Question Ping spikes? Jitter? Lying ISP? Who knows

Sep 17, 2021
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So, for about the last week or so, I've been having very strange ping spikes that I can't seem to catch. I've tried using pingtest and other speed testing websites, but they all say that everything is fine and that my jitter is around 20MS, ping is like 30MS, no issues. I called up my ISP and was told the same thing after they ran "tons of tests", in their words. Nothing wrong. However, in my online gaming, there is something wrong. CS:GO, valorant, league, etc. No matter what game it is, I'm having issues where my ping will go from like, 30, to 150 for 2 seconds, back to 30. Does this like every 10 seconds. Sometimes it'll be good for a minute or two, then give me a few massive hiccups where I get kicked out of the game and reconnect. I have pingplotter installed, but I honestly have no idea how to use this software. Anyone have any ideas what I can do? I've tried swapping out ethernet cords, etc. I know it's not malware, or background processes, I've ruled out a lot of the wires being bad by using different ones. I am hardwired with an ethernet cord.
 
Bad ethernet cables cause packet loss not high ping times. The extra time is data being held in a data buffer and ethernet cables are just pieces of metal and the time it takes is some constant fraction of the speed of light.

It is very hard to get this very intermittent problems. Pingplotter is a good tool but tends to be hard to understand for new users. It also does not run long enough to catch very random issues.

As a first test open a cmd window and leave a constant ping run to 8.8.8.8. You can leave this run in the background to see if the ping command see problems at the same time the game reports issues. Many times game blame the network for delays when it is something like a video driver issue.

If you see it with the ping command I would then try to ping your router IP instead. It is very rare to see problems here but it is the easiest to fix since it would be your pc or the router.

I am in a way surprised the ISP even tested. Most connections you are lucky to get even a partial commitment of "up to" some speed. They do not promise latency and in many cases problems with ping spikes can be some overloaded data connection outside your ISP control.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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Bad ethernet cables cause packet loss not high ping times. The extra time is data being held in a data buffer and ethernet cables are just pieces of metal and the time it takes is some constant fraction of the speed of light.

It is very hard to get this very intermittent problems. Pingplotter is a good tool but tends to be hard to understand for new users. It also does not run long enough to catch very random issues.

As a first test open a cmd window and leave a constant ping run to 8.8.8.8. You can leave this run in the background to see if the ping command see problems at the same time the game reports issues. Many times game blame the network for delays when it is something like a video driver issue.

If you see it with the ping command I would then try to ping your router IP instead. It is very rare to see problems here but it is the easiest to fix since it would be your pc or the router.

I am in a way surprised the ISP even tested. Most connections you are lucky to get even a partial commitment of "up to" some speed. They do not promise latency and in many cases problems with ping spikes can be some overloaded data connection outside your ISP control.
Ah, that makes sense regarding ethernet cables. I did not think of that. Interesting information!

I now have a constant ping running to 8.8.8.8, but the problem does not seem to be occuring, as I can play the games I talked about in the topic right now with no issue. That was one detail I accidentally omitted, these issues only occur during prime time (IE: noon-8PM). After about 1 AM local time, I have no issues with any ping in games, and everything plays completely smooth. Unsure what that means for this problem, but, figured it was worth mentioning.

I will report back tomorrow when I am having the issue again, as right now, there is no jitter or issues with ping at all (3 AM my time.)

My ISP is a rather large one and I have their 5.99$ "complete care package", which basically just gets me into customer support faster. I suppose that's why they did it. I've never had issues with my interent speed (500down/10up.). Just a lot of ping issues here lately.
 
Time of day issue generally are a overloaded connection. It could be that you share the bandwidth between your house and the ISP head end with too many neighbors using lots of bandwidth. It could also be any connection in the path. Most ISP even if they know this will not admit they have oversold their network capacity.
It can also be issue with the game company ISP. In that case pings to 8.8.8.8 will not show any problems but the game will still see errors.

It is all going to depend on where the delay is. This is why tools like pathping can help. They test all the nodes in the path. But it also identifies a lot of false issues so it take careful use. In any case you will need to either ping different routers in the path or try to use pathping to find the router that the problem starts with. Unfortunately if it is a overload situation there is not much you can do about it, assuming it is not someone in your house overloading your connection.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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Time of day issue generally are a overloaded connection. It could be that you share the bandwidth between your house and the ISP head end with too many neighbors using lots of bandwidth. It could also be any connection in the path. Most ISP even if they know this will not admit they have oversold their network capacity.
It can also be issue with the game company ISP. In that case pings to 8.8.8.8 will not show any problems but the game will still see errors.

It is all going to depend on where the delay is. This is why tools like pathping can help. They test all the nodes in the path. But it also identifies a lot of false issues so it take careful use. In any case you will need to either ping different routers in the path or try to use pathping to find the router that the problem starts with. Unfortunately if it is a overload situation there is not much you can do about it, assuming it is not someone in your house overloading your connection.
I live alone, sadly and only use one electronic device (my pc) to my internet, so I don't think that it's anything to do with my house. I'll continue testing the ping tomorrow when the issues return and update this thread with my results.

The only question I have regarding the overload situation is, why would it just suddenly start? I never had any of this issues until about a week ago. Could it just be that a neighbor has suddenly started using a ton of data, or something?

My job relies on having a stable online connection, so, that's kind of a problem haha.
 
The working from home has greatly changed the way internet is used. Most systems where designed when the primary use was downloading data. So if they had 1gbit bandwidth they would set it to run 90% download 10% upload. Before the only people that transmitted high upload rates were streamers and people running video chat applications. Now there are lots of people using video conferencing. It should have gotten a little better now that most schools are open.

It only takes a couple of teenagers running torrent to steal games and movies to greatly degrade a neighborhood segment. This is why ISP will attempt to limit this kind of traffic.

Your first step though is to find the problem it could easily be a issue with the game server or some hosting center.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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The working from home has greatly changed the way internet is used. Most systems where designed when the primary use was downloading data. So if they had 1gbit bandwidth they would set it to run 90% download 10% upload. Before the only people that transmitted high upload rates were streamers and people running video chat applications. Now there are lots of people using video conferencing. It should have gotten a little better now that most schools are open.

It only takes a couple of teenagers running torrent to steal games and movies to greatly degrade a neighborhood segment. This is why ISP will attempt to limit this kind of traffic.

Your first step though is to find the problem it could easily be a issue with the game server or some hosting center.
That makes a lot of sense, thank you for the explanation. Very informative.

I will run the tests later today and come back with the results when I am having said issues. As of right now, 7 am, ping is still entirely stable with no issues.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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The working from home has greatly changed the way internet is used. Most systems where designed when the primary use was downloading data. So if they had 1gbit bandwidth they would set it to run 90% download 10% upload. Before the only people that transmitted high upload rates were streamers and people running video chat applications. Now there are lots of people using video conferencing. It should have gotten a little better now that most schools are open.

It only takes a couple of teenagers running torrent to steal games and movies to greatly degrade a neighborhood segment. This is why ISP will attempt to limit this kind of traffic.

Your first step though is to find the problem it could easily be a issue with the game server or some hosting center.
Alright, it's 3 PM here and the ping spikes are back. Sending a constant ping to 8.8.8.8. returns mostly 20 pings, a few 30's, some 40's, and every ~1/8 comes back at an insane number like 250 or times out. Same issue as in games. Doesn't appear to be the game servers. Where do I go from here?
 
Run tracertt to 8.8.8.8.

Strart running ping to various hops in the trace starting at the low end. The first is your router and you should not see it there. The second is the connection between your house and the ISP. Past there gets complex. The ones closer to you are likely in your ISP others can be in other ISP.

This is going to be hard to get fixed in any case but knowing where it is at least it makes it harder for the ISP to blame your pc.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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Ran tracer to google, results seemed to be low except for hops 4,5 and 6, which were all in the 200's.
Pinging hop 4 responded with min 17ms, max 76ms, average 48ms,
Pinging hop 5 responded with min 56ms, max 117ms, average 77ms
Pinging hop 6 responded with 4 lost packets, 100% loss. Repinged and recieved another 4 lost packets.

Thinking it's hop 6 maybe? Or what do you think?

Edit- after running more tracert to google, it seems like nearly every hop has issues sometimes. 4,5,6 seems to have more issues, but I have seen 200ms, 150, etc, on almost every hop.

Edit 2- Tried pinging every stop along the way, aside from 1 , all of them seem to have a similar issue where it's like 20, 20 ,20, 253, 43, 21, 25 , 195, 60, 30. The only one who breaks this pattern is hop 6, who never responds and always results in a lost packet. Even 2 comes back messed up sometimes.
 
This is a similar thing to running tools like pathping when you do not understand how this stuff works.

If hop 6 was actually valid it would mean that no traffic could pass so you would never get to any web site. Since this is not the case you can not trust the results on this alone. A ISP router is many times designed to not respond at all or give responding to ping low priority compared to actually passing traffic. This is partially to reduce denial of service attacks against the router.

What you are looking for is a pattern that shows errors that happen in one hop and then every hop past it also show the problem. This would mean the first hop having the problem was affecting your ability to test hops past it. This is what is you would would expect a real problem to look like.

From your last update it appears that hop 2 is likely the cause.

So first you need to double check that you are not exceeding your bandwidth both upload and download. This is the first thing the ISP is going to blame and having issues starting with hop 2 is exactly what a overloaded internet looks like.

So now the harder issue. What this means is the cable you share with all your neighbors going to the ISP is likely overloaded. It could be some configuration issue or maybe some problem with the equipment but if it is purely too many people connected to the same cable I am not sure the ISP is going to even admit there is a problem. You will have to be a big pest. This is why have good test data to back you up is important. You can also try to hook directly to the modem if that is a option for you. In this case hop 1 will be the remote ISP router. This is purely to get ahead of the ISP customer service scripts attempting to blame your router.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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This is a similar thing to running tools like pathping when you do not understand how this stuff works.

If hop 6 was actually valid it would mean that no traffic could pass so you would never get to any web site. Since this is not the case you can not trust the results on this alone. A ISP router is many times designed to not respond at all or give responding to ping low priority compared to actually passing traffic. This is partially to reduce denial of service attacks against the router.

What you are looking for is a pattern that shows errors that happen in one hop and then every hop past it also show the problem. This would mean the first hop having the problem was affecting your ability to test hops past it. This is what is you would would expect a real problem to look like.

From your last update it appears that hop 2 is likely the cause.

So first you need to double check that you are not exceeding your bandwidth both upload and download. This is the first thing the ISP is going to blame and having issues starting with hop 2 is exactly what a overloaded internet looks like.

So now the harder issue. What this means is the cable you share with all your neighbors going to the ISP is likely overloaded. It could be some configuration issue or maybe some problem with the equipment but if it is purely too many people connected to the same cable I am not sure the ISP is going to even admit there is a problem. You will have to be a big pest. This is why have good test data to back you up is important. You can also try to hook directly to the modem if that is a option for you. In this case hop 1 will be the remote ISP router. This is purely to get ahead of the ISP customer service scripts attempting to blame your router.
Ah, I see. So basically, hop 6 is just passing the pings/rejecting them to avoid ddos and focus on allocating resources to what it's meant to do?

I have tried running multiple CMD prompts at the same time and they don't seem to correspond with each other, IE, hop 2 may show 235 ping while hop 5 shows 32, and vice versa. The first hop that runs into any sort of issues is absolutely hop 2, though.

By exceeding bandwidth, do you mean data usage cap? If so, I know that's not the issue, because my data usage cap resets every month on the 14th, and the website shows that I have used roughly 3% of my monthly data. I believe this is what you mean by bandwidth. If not, I apologize for being unaware.

There is one thing I am good at, is being a large pest.

The issue with hooking directly to the modem is that...I'm not entirely sure where it is. I have a co-ax cable coming out of my wall that is impossible to access aside from the part that sticks out, which connects into my router that the ISP loans me. I just recently got a new router from them, hoping that that was the issue, but it hasn't changed a thing. Regardless, I assume the modem is just, somewhere inside my wall? Or something? I have never had issues with my ISP before aside from starting this week, so I have never had to do anything like this before.

Do you believe I should contact my ISP and start bugging them about hop 2 and high ping?
 
No you have a router modem combined unit it sounds like. If you had a modem it would just convert the coax to ethernet. A modem is a simple device that just does media conversion and change stuff like docsis used on cable modems to ethernet used on ethernet cables. It does very little else so it tends to never be any kind of bottleneck.

No I mean very simple bandwidth overload. You are using more than 500mbps down or over 10mbps up. Not likely but you need to be ready for the ISP to try to claim this. Some routers will show you the utilization. If you are only using 1 PC you can look at the resource monitor network tab and see the amount that pc is using. What you want to do is turn off the wifi radios on the router and make sure only that 1 pc is plugged in. Again this is purely to get ahead of the ISP scirpt monkey you are going to talk to. You will have already eliminated most the things they will try to blame.

It could be some idiot kid decided to start running torrent and your neighborhood was near capacity. It could also be technical stuff. If some hardware failed in the box where your neighbor hood cable connects they may have done something like combined more houses than they normally do until they can get it fixed. This is very uncommon but that the ISP would likely tell you about and give you a date they plan to fix it. I do know many ISP have some ability to move groups of houses around. Which exact houses depend on how the cabling really goes. It is not just 1 cable that all houses connect to but it is likely you will always share a physical cable with neighbors very close to you.
If you know your neighbors get some of them to test ping commands also and if they also see it have them complan also.

This is the worst kind of thing to get fixed. If you were getting packet loss that normally is some bad cable or connection so they will quickly fix that. Overload conditions may not be simple for them to fix if for example they are overloading the fiber connection back to their network, running more fiber is expensive.
 
Sep 17, 2021
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No you have a router modem combined unit it sounds like. If you had a modem it would just convert the coax to ethernet. A modem is a simple device that just does media conversion and change stuff like docsis used on cable modems to ethernet used on ethernet cables. It does very little else so it tends to never be any kind of bottleneck.

No I mean very simple bandwidth overload. You are using more than 500mbps down or over 10mbps up. Not likely but you need to be ready for the ISP to try to claim this. Some routers will show you the utilization. If you are only using 1 PC you can look at the resource monitor network tab and see the amount that pc is using. What you want to do is turn off the wifi radios on the router and make sure only that 1 pc is plugged in. Again this is purely to get ahead of the ISP scirpt monkey you are going to talk to. You will have already eliminated most the things they will try to blame.

It could be some idiot kid decided to start running torrent and your neighborhood was near capacity. It could also be technical stuff. If some hardware failed in the box where your neighbor hood cable connects they may have done something like combined more houses than they normally do until they can get it fixed. This is very uncommon but that the ISP would likely tell you about and give you a date they plan to fix it. I do know many ISP have some ability to move groups of houses around. Which exact houses depend on how the cabling really goes. It is not just 1 cable that all houses connect to but it is likely you will always share a physical cable with neighbors very close to you.
If you know your neighbors get some of them to test ping commands also and if they also see it have them complan also.

This is the worst kind of thing to get fixed. If you were getting packet loss that normally is some bad cable or connection so they will quickly fix that. Overload conditions may not be simple for them to fix if for example they are overloading the fiber connection back to their network, running more fiber is expensive.
Makes sense, never have had a modem and always rented my routers from the ISP.

I have taken a look at my speedtests and such and they're running about 580down/10.5up speed, but I am not actively using that speed. They just say that's what I have. That couldn't be related, correct? Otherwise, I would suspect you are correct, as I don't use nearly enough data on my pc for it to be related to that.

I think, with this knowledge, I'll go ahead and contact support and try to explain the issue. If you were me, how exactly would you bring it up with them? I assume straight to the point and with the facts? This could easily kill my business, so I have to ensure that something gets done about it. My ISP's "complete care package" advertises that they'll have someone come out and fix "any issues", but from what you are saying this seems like a larger issue than most.
 

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