Question Online Teaching Slow on Home Network

kingjim9

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Jan 3, 2010
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Hello! My gf teaches English as a second language online using her computer. The teaching platform uses an app to stream her webcam/microphone as well as display the students webcam, sound and the lesson plan/slides.

She’s been reporting that when using our home Wi-Fi it struggles to load the interactive slides. Everything else seems fine. The app displays her ping which is stable around 20. When using our Wi-Fi the slides sometimes either don’t load, load half way, or just take a while to load. She can switch over to the public XfinityWi-Fi network and the slides load just fine, but her ping is unstable, which can cause the app to halt the lesson.

We do not have any other issues with our Wi-Fi, it streams just fine. We pay for the extreme pro internet (900 Mbps down/20 Mbps up), actual speed test on her computer shows 270 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up. We also don’t have any other heavy internet usage happening while she is teaching.

She doesn’t have any issues with her computer/setup when teaching from her friends house (usually on Xfinity Wi-Fi) or other family members house (on their private Wi-Fi).

She said the problem is recent (the last 3 months), but it seems to be getting worse. We use a NetGear CM1150V modem and a NetGear R6700 router. Her computer is a Dell Inspiron 14 7000 laptop, intel core i7, 8 gb RAM, which all exceeded the minimum system requirements for the app. She has tried clearing her cache in the app, but this doesn’t fix the issue.

I bought a USB 3.0 to RJ45 networking adapter and a CAT6 patch cable so that she can try to hardwire into the router. The speeds have substantially increased, the ping remains the same. The problem of failing to load the interactive display still persists though.

Can anyone recommend some troubleshooting/diagnostics I can try on the laptop, modem, or router? I'm stumped by this because I witnessed her use other wireless networks just fine. When hardwiring didn't do anything it really makes me think something is up with my router and/or modem. Just looking for some advice here before I dive down the rabbit hole.
 
It is strange that it only does it for that function and does not have other problems. You would think a network issue of any kind would affect maybe the webcam or something else.

You have already done the biggest thing you can try which is to use ethernet. I would continue that if you can, wifi always is subject to strange random problems many times because a neighbor started using their wifi.

Because it works on other internet connection makes it less likely it is software but it still could be.

I would try the standard open a cmd window in the backgound. Let a constant ping run to 8.8.8.8. If there are real network problem you would expect the ping to get loss or maybe huge lag spikes
 

kingjim9

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Jan 3, 2010
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Thanks for the reply! It's very frustrating indeed since there are no known other issues and that it works fine on other networks, including Wi-Fi.

I didn't try to factory reset the network gear yet, but I did look through it and see that there aren't any parental controls or firewall settings either.

It's also so strange that she can disconnect from ethernet and connect to the (semi) public XfinityWifi, load the content & re-join the ethernet connection and it works just fine until the next class. Even stranger that it's only on our home network and other networks seem to work fine.

I'll try run the ping cmd on her next class and see if there are any spikes. I also had looked through the RAM usage during one of her classes and tried disabling all other apps (like dropbox) while she taught. I also tried just loading the classroom without windows firewall and windows defender but the problem persisted on the home network.
 

kingjim9

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Code:
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Alright so I tested out a powershell command to make sure I can log it and had some interesting results. There are a lot of "Request Timed out." in there. This is from a different computer using the same Wi-Fi network. She teaches some classes tonight starting in about a half hour, so I'll see how it looks on her PC too. Any thoughts on the results from my machine?
 
Likely means the internet is dropping. It is not likely a problem with the wifi normally you see large latency spikes as well as packet loss. Here you have really good latency just lots of loss.

I would call you ISP and see if you get lucky and they can see something. Can be tricky when it is intermittent.

The next step is to try to find where the drop is.

You run tracert 8.8.8.8

This will likely show nothing interesting, the goal is to get the IP of the router in the path.

You now ping the different hops. Hop 1 will be your router and you likely will see no issues. Hop 2 tends to be the first ISP router and represent the connection between your house and the ISP. Although it could be cables in your house or your modem it is much more likely cables outside your house. Hop 3 and beyond is someplace in your ISP or maybe even another ISP. You kinda hope the loss is not in one of those nodes.
 

kingjim9

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So in case this complicates things anymore....here is the ping log from the hardwired PC while she was teaching. This is through three classes, starting at 8:30, 9:00 and 9:30. She reported that all three classes had trouble loading content (always at the beginning of class) causing her to refresh and/or leave the classroom and re-join, but 9:00 gave her the most issues. Ultimately she wasn't able to load the first two slides at all after several refreshes, and leaving/re-joining.

The pings through the hardwired connection (with USB networking adapter) all seemed good, with no losses.

I had to upload the log to google drive as the code itself was tripping the character max for a post. Please let me know if the link doesn't work or if there's a better way of sharing the log: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ymf8MrfH2kkcaPCISAl1IpLq55qBl2IO/view?usp=sharing
 
All that really matters in data like this is the last couple lines where it shows the summary. It does matter a bit when you get small number of loss. A loss here and there is not good but it is not as bad as say 3 or 4 in a row and then good the rest of the time.

This does make it harder. What is so strange is if it was software it should have the same issue on other internet connections. The ping command though says you have no issues with the internet.

Where do the slides reside. I assume they are on the local hard drive and then somehow uploaded into whatever app sends them to the remote clients.

Not sure were to go next. If this was my machine I would run wireshark and hope to get lucky and see some kind of errors. Many times though it takes knowledge of how the program is sending and receiving data so you can tell. Data loss or retransmissions will be obvious but if feed the traffic say via UDP then it is all hidden in the application. Wireshark though take a bit of time to learn, by default you get massive amounts of data and it is not always easy to just scan through unless there is a very obvious problem.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Try using Task Manager and Resource Monitor to observe system performance. Run as admin.

Use both tools but only one tool at a time.

I suggest starting with Resource Monitor and the Network tab.

Keep an eye on Processes with Network Activity and Network Activity.

First observe performance without the teaching app running. Then observe with the teaching app running but not doing any slides. Lastly observe while trying to load interactive slides. Allow the laptop to stabilize between each set of observations.

You can go through that process using wifi and then again later using wired. Check other tabs as you wish.

The objective being to discover some change in system/laptop performance that occurs when the slides are being loaded.

What resource is being used, to what extent (%), and what is using any given resource. Especially when using wifi.

Since it is a laptop you could do the same testing over at the other family member's house and/or on other wifi networks such as the mentioned semi-public Xfinity WIFI.

It is a lot to do and you must be methodical. However, after a couple of runs you may be able to simply or otherwise reduce the amount of effort involved.
 

kingjim9

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This does make it harder. What is so strange is if it was software it should have the same issue on other internet connections. The ping command though says you have no issues with the internet.

Where do the slides reside. I assume they are on the local hard drive and then somehow uploaded into whatever app sends them to the remote clients.
It's strange and frustrating since the only thing different between when it works fine and doesn't work is the network gear.

The slides are actually on the remote server. The company she works for provides the lessons and the app. She goes into the app and starts the virtual classroom and then whatever lesson the student is on loads the slides for that particular lesson. She can't start the virtual classroom unless there is an actual class scheduled, but she can look at her schedule and view the lesson slides ahead of time. Fortunately it does the same thing when viewing the lesson slides so I'm able to test it. It's usually just a white-screen or ever now and then a "Loading interactive content" message. But switching to the XfinityWifi network or even using her hotspot from her iPhone eliminates the white-screen or delay (slides load quicker). The only thing is that without being able to enter the classroom, I can't test under webcam & mic conditions....I probably could load the camera app through windows though so at least the webcam is active.

Try using Task Manager and Resource Monitor to observe system performance. Run as admin.

Use both tools but only one tool at a time.

I suggest starting with Resource Monitor and the Network tab.

Keep an eye on Processes with Network Activity and Network Activity.

First observe performance without the teaching app running. Then observe with the teaching app running but not doing any slides. Lastly observe while trying to load interactive slides. Allow the laptop to stabilize between each set of observations.

You can go through that process using wifi and then again later using wired. Check other tabs as you wish.

The objective being to discover some change in system/laptop performance that occurs when the slides are being loaded.

What resource is being used, to what extent (%), and what is using any given resource. Especially when using wifi.

Since it is a laptop you could do the same testing over at the other family member's house and/or on other wifi networks such as the mentioned semi-public Xfinity WIFI.

It is a lot to do and you must be methodical. However, after a couple of runs you may be able to simply or otherwise reduce the amount of effort involved.
I'll look at using resource monitor too....I've used task manager before to do this and the only thing I noticed was the RAM usage was hovering around 70%-80% while the app was in use. That's when I had her close all non-essential apps (like Dropbox, chrome) it brought the RAM usage down some, but the issue was still there. I know when she teaches she typically likes to have chrome open search and share some links/photos.

Is there anyway to log resource usage to a file so it can be viewed later after she teaches? 8GB RAM is the minimum requirement for the app per the company. I'd find it odd if it were an issue with her laptop, given it seems to work fine elsewhere. I actually had her just load some slides prior to typing this and it worked normally then to, so it's not even full time.


Something else I noticed last night in regards to the original packet losses on the Wi-Fi ping test (post #4 of this thread), it appears that the packet loss is occurring between the PC and the router. I ran a couple of different ping logs. The first was just normal usage (surfing websites and organizing some files - locally but they also sync to OneDrive) and sent 600 packets and experienced 23% loss. The second log I shut everything down only having PowerShell open sending 60 packets and experienced 0% loss. The third test I opened a web browser and played a video on YouTube in the background, again sending 60 packets and experiencing 40% loss.

All tests were done on battery only and I didn’t experience any noticeable issues with the PC during this time. The YouTube video played fine. Given this, I’m wondering if there is some sort of logic my PC is doing with the built-in wireless network adapter where it is prioritizing certain traffic and ignoring the ping traffic at times to favor what it perceives the user would want (such as quick loading or lag free video)?

Here is a screenshot of the ping statistic for all three ping logs: View: https://imgur.com/a/0wxCQ8y


I'll look into wireshark a bit too today. If anything maybe I can grab some logs while she teaches at different networks and try to compare and see if there are any differences.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Wondering:

"it appears that the packet loss is occurring between the PC and the router. "

Are you able to swap in a known working (at speed, no problems, etc..) Ethernet cable between PC and the router?

Inspect the plugs and ports for sign of damage and/or debris.
 

kingjim9

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Sorry there was a lot going on in my last post. There aren’t any losses when connected through Ethernet.

Only on Wi-Fi were there losses between the pc and router. Even stranger the losses seem to be inversely proportional to usage. With 0% losses when the pc was at idle, 23% losses during normal usage, and 40% losses while watching a YouTube video. All this with no noticeable effects to the user (the video played just fine).

This led me to wonder if Dell was using this as a strategy for its wireless card. Something where it says “this ping command is less important than the video, give priority bandwidth to the video at the expense of the ping command”.

On another note, I unchecked the box for “disable IGMP proxying” and she reported no issues during this mornings classes.
 
IGMP is related to multicast. Think of it as if broadcast tv was sent over the internet only to the people that were watching it and only 1 copy maximum was sent on each link.....but they never implemented multicast in the internet.

Multicast maybe used in corporate networks but it is becoming less used. There is lots of bandwidth so sending each user their own copy from the server is not as big a deal.

It is extremely difficult to send muticast over vpn. I suspect changing the IGMP does nothing at all.

Can you use just ethetnet if it solves the problem. What you describe is extremely common on wifi. There is no form of QoS on wifi in fact that is whole issue with wifi. There is no actual control over which device transmits and you get the standard half duplex issues.

I would not be surprised you get more loss as usage goes up. There is only so much bandwidth and the more you use the more chance you take that data is going to get damaged. It can be many things but in general it is interference from other people use wifi. It could be other device in your house but it is much more likely it is your neighbors wifi devices. There is little you can do, you try other channels and/or try using 2.4 or 5 to see if there is a difference. Maybe forcing a 20mhz radio band might work better. It will be much slower than using 40 or 80mhz bands but you have less change of interference.....well maybe your nieghbors likely are using every possible channel.

All you can do is try to see if you get lucky and can change stuff. You really want to use ethernet if you can or consider moca or powerline networks instead.
 

kingjim9

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Thanks! I googled IGMP before messing with the settings, found some random article that recommended it on for gaming so I just took a chance on a whim. My plan was to just factory reset it to see if that helps, but looking through the settings I wanted to try something before going to the extreme.

I should note too that I also updated to the latest firmware too.

She has been using Ethernet for about a month, it was still creating issues with loading the interactive slide content in the classroom. From our ping test log the other day, seems there were no losses even though she reported having issues loading the slides.

today was the first day she reported things loaded perfect on Ethernet. Either from the IGMP or from the firmware.
 
Many gamers are dumb as rocks when it comes to tech. They just just search google and find garbage they don't really understand and post it as a solution. Soon you have 10 people that posted the same lie/garbage and now everyone thinks its true.
This is why you also see so much confusion on port forwarding because they don't understand the different concept of allowing ports through a firewall and ports that must be setup to pass through the nat...ie port forwarding.

You will never have IGMP messages in the first place if your router is not configured to run mulitcast...and home routers do not really have the ability even if it was supported on the internet.

I guess turning off stuff you can never use is a good idea but it likely makes no difference at all. Maybe there is a bug when it is turned on but i doubt it.

Hard to say many of these things you just get lucky and fix. Microsoft has so much crap and very little ability to troubleshoot. It would be so nice if they gave you a basic OS with everything disabled by defualt and you had to turn of what you need......but the lazy people just want magic boxes.
 

kingjim9

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Jan 3, 2010
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That’s true…it was a pure act of desperation on my part to try toggle of that setting. I’m sure the firmware update helped something too if there was a known glitch somewhere in the system.

It would be nice if the app/company had a tech support system too for this. Today could have just been an odd day where things worked. Time will tell as she teaches some more classes this week.
 

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