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CloudGamer
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Message 1 of 10

Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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Cloud gaming is next gen gaming where all the heavy rendering work is done server side in Data Centre.

 

I have a BT customer for ten years and for about three years have been enjoying using cloud gaming services like GeForce Now, Paperspace and Shadow with some success until recently.   I have seen massive drop in quality of service in recent months with issues like ping spikes, jitter, packet loss, bufferbloat and other issues causing game breaking issues when cloud gaming.

 

Two to three years I upgraded my broadband package to Superfast 2 which was 76 Mbps internet connection but it has now been reduced to 67 Mbps.   This broke 4K @60 ffps streaming when cloud gaming for me.

 

I am seeing high ping spikes and packet loss coinciding with stuttering and dropped frames when gaming using my favourite cloud gaming service Shadow.   When I use third party speed test like Think Broadband I see very bad score in upload section because of bufferbloat.    Cloud gaming is very sensitive to network issues like bufferbloat and bufferbloat or any latency is a game breaker.    It is the difference between a fluid gaming experience and not being able to play at all.

 

BT Support refuse to acknowledge I have any issues my internet service provided by BT since their speed test gives good internet connection speed results.    They do not measure latency, just speed.    Trying to explain why jitter high loaded network ping times and bufferbloat just ends with BT reiterating "our speed test shows your connection is good" and refuse to acknowledge there are any issues.

 

In recent months I have spent a considerable  amount of money and time in troubleshooting and trying to improve my internet connection and can't help noticing the issues I am seeing are growing worse as Ultrafast rolls out.

 

My Superfast 2 internet connection was originally a 76 Mbps service but BT have reduced it to 67 Mbps but I often see about 76 Mbps speeds in speed tests but when this happens my upload bandwidth is reduced (more like 10 Mbps instead of expected 20 Mbps).     I more than suspect this is key to why my internet connection has so many issues causing latency when gaming.

 

Why don't BT measure latency in their speed test?

 

What can I do to improve my internet connection latency issues?

 

Are BT shaping my (and yours)  internet connection and network traffic so they can keep their promises to Ultrafast users?

 

I really hope BT can sort their "stuff" out but my patience is wearing thinner and thinner.   I have almost given up on thinking BT can or will help sort what they have done to my Superfast 2 internet connection.

 

If BT want gamers to enjoy cloud gaming they need to provide much more appropriate firmware for their routers/hubs and let end users manage QoS .   The fact Smart Hub and Smart Hub 2 have no WAN port or any way to use it as modem along with  third party cloud gaming ready routers with DD-WRT for managing QoS profiles just says BT is not ready for cloud gaming at all.    Additionaly a related issue is Smart Hub and Smart Hub 2 not having WAN port allowing ICMP to be pinged means we can not use BQM network monitoring tool to record packet loss and ping spikes.

.

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BT Expert
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Message 2 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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Hey there,

Are you able to give the community some more information?

if on VDSL2 or G.Fast technology (which uses higher frequencies compared to ASDLx) with more subscribers using this technology on your cabinet  the more susceptible to cross talk interference. Openreach  is combating this using technology like Vectoring. When the upload bandwidth is saturated then you a likely to see a increase in latency - these services are asymmetrical.

Some things that may help the community to help you are:

  • Is the device you are using connected via using a wired connection or over WiFi. Would recommend wired if worried about Latency
  • Have you tried a using a different Modem and Router combination? You are allowed to use another modem/router but in some cases to get all the benefits out of your package, such as the Stay Fast Guarantee, you'll need to use the Smart Hub. IMHO the smart hubs are good for your average user (they cover the wants of a lot of people) but if you want to take advantage of your network using advanced QoS, firewall rules, multiple VLANs then use third party kit.
  • Provide trace routes to the the gaming services entry point.
  • Use network monitoring tools to highlight when you are seeing the issues
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CloudGamer
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Message 3 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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The main device that I use for cloud gaming is a Nvidia Shield TV Pro (2015) which is hooked up to a Philips 55" 4K TV.   Only the Shield TV is connected to BT Smart Hub 2 using cat6 Ethernet cable.

 

I pay for Superfast 2 FttC internet service.

Since upgrading my BT package to Superfast 2 I have upgraded my BT Home Hub 5 to a Smart Hub with £100 cost.  More recently I paid another £100 for Smart Hub 2.    Due to latency issues I just bought a GeForce Now Ready router for £250 but then find I cant use Smart Hubs as modem only.

I have no local windows PC, since I use a virtual machine running windows 10 in Data Centre remotely and use android devices locally only.  

 

I have two devices connected to my Smart Hub 2 .    One using Ethernet Shield Tv and one using 5Ghz WiFi Shield Tablet.

 

Here is a video showing how skipped frames cause me to crash in racing games.    

https://youtu.be/LqZOXzsauNU

I tried to use BQM from Think Broadbands website to monitor ping spikes and packet loss but find that networking tool is NOT supported on BT hubs because ICMP can not be pinged - so see 100% packet loss in BQM.    Any suggestions of any other network monitoring tools that has android support which I could use to better show how lag, dropped games and stuttering in games coincides with ping spikes and packet loss?

 

 

IMG_20190727_172903.jpgScreenshot_20190726-142545.pngScreenshot_20190726-142617.pngScreenshot_20190726-142651.png

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CloudGamer
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Message 4 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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The ping spikes and packet loss are clearly indicated by Shadow Stats which shows Shadow client/stream capture details in Shadow VM.   These ping spikes and packet loss coincide with lag, stuttering and dropped frames in games.    Screenshot_2019-07-27_18-26-27.png

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CloudGamer
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Message 5 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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@James-G     

Ref: if on VDSL2 or G.Fast technology (which uses higher frequencies compared to ASDLx) with more subscribers using this technology on your cabinet  the more susceptible to cross talk interference. Openreach  is combating this using technology like Vectoring. When the upload bandwidth is saturated then you a likely to see a increase in latency - these services are asymmetrical.

 

Is that what ThinkBroadbands speed test upload section is telling me?   I am seeing issues caused by saturated upload bandwidth allocation at my cabinet?      

BT engineers went to great lengths to fix an underground fault at my cabinet just over a year ago (June 2018) and they seemed interested when sharing my cloud gaming adventures using BT internet and trying to describe how low latency is very important to me.   They explained that underground fault was QoS related and that I should contact  BT whenever I see issues with latency again and they would be more than happy to fix.  They indicated the underground issue may reoccur.  When I try to do this and ask BT customer care for help I get made to open a complaint ticket as I get told "nothing wrong with your internet connection" and "there is no record of any engineer fixing anything" and then get told the exact same thing by the so called "technical expert" handling my complaint ticket.

 

Why is/was that underground issue so important to BT engineers and yet BT customer service refuse to acknowledge that I have latency issues and an engineer visit is/was the only way to even diagnose the QoS issue which is/was underground?

 

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CloudGamer
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Message 6 of 10

Will BT Smart Hubs Firmware See Better Firmware Updates For Better Gaming Performance?

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The removal of WAN port means we can not use third party network debugging tools like BQM and ping monitor from dslreport.     imo BT Hubs should have their own native debugging tools to do this.

 

Latest cloud gaming services really need custom QoS profile and BT Hubs lack many features in its firmware preventing configuration for cloud gaming services.

 

Many gamers using BT are reporting issues relating to ping and packet loss causing games to be unplayable if not just not enjoyable due to stuttering, lag and dropped frames.   How BT customer handle these bug reports is shockingly bad.    I'm sure better firmware on BT Hubs better suited for modern gaming is the minimum required to improve the situation many gamers are finding themselves in.

 

We need BT-WRT support added to BT Hubs, as well as a WAN port to make use of third party routers that do support **-WRT a lot easier.    WAN port and pingable IMCP for third party network monitoring tools would be great but having network monitoring tool provided by BT would be even better I think.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 7 of 10

Re: Will BT Smart Hubs Firmware See Better Firmware Updates For Better Gaming Performance?

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If you want whistles and bells you need to use a third party router. ISP devices are made for the mass market that have no need of such things

CloudGamer
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Message 8 of 10

Re: Will BT Smart Hubs Firmware See Better Firmware Updates For Better Gaming Performance?

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Well going by the amount of open and unsolved threads regarding latency BT need to do something.   BT customers are having to rely on third party networking tools and BT still refuse to acknowledge there is anything they can do to help.

 

I pretty sure I need to change ISP instead of making suggestions on how BT could help improve the situation.

 

BT removing WAN port on BT Hubs means BT customers can't use third party network monitoring tools so need to use a third party modem/router so that can use network monitoring tools like BQM.    Just to prove there are latency issues when using BT internet connection.

 

So if know there was an underground fault which affected QoS fixed by BT engineer and BT Customer Care tell me I am lieing by saying "we have no record of BT engineer fixing anything" and I know I am seeing latency issues adversely affecting how well cloud gaming services work compared to 12-18 months ago.  How can anybody know what the problem is?   BT denying there is any problem IS the proble!m and there are plenty ways that they could help more.   Why has an engineer never been sent out to check if the upload bandwidth allocation for my cabinet has been saturated or not? Why has no BT engineer been sent to carry out diagnostic tests which only BT engineers can perform to detect that QoS related underground fault?   Why don't BT stop ahaping my internet traffic?

 

Sorry BT are at fault here in more ways than one.

 

This comment in another thread absolutely nails it - https://community.bt.com/t5/Home-setup-Wi-Fi-network/Recent-online-gaming-ping-spikes-when-streaming...

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CloudGamer
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Message 9 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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I just used Web Chat at BT.com to ask for an engineer visit and was more than amazed at how helpful the advisor was at arranging this.  Compared to my previous experiences using landline/phone service was more than pleasantly surprised.   I now  have a BT engineer visiting very soon.

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CloudGamer
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Message 10 of 10

Re: Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?

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"Is My BT Internet Connection Suitable For Next Gen Gaming?",   yes it is.   Not quite enough bandwidth with Superfast 2 for 4K cloud gaming stream but things seem to be working very well with 1440p stream capture parameters.

 

All I did was buy an Asus ROG Rapture AC2900 router and Draytek Vigor 130 modem to completely replace my Smart Hub 2.   Simply setting up WAN and enabling adaptive QoS seems to have drastically reduced both the packet loss and ping variation.

 

I found using ThinkBroadbands speed test especially useful for measuring and monitoring network traffic latency as it measures bufferbloat for both down and up traffic.    I was seeing very high bufferbloat on upload traffic with old Smart Hub scoring D or E.     I now score triple A in ThinkBroadbands speedtest and my cloud gaming adventures are much more enjoyable.     

 

Am sure any gaming spec, gamestream ready or GeForce Now router/VDSL hub am sure will give similar results.   This will be more useful than changing ISPs as it also allows making ICMP pingable, which means you can use network monitoring tools like PingPLotter or ThinkBriadbands Broadband Quality Monitor (BQM).  so you can show BT support exactly where latency is affecting your quality of service, if issues persist.

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