The Internet sends information in discrete packets of data. When operating well, nearly every packet gets delivered. But your connection to a high performance streaming service like Glance could slow to a crawl if more than 1% or 2% of them get lost. Follow the steps below for a simple way to test your connection.
For a PC
- Choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt, which opens a Command window.
- At the prompt, type ping -n 200 -l 1400 126.96.36.199
- A new line appears for each packet sent. It stops after 200 packets. Look at the number of packets sent, received and lost.
For a Mac
- Open a Terminal window (Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal)
- At the prompt, type ping -c 200 -s 1400 188.8.131.52
- A new line appears for each packet sent. It stops after 200 packets. Look at the number of packets transmitted, received and lost.
What does the data mean?
Each line shows how long your computer waited to exchange a nice fat 1400-byte packet of data with the Glance service.
|Packets Lost||Network Health|
|3%||Slower than dial-up|
|100%||Did you mistype the command?|
Packets can get lost anywhere between your computer and the location you "ping". Typical causes are congestion inside your Internet service provider's network, an unhealthy device in your local network or a poor wireless connection to your computer.
What to do if there is an issue
- If you are on wireless, make sure it has a strong signal.
- If you are on a wireless connection with a Windows PC, see this article.
- If you are in a home office, reboot your network devices by disconnecting their power for 10 seconds.
If none of those work, contact your ISP's support staff. Say these magic words:
- "I ran an inflated 1400-byte ping test to IP address 184.108.40.206 for xx minutes. It reports nn% packet loss, which probably is enough to impact my network speed to that location. Can you tell me which of your routers might be having a problem?"
If the person says "Huh?", move up the food chain.