You are breaking up; I can’t hear you.
This statement is the result of packet loss. During a phone call, data packets are being dropped, which results in the phone call “breaking up”.
This is a problem in VoIP communication, but it can also present a problem in online gaming and video streaming.
That is why I would like to provide you the tools necessary to test for packet loss. Below is a step-by-step packet loss test.
Step 1: Open Windows menu
To begin our packet loss test is simple. We open our Windows menu to locate our command processor. When opened, search from “cmd”.
Step 2: Open Windows Command Processor
Next we locate our Windows command processor (cmd), which is “cmd” that we will be using to run each packet loss test.
The first item we want to find is your computers IP address. The IP address is necessary as we will use it in one of the packet loss tests we run later.
Step 3: Locate IP address
To locate your computer’s IP address, you will type “ipconfig” into the command processor and hit enter.
This will generate an IPv4 IP address, as well as an IPv6 IP address, which are determined by network prefixes. To test for packet loss, you want to use the IPv4 IP address. This is the address we will use to run our test later.
Although running a packet loss test to your own IP is not the most effective, it can help broaden your understanding of your internet connection. This is important for any video streaming or online gaming you plan to be doing over your Internet connection.
Now, we can begin our test for packet loss.
Step 4: Begin our test for packet loss
In our example, we are going to run a packet loss test for four scenarios. One to www.google.com, another to www.google.de, to Datapath.io and lastly to our computers IP address. We are going to use Google because it is consistent and reliable. It is the safest way to run a packet loss test.
The first test we are going to run is for Google.de. To run this test, we will open our command processor and input the following information:
“Ping” (space) “www.google.de” (space) “-n” (space) “30”. This should look like the following:
This command will run a ping test 30 times. It will provide you with network latency reported as round trip time (RTT) in milliseconds (ms). We see the results as follows:
The second test we will run is a ping test to Google.com. The Google.com test will need the following information in our command processor:
“Ping” (space) “www.google.com” (space) “-n” (space) “30”. This should look like the following:
Again, we are running the test 30 times, which will provide us enough results to get an assessment of our Internet latency. The results are as follows:
The next test we will run is a ping test to Datapath.io. The Datapath.io test will need the following information in our command processor:
“Ping” (space) “www.datapath.io” (space) “-n” (space) “30”. This should look like the following:
We are running the test 30 times, which provides us a good assessment of our Internet quality. The results are as follows:
The last test we want to run is a packet loss test to our IP address, which is the address we took from our “ipconfig” test above. The information we place in the command processor is:
“Ping” (space) “IPv4 IP Address” (space) “-n” (space) “30”. This should look like the following:
Again, our test will run 30 times. The test results are as follows:
Step 5: Analyze test for packet loss results
The last step in our packet loss test is to analyze if there is any packet loss.
In all four tests, we experience “0” packet loss. This can be seen in each case next to the “red arrow”.
The goal is packet loss of 0, as any packet loss is negative. Packet loss is what causes the “you’re breaking up” feeling in VoIP calls. This is the lag we experience in gaming, and video streaming stalls that no longer load.
Although there are many causes of packet loss, there are only so many solutions for the average Internet user. This is ensuring your router is up to date or plugging into the Internet with an Ethernet cable.
To know whether your Internet problem is packet loss, you will need to run a test, and the above steps are one of the simplest ways to do so.
To learn more about networking terms and concepts, download the DevOps Networking Guide.