When it comes to the stability of your internet connection, there are no grey areas; it is either stable or not. Simply speaking, if your internet connection is not ‘rock-solid’ then it lacks stability and must be checked. Conducting an internet connection consistency test can seem complicated since there are numerous components involved in a network hence, as many possible points of failure.

Network connection inconsistency can be highlighted in a number of ways. You may begin by noticing intermittent difficulties regarding the connection’s performance, increased latency, slow speed, etc. All such phenomena could be a direct or even an indirect result of a network component not functioning properly. This article seeks to highlight how you can check if your internet connection is stable or not and to help you vet out possible solutions for your business.

Checking the Local Network

Often it is seen that internet connection issues are a direct result of LAN or Local Area Network related issues. For instance, a problem with your cabling could be the reason why your internet connectivity is not as fast as expected or you may need to upgrade your network switches to Gigabit Ethernet (1 GigE). Begin by testing if your DSL modem/Cable modem or your Wi-Fi access points are responding or dead. You may have accidentally unplugged them. Also, check if your computer is connecting to the correct access point (WAP), especially if you have recently changed your WAP’s.

Checking WAPs

If everything is plugged in properly and still your internet connection is not up to the mark, begin by testing your APs. There are a number of tools available in the market today to help you achieve this. If the tools do not highlight any WAP performance red flags, then try to connect to the access point with the help of an Ethernet cable connection. Wireless Access points typically come with an administration panel that is web-based. This is an excellent way to test your internet connection.

Checking the Internet

As mentioned above, you should begin by ensuring that everything is in the right socket. The next step is to unplug your DSL/cable modem and re-plug it after waiting for a few minutes. In most cases, this will reconnect your internet.

However, if the internet does not connect properly even after you have restarted the router, then the best way to deal with a situation like this is to contact your internet service provider. If you are not satisfied with your ISP’s response to your problem then you can conduct a test to check if you are receiving the correct bandwidth as per your internet connection plan. There are various third-party websites like Speedtest.net, where you can check your connection’s current speed. You can find out your download as well as upload speed. The next step is to contact CarrierBid and one of our representatives will reach out to multiple carriers to secure bandwidth upgrade options and pricing. Let us do the work for you since we have over 180 different carriers in our portfolio to choose from.

Assessing the Network Quality

There are three primary parameters on which network quality can be assessed – latency, packet loss, and jitter. These indicators can be easily identified using Ping as well as TRACERT.

  • Latency – The transmission of data is not always instant. There are times when the data takes more time to transit between 2 locations. Latency is defined as the time that the data takes to travel between 2 such locations.
  • Packet Loss – As the name suggests, packet loss is when your files are sent but are lost in transit. File transit is not as a whole; files are broken into packets that are easy to send across. There are cases when some packets will fail to reach their destination leaving you with an error message from packet loss. The packet loss percentage is an essential indicator of your network performance. In an ideal scenario, it will be excellent to experience zero packet loss. But it is not possible to expect the internet connection to be this stable. Therefore, a packet loss of up to 2 percent is considered acceptable.
  • Jitter – Jitter or packet delay variation, is the variance in latencies that are experienced over a particular period of time. If packets arrive at extremely differing speeds that are alternating in nature (slow, fast, slow, fast,) it results in a gap between them creating an inconsistent flow. This can severely impact any real-time service like video or voice calls.

Conducting Internet Connection Consistency Test Using Ping

Understanding Pings

Ping is best understood as a network utility that helps you measure the time between your computer and a test server. This time is measured in milliseconds and you are looking for an as low time as possible. Any ping that is higher than 50 milliseconds can be considered as an unstable or slow connection.

How Does A Ping Work?

Pings are issued with the help of the command-line interface. This is readily available on almost all major operating systems. To begin with, you will require a computer connected to your network that is capable of sending ‘pings’ as well as receiving a response from the test server. Once you have this in place, remember to switch off any firewalls or to set up your system outside the firewall. Lastly, make sure that you test your internet connection’s stability using a wired system rather than one that is connected via the Wi-Fi.

The next step is to select IP addresses of a minimum of 2 servers that are designed to accept pings over the internet. Remember to enter IP addresses instead of URLs. These 2 servers can be an OpenDNS project server and a Network Time Protocol server that is operated by the government. You can record your time findings in an excel sheet to review later.

Pinging Process

Pinging functions by sending a data packet directly to a remote computer. The purpose is to ask that computer for a response in return. Once that system has responded, the ping records the response information for you to review later.

You are required to open a separate command window for every address that you intend to send a ping to. The command issued follows this format – ping [server address]. The idea is to run this command continuously at least two to three times. Such groups of pings must be performed a few times a day for at least seven to ten days in a row.

Post-Pinging Process

The process is designed to send you a summary after a pinging command ends. The summary contains information on how many packets were sent and how many were received successfully. It also records the percentage of lost packets and the average time that it took for the response to return after the servers were pinged. All of this information must be properly documented in an excel sheet. Apart from these points, the collated data must also include the date as well as the time at which you executed the pings.

Conduct this activity for at least one to two weeks. The data collated over a couple of weeks will provide you with a more detailed and accurate analysis. You are now in a better position to determine whether your internet connection is stable or not. Ping is an effective internet connection consistency test. However, it is important to remember that the stability of your internet connection is measured by the variation in the ping results for a specific server over a period of time. A connection is considered stable if there is little to no variation. Therefore, it is essential to conduct an internet connection consistency test using at least 2 servers.

Conducting Internet Connection Consistency Test Using TRACERT

Understanding TRACERT

TRACERT is another command-line utility that is commonly used to determine the path taken by an IP packet to reach its destination. In other words, it is responsible for sending echo packets to each router that is in the path of the host and the target server.

How Does TRACERT Work?

In this testing method, the packets that are sent, hop onto each and every router that falls on its route, and this reply is then sent to the host machine. Firstly, the reply confirms the status of connectivity. Secondly, all such replies also provide the sequence of each router that is in line for the information to flow. This allows later packets to begin with an address that they can target in the larger queue.

As a diagnostic utility, TRACERT sends an ICMP or an internet control message protocol in the form of echo packets to the destination server.

  • It works by using differing TTL or Time-to-Live values. This TTL works as a hop counter for the packet.
  • The router will send an ICMP message indicating ‘time exceeded’ when the TTL on that particular packet has reached zero.
  • The first echo packet sent by TRACERT is with a TTL of just 1.
  • This gets incremented or compounded by 1 on each of the following transmissions.
  • It goes on sending until the maximum TTL is attained or until a response is generated form the destination.
  • Lastly, TRACERT prints out a list containing the response ICMP messages of ‘time exceeded’ of all of the intermediate routers.

This method tests which routers are down, which are functioning properly, and also how much time each router is taking to respond. Therefore, it can be more effective than Ping as Ping only helps you to test the speed of the connection between 2 points.

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