Question Pingplotter showing packet loss occurring from Hop#2 onwards during darkness hours.

Jan 27, 2022
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Hi all,

I moved house in June of last year and have been experiencing issues with my connection from the off. To most users, it would be a bit of a shrug issue. When streaming, it occasionally stops and buffers or lowers the quality but no big deal. However, I play an online racing game (iRacing) where the issue is far more of a nuisance. I was first put onto pingplotter by the staff at iRacing when I was trying to find out why opponents were disappearing all the time and occasionally getting booted from server.

To cut a long story short, I have observed that from around 4pm through to 7am (current UK darkness hours) everyday I get frequent & severe packet loss accompanied by download speed slow downs to ~0.1Mbps for 10-15s at a time.
Here is a 36hr plot finishing at 0630 this morning: https://ibb.co/WHxPTT7
(there are a few marked events on there where i tried to reset the router and changed my PC's DNS address to see if those helped at all.)

The symptoms seem like an overloaded ISP network due to it's start time (people come home from work/school) but why would that last all night once most people have long since gone to bed?

After months of complaining to my ISP, it was finally escalated so that an Openreach (the company that owns the UK physical phone/network infrastructure) engineer visited my home. It was during the day so he was unable to see any of the packet loss events and declared the line to be clean delivering better than average speed. I showed him various pingplots and StarTrinity CST logs and he suggested there could be a an interference (REIN) problem either with the router or somewhere along the phone line. I have done some cursory checks on home appliances with an AM radio and also walking around my neighborhood but nothing leaps out (and I don't know what i'm listening for particularly). I've noticed some streetlights make ALOT more noise than others, could it be something like that??

I have replaced all hardware between the router and the socket where it enters my home. I have also tried a different router but the same behavior is displayed.

Any ideas on what could be causing this and how to convince my ISP that they need to look at it, are welcome.

Also, any suggestions of further data gathering tests can try to narrow this down:
  • Would using a VPN reroute my requests away from the first ISP IP address?
  • I would like to run the same pingplotter test from a neighbors home to see if they get the same.
  • ?
Cheers

Peat
 
Last edited:

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hi all,

I moved house in June of last year and have been experiencing issues with my connection from the off. To most users, it would be a bit of a shrug issue. When streaming, it occasionally stops and buffers or lowers the quality but no big deal. However, I play an online racing game (iRacing) where the issue is far more of a nuisance. I was first put onto pingplotter by the staff at iRacing when I was trying to find out why opponents were disappearing all the time and occasionally getting booted from server.

To cut a long story short, I have observed that from around 4pm through to 7am (current UK darkness hours) everyday I get frequent & severe packet loss accompanied by download speed slow downs to ~0.1Mbps for 10-15s at a time.
Here is a 36hr plot finishing at 0630 this morning: https://ibb.co/WHxPTT7
(there are a few marked events on there where i tried to reset the router and changed my PC's DNS address to see if those helped at all.)

The symptoms seem like an overloaded ISP network due to it's start time (people come home from work/school) but why would that last all night once most people have long since gone to bed?

After months of complaining to my ISP, it was finally escalated so that an Openreach (the company that owns the UK physical phone/network infrastructure) engineer visited my home. It was during the day so he was unable to see any of the packet loss events and declared the line to be clean delivering better than average speed. I showed him various pingplots and StarTrinity CST logs and he suggested there could be a an interference (REIN) problem either with the router or somewhere along the phone line. I have done some cursory checks on home appliances with an AM radio and also walking around my neighborhood but nothing leaps out (and I don't know what i'm listening for particularly). I've noticed some streetlights make ALOT more noise than others, could it be something like that??

I have replaced all hardware between the router and the socket where it enters my home. I have also tried a different router but the same behavior is displayed.

Any ideas on what could be causing this and how to convince my ISP that they need to look at it, are welcome.

Also, any suggestions of further data gathering tests can try to narrow this down:
  • Would using a VPN reroute my requests away from the first ISP IP address?
  • I would like to run the same pingplotter test from a neighbors home to see if they get the same.
  • ?
Cheers

Peat
Everything from hop 2 onward is out of your control. It is most likely not hop 2 that is causing the problem. It is a false positive in ping plotter. If you setup a ping just to 78.144.1.1 it would probably be 100% OK.
Would a VPN fix your problem? Maybe. It really depends on where the overloaded traffic is happening.
 
Do you have a router or are you using just a modem. What is strange is how high the latency to hop 1 is. This is inside your house and most people unless they are using wifi get 1ms.

This is what a overload condition in a ISP looks like but in those case you generally see the ping times also increase. Most ISP tend to buffer data only drop data if they get too much. Your plot show pretty consistent latency on all hops.
When you get just packet loss it tends to be some equipment issue. Could be anything from electronics to bad fibers or bad ethernet cables.

This depends on where this is actually happening. If hop1 is really your router in your house then it is some issue with the connection going to your house ie hop 2. Not sure why it happens only at night and if it really is consistently the same times. I mean it could be some equipment get cold at night and has issues.

VPN only works if you can use it to bypass a problem. This would be more related to connections far away between ISP. A VPN doesn't run a new wire to your house so that and like a few more hops will be the same path going to the VPN provider as the game company
 
Jan 27, 2022
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Thanks for the replies.

Kanewolf - I'll setup an overnight ping to the first two hops (2&3) and see what that shows.

bill001g - Hop 1 is indeed my combined modem/router provided by the ISP. I am connected via ethernet-over-power plug. I switched to this just recently to eliminate the WiFi from my problem solving. I too am surprised by the amount of ping. (~70yr old house, ~10yr old EoIP plugs.)

Regarding 'bad electronics/cables'. I live on a 1950's estate with overhead phone cables. (DSL is the only available service in my street). I can trace the overhead wires from my house via a few poles to one 500m away where it goes to ground by a small kerbside cabinet. One of my neighbors says an engineer visiting their house a few years ago told her that 'the' cabinet has suffered from water ingress and there is a corrosion issue. So there's another hypothesis.

and re: VPN - thanks, i figured as much.
 
Jan 27, 2022
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Sadly not, only via the phoneline.

So, I had a brainwave and asked my neighbour for thier wifi login to run some tests.

I have one device connected to that pinging clean and uninterupped to google and to the Talk Talk server that I'm getting packet loss to/from right now on my own connection.

If we are connected to the same pole, surely that points to an issue with the wire connecting my house to that pole?
 
Dec 23, 2021
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If we are connected to the same pole, surely that points to an issue with the wire connecting my house to that pole?
If you and your neighbor have the same ISP, then it could definitely be your physical connection to the pole. In your graphic, I see a lot of packet loss on all hops, and that would lead me to believe it's not one particular hop that's having the issue but more your connection. Adding a VPN won't really help either because that will just mask the errors, if it's a physical issue.

If you use your ISPs modem or router, they may be able to remote into that device and test your connection from there (they did that to my connection once to diagnose a packet loss issue). This could be a way to get someone to help diagnose it at night (assuming they have their customer service open at night). Otherwise, my only recommendation is to stay on it with your ISP and build a strong case.

-Tether to a device that uses a mobile connection and see if you still experience issues.
-Test PingPlotter from a mobile device to see the difference between the mobile connection and your ISP.
-Connect directly to your modem/router and run the test.
-Add your neighbor's wifi tests to your case.

Good luck!
 
Jan 27, 2022
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Thanks HI5,

So, I thought I was getting somewhere with this. After the neighbor test, I was pretty convinced I had a physical issue between my house and the pole.

However, It was getting really bad last weekend and I did a 'Reset DSL' from within the (ISP provided) router tools and it cleaned it right up for a period. I have been periodically resetting and the improvements last for anything from 1 hour to several days. I ran a PP for most of last week and it showed the same night-time biased packet loss, but growing gradually night to night before the connection becomes unusable again. (I'll append the results when i'm back at my home PC)

I have tried different routers already and found they all suffer from this PL issue - Start good, then go bad at night. So now i'm right out of my realm of understanding what's happening.

Could something line noise be causing the routers to go gradually wiggy?
 

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