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Networking WoesFollow

#1 Apr 26 2013 at 8:09 PM Rating: Good
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I've been having some family annoyances when it comes to my LAN.

I have a simple four-computer LAN; two of the computers are mine, one is my mom's and one is my dad's.

All of them except dad's are running Windows7; Dad's is running WinXP (since he rarely uses it and he only uses it for internet browsing).

The problem is quite simply, mom loves spending hours and hours and hours and hours at night watching Youtube, and to be honest I don't really want to tell her to stop it unless I absolutely have to, is there's no way to solve the problem otherwise.

I am on a 3Mbps DSL connection and for some odd reason, it doesn't matter how much bandwidth you actually use (even if you are only downloading at, say, 150k/sec), it will inflate the latency for everybody on the network. I can download something with one computer and throttle the download at 150k/sec and pings to will go from 70ms to 300+, even though the max download bandwidth is more like 350k/sec.

Is there anything I can do with my router, or DSL modem perhaps, that can throttle her computer or give my computer first dibs on bandwidth so I can game and the worst that happens is she'd get a split second pause now and then in Youtube?

My Network setup looks like this:

DSL modem
4-Port Router #1 -> My Bedroom Computer / Dad's Computer
4-Port Switch #2
Mom's Computer / My Gaming Room Computer

So that if I were to do any settings involving routers/switches, it'd probably work best if I did it with Router #1 since everything else on the LAN is behind it.

EDIT: The reason I have two 4-port switches is because I also have an Xbox 360 behind Switch #2 but I rarely use it.

Edited, Apr 26th 2013 10:10pm by Lyrailis
#2 Apr 26 2013 at 8:32 PM Rating: Good
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I think the first thing I would do is try to determine where the slowdown is happening. I'm not a networking expert, but I'd try pinging internal to your network (local ip addresses, computer to computer) and see if it is slowing down with the local network traffic increase.

I'm not familiar with DSL, as I've never had it. But I know that my Cable connection can become bogged down if the upstream reaches max, regardless of what the downstream is at.
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#3 Apr 26 2013 at 8:40 PM Rating: Good
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There shouldn't be anything in the upstream except for little trace data here and there.

The Slowdowns happen anytime anybody attempts to download something (like streaming Youtube).

And God Forbid you download at max bandwidth, then the pings go up to 900+.

I don't think it is something within the LAN, to be honest.

Nope, just loaded up a youtube video and did some pinging:

I pinged Mom's Computer, got <1ms.
Pinged and got 156ms for the first ping and 330-360 on the rest of the pings.

EDIT: Closed the browser, pinged google again and got an avg of 82ms.

Edited, Apr 26th 2013 10:41pm by Lyrailis
#4 Apr 26 2013 at 9:12 PM Rating: Good
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By chance is your DSL modem rented from the ISP? (ie. You can exchange it for free if you call and tell them you are experiencing issues).

Seems to me like the issue lies in the modem itself or the service.
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#5 Apr 26 2013 at 9:37 PM Rating: Good
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Most likely the service; I've seen this happen with 3 different modems that they supplied, so I doubt it is the modem itself.

I'm more curious if there's a throttling method or something either in the modem or one of the switches that I could use to at least reduce the lag to something sensible. Maybe throttle her computer at 1Mbps or something? lol

1Mbps would still be plenty to watch anything not HD.
#6 Apr 26 2013 at 10:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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3MBps isn't really fast enough to accommodate a multi person network with someone watching lots of video streams, especially the high definition feeds. You may simply be saturating your bandwidth pipe. that being said, there are a couple of things to check on your end before you call the DSL company, and if the numbers you are reporting are occuring when no one else is downloading anything on the network, you almost certanly have an exuipment issue or a signal issue somewhere.

First off, DSL signals are very susceptable to noise, and to linequality issues. If you have a newer house with an in wall single gang phone socket, corrosion there shouldn't be much of an issue, but if you have one of the older style baseboard attached boxes, you may want to take a look at it and see if the lines have any greenish white corrosion visible. It's low voltage so you can open the cover and take a look safely if needed.

You also need to make sure you have DSL line filters on all the other devices in the house except the modem. that will prevent your phone system for example, from sending signal noise around your local phone lines inside the house and causing a high latancy condition due to signal loss.

If both those things are in place and correct, you'll want to take a look at your network equipment itself. There may be a firmware update for the router. if it is a particularily old router, it might be failing. there is essentially a small computer inside a router that does the signal processing on the incoming stream from your modem. A simple test to see if it is the issue will be to plug the modem directly into the computer temporarily and check your latancy numbers. You may need to do an ipconfig /release and then ipconfig /renew (or a comptuer restart will also work) to get signal after taking the router out of the loop. If the signal is still bad at that point, you have an issue with the modem or the incoming DSL signal and will need to contact your dsl provider.

If the signal magically cleans up with the router out of the loop, you get to start investigatiing possible causes. Start with the simplest configuration possible, modem, to router, to 1 computer and test signal. then add the switch and test again. add computers and perephrials back in until the symptoms start up again. It may be that a power cycle of the router or switch will fix the issue entirely.

if you discover the router itself is the problem, unless it is a brand new one, I would reccommend just flat out replacing it. A newer faster router will give you less latancy anyways. Same thing with the switch, You can try a router firmware upgrade, but be careful as it is quite possible to turn your router into a paperweight via a failed firmware update.

If you are feeling adventurous, download a free program called "wireshark" and run it. that will tell you what your network traffic looks like and give you some insight into where the problem might be. Its a fairly complicated interface, but it doesn't take too long to figure out.

There is also the possibility that you have a virus infected computer somewhere on the network that is broadcasting a large amount of outbound traffic without your knowledge. if you find the issue onle reappears once you plug one of your computers back in, that should be your first assumption. It could also be a failed network card, but that is extremely rare.
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#7 Apr 26 2013 at 10:42 PM Rating: Good
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After googling for a couple hours, I've come to a couple conclusions:

1). I need to set up QoS to limit bandwidth on HTTP to about 90-95%
2). I have one of _the_ worst rated modems in existence (Sagem F@ST 1704).
3). Said modem has HORRIBLE QoS settings that nobody actually understands.

So basically... bleh. Might have to buy a freaking router to replace the 4-port switch, something that can use DD-WRT firmware since that actually works.

EDIT: I have an old SamKnows router sitting around; I found instructions on DD-WRT's wiki on how to flash it. Going to try that. If I "brick" the router, then no big loss; it wasn't really of any use to me anyways due to the fact it lags up the net every 2 hours with testing even after my 2 years of testing has been finished. If it works then I get an easy QoS solution that doesn't require me to buy anything.

Edited, Apr 27th 2013 1:44am by Lyrailis
#8 Apr 27 2013 at 1:27 PM Rating: Good
3,440 posts
Update: I'm going to try installing NetBalancer on my computer and try limiting Firefox and/or Flash and see if I still get good pings to google while loading a Youtube video.

If it works I'll do the same thing to her computer and we should be good unless dad logs on his (and tries downloading crap). He rarely logs on his tho, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. If it is, I can do the same thing to his computer too.

I came to this conclusion after thinking about all the work on trying to flash a router, trying to set up QoS that might have negative impacts on the entire network and the fact that I couldn't find any actual detailed step-by-step instructions on how exactly to limit certain stuff. Most websites say it is better to do it at computer level with a network bandwidth limiter (like this one).

I'll let you guys know how it works out!

Edited, Apr 27th 2013 3:28pm by Lyrailis
#9 Apr 28 2013 at 9:20 AM Rating: Good
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Good luck with flashing the old router and the NetBalancer. I wanted to chime in that it sounds like you're dealing with collision issues. Are your four computers on wireless or Ethernet? If so, is the wireless done through the switch or the antenna? We ran into an issue where if three people tried to use wireless at the same time on a 1 antenna router, it would be terrible for everyone. Also, your switch and/or router may not have proper collision handling programming. Every time a packet collides, it's kicked back, effectively doubling the amount of traffic on the network.

(It's annoying to have that happen on a home network, but it's an absolute disaster when a 24-port switch goes out in a medical office and half your devices start signally that they're offline once every twenty minutes - enough time to generate a stupid alert and an email from the MSP. Smiley: bah)

Edited, Apr 28th 2013 11:21am by Catwho
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#10 Apr 29 2013 at 3:15 PM Rating: Good
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No, I identified the problem: We're on a 3Mbps DSL and Youtube insists on using 100% of the bandwidth.

Of course when someone in the house attempts to watch YT, pings go way up because they're hogging all the bandwidth.

So, limiting Flash/Firefox (not sure if you can limit Flash separately) to 60-80% of max bandwidth should allow them to watch Youtube (we used to watch any non-HD back when we had 1.5Mbps just fine), but yet should leave bandwidth open for online games.

I've done a few tests with Livestream and it causes no lag whatsoever in WoW. The difference between Livestream and Youtube, is that watching your average Livestream is only about 500kbps (which leaves 2500 kbps open), whereas Youtube takes maximum bandwidth.
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