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Is it possible to suffer packet loss between a 100MB trunk connection and two PoPs operating at a m

Is it possible to suffer packet loss between a 100 MB trunk connection and two PoPs operating at a maximum of 49% utilization?

Here is the theory: we have point A and point B. Between them is a 100 MB trunk running via fiber past our carrier cloud and converted back to cat5 in the PoP. In between point A and point B, let's assume there is point Z. Now when I ping from point A to point Z there is 0% packet loss but when I ping from point A to point B there is packet loss! Please help.

Yes, it is possible to have mid-path loss of various sorts.

What you are dealing with here is a lack of visibility into the trunk and cloud. The carrier probably doesn't have much more information of any particularly reliable sort.

Congestion is one possible source of loss. At 49% utilization, congestion loss can happen at peak moments. However, it shouldn't be the case (networks are designed to support congestion without significant loss) and there are also other possible sources of loss that cannot be easily distinguished from congestion.

You have only three choices that I can see:

  1. Believe your carrier and live with it.
  2. Continue to monitor the link with tools like ping, mping, or other low-visibility utility and develop some sense of what the problem is.
  3. Try one of the new diagnostic technologies that provide high levels of visibility.

Given that my research involves development of diagnostic technologies, my preference is for option 3. Visibility (or rather, lack thereof) is a major problem on the networks. And its getting worse. You can't manage what you can't see. And trusting someone else who can't see either isn't recommended.

I can only suggest that you check into software options and possibly give them a try. Ping probably isn't going to do it for you.

This was last published in August 2004

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