Network Diagnostic Tools

Had the local ISP around today to sort out a long-standing issue we had with network drops and gaming. What we were finding was that the internet service was good for upload/download speeds, but sometimes proved unreliable for gaming.

As with most ISP’s, getting them to do stuff is sometimes not easy, so here’s some tools that help diagnose what is going on (in Windows, linux has a bunch of command line stuff):

Ping plotter is a paid / free trial / free utility that just provides a graphical ‘tracert’ command. This can be useful when you need to see where on the various routes to a location is the problem.

What you will finds is that the initial ‘hops’ on a trace will be through your route/modem and then to the local drops you have in your neighborhood. Just pick a reliable target like or your local ISP home page and use that to see the route and stats.

As you can see from the image above, the top chart shows latency per hop, plus a ‘PL%’ value, which shows the packet loss. This can be really useful for seeing where the issue is. The bottom graph shows the latency and packet loss in a line graph over time (the free version still does this, but is locked to a live 10 minute rolling window). The free version is fine.

Another alternative to PingPlotter is good old ‘WinMTR’, which has been around a long time. It’s open source and can be found here:

Again it just shows the live tracert network info, with a set of counters. Essentially the same info as PingPlotter, but less graphs:


Finally, you can just use a windows CMD prompt and type ‘tracert’ and get a bare output with no tools to download.

So with these tools it helped me get the local ISP tech support to rewire the connection outside the house, as otherwise their suggestions sort of came down to ‘turn it off and on again’ or ‘it’s probably your router, sorry’. With the proper traces saved it was easy to show where on their network things would drop packets and when (especially if not on your equipment but the ISPs). They ended up rewiring and replaced some local equipment, and so far so good.


You know what is really scary. Actually, two things.

  1. I have no idea what any of that means. (Well, maybe a little bit of it)

  2. Someone, somewhere, will probably make a game out of that. In VR.

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The internet is a series of tubes… :slight_smile:


Tim Apple invented the internet. So I’m told.


I thought was Al Gore?

…Tipper Gore?

…Al Hague?

Anyway…as I was reading @fearlessfrog’s initial post in this thread on the Ping Plotter, I couldn’t help but being reminded of…

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I used to make use of OOKLA’s ping test - which like their speedtest site, showed a graph of ping-over-time plus jitter.

As a kid, I compiled the results of speedtest and pingtest for a month to get my parents to switch from Bell DSL to Rogers Broadband.

They were paying for 6Mbps Down / 1 Mbps Up and we typically got ~1Mbps down, 0.25Mbps Up and a ping of 110-300ms. Our connection dropped multiple times a day and our IP address changed each time.

On Rogers now, we rarely see a drop and my IP address typically never changes.

Was sad to see they took pingtest down, but at least someone else seems to have taken their place!

By its very existence that sentence, at least to most of us, means you are STILL a kid. :grin:


A quarter of a century young, I shall enjoy youth while it lasts. If my body chooses to take after my father, I shall have to replace all my joints by 60 and hopefully become a cyborg before I retire.


You should get a job at Boston Dynamics…you could be the first man/machine Centaur. Or Mog…no telling…


First hip replacement (left) at 32, got the other one done December before last at 37. It’s really not that bad these days. Enjoy the pain meds, and do your PT, it’s not a bad ride.

While I’d have to ask on the dates again, my father has had both hips, both knees, both rotator cuffs (to be done again throughout this year), both hands (arthritis) and both wrists (arthritis) worked on. I already jokingly call him the bionic man!