The Grey Chronicles


Pinging Smart

The two recent posts, 06 March and 07 March, about Smart Broadband Internet led to the scrutiny of what really are the most important things in an Internet connection: download and upload Speeds [or lumped by such providers as bandwidth], Latency, and Ping (including Packet Loss and Jitter). There are a number of web sites offering tweaks to improve Internet connection, while some offers tools to test the Internet connection in terms of these three factors, among others. This is not a place to find those tweaks and tools. Just Google them.

The bulk of the two-day tests basically addressed the bandwidth speeds of SmartBro Internet. While few references on Latency and Ping were also cited, this post delves into the latter, until a much lengthier research on Latency could be completed.

Ping, according to PingTest, is the duration it takes a “packet” or chunks of data to travel from one computer to a server and back. Nadeem Unuth, Guide, defines:

“A packet is a basic unit of communication over a digital network. A packet is also called a datagram, a segment, a block, a cell or a frame, depending on the protocol. When data has to be transmitted, it is broken down into similar structures of data, which are reassembled to the original data chunk once they reach their destination.”

A packet, Unuth continues, consists of a header and a payload. “The header keeps overhead information about the packet, the service and other transmission-related things and the payload is the data it carries.” In its purest form, data consist of zeros and ones, which translates into a gibberish collection of alphanumeric characters including glyphs.

Microsoft Ping verifies IP-level connectivity to another TCP/IP computer by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages. The receipt of corresponding Echo Reply messages are displayed, along with round-trip times. Ping is the primary TCP/IP command used to troubleshoot connectivity, reachability, and name resolution. In Windows XP, issuing a command console with ping shows the results, such as:

SmartBro Ping at 04:00H

Test done at 04:00 H (4:00 a.m.)

SmartBro Ping at 12:00H

Test done at 12:00 H (12:00 noon)

The above tests were performed without any active browser window while connected to the Internet. Tried to get more data streams using Ping every hour for three hours, and the above two snapshots were selected as representative of the other three snapshots per test.

According to PingTest, a result BELOW 100 ms should be expected from any decent broadband connection. From the test results shown above, pinging at 04:00H took an average of 4010 ms or 33 times the same test done at 12:00H! The 12:00H result of 120 ms for average Ping, moreover, cannot be classified as a DECENT broadband connection.

Packet loss, in the snapshots it is simply termed as Loss, is the percentage of data packets sent to server that never arrive. Above 0% no-no, per PingTest, or anything greater than 0% should cause concern. Both tests, each using four [4] packets, returned a 0% Loss!

Jitter is the variance in successive ping measurement. Like the other quality measurements, PingTest suggests, a lower jitter value is better. The 04:00H test, the Jitter amounted to 503 ms or 8.5 times the 12:00H result of 59 ms. And while some jitter should be expected over the Internet, having it be a small fraction of the ping result is ideal. Considering Jitter as a fraction of the average ping for each test, the 04:00H test calculates to 0.125 of 4010 ms while the 12:00H amounts to 0.49 of 120 ms. Thus, although the Ping taken at 04:00H took longer than expected, the Jitter value, nominally larger than the 12:00H results, is much less varied.

Is Smart Corp. shutting dowm Smart Broadband servers after midnight, or specifically between 01:00 to 04:00H, to cool them off? And they claimed Broadband is much faster that dial-up networking [DUN] or direct-satellite link [DSL]? Or some smart-ass IP-administrator, after a careful study found out that a lesser number of SmartBro subscribers are using the connection at these times, recommended to shut-off some servers to conserve power and generate cash-saving for the company? Conclusion: It is really much faster to surf the Internet, using SmartBro, in the day-time rather than during the so-called Off-Peak time. Better change my Internet usage schedule.


This page was intended to be published yesterday but rescheduled because of another post on Reconnecting with Sinagtala Class of ’86 proved to be long-time waiting.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: These posts do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; refer to this blog’s self-imposed rules: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Comments are moderated to keep the discussion/s relevant and civil. Readers are responsible for their own statement/s.

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