Packet loss is detrimental to data transfer. If there are enough packets lost, there will be a time out.
First, let’s take a look at our definition of packet loss.
“Packet loss is the loss of data during digital communication transmission. The loss of data creates a negative user experience. Issues include: skipped video, ‘breaking-up’ of voice communication, extensive buffering and lag time in games.“
What packet loss is, is data lost during a specific transmission. Lost packets will need to be re-sent. During a specific transmission, lost packets can turn into congestion. This can lead to a time out.
Let’s take a look at these issues in more detail:
Packet Loss in Detail
When sending data from one user to another, the data transmits in a packet. Packets of data are sent over the network at specific time intervals. When a packet does not make it to its end destination, the original sender receives a ping. The ping alerts the sender that a packet was unsuccessful.
One or two of these loses is not a big deal and perfectly normal. As more and more occur, there becomes more return transmissions. Return transmissions become transmission line congestion. This can lead to a data transfer time out.
Causes of Packet Loss
There are a number of causes of packet loss, but most causes lead to the same results. Congestion, time outs, and poor user experiences. Here are some of the usual causes of packet loss:
- High Latency – If high latency is being experienced, the slower network could cause difficulty in delivering data packets in a consistent manner.
- Inconsistent Jitter – Jitter is the spacing of packets being delivered. If the Jitter is inconsistent, there will be a timing issue on the receiving end. The result of this could be the loss of packets.
- Bandwidth – Bandwidth could become an issue in delivering packets consistently. This is the result of either not having enough bandwidth, or not optimizing the existing bandwidth.
- Software – The software that is being used could either be faulty or have excessive bugs. This can result in more packets than normal being lost during transmission.
- Hardware – Hardware could be the issue if there are older transfer points being used, or the physical infrastructure is not optimal for the transfer.
- Connection – The network connection could be an issue. Hardwire is always better than wireless for large transfers. Also, closer proximity to a connection is always better. This could be using shorter cables, or being closer to a wireless connection.
There are no one size fits all solutions to packet loss. By monitoring your network, there can be insight gained into potential causes. Once assessing the causes, a potential remedy can be provided for excessive packet loss.
A great way to ensure packet loss stays to a minimum is to ensure the utilized network is healthy and fast. This means low latency, bandwidth optimized, and high quality components being used.