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What is Packet Loss & How to Fix It?

What is Packet Loss & How to Fix It?

The internet is a vast global network of computers and other devices connected to each other. It’s basically a network that allows sharing of information across devices and access worldwide. But do you know the shared information is via internet packets? So, what happens if there’s a packet loss? In this article, you will find out what is packet loss and other important information related to it.

What is Packet Loss?

In the context of the Internet, packets refer to small data units used to transmit information over networks. So, when data is sent from one device to another over the internet, it’s divided into smaller pieces called packets. Meanwhile, due to various reasons, packet loss can happen. What does packet loss mean? Well, in this situation, data packets traveling across a computer network fail to reach their intended destination.

Apparently, packet loss is typically measured as a percentage, representing the proportion of lost packets compared to the total number of packets sent. For instance, if you dispatched 30 data packets and only 24 of them successfully reached their destination, the loss percentage would amount to 20%.

Consequently, for users, the loss results in slow internet service, network disruption, or even complete loss of network connectivity. Thus, daily internet usage will be disrupted in a significant way because of the hindered network performance.

Why Do I Get Packet Loss?

Packets represent tiny data units sent across a network while originating from a specific source and intended for a particular destination. Subsequently, the loss occurs when one of these network packets fails to reach its intended target, leading to the loss of information.

An important question arises as to how to fix packet loss. Find here the solutions for users and developers to fix what causes packet loss:

  • Network Congestion: When a network experiences high traffic or overload, routers, and switches may become burdened, leading to internet packet loss. This is especially common in busy or poorly managed networks.
  • Faulty Networking Hardware: Defective or misconfigured network equipment, such as routers, switches, or cables, can cause internet packets to become lost during transmission. Hardware issues may arise due to failing network interface cards or malfunctioning.
  • Software Bugs: Network devices and applications may contain bugs or glitches that result in what is packet loss in games. This happens because of the absence of exhaustive software testing or unchecked updates. Hence, resulting internet packets get lost within the network.
  • Buffer Overflows: The devices such as routers and switches use buffers to temporarily store incoming packets before forwarding them. So, if the buffer’s capacity becomes full, data packets may get dropped.

What are the Effects of Packet Loss?

Packet loss is a disruption that occurs when data packets traveling across a network fail to reach their destination. This phenomenon can have several adverse effects on network performance and user experience:

  1. Degraded Quality: In real-time applications like video streaming or VoIP calls, packet loss can lead to choppy audio, frozen video frames, and dropped calls.
  2. Lag in Online Gaming: Gamers might experience lag spikes, rubberbanding, or sudden jumps in gameplay due to lost packets.
  3. Slow Internet: Web pages may take longer to load, and downloads might be interrupted or slowed down.
  4. Data Corruption: In some cases, lost packets can result in corrupted files or incomplete data transfers.
  5. Reduced Communication Efficiency: Real-time communication tools, like video conferencing applications, can suffer from delays, making conversations less fluid.

It’s essential to address packet loss promptly to ensure a seamless and efficient network experience, especially in applications that rely heavily on real-time data transmission.

How to Fix Packet Loss

Packets represent tiny data units sent across a network while originating from a specific source and intended for a particular destination. Subsequently, a packet loss occurs when one of these network packets fails to reach its intended target, leading to the loss of information. An important question arises as to how to fix packet loss. Find here the solutions for users and developers to fix what causes packet loss:

1. Important Measures for Users

For users, delay in packets means that they can’t use internet services to their full potential. But there exist some essential measures that can help overcome this situation:

Use a Wired Connection

If you are experiencing packet loss over Wi-Fi, connect your device directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. This will help determine if the issue relates to Wi-Fi interference. Also, the wired connection will ensure the interruption-free transfer of data packets, reducing packet loss. However, make sure the cable is not damaged.

Upgrade the Internet Plan

If you have figured out that the issue relates to your Wi-Fi connection, consider upgrading your internet plan to higher bandwidth. After all, this ensures that the internet connectivity remains fast, stable, and optimal, reducing the chances of internet packet loss. If, by chance, the issue persists, it might be a problem with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Prioritizing Packets

Prioritizing packets can help reduce packet loss. This ensures that critical data packets get preference over less important ones when traveling through a network. By prioritizing packets, you can mitigate the impact of congestion and ensure that essential data reaches its destination with minimal disruption. The router does the entire prioritization.

Consider Using a VPN

Generally, in some cases, a VPN can help bypass congested or problematic routes, reducing packet loss issues. However, choosing a reliable and fast VPN service is essential to ensure it doesn’t introduce additional latency. Meanwhile, you can use network monitoring tools to track the drop of packets over time. These tools can provide valuable data and trends to monitor network quality.

2. Important Measures for Developers

As a developer, packet loss can frequently disrupt business-related tasks due to poor or low internet connectivity. This problem can become challenging for any developer. Interestingly, there exist important measures for the developers that can help mitigate what is packet loss in games issue:

Utilize QoS Settings

Quality of Service (QoS) settings are a set of techniques and configurations used to manage and prioritize network traffic. Thus, from your router, enable Quality of Service (QoS) settings to prioritize certain types of traffic, like online gaming or video conferencing. Ultimately, this helps reduce the impact of packet loss for better networking performance.

Enabling Bitrate Control

Adaptive bitrate allows the streaming client to monitor the network conditions continuously. After all, it measures factors like available bandwidth, packet drop rate, and round-trip time. Based on this information, the client can dynamically adjust the bitrate of the media stream. Subsequently, it’s possible to ensure a good video call that leverages constant bitrate with zero interruptions.

Get Services of ZEGOCLOUD

By using ZEGOCLOUD API/SDK, developers can make real-time communication applications in a quick time with cost-effective standards. The offered communication channels include video calls, audio calls, text messages, and conferences. Ideally, the provided network is fast, reliable, and free of potential disruptions that can degrade the network performance. Meanwhile, the provided APIs are extremely developer-friendly friendly come with easy integration.


To be precise, packet loss occurs when data packets get lost or fail to reach their destination from the source location. As a result, this disrupts real-time communication, where video and audio data get transferred as packets over the network. Due to this, the quality of communication will be disrupted in a significant way. To overcome this issue, using ZEGOCLOUD can ideally help.

ZEGOCLOUD is an API/SDK that you can integrate into existing communication applications to help extend and simplify virtual interactions in a seamless way. Moreover, this platform is an RTC service provider since it is developed following WebRTC protocol. So, you will get interruption-less and disruption-free network connections that offer stable communication.

zegocloud sdk

Although, as an RTC provider, ZEGOCLOUD can help reduce the packet loss ratio within the network, it cannot completely overcome this issue. After all, the drop of packets is also dependent on the internet connection you’re having. Hence, you must also look for ways to improve your internet connectivity.

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