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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 11:35 am    Post subject: Pingplotter Reply with quote Back to top

Can someone give me a good rundown of pingplotter? How easily does it communicate problems with my provider? How easy is it to understand if you don't have a computer science degree? Do you leave it running at all times and just watch for alerts? I would appreciate a synopsis of how it can help me and how it does it.

Also, is the freeware version adequate or do you recommend paying for an updated version?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pingplotter works great for me and since my cable company (Cox) also uses it, we're "speaking the same language" when I'm dicussing any problems.

Basically Pingplotter runs an enhanced traceroute to any destination IP address you choose. This shows you every "intersection" your packets take across the internet while moving from your computer to your designated destination address.

It also shows how long it takes pings from your computer to return from each of the intermediate "intersections" -- this can tell you where any internet latencies along the route are occuring.

While this is all a similar function to "tracert" (included w/ Windows) pingplotter then plots the data graphically over time AND can save all the info into a file for review. This feature allows you to spot any outage trends in your connectivity (good for troubleshooting) as well document any outages (good when asking for credits).

The program has good explanations of all the features in relatively plain english -- a C.S. degree isn't required.

It's a small program which can be run 24 hours in the background. Whether you do is up to you. Since my last run of outages, I've been running pings to my default gateway every 5 seconds for almost 30 days w/o any more signs of a problem. (I'm now very confident Cox fixed the problem -- which turned-out to be a bad tap up on my utility pole)

Registration and payment is up to you. What you download for free works fine and explains everything. Since I DID register and pay, I don't know what happens when the 30-day trial period expires.

I recomment it.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks! I'll give it a shot.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Here are instructions on setting up PingPlotter to test for the Vonage service.

From Vonage customer support.
Once the application is up and running, follow these steps to set the PingPlotter up to run a thorough test:

1- Right click on where it says "DNSname", in the top center of the screen. One by one, place a check mark by all the different options on the top of this menu. This will tell the test to give you all the detailed data during the test.

2- On the lower left hand side of the screen, ensure these are the settings: "# of times to trace" = Unlimited (should be this way by default), "trace interval" = 2.5 seconds (click the down arrow), and "samples to include" = ALL (click the down arrow).

3- On the top left hand side of the screen, click on "Edit", the "Advanced Options", then "Packet Options". The forth option down says "Packet Size in Bytes, default 56"; change this to 1400, then hit "OK". The MTU (Maximum Transmission Size) of the data in an Ethernet packet is 1518 bytes. Some routers across the Internet may restrict packets of this size, so if the results look very, very poor, you can try to set the packet size to 1200 bytes.

4- Now that the application is set up to begin the test, we need to enter the appropriate IP address or domain name to trace to at the top left hand of the screen.

If you are east of the Mississippi trace to this IP address (except NJ then use

If you are west of the Mississippi, trace to this IP address (except CA then use

5- Now hit the big "Trace" button on the lower left hand side of the screen and let the test the run for about two minutes.

6- You can leave the test running. Now that we have the results, we have to see if there is a problem across this route. The first hop is your location; the last hop is where you are testing to. We are mainly concerned with two columns on this test. The third column, which is the PL% (packet loss percentage), and the sixth column, Ave (Average Latency at that hop, measured in milliseconds). Since the Vonage service is a "real-time" streaming audio service, any packet loss is a bad thing, as this will cause choppy audio. As far as latency, we worry about our service when the average latency reaches around 150ms or higher across the hops. If either of these results is excessive, this may cause a call to drop, or the link from your ATA to our servers to break.

7- Only your ISP has authority to correct the latency and/or packet loss issues across your Internet connection; please contact them with these results, if they are poor.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I've got a couple questions on the Vonage directions on Pingplotter:

1. I'm in northern CA so per #4 I ping against This is the east coast server that gives ~100ms with 56byte packets. Why does CA use this server when the west cost server is only ~35ms away for me?

2. The directions say anything over 150ms is bad. However, if I bump up the packet size to 1400bytes as directed by pings go to ~500ms. However, the default 56byte packets give me the ~100ms which seems good.

3. What exactly are these "west coast"/"east coast" IP addresses? These aren't the servers all our calls are routed through, are they? Doesn't seem to make sense to bounce CA calls to the east coast and back again.

Thanks for any help on this one!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2003 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I would hate to see everyone try this at once. Maybe i'm just paranoid, but it sounds like a recipe for a Denial of Service (DOS) attack. I can't believe that Vonage would recommend adding more load on their network. I believe the default PingPlotter settings would provide the same quality of service information with much less load on the network.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2003 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

So why does Vonage ask you to use a packet size of 1400 when pingplotter itself says that using anything over 512 is just asking for trouble.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

lol. NOW none of the IPs listed are reachable... *beep*
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