to as “ping” is the round-trip time (RTT). This is not directly changed by packet loss – the two metrics are factors that influence response times over networks.

Is some packet loss normal?

Some packet loss is to be expected and isn’t usually a major problem. The rate of packet loss to be expected greatly depends on the size and reliability of the network. The greater the number of hops a transmission needs to take, the greater the risk of packet loss. There should be a lot less packet loss experienced on a private network than on the internet. Also, small networks should experience less packet loss than large networks in normal conditions. In general, a packet loss rate of 1 to percent is seen as acceptable. Packet loss rates are generally higher with WiFi networks than with wired systems.

Is 2% packet loss bad?

Any packet loss will slow down response time but on a public medium like the internet, an expectation of % delivery success is unreasonable. Be prepared to encounter at least a little packet loss and anything below 5% is considered acceptable.

Can a VPN help with packet loss?

In truth, a VPN can’t do much about packet loss if the loss is caused by poor performance by the ISP’s equipment or an overloaded router. All a VPN does is encrypt packets and alter the path that a connection would normally take to reach a specific destination by diverting the connection through a mediating server. Those packets still have to pass through your gateway to the internet and the equipment of your ISP. If faults at those points are causing packet loss, they will drop packets regardless of where they are going or how they have been encrypted. 

Sours: https://www.comparitech.com/net-admin/how-to-fix-packet-loss/
Internet Troubleshooting - Pathping Packet Loss

Packet loss

Transmitted data not making it to where it's supposed to go

Packet loss occurs when one or more packets of data travelling across a computer network fail to reach their destination. Packet loss is either caused by errors in data transmission, typically across wireless networks,[1][2] or network congestion.[3] Packet loss is measured as a percentage of packets lost with respect to packets sent.

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) detects packet loss and performs retransmissions to ensure reliable messaging. Packet loss in a TCP connection is also used to avoid congestion and thus produces an intentionally reduced throughput for the connection.

In real-time applications like streaming media or online games, packet loss can affect a user's quality of experience (QoE).


The Internet Protocol (IP) is designed according to the end-to-end principle as a best-effort delivery service, with the intention of keeping the logic routers must implement as simple as possible. If the network made reliable delivery guarantees on its own, that would require store and forward infrastructure, where each router devotes a significant amount of storage space to packets while it waits to verify that the next node properly received them. A reliable network would not be able to maintain its delivery guarantees in the event of a router failure. Reliability is also not needed for all applications. For example, with live streaming media, it is more important to deliver recent packets quickly than to ensure that stale packets are eventually delivered. An application or user may also decide to retry an operation that is taking a long time, in which case another set of packets will be added to the burden of delivering the original set. Such a network might also need a command and control protocol for congestion management, adding even more complexity.

To avoid all of these problems, the Internet Protocol allows for routers to simply drop packets if the router or a network segment is too busy to deliver the data in a timely fashion. This is not ideal for speedy and efficient transmission of data, and is not expected to happen in an uncongested network.[4] Dropping of packets acts as an implicit signal that the network is congested, and may cause senders to reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed, or attempt to find another path. For example, using perceived packet loss as feedback to discover congestion, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is designed so that excessive packet loss will cause the sender to throttle back and stop flooding the bottleneck point with data.[5]

Packets may also be dropped if the IPv4 header checksum or the Ethernet frame check sequence indicates the packet has been corrupted. Packet loss can also be caused by a packet drop attack.

Wireless networks[edit]

Wireless networks are susceptible to a number of factors that can corrupt or lose packets in transit, such as radio frequency interference (RFI),[6] radio signals that are too weak due to distance or multi-path fading, faulty networking hardware, or faulty network drivers.

Wi-Fi is inherently unreliable and even when two identical Wi-Fi receivers are placed within close proximity of each other, they do not exhibit similar patterns of packet loss, as one might expect.[7]

Cellular networks can experience packet loss caused by, "high bit error rate (BER), unstable channel characteristics, and user mobility."[8] TCP's intentional throttling behavior prevents wireless networks from performing near their theoretical potential transfer rates because unmodified TCP treats all dropped packets as if they were caused by network congestion, and so may throttle wireless networks even when they aren't actually congested.[8]

Network congestion[edit]

Network congestion is a cause of packet loss that can affect all types of networks. When content arrives for a sustained period at a given router or network segment at a rate greater than it is possible to send through, there is no other option than to drop packets.[3] If a single router or link is constraining the capacity of the complete travel path or of network travel in general, it is known as a bottleneck. In some cases, packets are intentionally dropped by routing routines,[9] or through network dissuasion technique for operational management purposes.[10]


Packet loss directly reduces throughput for a given sender as some sent data is never received and can't be counted as throughput. Packet loss indirectly reduces throughput as some transport layer protocols interpret loss as an indication of congestion and adjust their transmission rate to avoid congestive collapse.

When reliable delivery is necessary, packet loss increases latency due to additional time needed for retransmission.[a] Assuming no retransmission, packets experiencing the worst delays might be preferentially dropped (depending on the queuing discipline used), resulting in lower latency overall.


Packet loss may be measured as frame loss rate defined as the percentage of frames that should have been forwarded by a network but were not.[11]

Acceptable packet loss[edit]

Packet loss is closely associated with quality of service considerations. The amount of packet loss that is acceptable depends on the type of data being sent. For example, for voice over IP traffic, one commentator reckoned that "[m]issing one or two packets every now and then will not affect the quality of the conversation. Losses between 5% and 10% of the total packet stream will affect the quality significantly."[12] Another described less than 1% packet loss as "good" for streaming audio or video, and 1–% as "acceptable".[13]


Packet loss is detected by reliable protocols such as TCP. Reliable protocols react to packet loss automatically, so when a person such as a network administrator needs to detect and diagnose packet loss, they typically use status information from network equipment or purpose-built tools.

The Internet Control Message Protocol provides an echo functionality, where a special packet is transmitted that always produces a reply. Tools such as ping, traceroute, and MTR use this protocol to provide a visual representation of the path packets are taking, and to measure packet loss at each hop.[b]

Many routers have status pages or logs, where the owner can find the number or percentage of packets dropped over a particular period.

Packet recovery for reliable delivery[edit]

Per the end-to-end principle, the Internet Protocol leaves responsibility for packet recovery through the retransmission of dropped packets to the endpoints - the computers sending and receiving the data. They are in the best position to decide whether retransmission is necessary because the application sending the data should know whether a message is best retransmitted in whole or in part, whether or not the need to send the message has passed, and how to control the amount of bandwidth consumed to account for any congestion.

Network transport protocols such as TCP provide endpoints with an easy way to ensure reliable delivery of packets so that individual applications don't need to implement the logic for this themselves. In the event of packet loss, the receiver asks for retransmission or the sender automatically resends any segments that have not been acknowledged.[15] Although TCP can recover from packet loss, retransmitting missing packets reduces the throughput of the connection as receivers wait for retransmissions and additional bandwidth is consumed by them. In certain variants of TCP, if a transmitted packet is lost, it will be re-sent along with every packet that had already been sent after it.

Protocols such as User Datagram Protocol (UDP) provide no recovery for lost packets. Applications that use UDP are expected to implement their own mechanisms for handling packet loss, if needed.

Impact of queuing discipline[edit]

There are many queuing disciplines used for determining which packets to drop. Most basic networking equipment will use FIFO queuing for packets waiting to go through the bottleneck and they will drop the packet if the queue is full at the time the packet is received. This type of packet dropping is called tail drop. Other full queue mechanisms include random early drop or weighted random early drop. Dropping packets is undesirable as the packet is either lost or must be retransmitted and this can impact real-time throughput; however, increasing the buffer size can lead to bufferbloat which has its own impact on latency and jitter during congestion.

In cases where quality of service is rate limiting a connection, e.g., using a leaky bucket algorithm, packets may be intentionally dropped in order to slow down specific services to ensure available bandwidth for other services marked with higher importance. For this reason, packet loss is not necessarily an indication of poor connection reliability or signs of a bandwidth bottleneck.

See also[edit]


  1. ^During typical network congestion, not all packets in a stream are dropped. This means that undropped packets will arrive with low latency compared to retransmitted packets, which arrive with high latency. Not only do the retransmitted packets have to travel part of the way twice, but the sender will not realize the packet has been dropped until it either fails to receive acknowledgment of receipt in the expected order or fails to receive acknowledgment for a long enough time that it assumes the packet has been dropped as opposed to merely delayed.
  2. ^In some cases, these tools may indicate drops for packets that are terminating in a small number of hops, but not those making it to the destination. For example, routers may give echoing of ICMP packets low priority and drop them preferentially in favor of spending resources on genuine data; this is generally considered an artifact of testing and can be ignored in favor of end-to-end results.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^Tian, Ye; Xu, Kai; Ansari, Nirwan (March ). "TCP in Wireless Environments: Problems and Solutions"(PDF). IEEE Radio Communications. 43 (3): S27–S doi/MCOM S2CID&#; Archived from the original(PDF) on Retrieved
  3. ^ abKurose, J.F. & Ross, K.W. (). Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach. New York: Addison-Wesley. p.
  4. ^Kurose, J.F.; Ross, K.W. (). Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach. New York: Addison-Wesley. pp.&#;42–
  5. ^Kurose, J.F. & Ross, K.W. (). Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach. New York: Addison-Wesley. p.
  6. ^David C. Salyers, Aaron Striegel, Christian Poellabauer, Wireless Reliability: Rethinking Packet Loss(PDF), archived from the original(PDF) on , retrieved CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^David C. Salyers, Aaron Striegel, Christian Poellabauer, Wireless Reliability: Rethinking Packet Loss(PDF), archived from the original(PDF) on , retrieved CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ abYe Tian; Kai Xu; Nirwan Ansari (March ). "TCP in Wireless Environments: Problems and Solutions"(PDF). IEEE Radio Communications. IEEE. Archived from the original(PDF) on Retrieved
  9. ^Perkins, C.E. (). Ad Hoc Networking. Boston: Addison-Wesley. p.
  10. ^"Controlling Applications by Managing Network Characteristics" Vahab Pournaghshband, Leonard Kleinrock, Peter Reiher, and Alexander Afanasyev ICC
  11. ^RFC
  12. ^Mansfield, K.C. & Antonakos, J.L. (). Computer Networking from LANs to WANs: Hardware, Software, and Security. Boston: Course Technology, Cengage Learning. p.
  13. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on Retrieved CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^"Packet loss or latency at intermediate hops". Retrieved
  15. ^Kurose, J.F. & Ross, K.W. (). Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach. New York: Addison-Wesley. p.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_loss

You will also be interested:

What Is Packet Loss And How Does It Affect Your Network?

What is packet loss?

In this article, we'll look at what packet loss is, how to measure it, and how to make it go away. Simply put, packet loss is when “one or more packets fail to make their destination” and in many cases, it is a minor background issue. Many applications are designed to be tolerant of packet loss by having a level of acceptable packet loss or relying on TCP’s built in retransmission. 

Acceptable packet loss? 

While it sounds like an oxymoron as packet loss should not be acceptable, many application/protocol designers are aware that packet loss happens, and as such, protocols are designed to tolerate it. For example, you could probably lose 1% of all the packets involved in a SIP VoIP call and have no issues. 

What causes packet loss?

One of the most common causes of packet loss is congestion, the act of having a link close to its maximum throughput that can often cause packets to start getting dropped. Other causes tend to include faulty hardware, general radio based issues and in some cases, packets can be dropped intentionally by devices to achieve a purpose such as limiting traffic throughput or for routing purposes. 

What are the affects of packet loss?

Packet loss will generally reduce the speed or throughput of a given connection. Sometimes this can result in a loss or reduction in quality to latency sensitive protocols or applications such as streaming video or voice over IP, where there is less of a requirement for accuracy. Packet loss will still have some minor knock on affects since it may increase the CPU load to process the additional network overhead. 

How to check packet loss? 

Packet loss is a problem that can affect any given network, slowing transfers to a halt and making real time streams such as VoIP or video streams unusable. Packet loss is something that should be avoided wherever possible and is a symptom of network issues such as lack of capacity or failing devices. 

Our broken local network

In the diagram below, I have a small segment of a larger network where we suspect packet loss. The two computers are connected through a switch on the same subnet. No routers are involved.
How to do a packet capture

How to do a packet capture? 

Ask an engineer what the first step to solving any problem and the answer you’ll probably hear back is ‘replicate it’ because if you can’t measure it, you can’t identify if you have fixed the issue or not. 

The tool we are going to use for this is ping, which is on most Windows or Linux computers as a command line tool. 

From , we will ping ten times with the following command: 

Looks like we are having a bad time on our network with 20% packet loss spotted. Best send someone to look at it! 

Our broken routed network

How to do a packet capture

Now let’s look at this in a larger network. We are going to go from computer to computer via two routers. 

How to identify and monitor packet loss

Let’s try the ping again from to  

As you can see, there is 20% loss once again. But this time, the different issues that could go wrong warrant the use of another tool to see if we can receive more information. To do this, we can utilize a tool called mtr and run it against to get these results: 

This response creates an important finding. The loss is happening after hop 2, so we need to send the engineer to look at the link between the second router and as its probably broken/congested. That link should be the first place you look. 

Understanding the issue to stop packet loss

Seeing as there is no single cause for packet loss, you need to start looking at monitoring for other symptoms. Is there congestion on the segment in question? Are you seeing any port errors on the segment? These will serve as valid clues for what might be going wrong and will influence your next actions.

How to test 

There are a few commonly found packet loss scenarios that can be fixed by testing out fixes within your environment. If it’s a link sitting at over 90% congestion, you may want to provision extra capacity or consider the source of this utilization spike. This would be the appropriate time to leverage flow based traffic monitoring as it might be a backup or malicious network usage issue, such as CryptoLocker encrypting a network drive. It could also be the router’s resources (such as CPU) causing a problem, so be sure to check those situations within your monitoring system. 

What to do if the issue is happening outside of your network

So it would need a miracle for packet loss to only happen inside the network. A packet loss issue may represent a fault with your ISP or another ISP in the network path between you and your destination. At this point, your best course of action is to raise a ticket with your ISP and attach the captured ping/MTR output to help demonstrate and replicate the issue. The more detail you include, the higher chance you have of getting it successfully resolved.

How to reduce packet loss

Here comes the product pitch you have all been waiting for: the best way to reduce packet loss is by monitoring it. If packet loss is a symptom of a larger issue, such as lack of capacity or hardware failure, monitoring deployed across your network recognizes these problems and immediately alerts you. Ultimately, the best cure for packet loss is not letting your network fall behind in terms of maintenance or planning. 

How to test for packet loss

How to monitor for packet loss

With Opsview, you can be monitoring network packet loss very quickly. We have a range of fully supported monitoring solutions tailored exactly to the needs of your organization. Try Opsview for yourself with a free trial.

Get unified network monitoring with Opsview

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Extending the Opsview Agent

The agent Opsview provides comes pre-configured for use with the Host Templates, but it has been created in such as way that the agent can be

Sours: https://www.opsview.com/resources/network/blog/what-packet-loss-and-how-does-it-affect-your-network

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