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[SWTOR] Latency issues (repost from CS forum)Follow

#1 Jan 06 2012 at 10:03 PM Rating: Good
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I posted this on the official Customer Service forum, but I figured I might as well post it here too, in case anyone here might be able to help.

It's important to note that BioWare is having some issues with connection timeouts right now. More than a thousand people have posted on this issue (they had to make a second sticky), so I realize it might not be on my end at all, though something - call it a gut feeling - tells me it is.

Copy-pasta incoming:

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Title: [Latency] Any way to figure out if this is my end BEFORE I call campus IT?


This is mainly aimed at fellow posters as I have no idea how to solve this myself and I don't think a "read the troubleshooting guide" CSR response will solve it.

TL;DR: Having latency issues. Might not be on their end. Need help fixing it.

Warning: i'm total idiot when it comes to technical stuff, so the information that follows may not be useful.


Introduction

I live in a kind of dormitory with about 40 computers hooked up on the network. As such, a lot of variables present themselves when dealing with a subject such as latency. Before I take this to the IT guy, I'd like to find out as much as I can about the issue.


Case

When I log on, my latency will either jump around from ~50ms to ~3000ms or be a steady ~1500ms. Sometimes a lagspike will occur (connection timeout), sending the latency into the five digit area before normalizing again, if not booting me with error 9000 (timeout).

Around night time, when the server (and connection) load diminishes, the instability seems to plateau a bit, usually giving lower latency and less spikes, but not always. Today, for instance, at 4AM, the latency is hovering at around 2000ms with dips into the 1000's and spikes into the 10,000's (plus one error 9000).


Possible causes

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but it can't be the firewall as I'd receive an error upon trying to log in, right? The entire thing smells a lot like connection instability which can be caused by ports not being open, connection overload and the ISP routing the connection through a bad node/hub/thingamajig, right?

It's not a connection overload, I think. I can log on WoW and play with a latency of around 100ms in there. I can download a patch at 1.5MB/s and stream HD video from multiple sites (YouTube, Twitch.tv, etc.).

If this is all due to a bad connection on the ISP side, how do I go about fixing that? Do I just call them up and tell them to reroute my connection? It sounds simple, but I imagine it's not.

And before I call the aforementioned IT guy and ask him to please open the 20,000 ports requested by the troubleshooting guide, does anyone have any ideas as to what might be the culprit here?

I'm at the verge of a total breakdown here. Nothing frustrates me more than a problem I don't know how to solve. So before I turn into Leeloo from The Fifth Element and go all "Pweeeease... haaaalp..." on you, thank you for your time and help.


Addendum

I've run a 30,000 packet ping to this site, Google.com and the IP of my server and received 1 packet loss total. The pings have been running through lagspikes and disconnects.

I cannot do a traceroute as the router (according to IT guy) doesn't allow it. The traceroute merely times out on every hop and successfully completes on the final hop at normal ping latency.

I should probably also mention two more things:

1. I'm running a legal torrent in the background (10Kbit/s download max) to see if it prevents error 9000 (it doesn't on my end) and I've noticed that the torrent's download speed drops when a lagspike occurs. On most lagspikes, the torrent download speed drops to a couple of hundred bit/s or stops completely.

2. Refreshing my browser (F5) sometimes clears lagspikes and returns latency to normal values (50ms). This only works sometimes, however, and the effect only lasts a couple of seconds.


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Let me know if more information is required - and what kind of information. Since I'm not in direct control of the system here, it's limited what I can find without having to drag the IT guy into it.

Thanks

Edited, Jan 7th 2012 5:05am by Mazra
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#2 Jan 06 2012 at 11:00 PM Rating: Decent
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You can ping anything you want but trace routes time out on every node except your destination?

Cable, DSL, or satellite? And by IT Guy, I assume you mean whoever's in charge of the network and not your ISP?

Without being able to run a trace route to find any specific issues with certain hops, I can't tell you much without knowing the structure of the network.

I don't know anything about the laws your ISP's and network admins have to follow out there, but I have a feeling you're being filtered through a proxy and aren't aware of it.
#3 Jan 06 2012 at 11:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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These types of issues are a pain to figure out. There are a couple of different ways to go about it, and all of them are going to require some advanced networking know how. The easiest way would be to download the free wireshark program from (http://www.wireshark.org/) and run a capture during running the game. Keep in mind that the captuured information does contain persoinally identifieable information and possibly passwords, etc. so you aren't going to want to post that everywhere. What you are looking for is errors where your game requests data on a specific port, and is getting blocked. if you need help trying to figure that out, PM me the error code sections and I can take a look at them if you like, keeping in mind the aforementioned privacy concerns.
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#4 Jan 07 2012 at 7:16 AM Rating: Good
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The IT guy is whoever's in charge of the network, aye. People move in and out and the IT guy is a volunteer who lives here, so the title hops around a lot (which doesn't help when you have to get a hold of him).

And yes, I can ping anything, but traceroute is all * * * until the destination.

Played around with Wireshark a bit, but I have no idea what's up or down in that program. Way too complex for an average user like me. Pretty interesting, though, to see that my network card is receiving broadcasts from someone's iPhone. Smiley: dubious

I'll try to do some captures while playing and see if I can't sort out the errors from all the other stuff.

With the information I have and haven't given yet, anyone care to venture a guess? I'm going to have the IT guy open up all the ports if they haven't been already and I'll likely call the ISP and tell them to stop shaping my packets (watch how I throw around fancy terms) or at least check the connection. Need to contact the IT guy before I contact the ISP, though, since he's got all the information.
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#5 Jan 07 2012 at 7:38 AM Rating: Good
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Bonus info: I just logged into the game, the latency was a fine 50ms and then I suddenly got disconnected. I noticed that the browser was having issues loading websites as well, so I quickly opened Speedtest.net and ran one on a nearby server, and it's reporting a maximum download speed of 0.33 Mbps which is less than the maximum upload speed it recorded.

I'm thinking something keeps resetting the connection and the connection turns to sh*te every time it does.

Speedtest result.

Edit: Looks like I'm going to close this as I just had a chat with the last IT guy and he said that no one is currently in charge of the network because no one knows how it works anymore. He said that the server(s) is (are) running Linux and have more firewalls set up than he could plow through (he counted more than a hundred).

I'll probably be looking into buying outside internet from now on. It should make things much easier to manage.

Edited, Jan 7th 2012 3:14pm by Mazra
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#6 Jan 07 2012 at 3:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, it sounds like you're running into the great firewall of wherever that is. Most MMO's need all the ports they ask for, but not all of the time. You might be running into the game hopping around on different ports as it detects latancy on one or another, and when it hits a block, it probably annoys the game. That or given its a campus network of some sort, the network may just be bogged down beyond usability by people downloading illegal movies or similar large bandwidth operations. Especially if the network isn't set up to limit bandwidth of high bandwidth users.
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#7 Jan 07 2012 at 7:07 PM Rating: Good
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Knowing the people who live here and the fragile system all of this runs on, it could easily be all of it at once.

Thanks for the help, though.
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