Ping test the network connectivity to a server

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What is a Ping Check?

A ping measures the latency of information. A term taken from a submarine’s echolocation equipment, essentially, a ping measures how long it takes information to travel from your computer to a server on the Internet back to your computer. In a computer network, a ping is computer-to-computer, or rather computer-to-server. In addition to use as an indication of connectivity to a network, a ping can also show reliability and the general speed of a connection.

What is a Ping Test?

A ping test determines whether your computer can communicate with another computer or server over a network. If network connectivity is established, a ping test also establishes latency – how fast you get a response when you send out a test. Ping tests are also commonly used to measure the lag (delay) with online games.

When Should You Run a Ping Test?

A ping test can be a great diagnostic tool trying to determine network connectivity and latency times. A ping test will be able to tell you whether a computer is connected to a computer network or to the Internet, as well as a general idea of the speed of response.

In the majority of cases, a ping result will tell you the effective latency between your computer and the Internet however, this is not always the case. Network throttling and congestion can sometimes throw off the accuracy of the results. For example, your computer might have a very low latency when connecting to your preferred search engine, however have very high latency rates when connecting to an online game or a television streaming provider.

At any rate, the connection between pings and latency is so intertwined that the terms are used synonymously in many online games and programs that report the ping rate as the latency in milliseconds.

Interpreting Ping Results

Now that you know what a ping test does, how do you interpret the results?

The results of a ping test show that the ping was successful as well as a series of numbers, which indicate the communication delay in milliseconds. As you can probably guess, the results of the ping test will depend on the quality of your Internet or network connection. Generally a broadband connection – regardless of whether its wireless or wired – should fall under 100 ms and often even less than 30 ms. A satellite internet connection, notoriously slow, will generally fall above 500 ms.

Depending on what you’re trying to do, the speed of the ping might be impact your user experience more. For example, playing an online game with a latency speed over 100 ms could mean you will experience lag where other players are witnessing the actions faster than you are and your actions are not applied quickly. Another great example are television streaming providers. You will have a speed faster than 100 ms to experience a high quality experience without buffering or delay of the video. On the other hand, browsing largely text-based websites will suffer less from a higher latency time, because the connection will not need to transmit large quantities of data back and forth between your computer and the server.

Go ahead and try the Ping Test above and see what results you get.