Network Packet Loss

December 30, 2022
Network packets are lost if the transmitted data packets do not reach their destination.

A packet is a unit of data that a network protocol routes between points of origin and destination on the Internet or any other packet-switched network.

Network packets contain small amounts of data, which usually include information such as source and destination addresses, protocols, or identification numbers. Any activity on the Internet — from sending emails to downloading videos — requires the transmission of packets.

What Packet Loss Touches on

If packets do not reach the destination server, then the users’ devices fail, for example, the download slows or the network connection gets lost. For home network users, a service slowing or lost connection leads to worse user experience, and for businesses, network problems touch on workflows.

The network packet loss can also cause significant performance problems for all types of digital communications. When packets are lost, applications that process them in real time, for example, audio or video call services are most affected.

Network Packet Loss Causes

Most often, packet loss is caused by data transmission errors or network congestion. Faulty software can introduce errors into the network, which will lead to packet loss. When the network reaches maximum bandwidth, the connection can skip or discard incoming packets. In case of network congestion, the application can resend the lost data packets.

Outdated and legacy network infrastructure can also slow down network traffic and lead to packet loss. This can happen with firewalls, modems, and routers.

The next cause for packet loss is a security breach. In DoS attacks, hackers disable the network by sending a huge number of requests, which makes access to network resources difficult or impossible. An unusual jump in packet loss may be a sign of a cyberattack.

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