Nothing kills the mood than having to wait for the video to buffer while streaming your favorite show/movie. When this happens, it doesn’t mean you have a lousy Internet connection (not always), rather you are a victim of packet loss.
What Is Packet Loss?
Before getting into the details, let’s first have a look at packets. Packets are small units of data that carry over a network. Whatever you do on the Internet comprises of packets. Say I am using my Internet to check “Spectrum internet only price” on my browser. That also involves packets. These packets travel to reach their destination along the most sensible path for maintaining the efficiency of the network. This makes the network distribute its load evenly and enhance performance.
So there goes data packet. What is packet loss? Often, packets fail to make it through the network and to their destination. It occurs when packets are lost in transit during their journey.
Causes of Packet Loss
Packet loss is mostly unintentional. Let’s look into the common causes:
Packets are like cars on the highway. During the rush hours, when there are too many cars on the road, they fail to reach their destination on time. Highway traffic is similar to packet loss. There’s limited space for packets to reach their destination on time.
Network traffic reaches its peak when too many users are online. Hence, packets must wait to deliver.
Network Hardware Trouble
Old hardware tends to weaken the network. Routers, network switches, and firewalls consume an incredible amount of power. If you fail to upgrade your hardware, this is likely to result in connectivity loss.
Device overload means your system is running at a higher capacity than it is designed to handle. Packets on overloaded devices fail to reach their destination when the network is weak.
Some devices have buffers in place to put packets in the holding pattern until they are sent. These Buffs get filled quickly and make excess packets drop.
As mentioned earlier, packet loss is not the fault of the network entirely. IT administrators create a networking monitoring system using different tools. Most of these tools have limited functionality because of what they are engineered for. This inadequate infrastructure eventually results in packet loss.
When network devices on a single link set at two different duplex modes, this causes a collision and delay data packets.
Packet loss is common on a wireless connection. Packets might vanish into the digital void because of radio frequency interface, distance, and low signal strength.
When a hacker gets control of a network device, they flood the traffic and block the destination. On other occasions, hacking can make a network device to drop packets intentionally as well.
How to Fix Packet Loss?
Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way of stopping packet loss. It’s impossible to achieve zero% loss because of network issues, system overload, and similar other network problems.
Not to worry, there are ways to minimize high packet loss. Let’s look into these:
1: Check Your Cables and Ports
It’s best to get rid of the obvious options from the list. Double-check your cables and ports. Make sure everything is plugged incorrectly.
2: Restart your Hardware
This also includes restarting your PC, router, and modem. It will give your network a jumpstart for fixing whatever glitches and bugs there are in the system or network.
3: Connect to an Ethernet Cable
These days, everyone is using wireless devices. In a wireless connection, packets are lost in the way very often. To boost speed, use an Ethernet cable instead to speed up things.
4: Remove Unused Devices
Get rid of all devices that are connected to the Internet you are not currently using. These include Bluetooth, speakers, headphones, and surround cameras. Don’t mind shutting down your firewall if you need speed. Firewalls consume a lot of bandwidth.
5: Upgrade Your Hardware
If you are using an outdated router or modem, it’s time to upgrade your devices. This doesn’t mean you must buy newer versions of hardware as soon as they come out. However, if you are using updated versions, it makes sense to upgrade.
6: Update Software
Just like hardware, the software also requires an update. When the popup of updates appears, don’t ignore it. In case the firmware has flaws because you are using an older version, this could make your device lose packets.
7: Check the Quality of Service Settings
From the Quality of Service Settings, you can prioritize traffic. This means you can alter the settings and allocate more bandwidth to the important devices. Things might get a little technical here because you will have to create rules allotting bandwidth to specific services and devices. Set the upload and download bandwidth less than the allowance of your Internet plan.
Packet loss is unavoidable but with some handy tips, you can quickly boost the speed and complete important tasks. Every drop in speed is not because of packet loss. You could be getting low speed from your ISP, too. Try the above tips to fix the issue. If nothing changes, call your ISP.