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What is ping? Is zero tension possible? The basics of ping, explained

If you’re an avid gamer, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced high Ping and cursed at how late everything felt. It would be better if the ping had no effect at all; but what is ping, and can you achieve 0 ms Ping?

Let’s look at what a ping is, why it exists, and if you get a zero ping.

What is ping used for?

Ping is not just a measure of “performance.” In particular, it is a measure of the delay between a computer and a remote device. Ping tells you how much time one packet of data (called a packet) leaves your computer, reaches the remote server, and then goes back to you.

How ping affects web browsing

Have you ever noticed that when you click on a webpage link, the new webpage does not load immediately? A small delay between a click and a page load is called a “latency”.

Your computer will need to request a new page and send it back to you. It takes a short time to transport each packet between your computer and the remote computer. Ping allows you to measure this delay.

How ping affects online gaming

Ping is very noticeable in online games. For example, if you are playing a game with a 20 ms ping, the delay should be very low. Your actions seem to take place in the game close immediately. If your ping is higher than 200 ms, the actions you take will be significantly delayed and you will not be able to follow other people playing the game.

That’s why many online multiplayer games show you what your ping pong is. It will help you understand how good the connection is and what kind of experience you should expect from the server.

Diablo 2 ping statistics

A lower ping is always better; it means less latency, which is faster communication between you and the remote server. This applies to everything you do online – whether you’re playing an online game or just browsing the web.

Sometimes games and software call ping latency, but it’s the same thing. Games often recognize Ping by color so you can understand how good your ping is at a glance. Typically, a green ping is ideal, yellow is a border and red is a bad one.

How ping works

Ping works in a simplified way as follows:

  • Your computer sends a small packet of data to the remote computer.
  • The remote machine receives a packet requesting a response.
  • The remote machine sends the packet back to you.

This is one ping. Ping allows you to measure the return time of a packet between your computer and a remote computer.

For example, in the image below, we use the ping command at the Windows command prompt to ping google.com.

Using the ping command on Google

As you can see from the “time” column, our ping for Google was about 11 ms. This is pretty fast, so we know we have a stable connection to Google’s servers.

If you want to try this for yourself, why not learn how to ping any website or computer






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and see the results?

The technical side of ping

When you send Ping, your computer sends an ICMP echo request packet. ICMP stands for “Internet Control Message Protocol” and is used between network devices to communicate with each other. The package asks for echo; in other words, the answer.

The remote server, when it receives Ping, usually responds with its own message. When you execute a ping command and you see several pins in a row, each line is one packet and its response.

However, not all computers or servers can respond to ICMP echo request packets. If the computer owner told it not to respond to the ping, you will not receive a response. Instead, you will see a Request Timeout message when the server does not respond to your ping within the time limit. Decentralized denial of service






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(DDoS) attacks sometimes abuse this ICMP protocol.

Using ping to detect packet loss

Ping can also help you detect packet loss. For example, suppose you pinged and saw the shuffle responses and the “Request Timeout” line.

This would mean that some ping packets were either not received by the remote machine or that their responses did not reach you. Somewhere along the way, the packages disappear. This event is known as “packet loss” and can be a major headache in networking.

If you see “Request Expired” when pinging a website or server, you know that a packet loss occurred on some route between you and the server. This can be a remote computer network, a router in between, an ISP, or a home network.

If you are having difficulty browsing the Internet or playing an online game, a ping command can help identify packet loss. You can also use a trace route to see the path that data packets take and to identify when a packet loss occurs.

Is zero tension possible?

Achieving a lower ping value is ideal for using the Internet. As such, zero ping is the perfect scenario. This means that our computer was immediately connected to the remote server.

Unfortunately, due to the laws of physics, data packets take time to travel. Although the packet travels entirely through fiber optic cables, it cannot traverse the speed of light faster.

It is also limited by routers connected to fiber optic cables that receive the packet and forward it to the next in the chain. This takes a little time, which ruins the plan for the momentary data.

Getting Zero Ping with Localhost

However, there is one way to get zero ping, even if the end result is not as helpful. If you try to ping a local computer – with the “ping localhost” command – you ask the computer to contact itself and respond. In this case, you will often see Ping <1 ms, which is virtually zero.

This simply means that your computer can communicate with itself right away. Of course, it really isn’t immediate because the software takes little time to perform these functions. However, it is so low that we can round it down to 0 ms and say we have zero ping for our own computer.

Using the ping command on the computer itself

How about cables and Wi-Fi complex

When you start adding cable, routers, and distances, you don’t get a 0ms ping. For example, you can try pinging your home router. In the screenshot below, we pinched our home router over a Wi-Fi connection. It’s in the same room as the computer, but still it can’t achieve a 1 ms ping, let alone zero.

Using the ping command on the router

Unfortunately, as we can see here, it only takes some time to communicate with a device sitting in the same room as you. As such, it is difficult to get a 0 ms ping on your own router, let alone a website or server in the rest of the world.

So what does this mean for the concept of zero ping? Well, unless scientists somehow bend the laws of physics and achieve immediate transmission of data, we probably won’t see a 0ms ping for long; if ever!

Using ping to diagnose delayed Internet

When poor ping latency ruins online gaming, it’s easy to wonder how much better life would be if it weren’t for the factor. However, as long as we use cables and transmit data to servers on the Internet, 0ms ping is probably impossible.

Even if you can’t achieve a mythical zero ping, you can fix slow Wi-Fi with a few helpful tips






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Should I download data fast, but is there slow Wi-Fi? Why is this happening? This allows you to fix and speed up your slow Wi-Fi connection.
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Image credit: chromatika2 /depositphotos

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