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I’ve had recurring network problems for a while on my MacBook — I get very frequent dropped connections. This has happened on multiple wi-fi networks, and also when using my iPhone’s internet sharing (either over USB, or as a wi-fi hotspot). On the same networks, I’ve had friends with MacBooks (both older and younger than mine) who didn’t have such issues; so I’m fairly confident the problem is (at least partly) my MacBook, not the networks.

The issue shows up most clearly and disruptively in video-calls — in Zoom, FaceTime, and Teams, the connection gets major outages (long enough to completely disrupt conversation, and sometimes enough for the program to disconnect entirely) pretty frequently — sometimes every couple of minutes, sometimes less often. In 2021, this of course causes pretty serious problems…

I’ve attempted a lot of troubleshooting suggestions, and also had an Apple Store appointment where they ran the Network Diagnostics and also checked over the hardware — none of this solved or located the issue. The biggest difficulty in troubleshooting is simply testing whether the issue is still occurring, since it’s so intermittent. The only way to judge whether it’s occurring is video-calls (or similar things, like online gaming), and it takes multiple minutes of constant attention, and even then is often subjective, since some amount of lag/skipping is of course normal.

So: Is there a utility that can test/monitor the network connection continuously over a period of time, and record/present the results readably? I can imagine trying to roll my own version with a script that runs ping at regular intervals — but that seems pretty primitive, and it seems like a more sophisticated version must be out there. Can anyone recommend such a tool?

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For network admins, the go-to tool is often Smokeping. However it is not available as a GUI program on macOS.

Instead you could consider an app named PingPlotter that similarly gives you a historical overview of the absolute ping times, jitter and packet loss. Note that it is a commercial app, but there is a free 14-day trial available.

If you rather want a free and open-source alternative, I would take a lok at Pingnoo.

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