Question Packet loss and high ping on wired connection.

Mar 28, 2019
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About a month and a half ago everyone on my home network started experiencing TERRIBLE packet loss and high pings. We had 2 techs come out and test our wires only to tell us that there should be no problem with our speeds/quality. I started doing some research myself to try to figure out the cause of this packet loss and overall garbage quality.

I've pinged my router to make sure it isn't a hardware issue and see no dropped packets or ping fluctuations. When I pinged google there would sometimes be dropped packets but other times there would be absolutely none. I stumbled across a thread talking about Killer Ethernet Network Adapter having issues with Windows 10, so I removed the software/drivers and installed only the drivers. Still no change.

I then found out about pingplotter and started running some tests. When pinging google everything would seem fine as long as I was the only one using the internet at the time, but as soon as someone in my house started browsing the internet or streaming/downloading the packet loss would go nuts. The packet loss always starts from the second hop and persists to the final hop.

We had a third tech come out and I showed him the pingplotter results and he confirmed that it was on my ISP's end but said there was little he could do about it. What I find extremely odd is that our internet has been fine for the last 6 years and this problem only started about a month and a half ago..

I am on 5/0.5 DSL plan with BellMTS. Upgrading is not an option sadly.
The techs always want to lower our speeds to 3/0.5 (which we have done 3 times now) and the packet loss and ping problems only get worse, along with an even slower download speed.

At this point I am completely at a loss... The last month has been so stressful trying to find a solution and I'm pretty much at my wits end.

I've also set up QOS on my n66u with merlin firmware and see only slight improvements, however gaming is still impossible.

Any help is GREATLY appreciated!

Modem: Bridged Actiontec Gateway
Router: Asus RT-N66U w/ latest Merlin firmware
 

taeioum

Upstanding
Jan 27, 2019
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Hey man,

I've seen techs in Holland trying the same "lowering speed to improve quality" trick in a couple situations and it has never resolved anything. Have they replaced your modem and/or the wiring though? Have you factory reset your router? You may have updated the firmware, but a setting could be messing things up. You may have tried using a different router?
 
I see you have done all the things that are normally recommended to people on this forum that ask this question.

On hop2 with such a small connection you can easily overload the connection which causes high ping and packet loss. You may not even see the connection go to 100% because of how the rates are calculated. They use average rates and so if for 1 second you were at 100% and for 9 seconds you were at 0% it would still show a 10% usage rate even though it is very different than actually using 10% for each of the 10 seconds it is averaged over. This is a extreme example but it illustrates the problem of what is called "burst rate".

I have not seen a method to set the time it is averaged over..which is how burst rate is calculated... on any but commercial router. Problem is you are still very limited because you can only set it so low because a single 1500 byte packet can exceed the burst rates on small bandwidth connections.

The only option I see is to try to set the default traffic to some very low bandwidth usage...say 25% of the link. This should in effect reduce the spikes but it also may make it completely unusable. It almost would be easier to set it to block all traffic other than the game traffic and turn it off after.

On dsl there are a couple of ways the ISP can configure things. This maybe why they recommended the 3/.05 speeds. I am forgetting the details today but there are setting that let the connection run faster but you get more errors. This is one of those DSL options that most the time the ISP does not even mention.

When you can only get that slow of DSL it means you are very near the maximum distance limits. The ISP have improved the amount of data they can encode into dsl but they really haven't done much to improve the distance it can go.
 
Mar 28, 2019
9
0
10
0
Hey man,

I've seen techs in Holland trying the same "lowering speed to improve quality" trick in a couple situations and it has never resolved anything. Have they replaced your modem and/or the wiring though? Have you factory reset your router? You may have updated the firmware, but a setting could be messing things up. You may have tried using a different router?
I forgot to mention that the first tech replaced the splitter and some wiring, but he said that likely wouldn't solve the issue. He also replaced my outdated modem with the Actiontec gateway but that made no difference. I have factory reset my router twice, but not since the firmware update. Would that mess with my firmware if I were to factory reset it now? I tried using the gateway by itself and had the same problems that I have now with the gateway bridged and the n66u.
 
Mar 28, 2019
9
0
10
0
I see you have done all the things that are normally recommended to people on this forum that ask this question.

On hop2 with such a small connection you can easily overload the connection which causes high ping and packet loss. You may not even see the connection go to 100% because of how the rates are calculated. They use average rates and so if for 1 second you were at 100% and for 9 seconds you were at 0% it would still show a 10% usage rate even though it is very different than actually using 10% for each of the 10 seconds it is averaged over. This is a extreme example but it illustrates the problem of what is called "burst rate".

I have not seen a method to set the time it is averaged over..which is how burst rate is calculated... on any but commercial router. Problem is you are still very limited because you can only set it so low because a single 1500 byte packet can exceed the burst rates on small bandwidth connections.

The only option I see is to try to set the default traffic to some very low bandwidth usage...say 25% of the link. This should in effect reduce the spikes but it also may make it completely unusable. It almost would be easier to set it to block all traffic other than the game traffic and turn it off after.

On dsl there are a couple of ways the ISP can configure things. This maybe why they recommended the 3/.05 speeds. I am forgetting the details today but there are setting that let the connection run faster but you get more errors. This is one of those DSL options that most the time the ISP does not even mention.

When you can only get that slow of DSL it means you are very near the maximum distance limits. The ISP have improved the amount of data they can encode into dsl but they really haven't done much to improve the distance it can go.
I understand that DSL is very limited, especially with such a low speed. What I don't understand is why everything was fine for a solid 6-7 years up until about a month and a half ago.. It seems something has changed on their end to cause these problems. The setting that allows faster speed with more errors is very interesting.. maybe they switched me to that from the other setting? That might explain the instability lately.
 
You phone line likely has a large number of splices in it between your house and the telco. Most these are in those boxes you see along the road in front of people houses. All it takes it water to get in and slightly degrade one of those connections and your performance will drop. The ISP would have to go box by box and examine them. I know they did this when I was getting hum on phone line many years ago when people still used analog phone lines.

It really is too bad the huge areas in even large modern countries like the USA there are such large areas that you can not even get crappy dsl service.

Maybe if you are lucky there is a cell provider that has a plan that you can afford and has good service. Games work ok on LTE based systems that are not overloaded. If we ever see 5G service for a rate that we can afford this will be the solution to rural internet.
 
Mar 28, 2019
9
0
10
0
You phone line likely has a large number of splices in it between your house and the telco. Most these are in those boxes you see along the road in front of people houses. All it takes it water to get in and slightly degrade one of those connections and your performance will drop. The ISP would have to go box by box and examine them. I know they did this when I was getting hum on phone line many years ago when people still used analog phone lines.

It really is too bad the huge areas in even large modern countries like the USA there are such large areas that you can not even get crappy dsl service.

Maybe if you are lucky there is a cell provider that has a plan that you can afford and has good service. Games work ok on LTE based systems that are not overloaded. If we ever see 5G service for a rate that we can afford this will be the solution to rural internet.
I really appreciate the info, Bill. I phoned my ISP earlier and asked whether I am on Interleaved or Fast Path and they confirmed that I am on Fast Path. Would switching back to Interleaved show any improvement packet loss and stability wise?
 

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