Comments on: Your router could be screwing up your connection to Second Life http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/ Tateru Nino writes about virtual worlds, second life, statistics, culture, law, gaming, and eclectic oddities Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:15:55 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 By: Kadah Coba http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-749568 Tue, 24 Jul 2012 19:45:06 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-749568 From what I’ve been able to gather, many of these bad configs were make over 5 years ago. And now that we are using more things over CAPs (HTTP), we have started to see the problems emerging.

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By: Wolf Baginski http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-749566 Tue, 24 Jul 2012 19:42:51 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-749566 Thanks. That explained what I heard. I must be more out of date than I thought.

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By: Kadah Coba http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-749513 Tue, 24 Jul 2012 18:59:40 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-749513 HTTP is well suited for this, the problem is that LL make some really poor decisions when originally setting it up and now they can’t easily fix it without causing a flag day.

One of the main issues is that HTTP keep-alive is disabled server side. The viewer actually attempts to use it, but the HTTP servers won’t allow persistent connections. Technically this could be flipped on, but doing so would cause more problems as now every viewer is maintaining many active sockets at once because its been made to workaround this. (More info on keep-alive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_persistent_connection)

There are more issues, but this one is a biggy and easier to explain. The solutions are not straightforward and LL has been working on it for over a year (that I know of).

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By: Wolf Baginski http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-748923 Tue, 24 Jul 2012 08:58:22 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-748923 It makes you wonder if HTTP is a protocol that should never have been used for SL, given the way it works. Unless I’ve totally misunderstood, HTTP is a separate connection for every item: every element of every web page is a new connection.

It’s a technology that is there, with libraries to use it. You can see why it gets used as a layer between the software and the TCP. It needs some pretty smart people to produce an alternative that would better suit SL.

But was there really no choice?

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By: Kadah Coba http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-748434 Mon, 23 Jul 2012 22:53:11 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-748434 I’ve been helping one of LL’s Core Platform devs (Monty) on these issues off and on for the past year and a half.

This issue has existed since viewer 2.0 and has only gotten worse as more things have been moved to CAPs. One of the current main problems is that the viewer is essentially has to spam new connections for every request instead of being able to reuse the same connection for the entire query. Nearly all of the problems are rooted in many bad decisions made these services were originally created. Simply correcting the configurations would cause ever larger problems.

So whats happening is that when you connect to a region, the viewer is opening and closing in very rapid succession 100’s of connections a second. Even small business routing hardware has difficulties handling this. You basically need a router with a lot of ram, which one revision of the Linsys WRT54g (namely v5) does not have while earlier versions and the “L” revisions would be fine.

Another unrelated problem is that Viewer 3 traffic can appear to be masked bittorrent traffic by ISP bandwidth management systems. Lots of connections plus http transport of compressed data over non standard ports looks fishy to say the least.

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By: Wolf Baginski http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-745869 Sat, 21 Jul 2012 12:30:18 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-745869 The problem seems to be that the buffering in a lot of devices doesn’t empty very well. The buffer stays nearly full, and it can take several seconds for a packet to work through the queue.

1: These buffer problems don’t necessarily show in ping times. Different protocols, for one thing.

2: A buffer is there to deal with unexpected delays and out-of-order packets. A nearly-full buffer can’t do that job well.

3: Switching to HTTP textures has likely meant that SL has become entangled with the problem.

It does rather make sense of the advice to try switching off HTTP textures.

It could also mean that regular reboots of the router would make a difference. But how long before the buffers are full again.

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By: Dale Innis http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-745459 Sat, 21 Jul 2012 03:45:25 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-745459 Heh, interesting! I’ve been using Linksys WRTs forever, and haven’t had significant problems that seemed to have anything to do with the router (i.e. they’ve always gone away when I change point-versions of the browser, or lowered MTU, or whatever). Haven’t been using any official LL viewers much in recent years either, though; are they somehow the most vulnerable?

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By: BlueWall http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-744857 Fri, 20 Jul 2012 17:24:34 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-744857 Some fairly recent research by Bell Labs programmer Jim Gettys has shown that devices are buffering packets to the detriment of the network. He is calling this “bufferbloat” and you can find information at http://www.bufferbloat.net/

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By: Dartagan Shepherd http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-744737 Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:24:02 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-744737 I almost read this article title as “Second Life could be screwing up your routers connection to Second Life.”.

But then I blinked.

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By: SignpostMarv http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743961 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 22:05:07 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743961 That doesn’t refer to what Tat said she was going to do, and unfortunately my router isn’t listed in the dd-wrt database.

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By: Tateru Nino http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743960 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 22:04:22 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743960 Reflashing the firmware is generally not for the faint of heart. Mine actually can’t be – its firmware is in ROM.

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By: Projectstew http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743947 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 21:46:14 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743947 1. Find your router in dd-wrt database http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database
2. Read ‘Flashing Instructions’ specific to your router.

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By: Wolf Baginski http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743714 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:46:44 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743714 IPv6 is going to do interesting things to problems such as this, and it worries me that my ISP, last year, admitted that it didn’t have any plans for the transition, not even apparently being able to say that hardware they provided to customers was compatible or not.

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By: Wolf Baginski http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743709 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:43:11 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743709 I noticed the CPU-load problem a while back, and for me it mostly vanished when I switched from Windows XP to Windows 7, using the same hardware. I’m sure there are other reasons, but remember how old WinXP is.

My ADSL modem-router is a Voyager-2110, old but reliable. It was originally sold by BT in the early days of ADSL in the UK. I have noticed occasional glitches with wi-fi and recent hardware such as my Android tablet. Wi-fi will always have problems as different networks, and other noise sources, compete for limited bandwidth. And the way that network capacity has been sold, I know I cannot depend on adequate bandwidth at some times of day.

Second Life has to change how it uses bandwidth. Some of the Project Shining elements (The cache operation: did they never notice?) will pay off. But I do sometimes wonder if the Lindens have ever understood the Internet. HTTP textures, for instance: how often were we told to try turning that off?

I can see what they’re getting at, the number of connections. There’s ways of putting limits on that, in Preferences, at least for textures in Firestorm. But is it so obscure a problem?

I confess, I sometimes wonder just what sort of Internet they design for.

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By: SignpostMarv Martin http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743542 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:17:32 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743542 If you’re going to throw your own router together, can you document the process ? :D

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By: Marcus Llewellyn http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743498 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 13:38:31 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743498 I’ve had a WRT54G for eons, and I only experienced the problems LL describes when using the official firmware. I’ve been using the Tomato firmware, on it for most of it’s life, and it has been one heck of a fine little box. The Tomato firmware is one I’d easily recommend to others. DD-WRT is also a fine (and highly extensible) firmware, but Tomato is a better fit for people who just wanna install and have it just work. Particularly if you’re new to open firmware, and don’t want to wrestle with things like iptables, loopback issues, etc.

I am now looking into a new router… having just B/G Wifi is starting to feel a bit creaky, and I want to be certain I won’t have any problems on the day that my ISP finally enables IPv6. Even if I can wrangle DD-WRT into providing IPv6 support on the WRT54G, I’m not at all confident it has the memory for things like the larger routing tables, etc. The Asus RT-N16 is really quite tempting, but so is the Netgear WNDR3700. I’m leaning toward the Netgear right now.

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By: Dee Darwin http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743473 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 13:11:15 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743473 Just getting on the mailing list. Interesting topic :)

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By: Ferd FREDERIX http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743422 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 12:30:16 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743422 The Linksys WRT are also notorious spam bots, since few people change the default password and the Linux kernel is easily reflashed by viruses. It makes it impossible for anti virus programs to spot the problem. I turned off my Fios router and jacked in a Netgear. SL ran much smoother, no more router reboots were needed, but still had some speed issues and dropped packets. In my case, Ialso discovered that the WEP protocol was at fault. Switching to WPA seems to speed SL up a lot. WEP, in addition to being insecure, has performance issues.
Counterintuitively, if your CPU is very busy, lowering your bandwidth in the SL ctrl P menu will help. The SL FPS figure in the ctrl shift F1 menu includes the processing of network packets, and not having enough CPU, perhaps due to a laptop video card, can cause your CPU to be flooded with packets it cannot keep up with. Lower the network bandwidth to just above the graph value or even lower, until yor CPU has some spare time. Wait a few minutes, and check it a few times. I ended up boosting a (high performance) laptop with only 3-5 FPS to 10-15 FPs by dropping to 300k bps network setting. This was in spite of having a 40 mps connection, due to an old video driver for Vista. Reformatting with Win7 64 bits let me get new GPU drivers and now the same laptop FPs can run into the 60s with network at max.

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By: Understanding the Infrastructure | Virtual Vision 2020 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743356 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 11:29:04 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743356 [...] Your router could be screwing up your connection to Second Life – from Dwell on It by Tateru Nino [...]

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By: Loki http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2012/07/18/your-router-could-be-screwing-up-your-connection-to-second-life/#comment-743109 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 08:33:11 +0000 http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/?p=5800#comment-743109 Routers are a pain in the ass, internet is a pain in the ass. So many variables make up a good connection, Location, make of router, wireless, shape of house, OS settings, router settings, ISP settings, Software you are using, the amount of people using same exchange….. I just replaced my router with a new Netgear router as my old one died and i had to communicate with my iSP to configure the connection at their end to talk more clearly with my new router. I never considered that different routers talk differently to iSPs. As for second life, I’m always shocked at how much data it transfers, more than watching online video in most cases. It would be interesting to see if the Labs project shining will reduce the amount of data the viewer downloads.

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