Question Packet loss for over 10+ MONTHS!

May 6, 2020
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So as the title says, I have literally been struggling/dealing with packet loss for over the last 10+ months..
I am not going to sit here and complain to you guys on how mad and frustrated I am at my home networking situation as I can’t do my competitive gaming or stream and make extra income, but I am here trying to get help to fix it and solve this most importantly.

My setup in my home(as I live with my mother and she is in control of the whole setup), consists of 2 parts to simply put it and I feel like this is important information to include -
My mother has her own workstation in one room(call it the office room). In the office room is where the main Xfinity/Comcast(my ISP) gateway is kept.
Since COVID started, my mother works from home in the office room and I am unable to move the gateway or do any tests on the gateway as she just does not want me messing with her area(understandable).

So basically that lead me to getting my own setup/equipment in my bedroom for gaming. And just to specify before anything else, we do have 2 different devices(the Xfinity gateway & my third-party modem in my room)on the same connection and same plan that somehow Xfinity allowed us to do.
My setup:
Coaxial cable(one end) into coaxial cable port in the wall -> coaxial cable(other end) into ARRIS ‘SB6190’ cable modem. Cat-6 Ethernet cable(one end) into modem Ethernet port. Ethernet cable(other end) into gaming PC Ethernet port.

My Xfinity Internet plan advertises us to get 600mbps download/15mbps upload. There are no issues as far as speeds go - I did a speed test a few moments ago and go 697mbps download/14.2mbps upload with a ping of 12.

Just for more general information, the games that I play are Call of Duty Warzone, Call of Duty Cold War & Fortnite. Fortnite, specifically gives me the absolute worst of problems as far as packet loss and ping spikes.
Typically I get packet loss spikes every few seconds and the packet loss at times(maybe every minute or less), will go from 1-10% packet loss all the way up to 50% packet loss at its worst which is beyond unplayable to the point that I can’t even move in the game at all for at least a few seconds at a time. It’s also worth noting that I only get packet loss on the upload side most of the time.

In Warzone I get packet loss, but it’s not as frequent as in Fortnite. Meaning that the spikes are not happening as often throughout each game and they generally are not as bad of spikes even though it still does happen pretty bad occasionally.
Also in Cold War since the game released in 11/2020, I have not seen much issues with packet loss at all to be honest. There have been maybe only a handful of times that I’ve experienced it on this game in over 4+ months which is very acceptable compared to the other games.

Before I am recommended to do anything(which I am willing to do), I have tried some things in the past. As I currently only have a modem to work with due to budget issues within the past year, I have had other products that I have tried - Netgear Nighthawk XR500 gaming router with QoS capabilities(tried to optimize QoS when I had it). I also had a Netgear CM1000 modem at the same time as the Nighthawk connected to each other and I still had the same exact issue that I do today.

I have also ran PingPlotter tests on multiple occasions which showed packet loss all over the place when I ran the traceroute to Fortnite’s servers/Amazon’s servers. When I ran a traceroute to Google for example, no packet loss shows. I will run another test to show my results if requested

I have also downloaded and purchased software that is called ‘EXITLAG’. It’s about $7 per month and up until recently has it stopped helping me. I’m not sure if you classify it as a VPN service or what, but it has many different settings that you can optimize and in the past it has almost COMPLETELY eliminated all of my packet loss. The only bad thing about it is that from my experience you’re ping will raise slightly, but it’s obviously because you’re not on a 100% optimal server like you would be without it using your normal route. I am not sure if my settings are just off on the software and if I have to reset everything back to default but it did work fine at one point.

None of my cables that I use are faulty I’m pretty sure as they were all purchased very recently.

Not sure of any other information that is needed to provide, but if anyone can please HELP me I would be greatly appreciative of you, thanks!!
 
It is strange they allow 2 modems. Do you pay extra for that. You could use MoCA devices instead which in effect allows you to use the coax cable as a ethernet cable to the main modem/router. This will not fix your problem but it will save you money if you pay a extra monthly fee.

You have to do some more detailed testing with tracert and ping to various IP addresses. Things like pingplot can be confusing to interpret correctly.

Now if a vpn type program like exitlag fixes this it is highly unlikely you are going to find anything you can actually fix.

What this does is create a VPN path to some server on this companies network. It then from that server takes a different path to the game server.

Your data still must travel over your cables in the house, the modem. the connection to the ISP, all the ISP routers and maybe other ISP routers to finally get to the vpn server. It really doesn't matter if your data is VPN or direct game traffic it still must pass over these same devices. So if any of those devices has issues it will drop the vpn packet. Since your game data is inside the vpn packet it will be dropped also.

So what this means is there is no problem in any of the device in your house or connecting to your house. The problem is likely between ISP.

So lets say to get to the game server your data goes over some of these ISP. This is made up for illustration purposes. You can get the actual path with tracert.


Your ISP, ---level 3---telia---att---game company ISP.

Now lets say there is some issue between telia and att.

What a vpn like exitlag does is.

YourISP----level3----telia--vpn company---verizon---att---game company ISP.

So the data is no longer passing over some connection between telia and att.

This tends to be almost impossible to find it can be issue between routers within a ISP.

It is actually very rare for vpn programs like this to fix it. In most cases it just makes the latency higher. These type of programs help the most people that live in asia where some ISP do not have optimum access to undersea fiber...ie they are too cheap to pay for it.
 
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May 6, 2020
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So to answer your question about my ISP allowing 2 modems, I basically just called Xfinity back when I first got the Netgear CM1000 and they said that typically they do not allow it, but I waited on hold for a few minutes and the guy said he somehow figured out a way to have both devices run on the same network.
I am really not sure what he did exactly, but I wasn't complaining at all.

Months after that I no longer had the CM1000 modem and I went out and purchased a ARRIS 'SB6190' cable modem for my setup in my room to now find out within the last day since I’ve made this post here, that it most likely has a serious chipset(Puma 6) defect that could potentially be contributing to my latency issues and/or packet loss problems...
I had no idea about this but am now finding this out literally today, after having it for almost 5 months...

So within the last 24 hours since finding that information out about my current modem and doing a lot of research about what modem I should suit me the absolute best(based on my speeds, etc.), I went online and just purchased a brand new Netgear CM1000 as I had originally about one year ago.
Now I’m not going to say that this is going to fix the issue 100% but I definitely am not going to continue to use the ARRIS modem knowing what I said before.
I also had a $200 gift card to Best Buy that I got as a gift from Christmas a few months ago still laying around so I technically didn’t pay a single penny for it

I appreciate you explaining the VPN thing and showing an example. As far as ExitLag, it definitely does not fix it, but at one point it was helping eliminate a lot of the packet loss.
The problem that happens based on the amount of TCP/UDP routes that I manually input is that even if it completely eliminates the packet loss, I get these “drops” usually on the download side(as I look at the latency graph in Fortnite in real time), and I will freeze in game for at least 2-3 seconds, then it will go away and it’ll happen again pretty frequently.
Now I’m not sure of the “correct” amount of TCP/UDP routes to input based off of my network, etc.. because when I use the default settings I still tend to still get the same amount of packet loss as if I wasn’t even using ExitLag at all unfortunately.

My best results usually come from when I input 2 TCP/0 UDP or 2 TCP/2 UDP routes.. but like I said recently at least that doesn’t even curb the packet loss completely and even when it does I get that “drop” or freeze problem in game. Also, it is different in every game - but ExitLag will automatically set the routes to 1 TCP/1 UDP route for Fortnite just as an example with a high priority in route optimization(which is always recommended), and a route protocol of “ICMP”(and there are 5 other options as far as route protocol)...

I truly don’t know what any of this stuff means, but for example - a lot of competitive Fortnite players use ExitLag not to stop packet loss, but to just try to get their ping to the absolute lowest possible & what these players will use is 2 TCP/2 UDP routes with a route protocol of “UDP/TCP SYN”...
I’m sure it’s different for everyone though overall.
 
May 6, 2020
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So to answer your question about my ISP allowing 2 modems, I basically just called Xfinity back when I first got the Netgear CM1000 and they said that typically they do not allow it, but I waited on hold for a few minutes and the guy said he somehow figured out a way to have both devices run on the same network.
I am really not sure what he did exactly, but I wasn't complaining at all.

Months after that I no longer had the CM1000 modem and I went out and purchased a ARRIS 'SB6190' cable modem for my setup in my room to now find out within the last day since I’ve made this post here, that it most likely has a serious chipset(Puma 6) defect that could potentially be contributing to my latency issues and/or packet loss problems...
I had no idea about this but am now finding this out literally today, after having it for almost 5 months...

So within the last 24 hours since finding that information out about my current modem and doing a lot of research about what modem I should suit me the absolute best(based on my speeds, etc.), I went online and just purchased a brand new Netgear CM1000 as I had originally about one year ago.
Now I’m not going to say that this is going to fix the issue 100% but I definitely am not going to continue to use the ARRIS modem knowing what I said before.
I also had a $200 gift card to Best Buy that I got as a gift from Christmas a few months ago still laying around so I technically didn’t pay a single penny for it

I appreciate you explaining the VPN thing and showing an example. As far as ExitLag, it definitely does not fix it, but at one point it was helping eliminate a lot of the packet loss.
The problem that happens based on the amount of TCP/UDP routes that I manually input is that even if it completely eliminates the packet loss, I get these “drops” usually on the download side(as I look at the latency graph in Fortnite in real time), and I will freeze in game for at least 2-3 seconds, then it will go away and it’ll happen again pretty frequently.
Now I’m not sure of the “correct” amount of TCP/UDP routes to input based off of my network, etc.. because when I use the default settings I still tend to still get the same amount of packet loss as if I wasn’t even using ExitLag at all unfortunately.

My best results usually come from when I input 2 TCP/0 UDP or 2 TCP/2 UDP routes.. but like I said recently at least that doesn’t even curb the packet loss completely and even when it does I get that “drop” or freeze problem in game. Also, it is different in every game - but ExitLag will automatically set the routes to 1 TCP/1 UDP route for Fortnite just as an example with a high priority in route optimization(which is always recommended), and a route protocol of “ICMP”(and there are 5 other options as far as route protocol)...

I truly don’t know what any of this stuff means, but for example - a lot of competitive Fortnite players use ExitLag not to stop packet loss, but to just try to get their ping to the absolute lowest possible & what these players will use is 2 TCP/2 UDP routes with a route protocol of “UDP/TCP SYN”...
I’m sure it’s different for everyone though overall.
Just to expand on your reply, as you said - "You have to do some more detailed testing with tracert and ping to various IP addresses. Things like pingplot can be confusing to interpret correctly."

Please let me know what exact testing I should be doing(if you can provide links to them, that would be great too).
I am willing to do whatever is needed to fix this issue or at least fix it as much as possible and get as much information to show Xfinity, prior to calling up Xfinity to come out to my house as I want to be as prepared as possible!

One last thing about the ExitLag software - As you said it usually just makes the latency higher and I just wanted to confirm that is absolutely the case for me too. When I don't use the software(i.e. - CoD Cold War where I rarely have issues with packet loss), my latency is much lower compared to the other games I play.
 

TravisPNW

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Aug 26, 2020
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Not sure of any other information that is needed to provide, but if anyone can please HELP me I would be greatly appreciative of you, thanks!!
Didn't read your entire novel but will chime in and say that I was experiencing internet issues for a few weeks similar to what you described and Xfinity had a tech come out and diagnose the issue... he replaced a splitter that was behind the wall and said there were lose connections outside my place that he adjusted.

Internet worked fine for about a month... then I had the same problems start again. We are talking lag spikes... random drops... etc....This was less than a month ago. The only thing that fixed the issue was rebooting the router. My network would be fine again until the next random drop. I had purchased my own modem and router (Xfinity approved for my Gig speed connection) and had already swapped the router twice for a different brand. I wasn't buying cheap routers either... I'm talking $200-$300 Netgear/ASUS units rated for Wifi 6.

Xfinity sent a new tech and he said there was no problems with my line and it must be my hardware. He gave me the newest modem/router combo unit and I haven't had any problems since. It's $14 a month on my bill though for the rental. I returned the router and got a refund on that but the cable modem I have is beyond the return period so I'm stuck with a $180 unit for now.

Part of me thinks it's a conspiracy... :LOL:

My next plan of attack is to go with yet another router paired with my modem and return the rental to Xfinity. From what I read cable modems rarely go bad... and being that I'm not having issues now it seems as if for whatever reason the multiple routers I purchased (and returned) didn't like my network.

Can't explain it.
 
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May 6, 2020
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Didn't read your entire novel but will chime in and say that I was experiencing internet issues for a few weeks similar to what you described and Xfinity had a tech come out and diagnose the issue... he replaced a splitter that was behind the wall and said there were lose connections outside my place that he adjusted.

Internet worked fine for about a month... then I had the same problems start again. We are talking lag spikes... random drops... etc....This was less than a month ago. The only thing that fixed the issue was rebooting the router. My network would be fine again until the next random drop. I had purchased my own modem and router (Xfinity approved for my Gig speed connection) and had already swapped the router twice for a different brand. I wasn't buying cheap routers either... I'm talking $200-$300 Netgear/ASUS units rated for Wifi 6.

Xfinity sent a new tech and he said there was no problems with my line and it must be my hardware. He gave me the newest modem/router combo unit and I haven't had any problems since. It's $14 a month on my bill though for the rental. I returned the router and got a refund on that but the cable modem I have is beyond the return period so I'm stuck with a $180 unit for now.

Part of me thinks it's a conspiracy... :LOL:

My next plan of attack is to go with yet another router paired with my modem and return the rental to Xfinity. From what I read cable modems rarely go bad... and being that I'm not having issues now it seems as if for whatever reason the multiple routers I purchased (and returned) didn't like my network.

Can't explain it.
Sorry about the long novel, hahahaa - I really am just trying to get as much info out there and be as detailed as possible because I am seriously SICK of this to say the least as I am sure that you understand from what you just told me about your situation.

I don't know if you read my one reply to @bill001g , but I just ordered a brand new Netgear CM1000 modem because I found out that my current modem - ARRIS SB6190 possibly has a chipset defect in it and there is literally a class action lawsuit against ARRIS.
I am definitely going to complete this form(if I am outside of my return policy/manufacturer warranty) and attempt to get full refund that I feel I deserve!

As far as reaching out to Xfinity in the past, I would estimate that the few times that they came out to my house in the last 5 years or so -
Well... They obviously haven't fixed anything and the problem has only persisted and in my opinion, gotten much worse especially over the last year.

One time they came by and said that the issue is occurring because the line/wiring outside on the telephone pole accords the street that is connected to our house is sparking and almost killed a squirrel on the pole... Whether that’s true or not is one thing regarding the squirrel lol..
But I am not sure if that guy just basically didn’t want to deal with the issue and passed it over to the local power company that had to come and fix the sparking because he said they(the power company) would follow up with us after the pole was fixed.
Nobody ever reached out to us..

That was a while ago though so at this point I’m not sure what to do but I’m taking everything serious and will keep escalating the problem until it’s solved by a better Xfinity technician.
I probably should post my situation on their forums maybe, huh?..
 
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TravisPNW

Upstanding
Aug 26, 2020
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Sorry about the long novel, hahahaa - I really am just trying to get as much info out there and be as detailed as possible because I am seriously SICK of this to say the least as I am sure that you understand from what you just told me about your situation.

That was a while ago though so at this point I’m not sure what to do but I’m taking everything serious and will keep escalating the problem until it’s solved by a better Xfinity technician.
I probably should post my situation on their forums maybe, huh?..
Yeah I hear you man... I know the frustration. Been there for the last 4 months. Keep calling and complaining... and posting on their forums is a good idea. I will give them credit for customer service... they do appear to be making solid efforts to resolve the problem.

My issue just puzzles me because the first tech said it was their line... and it did work for about a month after he came out to the house... but then it started doing the EXACT same thing it was doing before and the new tech says it's my hardware. Of course since the 2nd tech came almost a month ago and I got an Xfinity modem/router there has been no problems with the connection... which brings me to my next question. Why weren't the multiple high quality routers I purchased (and returned) getting the job done? Random drops at any time were so annoying. Or was it the modem that I still have? (Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem, 6 Gbps Max Speed. Approved for Comcast Xfinity Gigabit, Cox Gigablast, and More, Black) It's a big mystery.

Right now everything is fine... but I don't want to be renting this hardware for $14 a month when I can just buy another router... but it would be the 4th one. :LOL: I'm stuck with the modem... I could always buy a new one and then use that return to swap this one (Amazon purchase) in case the modem I have is defective but I really don't know.
 
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The stuff about the puma chipset defect is all old information. Intel patched that and you no longer see the problem. The guys who wrote the test program tweaked some things and were going ....but ...but I still see it. It means nothing other than some very special program that does not represent any real traffic pattern can still cause a problem. Real traffic and especially game traffic that was being affected no longer is. Some attention seeking people need to get a life rather than continue to confuse people.

Your ISP should have applied the patch to the modem when it was activated. Check the firmware level. This puma stuff is many years old and the factory firmware has also been patched.

You have confused things by using the exitlag program...especially since it can't actually fix the most common problems. You really need to stop listing to "gamers" give technical advice on networks. Most are kids living in mommies basement who have never had a job in their life much less one involving networking. They just parrot the mis information you find on mostly on gaming forums.

So now you start with the standard troubleshooting.

You run tracert to some IP like 8.8.8.8 to start. This is only to get the IP addresses in the path.

Now open CMD windows in the back ground and leave constant ping run to a couple IP addresses. Normally I recommend hop 1 hop 2 and the final IP of 8.8.8.8. Since it sounds like you do not use a router but only a modem ? Hop 1 is normally the router in your house and hop 2 is the connection from your house to the ISP. The most common place to have problems is on the connection to the ISP. In some ways it is better to have a router becuase you can show the ISP you have no issues between your pc and the router but problems after that. When you have your pc direclty into a modem they will attempt to blame the PC for the problem.

In any case leave these run in the back ground and quickly switch over when the game has issues and see if you see a problem. If you see nothing including to the 8.8.8.8 ip then things are more complex. The 8.8.8.8 is a google DNS server that actually is duplicated in many locations it tends to have very good connectivity to all ISP and is located very close to your house so it is a good test IP. You could start to test to the game server IP but there are so many hops in the path that it gets confusing. This is where the VPN solutions might help.
 
Reactions: DirtySZN
May 6, 2020
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The stuff about the puma chipset defect is all old information. Intel patched that and you no longer see the problem. The guys who wrote the test program tweaked some things and were going ....but ...but I still see it. It means nothing other than some very special program that does not represent any real traffic pattern can still cause a problem. Real traffic and especially game traffic that was being affected no longer is. Some attention seeking people need to get a life rather than continue to confuse people.

Your ISP should have applied the patch to the modem when it was activated. Check the firmware level. This puma stuff is many years old and the factory firmware has also been patched.

You have confused things by using the exitlag program...especially since it can't actually fix the most common problems. You really need to stop listing to "gamers" give technical advice on networks. Most are kids living in mommies basement who have never had a job in their life much less one involving networking. They just parrot the mis information you find on mostly on gaming forums.

So now you start with the standard troubleshooting.

You run tracert to some IP like 8.8.8.8 to start. This is only to get the IP addresses in the path.

Now open CMD windows in the back ground and leave constant ping run to a couple IP addresses. Normally I recommend hop 1 hop 2 and the final IP of 8.8.8.8. Since it sounds like you do not use a router but only a modem ? Hop 1 is normally the router in your house and hop 2 is the connection from your house to the ISP. The most common place to have problems is on the connection to the ISP. In some ways it is better to have a router becuase you can show the ISP you have no issues between your pc and the router but problems after that. When you have your pc direclty into a modem they will attempt to blame the PC for the problem.

In any case leave these run in the back ground and quickly switch over when the game has issues and see if you see a problem. If you see nothing including to the 8.8.8.8 ip then things are more complex. The 8.8.8.8 is a google DNS server that actually is duplicated in many locations it tends to have very good connectivity to all ISP and is located very close to your house so it is a good test IP. You could start to test to the game server IP but there are so many hops in the path that it gets confusing. This is where the VPN solutions might help.
So I ran tracert to 8.8.8.8, and got my 10 IP addresses in the path. I then ran CMD windows in the background and used hop 1,2 & 8.8.8.8 like you said.

To answer your question I only use a modem currently, yeah.

I then started up Fortnite and started to play. So every time that I got a packet loss % of around 10-15% or more in game, in CMD it just said “request timed out” and then would continue the ping until the next large percentage of packet loss.
When it was below the 10-15% in game, in CMD it just continued to ping like normal.

When it would give me the results after finishing the ping run(after 5-10 minutes which I hope was long enough), hop 1 and hop 2 both showed 0% packet loss in CMD.
The results from the Google DNS server showed 3% packet loss which obviously isn’t a “severe” amount of packet loss, but I guess that’s just the average number based on all of the ping ran overall?
Either way the amount of packet loss in game definitely isn’t only 3% just saying.

So what would you recommend me to do next or what were your thoughts on the VPN thing you mentioned at the end?
 
This is very hard to solve when it is not in the first couple of hops. 3% actaully is very severe when it comes to game and even stuff like netflix or youtube might be affected by that much. I leave a ping constantly run when I just stopped it now I lost 749 packets out of 1.7 million.

What it means is all your equipment and the wires to your house are not the cause of the problem. There is some issue either within your ISP network or between ISP. Your largest issue is even if you were to spend time exploring other nodes in path to the final server what can you do. If you call the ISP the people you talk to are only trained to help with the stuff in or connected to your house. They have no knowledge or ability to do much with the ISP routers. If it is not in your ISP it is even worse because you are not their direct customer and they will not even talk to you.

This is where you consider a VPN service but it actually should always make the performance worse because of the overhead. The theory being you can somehow find a vpn service you get good connectvity with their data center. Does not do much good if the connection to the data center passes over the same link as your current game traffic. Then you hope that the vpn data center has a better path to the game company. This tends to not be trivial to find since there are many vpn services and these have many different data centers you would have to test.

I will not recommend any particualr one since the best for you maybe different than someone else since it all depends on how your ISP connects to the vpn company. There are your standard vpn services and you have some other target at games like wtfast and a couple others. Very hit and miss if these have much impact.

It all depends on where the problem really is. If the issue is inside your ISP network no vpn is going to fix that.

I would first spend more time testing with ping to be very sure you see no issue in the hops near your house. Mostly because those tend to be the easiest to get fixed.....so you really want the problem to be in those hops.

If it is a option maybe consider changing ISP.
 

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