Understanding Packet Loss and How to Deal with it
Posted: Nov 20, 2020
You are trying to watch your favourite show on Netflix, while the video is buffering and playing. This is a waste of time and you end up losing interest in the show. But, what is the reason for the poor quality video streaming? The answer is, Packet Loss. The phenomenon often interferes with our live streaming experience causing a lot of inconveniences. Let’s learn more about Packet Loss and how to resolve the problem.
Understanding Packet Loss
When you send or receive any information, the network breaks it down to packets. All the packets travel individuals through the Internet and upon reaching the destination, these recreate into a single message.
A single packet has three components - header, payload and trailer. While the header consists of source IP address, packet type and number and destination IP address, Payload has part of the overall data and Trailer consists of error connection and end of packet info.
A packet is typically of 1,500 bytes but the size may differ. All the packets do not travel in a defined way and on a defined route. Instead, they travel through multiple routes where they might face certain diversions and blocks. As a result, there could be a delay in some packets reaching the destination on time and that’s why you experience choppy video streaming and bad audio. This could take a toll on your web browsing experience also.
Reasons for Packet Loss
While network congestion is a major factor for packet loss, there could be other issues as well as leading to the problem.
If the network hardware is working more than the usual for handling the traffic, there’s a possibility that it might hold some packets temporarily and take time to send them. As a result, there could be some lag by the time the packets reach the destination.
Issues with the hardware
Corrupt network card, damaged cables and outdated routers could have a significant effect on the network performance. This could also add to delay in sending the packets and recreating before they reach the destination.
Unreliable wireless connection
If the wireless connection is unstable, there’s inference with radio frequency or signal strength is poor, there’s a possibility that packets might get lost in between the transmission.
Resolving Packet Loss Problem
Any software running on the PC, be it an application or driver can lead to packet loss problems. Rebooting the software can improve network traffic.
Check the Internet connection as well. In case you are using a wired connection, it is recommended to unplug and plug the cable back. Similarly, if you are on wi-fi, restart the router.
If the system has an older firmware, it could contain many flaws leading to packet loss. Make sure that your device has updated software to avoid the problem.
There could be an underlying issue with the router. Connecting multiple devices over a single network could mean that Internet doesn’t work good on any of them, leading to packet loss. Consider upgrading the router that has multiple frequency support. Get the best router for security and privacy installed.
Packet loss could seem like a small problem, but it can interfere with your streaming experience. Don’t let that happen. Find out the issue and resolve it to enjoy uninterrupted streaming.
Mark Jepson is an IT Engineer and his recent presentation about having parental control on computer has made many parents think about having parental control router settings enabled on their computing devices.