Both Ping and Tracert, which is short for TraceRoute, show you how fast or slow the Internet is between your computer and the computer you're trying to reach. Ping will tell you if the computer you're trying to contact is responding, and Tracert will find exactly where the problem is if you can't get to that Web page you need. Both utilities are installed, by default in the \Windows \Command folder, These are DOS utilities and so have to be run from a Command prompt- the easiest way to do this is to click Start, Programs then MS-DOS Prompt.
To explain what a Ping is, let's use an analogy. Suppose you called one of your friends on the phone. If your friend stays silent for some time, you might ask, "Are you there?" and your friend should reply with, "I'm here!". That's a human-to-human ping. The Ping command is similar for two computers. All Ping does is ask the computer at the other end to respond.
Now for a little explanation of what you see. The bytes mean how much data was received back from this particular server, The time means how long it took to reach you. And the TTL (Time To Live) means how long the data that you sent is kept in the memory of the computer that you're trying to reach. This also is a crude DNS
Note that not all sites respond to Pings - Microsoft and MSN don't for example, so the mere fact that a site doesn't return a Ping and you get a 'Request timed out' response, doesn't mean there's a fault. So be sure to try more than one site.
But say you got a 'Request timed out' on a site that should return a Ping- the next thing you should do is run a Tracert. This'll tell you where the problem lies by tracing the route it takes to get to the computer you're trying to reach. This utility tells you each router your packets cross when trying to reach your destination.
The first number is the 'hop' or router number the route takes. The next three numbers are the round-trip times in milliseconds for three tries to reach that router. The last column is the hostname of the responding system.
The most common cause of disconnects is tine noise, pure and simple--you can use the phone engineer's self-test number 17070 to perform a 'quiet line' test to see how your line fairs.
The second cause is call waiting -- the notification 'beep' confuses the modem. If you only have one phone line, disable it with #43# before dialling out. To check if it's 'on', key in *#43#. Another cause of disconnects are idle timeouts- settings that automatically drop the line after a specified period of inactivity. Check these by looking at the Connection tab of your modem properties. The default is that this Feature is disabled,