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18 Jun 2024

What Is Packet Loss, What Causes It And How to Reduce It?

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Sharon Duchin
how to fix packet loss
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Packet loss occurs when data packets traveling across a network fail to reach their destination, leading to delays, glitches, and the dreaded endless buffering. Persistent packet loss is an IT manager’s nightmare, but new AI- and ML-based solutions to optimize network performance can help your business stay connected and competitive in the digital landscape.

In this article we’ll double click on what is packet loss, how to fix packet loss, and how to keep your network robust. We will also find out why next-level networking with automation is important for reducing packet loss. 

From physical network checks to software updates and security measures, we cover all the bases to help your organization maintain a seamless online experience.

Why Teridion?

Teridion is a global cloud-based networking platform that offers a unique solution to improve network performance by reducing packet loss and latency. 

What Is Packet Loss?

Data packets are the lifeblood of the internet, small units of data that zip across networks from source to destination. They’re the messengers carrying our emails, our chats, and the endless streams of information we consume and produce every day.

Sometimes these packets don’t reach their destination, which is what we call packet loss. Imagine sending a letter through the mail, and it never arrives. It can lead to interruptions in collaboration applications, video conferencing, or even just browsing the web, making for a frustrating and unproductive work experience.

Understanding what causes packet loss is the first step in fixing it:

Network Congestion

Network congestion is the most prevalent cause of packet loss. It occurs when too much data is sent through a network than it can handle, similar to traffic jams during peak hours on a highway. This can result in delayed or dropped packets, affecting the performance of business applications and communication. 


Distance plays a crucial role in packet loss. It is a silent yet significant factor that can affect the integrity of data transmission, leading to packet loss. Distance inherently introduces latency—the time it takes for a packet to travel from source to destination. As distance increases, so does latency, which can lead to timeouts and packet loss.

Software Issues

Software issues can also contribute to packet loss. Bugs, outdated software, or misconfigured network settings can disrupt the normal flow of data, causing packets to be lost in the process. In the B2B realm, software that is not up to par can lead to significant setbacks. Just as businesses must stay ahead of market trends, network software requires regular updates to handle the latest types of data traffic. Outdated protocols and applications may not efficiently manage packet transmission, resulting in loss.

Hardware Problems

The reliability of hardware is a cornerstone of operational integrity. Faulty networking equipment such as routers, switches, and modems are at the heart of many hardware-related packet loss issues. These devices are the gatekeepers of data flow, and when they malfunction, packets can be lost or delayed. Common problems include overheating, outdated firmware, or physical damage.

Device Overload

Device overload occurs when networking devices are pushed beyond their processing capabilities. This can happen when too many devices are connected to a network, leading to a bottleneck and subsequent packet loss.

Security Threats

Security threats such as DDoS attacks can intentionally flood a network with excessive traffic, causing legitimate packets to be dropped. Implementing robust security measures is essential to protect against such threats.

Bandwidth Congestion

Bandwidth congestion is a leading cause of packet loss. Upgrade Quality of Service (QoS) settings to prioritize critical data, and consider upgrading your internet plan to accommodate higher traffic volumes. 

Inadequate Infrastructure for Handling Packet Loss

Lastly, inadequate infrastructure can be a significant factor. A network needs to be designed with redundancy and the ability to handle high volumes of traffic so it will be more susceptible to packet loss.

The Impact of Packet Loss

So far, we talked about what is packet loss and what causes packet loss. Before we guide you on how to stop packet loss, here’s how packet loss can affect various aspects of network usage:

Slow Loading Times

When packets are lost, the necessary information takes longer to compile at the destination. This results in slow loading times for websites and applications, causing frustration and inefficiency for users. According to Kissmatics, 47% of consumers don’t want to visit a site if it takes more than 2 seconds to load and 40% stop visiting a site if the time increases to more than 3 seconds. 

Missing and Outdated Information

Packet loss can lead to missing or outdated information. In scenarios where real-time data is crucial, such as stock trading or live monitoring systems, packet loss can result in significant discrepancies and decision-making based on incomplete data. 

Streaming Interruptions

For streaming services, packet loss can cause interruptions and a degraded viewing experience. Video and audio streams rely on continuous packet delivery, and when packets are lost, users experience buffering and drops in quality.

Unclear VoIP Audio

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is particularly sensitive to packet loss. Users may experience unclear audio during calls, with parts of the conversation missing or sounding robotic, which can impede communication.

Reduced Business Productivity

Collaborative work, cloud services, and other business operations depend on reliable network performance, and packet loss can disrupt these activities significantly. Research from Gartner reports that in order to expedite digital transformation with cloud computing, “by the end of 2025, 30% of enterprises will establish new roles focused on IT resilience and boost end-to-end reliability, tolerability and recoverability by at least 45%.”

Security Implications

Finally, packet loss has security implications. It can be a sign of malicious activity, such as Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, where attackers intentionally flood a network with traffic to induce packet loss and disrupt services.

When Is Packet Loss Too High?

Packet loss is an inevitable phenomenon, even under the most ideal conditions. It’s essential to understand that some degree of packet loss is normal and can be expected due to the complex nature of data transmission. However, not all packet loss is created equal, and its impact can vary significantly depending on its frequency and the applications in use. A packet loss rate exceeding 5% is considered relatively high and may indicate a network issue.

Occasional vs. Persistent Packet Loss

Occasional Packet Loss refers to irregular packet loss incidents that occur infrequently and do not significantly impact the overall performance of the network. Such isolated events are often resolved quickly without the need for intervention.

On the other hand, persistent packet loss occurs regularly and can indicate more serious network issues. High packet loss can severely degrade network performance, leading to noticeable disruptions in service and requiring immediate attention to identify and resolve the underlying causes.

Criticality of Packet Loss Across Applications

Non-Real-Time Data Transfers: Applications that do not require real-time communication, such as email or file downloads, can tolerate higher levels of packet loss. These applications often have mechanisms to retransmit lost packets without significantly affecting the user experience.

Real-Time Applications: On the other hand, real-time applications like voice and video calls are highly sensitive to packet loss. Even minimal packet loss can lead to poor audio and video quality, making communication difficult or unintelligible.

Acceptable Packet Loss Thresholds

Video Conferencing:

  • Packet loss should be kept below 1% for high-quality video conferencing.
  • A packet loss rate between 1% and 3% can still provide an acceptable experience, but with noticeable quality degradation.
  • Packet loss above 3% is generally considered unacceptable, leading to significant video freezing, artifacts, and potential call drops.

Screen Sharing and Remote Desktop:

  • For screen sharing and remote desktop applications, packet loss should be kept below 0.5% to maintain a smooth and responsive experience.
  • Packet loss between 0.5% and 1.5% can still be tolerable, but users may experience occasional artifacts or delays in screen updates.
  • Packet loss above 1.5% can result in frequent freezing, distortion, and an overall poor user experience.

Real-time Document Collaboration:

  • For real-time document editing and collaboration tools, packet loss should ideally be kept below 0.3% to ensure seamless synchronization and low latency.
  • Packet loss between 0.3% and 1% may still be acceptable, but users may experience occasional lags or delays in updates.
  • Packet loss above 1% can lead to frequent conflicts, data corruption, and a frustrating collaborative experience.


While some packet loss is to be expected, it’s crucial to monitor and manage it effectively, especially in scenarios where real-time data transfer is critical. If you understand the acceptable limits for different applications, it can help you take proactive measures to mitigate the impact of packet loss and maintain a high-quality network experience.

How to Detect and Monitor Packet Loss?

Detecting and monitoring packet loss is crucial for maintaining a healthy network. Fortunately, there are readily available tools and software that can help diagnose packet loss issues. Ping, Traceroute, Iperf, and MTR are some of  the most commonly used tools for diagnosing packet loss. Here’s how to use Ping and Traceroute:

How to Use Ping to Detect Packet Loss

Step 1: Open Command Prompt or Terminal: On Windows, press Win + R, type cmd, and hit enter. On macOS or Linux, open the Terminal.

Step 2: Run the Ping Command: Type ping [destination] and press enter. Replace [destination] with the IP address or domain you want to test.

How to Use Ping to Detect Packet Loss

Step 3: Analyze the Results: Look for the packet loss percentage in the output. If it’s higher than 0%, some packets are not reaching their destination


How to Use Traceroute to Detect Packet Loss

Step 1: Open Command Prompt or Terminal: As before, access your command line interface.

Step 2: Run the Traceroute Command: On Windows, type tracert [destination]. On macOS or Linux, type traceroute [destination].

How to Use Traceroute to Detect Packet Loss

Step 3: Examine the Output: Each line represents a hop in the network path. Look for asterisks (*) which indicate lost packets at that hop.


Regular Maintenance and Monitoring

  • Schedule Regular Checks: Use automated tools to run Ping and Traceroute at regular intervals.
  • Monitor Continuously: Employ network monitoring software to keep an eye on packet loss over time.

The Best Tools to Fix Packet Loss

Now, we understand what causes packet loss and the impact of packet loss. By understanding the causes and effects of packet loss, we can take steps to mitigate its effects. Several tools and software solutions are available to help reduce packet loss. These tools can be used to monitor network traffic, identify and diagnose packet loss issues, and implement strategies to mitigate packet loss.

Network administrators can reduce packet loss and improve network performance by using these tools and software solutions.


Teridion is a global cloud-based networking platform that offers a unique solution to improve network performance by reducing packet loss and latency. Its standout feature is its AI-powered cloud-based overlay network as a service, which optimizes and accelerates Internet traffic. 

Teridion is the only WAN that has a global backbone with over two dozen tier 1 and tier 2 public cloud providers and over 500 points of presence around the world. With such robust redundancy, Teridion can guarantee network performance SLAs.


Standout Features of Teridion:

  • Real-time Dynamic Packet Loss Recovery: Teridion’s solution intelligently detects and resolves packet loss issues on the Internet using its proprietary algorithms. It dynamically reroutes packets, ensuring reliable and seamless performance without interruptions.
  • Global Cloud Network: Teridion leverages a distributed network of over 25 public cloud data centers strategically positioned across the globe. This infrastructure offers optimal network paths, reducing latency and packet loss for improved data transmission and application performance.
  • AI-Powered Solution: Teridion is the first AI-powered network solution provider to leverage cutting-edge technology in optimizing network performance. With its advanced AI algorithms and extensive global network, Teridion brings unparalleled speed, reliability, and efficiency to businesses worldwide.
  • Multi-Cloud Connectivity: Teridion supports multi-cloud connectivity, allowing enterprises to connect seamlessly to multiple cloud providers without experiencing packet loss or connectivity issues. This enables businesses to leverage the best-in-class services and capabilities from different cloud platforms while maintaining consistent network performance.
  • Fast and Flexible Deployment: Teridion’s service can be deployed within 24 hours, offering a capex-free solution that is both quick and cost-effective. 
  • Comprehensive Monitoring: With all-access performance monitoring, businesses can track network health and performance in real-time, enabling proactive management of network issues.
  • Plug & Play Compatibility: Teridion’s service works seamlessly with any edge device, virtual sites, security vendors, and WAN, making it a versatile solution for various network infrastructures. 


Teridion Success Stories:

ATI Industrial Automation is a leading engineering-based developer of robotic accessories and robot arm tooling faced significant Internet performance issues between their US and China sites. With the help of Teridion China Solution, it now delivers a fast, secure, and reliable site-to-site connection between Langfang, China, Apex, and North Carolina without losing data packets. 

Another success story comes from Accucam, a manufacturing plant based in China. The company required reliable site-to-site connectivity to its headquarters in Canada and other global sites. Additionally, they needed access to cloud services like Microsoft 365 and Epicor, which are hosted on Azure Canada. Teridion’s solution enabled Accucam to push connectivity across the Great Firewall of China, ensuring seamless and efficient operations.

The positive impact of Teridion’s solutions on network performance is evident. Teridion has not only improved the day-to-day operations but also provided a competitive edge in the global market. 


Network Performance Monitor

Network Performance Monitor is another great tool to fix packet loss in businesses. NPM stands out as a comprehensive tool designed for IT professionals who need to maintain an eagle eye on their networks.

Standout Features of NPM:

  • Multi-Vendor Network Monitoring: NPM supports a wide range of network devices from various vendors, ensuring compatibility and flexibility for diverse network environments.
  • Network Insights: For deeper visibility, NPM provides insights into the network’s performance, helping to quickly identify and resolve issues.
  • Intelligent Maps: With intelligent maps, users can visualize their network topology, making it easier to understand the structure and health of the network at a glance.
  • NetPath and PerfStack: These features simplify troubleshooting by providing clear and intuitive pathways and stacking data from different sources for a comprehensive analysis.


Site 24×7

When addressing the common yet frustrating issue of packet loss, Site 24×7 offers a robust set of features that cater to IT professionals who are tasked with ensuring the integrity and performance of their network infrastructure. 

Standout Features of Site 24×7:

  • Comprehensive Monitoring: Site 24×7 provides a wide array of monitoring capabilities, including website, server, application, and network monitoring, ensuring that all aspects of an IT infrastructure are covered.
  • Server Stack Health: Monitor the health and availability of the entire server stack, including Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, VMware, AWS, Docker, Azure, GCP, and more.
  • Cloud and Virtualization Platforms: Gain visibility across multiple public cloud providers and virtualization platforms, optimizing workloads for your hybrid cloud infrastructure.


For IT professionals grappling with the challenge of packet loss, OpManager presents itself as a comprehensive network management tool. Its standout features are designed to provide deep visibility and control over network performance, making it an ideal solution for network administrators, IT managers, and technical support staff. 

Standout Features of OpManager:

  • Network Mapping: Automatically generate L1/L2 network maps to visualize network outages and performance degradation, aiding in quick resolution.
  • Network Performance Monitoring: OpManager monitors your network with over 2000 performance metrics, offering intuitive dashboards, instant alerts, and intelligent reporting.
  • WAN RTT and VoIP Monitoring: Continuously monitor WAN link availability, latency, and VoIP call quality across WAN infrastructure, leveraging advanced technologies like Cisco IP SLA.



Paessler’s PRTG Network Monitor is a formidable tool for reducing packet loss and ensuring network health. Paessler is best known for its PRTG Network Monitor, a network monitoring software that monitors the availability and performance of IT infrastructure components, such as servers, routers, switches, and websites. PRTG Network Monitor is used by over 300,000 organizations worldwide, including many Fortune 500 companies.

PRTG Network Monitor is a valuable tool for any organization that wants to ensure the availability and performance of its IT infrastructure.

Standout Features of Paessler:

  • Low System Requirements: PRTG Network Monitor can run on an average PC, making it accessible without the need for high-end hardware.
  • High Security Standards: With SSL/TLS-secured connections, secure ciphers, and personalized user rights management, Paessler ensures the security of your network data.
  • Maps & Dashboards: Paessler offers real-time maps with live status information, allowing users to create custom dashboards for a tailored view of their network’s performance.
  • Distributed Monitoring: Monitor an unlimited number of remote locations and unify insights in one centralized, easy-to-read dashboard, perfect for managing complex networks.



SolarWinds is another comprehensive IT management platform that has been a staple in network performance monitoring and management. It is ideal for network administrators, IT managers, system engineers, and DevOps professionals who are responsible for maintaining the health and performance of their organization’s IT infrastructure. Its comprehensive feature set and ease of use make it suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises, ensuring that network performance issues like packet loss can be quickly identified and resolved.

Standout Features of SolarWinds:

  • Customizable Dashboards and Reporting: Users can create custom views and dashboards, and generate reports to present the status of the monitored environment, ensuring that all relevant information is at their fingertips.
  • Scalable Architecture: The platform offers a stable and scalable architecture that includes data collection, processing, storage, and presentation, suitable for businesses of all sizes.
  • Unified Monitoring and Observability: SolarWinds provides a unified platform for monitoring, observability, and service management, allowing IT teams to evolve from reactive monitoring to proactive observability.

Nagios XI

Nagios XI is designed to meet the diverse needs of modern IT environments, providing a robust and scalable solution for monitoring network devices, servers, and applications. With its standout features, Nagios XI is an ideal choice for IT professionals who require a comprehensive monitoring system that is both powerful and user-friendly.

Standout Features of Nagios XI:

  • Powerful Monitoring Engine: At the heart of Nagios XI is the Nagios Core 4 monitoring engine, which offers efficient and scalable monitoring capabilities. It allows users to monitor nearly any network infrastructure component, ensuring that server resources are used effectively and network environments remain healthy.
  • Updated Web Interface: The web interface of Nagios XI has been updated to provide a high-level overview of hosts, services, and network devices. The interface is designed for ease of use, allowing for quick navigation and enhanced performance.
  • Performance & Capacity Planning: Integrated performance graphs and capacity planning tools help organizations visualize historical data and project future usage. This feature is crucial for planning infrastructure upgrades before systems become overloaded.


As we’ve explored throughout this post, packet loss is a common but manageable issue in network communications. Even the most robust networks can experience packet loss, but with the right tools and knowledge, businesses can minimize its impact.

Teridion stands out as a remarkable solution to reduce packet loss. With its innovative approach, leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence over multiple cloud provider networks, Teridion ensures optimized communication flow for enterprise sites, remote teams, and cloud workload connectivity. It offers a fully managed solution that can be up and running within hours, providing an affordable SLA for uptime, latency, packet loss, and jitter.

Whether you’re dealing with site-to-site or site-to-cloud connectivity, Teridion Connect boosts your organization’s network performance without the need for additional capex, thanks to its edge-agnostic architecture. Moreover, the security of your data is ensured as it traverses the network with an encrypted IPSEC connection. 

We invite you to take action and follow the easy steps outlined in our guide to address packet loss issues. For a seamless online experience, consider Teridion as your ally in achieving smooth and improved network performance. Try Teridion free and see how it can revolutionize your connectivity and help you cut through the complexities of packet loss.

Picture of Sharon Duchin
Sharon Duchin

Head of Marketing

Sharon Duchin is the Head of Marketing at Terdion. Prior to joining Teridion she was the CMO of several startups, as well as a Business Unit Manager at Keter Plastic and a Marketing Manager at General Mills USA. Sharon Holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from the Hebrew University.
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