What is Packet Loss?

Packet loss is what happens when some packets of internet data never make it from the server to the client (or vice versa for uploads). It’s usually measured as the percentage of packets lost relative to the total number of packets sent. When packet loss occurs, systems may send redundant requests to recover the lost data and provide a seamless internet experience.

No internet connection can successfully deliver every online data packet on the first try. Because data packets are either radio waves (cable, mobile data) or light signals (fiber), some scattering, refraction, reflection, and absorption is inevitable as they move from place to place.

When is Packet Loss an Issue?

Some packet loss is normal for wired and wireless connections. The typical internet connection has a packet loss of 1% to 2.5%, which a connection can usually manage – but when packet loss hits 5% to 10%, your internet connection will slow down as it struggles to recover lost data.

What Causes Packet Loss?

For wired connections like cable and fiber internet, heavy packet loss occurs when the physical infrastructure is damaged and signals “leak” out of the wires. For example, a frost heave might add wear and tear to buried coaxial cables, which can cause packet loss through frayed wires.

Rain can also scatter wireless internet signals, which increases packet loss and decreases your internet speeds. Rain shouldn’t have a huge effect on your connection (unlike damaged cables), but wet weather can cause temporary, but noticeable dips in your download and upload speeds.

Rain can actually affect wired internet connections just as much as wireless connections. During a rainstorm, water can seep into damaged cables and disrupt internet signals even more.

Minimizing Packet Loss on a Wireless Connection

Fixed wireless internet transmits online data wirelessly over radio frequencies. While this process bypasses vulnerable physical infrastructure, more data can actually be lost in the average wireless transmission. Here are some measures you can take to prevent excess packet loss and boost your internet speeds if you use a wireless connection like fixed mobile internet:

Install a booster antenna. A booster will increase the overall range and strength of your connection. While you’ll still have packet loss, the slower speeds won’t be as slow.

Leave a drip loop in any cables. If the wired connection between your booster antenna and your internet router isn’t watertight, moisture can seep into your connection when it rains.

Get a Reliable Fixed Wireless Connection

Because wireless internet connections like mobile data have fewer physical touchpoints, they’re usually more resilient to packet loss than wired connections. While your wireless internet speeds will probably still drop when it rains, you’re less likely to lose internet completely.

If you have wired internet in your home or business and don’t want to lose internet access due to a damaged cable or strong rainstorm, you can install a wireless internet failover. A failover connection kicks in when your wired connection goes down – like during an electrical storm.

Fixed wireless internet is a great option if you need a reliable failover for wired internet or if you’re looking for a resilient primary internet option somewhere without cable access.

Stephen Kota

About Stephen Kota

Founder & Primary Author

Stephen enjoys photography, boating and gardening. He cares for pet Kois in his water garden.

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