Question Massive range on RTT / unstable behavior with ethernet ?

Aug 24, 2021
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In short, my download and upload speeds are normal at 400 downloads 20 upload. When I do speed tests/ pingplotter / play games, my average ping is generally at 'normal levels' 10-40. But very often it'll spike and have a large variance to it - which affects my gameplay as I teleport around corners/rubberband when I see these spikes on the graph in-game. Shots don't register cleanly and it feels as if I'm at a disadvantage where people see me first or hit me first.

I'm not sure if this is jitter or what the technical term for it would be, but when I look at other peoples' graphs they have generally stable numbers and a tight range on their latency, meanwhile mine goes anywhere from 10ms to 90-200.

First graph is a 'normal' graph of a stable connection from someone near me in NYC. The other 2 are mine where you can see the erratic behavior and high ping ceiling.
I also have a pingplotter graph of me pinging to 8.8.8.8. It shows something similar where the latency range from hops is huge, where it'll spike from 20 ping to 120 every like 8-15 seconds on every hop besides 1, and it's most noticeable on the 3-6 hops.

I have a tech coming soon, but I wondered if anyone knows what things could cause this kind of behavior or what it's called so I can better explain it to the tech.

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Below will be stats about my computer/network and things I've done to trouble shoot:

Network: Spectrum/Charter Internet w/ Ethernet, SAGEMCOM FAST 5280 Router
ASUS X570 GAMING PLUS (WIFI) motherboard, Exclusive Realtek® L8200A Gigabit Ethernet LAN port on it.
Windows 10
Only 3-4 devices on it usually, 2 phones and my computer + tv, but even during non-peak hours (1-5AM) I still have this issue so I don't think congestion in my house or neighborhood is the issue.

I've made sure I have all drivers up to date, reinstalled multiple times as I messed with things like network adapter properties etc.
I've tried various cmd command fixes with netsh commands etc., various DNS servers, TCP optimizers, Clean boots, pings/tracerts to see if it was an issue with my cable/router etc. My understanding issues in hop 1 are errors with a cable or router, hop 2 are issues with you and your isp.
So far any tweaks I've made I've undone by reinstalling drivers or setting to windows defaults because they either A) caused packet loss, B) slowed my download speeds dramatically or C) had no effect so I figured I should just undo them.

If you have any questions about my spec or need more pics of something let me know and I will update my thread. Thanks.
 
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I will first assume you are not using wifi since that is the most common cause of this problem.

Check that you do not have any form of so called "gamer" network software installed. Asus many times bundles this with their motherboards. You also see it bundled with video cards. Anything that claims it can affect QoS or priority of traffic is suspect. You should remove any software like this they all seem to cause strange issues.

Latency spikes are almost always due to some kind of congestion. Some device is holding the packet in a buffer waiting to send it for some reason. It could be a cpu bottleneck or a connection overload. It is unlikely it is your machine...unless of course you have that gamer network software installed.

Your pingplotter does not actually show any real problems. From what I can tell you jitter is actually very good. It does not seem to spike.

In some ways I wish pingplotter forced people to have to go to a training class before they used the tool. You see people all the time complaining about problems with intermediate hops but have no actual issue to the end hop.

A real problem will start in say hop 3 and then show the same problem many times getting worse in every hop past it including the final hop. Anything else is related to the fact that router in the internet are designed to pass traffic first and then respond to testing traffic. So they will wait until they have spare time to respond to ping and trace. Many also have limits on how much of this traffic this will respond to to prevent denial of service attacks.

Your largest issue is your ISP will not fix a latency spike even if you prove it is their equipment. They only promise a data rate at best they do not guarantee any latency. If you were getting packet loss they might fix that.

In any case you are going to need better test data. You also need to remember that you can only fix hop 1 and maybe hop 2 with your ISP. The problem may actually be between ISP or in the game company ISP.

You might get lucky with ping plotter or you can do your own by opening a bunch of cmd windows and leave constant ping commends run.

What you are looking for would be

hop 1 max spike 10ms
hop 2 max spike 9ms
hop 3 max spike 200ms
hop 4 max spike 210 ms
hop 5 max spike 300ms
hop 6 max spike 250ms
.....
hop 20 max spike 300ms
destination max spike 220ms

This would mean hop 3 is causing the spike but since it is somewhere inside the ISP equipment it is unlikely you are going to get it fixed.
 
I suggest you look up "bufferbloat" as the solution to packets being held in buffers is to drop packets until this no longer occurs--this signals the upstream routers to slow down until their buffers no longer fill.

Cisco got PIE put into DOCSIS 3.1 which is better than nothing, and nothing may be what you have if supplied with ethernet to the premises.

The best solution is to use a router that has fq_coDel QoS in it like ASUS, Tomato-ARM or DD-WRT, or Cake as in OpenWRT. They are hybrid algorithms that discard packets from heavier streams to keep the buffers from filling, like PIE except not randomly--think of it as like a reverse "airtime fairness" where slower streams like games are rewarded, because heavy streams such as downloads tend to be less latency sensitive to retransmits.

If the buffers fill completely and they can hold 200ms worth of packets, then every packet will be delayed by 0.2 seconds while the buffer is full.
 
I suggest you look up "bufferbloat" as the solution to packets being held in buffers is to drop packets until this no longer occurs--this signals the upstream routers to slow down until their buffers no longer fill.

Cisco got PIE put into DOCSIS 3.1 which is better than nothing, and nothing may be what you have if supplied with ethernet to the premises.

The best solution is to use a router that has fq_coDel QoS in it like ASUS, Tomato-ARM or DD-WRT, or Cake as in OpenWRT. They are hybrid algorithms that discard packets from heavier streams to keep the buffers from filling, like PIE except not randomly--think of it as like a reverse "airtime fairness" where slower streams like games are rewarded, because heavy streams such as downloads tend to be less latency sensitive to retransmits.

If the buffers fill completely and they can hold 200ms worth of packets, then every packet will be delayed by 0.2 seconds while the buffer is full.
This is only true if he is exceeding his internet connection. If he is overloading a 400mbps internet connection he has much worse issue than simple bufferbloat.

If there is a bufferbloat issue farther into the network you can't fix it. Reducing your traffic will just allow other users to get more and still jamb the connection. None of those methods actually send any messages to remote router...the ISP would ignore them. What it does is manpulate things like the TCP window size so the remote SERVER that is sending the data slows down not the routers.

In addition when you have a very fast internet connection you can not use those algorithms on a consumer grade router they take too much cpu. You need a much more powerful device.

Until he can show that the problem is in hop 2 this doesn't matter.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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I will first assume you are not using wifi since that is the most common cause of this problem.

Check that you do not have any form of so called "gamer" network software installed. Asus many times bundles this with their motherboards. You also see it bundled with video cards. Anything that claims it can affect QoS or priority of traffic is suspect. You should remove any software like this they all seem to cause strange issues.

Latency spikes are almost always due to some kind of congestion. Some device is holding the packet in a buffer waiting to send it for some reason. It could be a cpu bottleneck or a connection overload. It is unlikely it is your machine...unless of course you have that gamer network software installed.

Your pingplotter does not actually show any real problems. From what I can tell you jitter is actually very good. It does not seem to spike.

In some ways I wish ping plotter forced people to have to go to a training class before they used the tool. You see people all the time complaining about problems with intermediate hops but have no actual issue to the end hop.

A real problem will start in say hop 3 and then show the same problem many times getting worse in every hop past it including the final hop. Anything else is related to the fact that router in the internet are designed to pass traffic first and then respond to testing traffic. So they will wait until they have spare time to respond to ping and trace. Many also have limits on how much of this traffic this will respond to to prevent denial of service attacks.

Your largest issue is your ISP will not fix a latency spike even if you prove it is their equipment. They only promise a data rate at best they do not guarantee any latency. If you were getting packet loss they might fix that.

In any case you are going to need better test data. You also need to remember that you can only fix hop 1 and maybe hop 2 with your ISP. The problem may actually be between ISP or in the game company ISP.

You might get lucky with ping plotter or you can do your own by opening a bunch of cmd windows and leave constant ping commends run.

What you are looking for would be

hop 1 max spike 10ms
hop 2 max spike 9ms
hop 3 max spike 200ms
hop 4 max spike 210 ms
hop 5 max spike 300ms
hop 6 max spike 250ms
.....
hop 20 max spike 300ms
destination max spike 220ms

This would mean hop 3 is causing the spike but since it is somewhere inside the ISP equipment it is unlikely you are going to get it fixed.
Hi thanks for the response.

I'll admit I wasn't too sure if the ping plotter was good or bad which is why I also included the RTT graph from my game.
The stable ping graph is from a twitch streamer I know that lives near me and has the same ISP. And the unstable ones are from me playing the same game at the same time (like 3AM)
The game has a bug right now where it randomly shows stats on the screen at launch and I got lucky to see his graph because usually people don't display it. But his graph made me realize that my RTT fluctuations aren't normal.

So yeah, essentially as you said, I'm just looking for ways to prove that there IS an issue and get better data to prove it's not just the games fault or something.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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I suggest you look up "bufferbloat" as the solution to packets being held in buffers is to drop packets until this no longer occurs--this signals the upstream routers to slow down until their buffers no longer fill.

Cisco got PIE put into DOCSIS 3.1 which is better than nothing, and nothing may be what you have if supplied with ethernet to the premises.

The best solution is to use a router that has fq_coDel QoS in it like ASUS, Tomato-ARM or DD-WRT, or Cake as in OpenWRT. They are hybrid algorithms that discard packets from heavier streams to keep the buffers from filling, like PIE except not randomly--think of it as like a reverse "airtime fairness" where slower streams like games are rewarded, because heavy streams such as downloads tend to be less latency sensitive to retransmits.

If the buffers fill completely and they can hold 200ms worth of packets, then every packet will be delayed by 0.2 seconds while the buffer is full.
I googled bufferbloat and found a test site at dslreports.com and this was the result I got:

During the downloads the bufferbloat goes up to like 990ms in the red zone, and the lowest is like 450ms which is still like maxing out the graph.
My uploads don't really show any signs of bloat.
bill001g mentioned this shouldn't be an issue unless I'm overloading my 400mbps but I'm not sure what this means? I pay for 400mbp/s but I get 480 consistently - from my understanding though that just means my ISP isn't 'policing' my speeds and it's normal to be like 10-20% faster than what you pay for.
Plus from my understanding - bufferbloat just means that my internet is being maxed out, which is what the test does - but I'm not sure if my internet is used that high when I'm playing a game.
 
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That site needs to be deleted. It is intentionally deceptive. Then again even if they explain things people don't read they just go "RED BAD"

That site will cause bufferbloat on any connection. It will overload any connection and of course you see bufferbloat. Bufferbloat is a good thing for any application except games every other application having bufferbloat increases file download speed and causes things like videos to not buffer as much.

The other option would be packet drops/loss. Games don't like that either.

What the site is really suppose to be used for is if you already know you have a overloaded internet connection and are getting bufferbloat. It allows you to test the router QoS configurations to see if you have minimized it. Most times you are better off using non technical methods to balance your traffic between users.

.................

So your first test is to open a cmd window and leave a ping run to 8.8.8.8 in the background. You goal is to see if you see actual network outages when the game claims issues. If they do not correspond it could be some issue in the game company ISP or between ISP. No way to fix this. The other is the game is telling lies. One very common one is that the game is busy running video stuff when a response packet comes in. It delays looking at the packet because it is busy but then blame this extra time on the network.

If you do see problems to 8.8.8.8 then I would try to ping other hops in the trace to try to find the first one that it happens in. You are in effect doing your own pingplotter but it is simpler to understand when you do it yourself.

The main problem you have is getting this fixed. The ISP does not promise any latency. It also has little to no effect on anything other than online games which makes them even more likely to not care. So you can try to find the node causing the problem and call the ISP but in general they will only care about packet loss.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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That site needs to be deleted. It is intentionally deceptive. Then again even if they explain things people don't read they just go "RED BAD"

That site will cause bufferbloat on any connection. It will overload any connection and of course you see bufferbloat. Bufferbloat is a good thing for any application except games every other application having bufferbloat increases file download speed and causes things like videos to not buffer as much.

The other option would be packet drops/loss. Games don't like that either.

What the site is really suppose to be used for is if you already know you have a overloaded internet connection and are getting bufferbloat. It allows you to test the router QoS configurations to see if you have minimized it. Most times you are better off using non technical methods to balance your traffic between users.

.................

So your first test is to open a cmd window and leave a ping run to 8.8.8.8 in the background. You goal is to see if you see actual network outages when the game claims issues. If they do not correspond it could be some issue in the game company ISP or between ISP. No way to fix this. The other is the game is telling lies. One very common one is that the game is busy running video stuff when a response packet comes in. It delays looking at the packet because it is busy but then blame this extra time on the network.

If you do see problems to 8.8.8.8 then I would try to ping other hops in the trace to try to find the first one that it happens in. You are in effect doing your own pingplotter but it is simpler to understand when you do it yourself.

The main problem you have is getting this fixed. The ISP does not promise any latency. It also has little to no effect on anything other than online games which makes them even more likely to not care. So you can try to find the node causing the problem and call the ISP but in general they will only care about packet loss.
Ok thank you, I'll work on this test instead and update on what I see.
I figured the bloat test was indicative of just high network usage but not practical for my issue with the game.

It sucks the ISP don't care about latency :// Is the only solution to get a different ISP? Or would I need to get a higher data plan? I have the tech coming tomorrow but I might just cancel it if it's not something he can fix. Don't want to have him come here and I don't even know 100% what the issue is.
 
More bandwidth does not reduce latency...unless you have overloaded it.

A game need well under 1mbps so it runs fine even on very small connections.

Your first step is to find which hop the problem starts at. Again look at the above post I made. You will see ping spikes start at some hop and then continue to the end including the server. You can use pingplotter to find this but it is hard to run it at the same time as you play the game. It is easier to run a bunch of ping windows.

Changing ISP tends to not be a option for most people. In some rare cases where you ISP has problems to the game company ISP you can use one of those "gamer" vpn services that buy private connection outside the internet to gamer server hubs. These tend to not have much affect for people that live in the EU or USA, more people that live in asia that have ISP that do not have access to the best undersea cable path.

If you continue to find no problems with ping type tools then you start to suspect the game.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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Just to update:
I canceled the tech because I didn't really have any proof for him to know what the fix was. The tests you gave me showed nothing wrong in my pings which I let run for a while as I played.
I reinstalled windows, reinstalled drivers, reset the router to factory settings and set it up again, still the same issue.
I tested on another computer with a different ethernet cord to see if it was anything related to my computer or wire, same issue.

So yeah I guess there's not much I can do. I was wondering if maybe getting a new 'gaming router' will fix this and if it doesn't I can return it but this just sucks because I feel like I'm the only one with this issue.
I asked various friends near me with the same ISP to test the game out themselves and they had no issue getting a stable ping graph. So yeah at this point I'm lost on what to do ://
Literally everything else works fine.

And even in the game my average ping still shows low, 20-40 ping, but on the graph, it's literally so unstable so its like overall I'm getting good "Average" ping, but in reality I'm teleporting, shots aren't registering during these micro spikes, and it just feels like people have an advantage on me that I never had an issue with before.
 
A "gaming" router is mostly a big scam.

I would first try to hook directly to your modem with no router. You likely will have to reboot the modem everytime you change what is plugged into it. This would show if it router. I forget if you verified the firmware levels on the router.

All a so called gaming router does is have some preconfigured QoS settings that favor certain types of game traffic. First QoS does nothing if you have not overloaded your connection. Since there is no contention no traffic is being buffered so there is no need to worry about which traffic you send first. On a connection like yours just turning the QoS feature on will cap your download speed to about 300mbps because of CPU load. Even worse most these gaming routers do not implement the only real form of QoS that works well. These are the methods that fix the bufferbloat issue.

Your testing though shows you do not have any need for QoS. Packets being buffered would show spikes in the ping command to hop 2.

What you start to suspect is that the game is telling lies when you can not find the problem with ping commands. Although it makes little sense a lot of people have fixed this by changing video settings. I would also check the event viewer. If you are taking drive errors it can easily cause lag in games.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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Hmm I understand.
So the Modem is a E31N2V1 Hitron modem from Spectrum/Charter
Router is a SAGEMCOM FAST 5280

The router doesn't come with any option to update firmware on the router page.
And the modem is not accessible in any way, which I assume is because it comes with voice lines too or something.

I plugged directly into the modem, reset it, did testing again - no difference. Same pings, same speeds, same performance in my game. So it's NOT the router's fault I guess.
Different video settings didn't change anything (3080, 5900x). No drive errors in event viewer either.

Do you think buying a new modem could be a potential fix then instead of a router?
I was looking into getting an ARRIS SURFboard SB6183
It's compatible with spectrum / my internet plan. The only reason I'm thinking of this is that the spectrum agent said she would said a tech to 'reprovision' my current modem as well as check out everything, and I also saw a Reddit post where someone with the E31N2V1 said he bought the SB6183 because the E31 modem was giving him issues, even when they replaced it with another one (although I don't know what his issues were). Supposedly the E31N2V1 uses the 'dreaded' puma 6 chip.
If a new modem isn't the solution then I don't know... I guess I'll just have a tech come anyways just in case and worst case scenario I waste their time, but maybe they'll find something.
Anyways, thanks for your help so far in helping me diagnose this.

//random info - not important//
I don't think it's a matter of the game telling lies for 2 reasons: The main one is that I FEEL the difference. Sure, if a ping isn't a stable 30ms and is bouncing from 20-50 it might not be the end of the world (although still not ideal), but when it starts to bounce to 70-120+ range even for 1 second, it can severely impact my reaction time. I play at a high level in a tactical FPS and besides obvious symptoms like rubberbanding, hit reg, delayed effects, I feel like people are out-reacting me despite me having a 150ms avg reaction time. I already understand the intricacies of networking in regards to 'peekers advantage' and how to play around with stuff like that, but I feel the unstable ping definitely makes an already difficult environment even more unpredictable in regards to what I see on my screen as well as how others see me. And that's the only thing I feel explains the struggles I've been having for the past month or two.

Plus it doesn't make sense for only ME to have that issue if it was a game-telling lies issue. Surely other people on the same ISP in the same area as me, or other people online would have similar graphs if it was just the game's fault / it had a weird way of displaying ping measurements. But literally every example I've gathered from people showing me their ping graphs had a stable solid straight blue and grey line that was either practically overlapping each other or parallel but basically touching. So it has to be something wrong.
 
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Almost all issues with modem are packet loss not small delay variations. If that device has voice ports it is likely some form of router and not just a modem. The default IP for almost any modem is 192.168.100.1. You would have to look up what is the default id and password. There is nothing you can change in pretty much any modem but most ISP will let you look at the information. There are a number of screens that show signal levels and error counts etc. A modem will not delay traffic is just drops it if there are errors.

The puma stuff is very old information. Again you have "gamers" cutting and pasting stuff they have no clue what means. Kinda like the bufferbloat stuff. Intel patched the puma bug years ago. Almost every ISP pushed this patch to any modem on their network and all newer modems came with software above that level from the factory. Part of the reason for the confusion is it appears the guys who wrote the testing tool now felt unimportant and tweaked the tool so it could still detect the problem. So again you have a tool that shows some evil red messages but the traffic it is using to cause the issue does not represent actual traffic. Games are no longer affected by the puma bug.

The problem is every test you have done says it is not the network but the game insists it is. I am not sure if this was suggested. Does your machine have any kind of "gamer" network priority or QoS software installed. This many times comes bundled with motherboards or video cards. This stuff causes all kinds of strange issues but you know it if says "gamer" on it that must make is better.
 
Aug 24, 2021
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No, I don't have any of that gamer stuff on. I used to have the Asus TurboLan which I uninstalled after I saw how many people said it was bad (as you mentioned).
I also used to have ExitLag which I also have uninstalled a while ago. The only other thing I did was use the speedguides TCP Optimizer, but again I've set everything to windows default.
This is why I also reinstalled network drivers, and even windows, just to make sure if those apps changed anything it would be reverted back to default since sometimes settings can still be changed even if you uninstall them (moreso for ExitLag).
I used to get constant packet loss in-game. Like instead of a minor spike occasionally or a flat 0% packetloss graph, it would be just as erratic as my ping graph is, fluctuating constantly from 1%-15% packetloss. To this day I don't know what the issue was. It could have been network adapter settings I changed trying to 'optimize it'. It could've been the ISP. Not sure, but it has stopped doing that for a while now so that's not a big concern for me anymore.

I tried accessing the modem at 192.168.100.1 when I was connected directly to it, no luck. I did IP Config and also tried connecting to the default gateway to see if that worked, no luck.
From google, it seems Spectrum has prevented people from accessing the modem interface for the E31N2V1 so I can't even do something as simple as look at the signals.


So guess I'm kind of defeated at this point. The only thing I can do is keep doing things like ping tests and hope for some abnormalities to show up but it seems like everything is fine, the ping in game for some reason just can't handle a constant stable connection or keep a low range in variation. As you said, I can't really change ISPs because spectrum controls this whole neighborhood, and they don't care about things like latency. I'm getting good speed test results and not getting packet loss (anymore. I used to 3 months ago but it stopped on its own).

I would like to test this in other games but I'm not sure how to emulate the same RTT graph on my other games. If another game shows my ping, it'll most often just show the average ping which is often at normal levels, but I need it to show the raw ping updating every millisecond like the game I'm having issues with does. But not many games do that because it's often not that important, only matters in a competitive environment.
Regardless though, even if it is an issue ONLY with this game and me, it's still not normal behavior because as I reiterate, no one else seems to have this massive range of ping from 20-70 and occasionally spiking to 130. Everyone has a straight line with a ping being at like 20 +- 5ms. or 53-57ms. Meanwhile, I'm at 30-130ms.

Conclusion:
Issue happens only on my network (no one with same isp near me has this problem in game, and neither do people with other isps but ofc that doesn't matter - not a fair comparison).
It's not based on my router, even direct modem connection has it.
Not based on my computer, other computer has same issue even with a different ethernet cord.
No abnormal pingtest/tracerts.
Down/Up speeds optimal.
No software / hardware errors to cause instability as far as I'm aware.
No QoS/Gaming apps.
 

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