Building a Compelling Case
If you find a network problem, you'll most likely want to try and solve that problem. In some cases you might be able to solve this network problem yourself - possibly by upgrading the BIOS on a hardware device, replacing a network cable or changing network service providers. In most cases though, the network problem will need to be fixed by someone else. If this happens, you'll want to build a compelling case that clearly demonstrates the problem, and then also convey (or present) that information. PingPlotter can help you do both of these tasks. It does this by collecting data over time, and then giving you the capability to present it in a way that can be compelling to someone else.
In this section, we'll show you how to use some of the tools in PingPlotter to collect data, save and reload that data, and then cover areas to focus on to make a really convincing story.
A convincing story (when using PingPlotter to document a network problem) is one that has some (or most) of the following attributes:
- Correlates the problem description (i.e.: bad VoIP quality or slow game performance) with the supporting data (i.e.: packet loss in PingPlotter).
- Is clear about the actual problem being experienced. Bad PingPlotter data is meaningless unless there is some impact to other applications. Make sure you describe the affect this problem is having on your network experience.
- Includes solid supporting data, covering at least a few minutes and possibly several days
- Does not exaggerate the problem or the data. You can certainly zoom PingPlotter in to only the very worst 10 samples you collected, but that doesn't give a realistic picture of the problem
- Is concise and not argumentative.
Most of the time your first contact with your provider (the one who can help you solve the problem) is going to be with a first-level, front-line support technician. In many cases, their goal is to "close the case". You need to be polite but persistent, and have a strong story to get them to bring the problem to the next level.
Because many ISPs and providers don't give copies of PingPlotter to their front-line support technicians, you probably won't be able to just send a PingPlotter save file for them to analyze. You'll need to create an image they can easily see in their email, or attach to their support case.
Sharing information about your network
Showing PingPlotter graphs to the people you're working with is an excellent way to strengthen your case.
PingPlotter's sharing service is the easiest way to show someone what you're seeing on your network. The service posts a screenshot and data file online. From there, you can share the link with the people you're working with to give them a look at what you're seeing.
If you need a sharing service alternative, you can use the "Save Image..." option in the File menu or the "Copy as Image" option in the Edit menu. Both options provide offline ways to show people your PingPlotter results.
This manual is specific to PingPlotter Version 5