In terms of general computing, packet loss occurs when a packet (bundled data) which is traveling across a computer network fails to reach its intended destination. Packet errors are some of the most fundamental and common types of errors that occur within digital communication technologies.
Although packet loss can occur across different networks, when it occurs on an internet connection, the missing data can seriously impede connection speed. From the part of the user, it can be difficult to tell if you are suffering from packet loss or not, however using an internet speed test to check your Ping rate might give a good indication of whether or not you have a problem.
Packet loss may occur for a number of reasons such as faulty network hardware, corrupted packets, channel congestion, or faulty network drivers. Of course, speed problems may be caused by many different issues, so packet loss may not actually be the culprit when your internet seems to be slowing down. Choppy video streaming, garbled voice calls through services such as Skype, and applications suddenly freezing could all point towards the possibility of packet loss on your internet connection.