Comcast packet loss: How to check and fix it?

Packet loss Comcast

Packet loss is a naturally occurring phenomenon in networking and happens whenever one or more data packets never make it to their destination.

As a result, the server throws a desync your way and might affect your overall online experience more or less, depending on its severity.

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The bad thing about packet loss is that there are a lot of potential factors that could cause it.

Ranging from having old Ethernet cables and network congestion to outdated network adapter drivers, everything can play a role in packet loss occurrence.

What causes Comcast packet loss?

Although leaking packets can happen for a lot of reasons, there’s one cause that outweighs them all: network congestion. The good news is that, if that’s the case, you don’t need to do anything about it, since it fixes itself after a while.

But that’s also the bad news; sometimes you might not be able to just wait it out.

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In many areas, Comcast is the only high-speed Internet provider and preferred by many when signing up for an Internet subscription plan.

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That’s why you might experience packet loss during peak hours, and why the situation slowly fixes itself after a while.

Servers are generally designed to be able to stand some heat. If bandwidth consumption is high, even servers running at half their capacity (50 connections out of 100 maximum), packets can leak.

That’s why often times ISPs throttle bandwidth, to cut some costs and so that their servers can accommodate more users at the expense of speed.

How to check packet loss with Comcast?

1. Using Windows’ built-in tools

  1. Launch elevated CMD instance (administrator rights)
  2. Ping a website of your choice (google.com, for instance)
  3. Note the website’s IP address
  4. Run pathping x.x.x.x (replace x.x.x.x with the IP address of the website above) CMD pathping
  5. Wait for the test to complete
  6. If there’s packet loss, locate the hop that leaks packets

2. Using the Speedtest by Ookla Windows app

  1. Download and install Speedtest by Ookla Windows 10 app
  2. Launch it
  3. Grant the app permission to use your location (more accurate results)
  4. Click the Go buttonSpeedtest by Ookla interface
  5. Wait for the speed test to complete
  6. Click the More buttonMore button Speedtest by Ookla
  7. Select the completed test from the list
  8. Check the packet loss percentage

3. Use third-party websites

  1. Go to the Packet Loss Test online tool
  2. Configure the test settings (packet size, frequency, duration, delay)
  3. Hit the Start Test button and wait
  4. Check the results (upload/download packet loss, late packets, total packet loss)Online tool packet loss test
  5. Also, check the average latency and jitter values

Although all of the tests above will give you accurate packet loss test results, only the manual test (using pathping) will also show you the hops and each of their packet loss values.

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It might not seem important at first, but you can’t locate a packet leak on your connection without knowing which hop is, in fact, leaking packets.

Comcast packet loss fix

1. Try using a VPN

  1. Download Private Internet AccessPrivate Internet Access
  2. Install it on your computer
  3. Launch it and log into your account
  4. Connect to a fast server of your choice (choose a low ping one)
  5. Run any of the tests above
  6. Check if the problem still persists

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Private Internet Access is a great all-round VPN from Kape Technologies. It can quickly take care of packet loss and high ping issues, but there’s a catch.

In order for this quick fix to work, the issue must be on your ISP’s side.

In this case, if you’re sure that your packet loss is caused by Comcast and it’s not because you have outdated equipment or outdated drivers, go ahead and give it a try. You may be surprised.

However, that’s not the only thing a trustworthy VPN can achieve. It can also give you a much-needed boost of privacy, secure your connection, and even circumvent any geo-restrictions.

2. Perform some manual troubleshooting

  • Run the pathping test and identify the location of the packet loss
  • Check and fix any faulty component on your side of the connection (PC, cables, drivers, router)
  • Try restarting our router
  • Connect straight to your modem or home line if possible
  • Switch to a wired connection instead of wireless (Wi-Fi often leaks packets)
  • Call Comcast and ask them if they can do anything to alleviate the issue
  • Avoid peak hours if possible
  • Try upgrading to a better Internet subscription plan if possible
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Comcast packet loss can be fixed

All in all, if you experience intermittent packet loss with Comcast, it’s probably caused by network congestion. Notice if there’s a certain timeframe when the packet loss occurs, and run a test to zero in on this factor.

Sometimes, especially if it occurs on your ISP’s side, you can use a VPN to improve packet loss. You must ensure that the problem is not on your end by manually troubleshooting each side of your connection.

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