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412 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 87219 22-Jul-2011 17:49
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I recently switched ISPs.  The one I came from was nice and fast and I had no problems with download speeds.  Both ISPs offer the same product (resellers) promising "full speed".  I was assured that I would not notice any difference in speed when switching.

My speed now is just weird.  It seems to flick between good and really bad every few seconds.  Literally. It's like my downloads climb to the speed I'd expect (500-700K) for a few seconds, can't maintain this and drops to almost nothing.  Then repeats every few seconds.  Have a look at these graphs to see what I mean:








Every download is like this.  Climb, drop, climb, drop, climb, drop.  This tells me that there is something wrong, perhaps with the line.  I'm confident it wasn't like this prior to changing ISPs. I know that download speeds fluctuating a little is completely normal, but this is something else, no?   So not only are my average speeds well below what's expected from these fast servers in general,  they follow this weird pattern.  My guess is the speed that it climbs is what others download at for the duration of the download, but for some reason by line can't handle it.

I've had lots of communication with my ISP about the issue over the past month or so and we've done lots of things:  isolation tests, swapping out router, switching interleaving on and off, ping tests, traceroutes etc.   I accept it may not necessarily be the fault of the ISP.  My phone exchange was upgraded around the same time that I switched, but I'd hope they would have taken that into account, too.

For me the crap hit the fan when showing my ISP the above graph and speeds and receiving this response:

"I called up our wholesaler and explained the results to them etc. They're saying this is exactly how TCP/IP traffic will always run. An example they've given me is a thing called 'the hub' which is run at the Christchurch university. They run bandwidth monitors and traffic people download locally and domestically always ranges from low to high throughput. There's honestly nothing they can do.

Sending a chorus tech they check the physical line and card/port in phone exchange; which are running fine (from their line analyzers, dsl sync speeds and the line is stable with no transmission errors). They've also checked the in depth analyzer tests and they also show no transmission or line errors. Our wholesaler can only reset ports, do analyzers etc remotely to resolve the different faults that can arise. Other than that > data just gets sent through their equipment/ down their lines. We've run tests from our end and there is no given throughput issues.


Furthermore, I have discussed this with 3 other colleagues of mine and they also mention this traffic behaviour being common. Given in all these details, there is nothing else that I personally will be able to do / our wholesaler would be able to do re: faults."

Now I'm a bit flabberghasted by this.  Slower download speeds and they can't seem to maintain any decent speed is now "common" and expected.  But it wasn't like this with my previous ISP, and I've heard no one else complain about experiencing the same.  Am I just supposed to accept this now?  I'm now in a 12 month contract and have to put up with slower download speeds and difficulty streaming because I switched ISPs?

I intentionally haven't named the ISP here (though you could find it by viewing my previous posts) because this post isn't about smearing the ISP.  Apparently they rate well usually.  I'm just really confused about where to go from here.  Is what I'm experiencing "common" and expected?  Am I making a fuss about nothing?  Would you accept this situation?



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 496857 22-Jul-2011 18:02
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The 'Sawtooth Effect' is the way TCP works.

This article explains it, at least with 10GigE as a theme, but there's also a diagram.

http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac123/ac147/archived_issues/ipj_9-2/gigabit_tcp.html

The length of the slope - or the degree to which you should see speeds vary - is hit by the latency to the site you're downloading from. Has the latency point-to-point changed substantially since you changed ISPs?

Note, this is at a higher level than your phone line, it's very much in your ISPs sphere of influence (to a point... there's a raft of influencing factors) and nothing to do with your line quality.




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  Reply # 497238 23-Jul-2011 23:46
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You could try adjusting the TCP receive window, see if a larger setting would compensate for the latency a bit. However I suspect that there is load balancing preventing you from getting more than your fair share, or just a smaller share of the pipe (perhaps a smaller ISP), which may not have been implemented at the previous ISP.




Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^

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  Reply # 497240 23-Jul-2011 23:48
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I have noticed slingshot's cache is doing this with torrents at the moment.




Ray Taylor
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There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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  Reply # 497250 24-Jul-2011 00:41
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Do all your international downloads follow the same pattern or is it limited to only several sources? Furthermore is this something which is time dependent? ie is it fine at night and poor during the day?

Typically speaking SNAPs speeds are very good so it does seem a little unusual. Inspire have always been knows for their good performance and this is reflected in the price.

Are you able to run some winmtr tests to some international destinations and look for any packet loss as for a comparison I'm getting around 3Mbps on that same test file you downloaded, all be it with another well rated ISP.



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  Reply # 499884 30-Jul-2011 21:08
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I now think this might be a problem with my router and not my ISP.

I'm even having trouble streaming things locally (lots of pauses), and ping tests to my router show a few time-outs.

Pinging 192.168.0.1 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=6ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=6ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=6ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=6ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 192.168.0.1:
Packets: Sent = 25, Received = 21, Lost = 4 (16% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 2ms, Maximum = 7ms, Average = 5ms


Anyone know what might be causing this? Is it common for routers to time out occasionally like this?

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  Reply # 499893 30-Jul-2011 21:33
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No its not common.
Can you ping another computer on your network?
You will need to turn off windows firewall or a 3rd party firewall if you have one so the pc will respond to pings.




Ray Taylor
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www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here






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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 499909 30-Jul-2011 22:33
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Ahh that was a problem with my wireless router (sorry, should have mentioned was with wireless)
I changed the channel frequency and no more ping time outs...

Maybe this is what was driving me crazy all along...

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  Reply # 499922 31-Jul-2011 00:05
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GeoffisPure: Ahh that was a problem with my wireless router (sorry, should have mentioned was with wireless)
I changed the channel frequency and no more ping time outs... 



ALWAYS do speed and latency testing via a hard wired connection. Wireless has so many variables - like a performance hit when someone cooks their popcorn in the microwave - that its hard to guarantee a legitimate result.




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  Reply # 499924 31-Jul-2011 00:26
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Try shaping the downloads at your end to below the maximum achievable burst... If you can avoid TCP having to back off and then ramp back up then you can achieve more consistent speeds.

Cheers - N



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 499925 31-Jul-2011 00:42
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Talkiet: Try shaping the downloads at your end to below the maximum achievable burst... If you can avoid TCP having to back off and then ramp back up then you can achieve more consistent speeds.

Cheers - N


I could probably set a max speed limit in GetRight (download manager), but is it possible to universally apply a speed limit?  I'll give it a go with getright anyway, and see if it helps.  Thanks



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 499926 31-Jul-2011 01:06
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Setting a max download speed of 500K  and 250K  still resulted in the unusual pattern and only made the downloads take longer.  :(





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  Reply # 500248 1-Aug-2011 11:34
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Getright may be using a similar method to reduce its speed. Trying to smooth out the speed would still slow things down a bit though, but may improve latency. I found smaller TCP receive window can help if you need better latency for voip or gaming etc.




Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^

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  Reply # 500253 1-Aug-2011 11:44
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GeoffisPure: Setting a max download speed of 500K  and 250K  still resulted in the unusual pattern and only made the downloads take longer.  :(


Hmm, something still looks bad. I think it's time you fessed up and said who your ISP is.

Cheers - N




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 500349 1-Aug-2011 14:40
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Hmm, something still looks bad. I think it's time you fessed up and said who your ISP is.

Cheers - N



Snap.  Also known as ISP of the year. And no one else seems to have this problem.

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