there are loads of tools available, the problem is that most of them cost money. Ping gives an indication of varying response times, you could use a tool such as Ping Plotter (www.pingplotter.com) to continuously send pings and even have alerts sent to you when defined thresholds are exceeded.
You could also use MRTG (www.mrtg.org), which is a freeware tool and lets you graph anything that can be approached with SNMP.
I guess the best approach would be to create a benchmark of your own network, which would give you a guideline and a value to refer to.
Also keep in mind if you are pinging network gear the response times will tend to be longer as ping is relegated to a lower priority on the cpu . For actual response you need to ping thru the device to say a pc located on a particular lan .
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