Fragmentation Threshold

In a perfect world, an internet connection would be as easy as buying the equipment, signing up with an ISP, and plugging into the internet. While some manufacturers tout their plug and play functionality, anyone that has used a network knows that sometimes problems arise. While these issues may be because of slow internet service or outdated equipment, in many cases, the settings and configurations may be to blame. Anyone experiencing issues with their performance should first look to their router settings, including the fragmentation threshold.

What Is the Fragmentation Threshold?
Broken down to the basics, the fragmentation threshold is a value that determines the maximum packet size that can be sent by a client. It applies to unicast packets. The typical range for fragmentation threshold is 256-2346. By default on most routers, this setting Is 2346. In many cases, this will not need to be changed. However, if there are performance issues, this setting (along with other router settings such as the RTS threshold) may need to be tweaked to optimize your system.

When to Change the Fragmentation Threshold
When troubleshooting performance problems, the fragmentation threshold may need to be adjusted. It is important to note that this setting should be changed by itself before making additional changes. Next, the RTS threshold setting can be tweaked, and then both can be changed together to ensure optimum performance.

In most cases, it’s not recommended to lower the fragmentation threshold. However, there are a few exceptions. If frequent collisions occur within a network, the setting can be adjusted. If the network is generally unreliable, lowering the fragmentation threshold may be helpful. Instead of making dramatic changes, though, the setting should be gradually lowered until an improvement in performance occurs. Lowering the threshold too much can increase reliability but can have a negative impact on performance. A good rule of thumb is to begin by setting the threshold to 2304 and working from there.

Final Notes
Having a reliable online connection isn’t difficult, but it may take some tweaking to get things just right. Before tossing out your networking equipment and spending money to replace it or calling your ISP, check your router settings to make sure that your system is optimized for performance. Checking and testing your fragmentation threshold is a quick, easy way to start to get your connection back up to speed in a hurry.

Do you have questions about fragmentation threshold or other router settings? Do you have some tips and tricks that make troubleshooting a breeze? Leave your comment below!