Detecting latency issues using PingPlotter
One of the harder network issues on a consumer level to diagnose are latency issues. Latency is the time it takes for data to reach either the destination, or for the reply, the source. Latency can occur at any point in the connection chain. For online services this mean that there are anywhere from 5-20 intermediary devices in-between the source and the destination. Enter PingPlotter. PingPlotter essentially runs a traceroute (check every intermediary device between the source and the destination), followed by a continuous stream of pings to each intermediary device to determine where the latency issues are most likely occurring.
The screenshot above shows the general layout of PingPlotter. The first few hops have been removed to preserve anonymity.
- Download PingPlotter from https://www.pingplotter.com/download
- Install either the Free version or choose to activate the Professional Trial
- Open up PingPlotter
The top bar has several options:
- Play/Pause/New Target
Using Target you specify the domain or IP-address you’d like to test your connection against. It allows for testing of IPv4 and IPv6 connections by prepending “ipv4:” or “ipv6:” before the target.
Play/Pause/New Target allows you to pause or resume the current test, the small arrow allows you to reset the current graph. Play/Pauze can be used to show difference in latency throughout the day. The Free version only allows for manual settings, the Professional version has a couple of additional options we won’t be covering in this article but might at a later date.
The Interval simply specifies at what rate pings should be issues. The default setting of 2,5 seconds is sufficient in most cases. For testing over longer durations, it can be set to run at approximately 10 seconds or even 30.
Focus alters what the current latency graph on the top right shows. This should be left at auto.
Reading the Output
In most cases the graph will show you where the issue occurs by displaying a spike in the graph. The red line will indicate what the current average is, the small grey bars will show the entire range of what latencies have occurred during the test. As shown by the examples packet loss should be taken with a grain of salt.