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john9411
Contributor
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Message 981 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

Am coming to end of BT contract so am leaving! In the past 12 months my speed has dropped from a consistent 38-41 mbit/s to 29-32 mbit/s for no apparent reason. I have not moved, the cabinet has not moved and the exchange has not moved and engineer says line is OK! In that same period and following a high level complaint my latency is back to unacceptable levels again. I have had a re-contract offer which, pricewise is OK but 'stay fast guarantee' is only 23 mbit/s - in the past 24 months following various re-contracting to add/remove other BT services my 'stay  fast guarantee' has dropped from 35 mbit/s to 28 and now potentially 23!!! Seems a good way of cutting complaints!

For those a bit more technically minded I have been experiment with VPN and found that for almost 90% of the time whilst my speed drops slightly, latency also drops (and quite considerably at times) to far more acceptable levels. Is there a logical reason for this, am I just lucky or does it prove that something is amiss with BT's network!

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James3793
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Message 982 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

Weirdly my speed randomly went from 31/32 up to 41ish for not reason at all.

unfortunately this didn’t help with the ping issue on my BT line.

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dubstepzombie
Aspiring Expert
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Message 983 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

@john9411 

It is possible for a VPN to give better latency compared to going direct for the route BT has decided to setup.

Your VPN packets / gaming packets  will still be going over the BT core network, so any latency or ping issues coming from the BT core network will also be present on a VPN connection. Packet loss may be improved if the VPN uses TCP (likely) and the packet loss is coming from the BT network.

What changes is in fact the route to the destination IP, via a VPN you'll get whatever internet connection exists after the VPN, so if the VPN server is close to a gaming server you might have less hops or a geographically better route compared to routing non-VPN using the BT network.

In other words the BT network only plays the part of reaching the VPN server, beyond that you'll get whatever the VPN server can provide. 

If you do a tracert you won't see any BT core network hops seeing as your traffic is encapsulated in a VPN tunnel, in other words the BT hops are still there just undetectable from a  tracert 

If the BT network was good and provided the best routes to a destination or wasn't using some congested carrier / peering then using a VPN should give you a worse ping because you've got the over head of encapsulating your traffic.

 

 

 

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loanhead
Aspiring Expert
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Message 984 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

Hello, i came across this thread and skimmed over it mainly focusing on the last few pages.

Has anyone successfully to date managed to get a successful resolution with BT?

And on the flip side - those who switched ISP because of this, how do you find your new ISP service in comparison to BT for the issues outlined in this thread?

Im having the same issues making online play in some games awful (mainly Modern Warfare/Warzone). I did some investigating and found out I had considerable bufferbloat (Grade D on dslreports Speedtest).

I bought a new modem router (TP-Link Archer VR2100) to replace the BTSH and instantly my bufferbloat grade fluctuates between A&B without me touching anything. However I still get lag/freezing/rubber banding in game. When I run pingplotter my line looks good with the odd hiccup until someone starts streaming then it goes haywire - admittedly the new router has even improved this to a degree. My next step is to try some QoS rules but the routers rules are very basic, but if I understand it correctly I’d be surprised if it actually does anything. Netflix/Prime at 1080p and me gaming at the same time shouldn’t come close to saturating my connection for them to come into play.

Id just like to know if anyone has resolved it? as I’ve been out of contract for some time and if no one has had success I’ll try another ISP.

My connection is very stable and consistent for the most part offering ping 19-22 and 50Mbps/8Mbps regardless of time of the day (indicated by Speedtest.net). Everything (including Xbox’s) is connected to a gigabit switch and hardwired with CAT6, including BT Whole Home mesh discs which provide all the houses Wi-Fi.

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dubstepzombie
Aspiring Expert
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Message 985 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

@loanhead 

I switched to a different ISP before BT rolled out the hardware and software fix to their infrastructure so I can't comment on whether BT still suffers from a ping spike issue, this thread has been really quiet so I'd guess their fix has been successful.

When you say ping plotter goes haywire what sort of ping levels are you seeing ? if it's less than 100ms then that's probably normal behavior.  What netflix and other streaming services do is to saturate your connection for short bursts, this is what causes the ping spikes, the only option you have if you want to stream and game at the same time is to limit what bandwidth streaming can use. That's on the assumption you don't have the ping spike issue and your ping spikes are less than 100ms.

If you have the ping spike issue, perhaps lets say BT missed upgrading the circuit you're using for whatever reason then limiting bandwidth for streaming will only make gaming marginally better, you'll still be suffering. If this is the case you might be able to get BT to do something / look into it, although based on previous experience it may result in pain and stress just speaking to someone that even cares or understands what you're talking about.

One thing I wouldn't do is fall for any BT sales guff of promising they'll fix it by upgrading to some BT package - which will end up locking you in for another long contract, get them to fix it first, wait a month or so to make sure it stays fixed then go for a contract if you want.

The original problem was definitely a BT problem so switching to another ISP will solve the problem, having said that if your problem is internal to your network or a connection problem from your home to the road side cabinet or even in the local telephone exchange swapping to a different ISP will make no difference. This is where you need to be sure where the problem is to avoid disappointment / to avoid false expectations by switching to another ISP. 

I wouldn't pay too much attention to buffer bloat scores, these are only relevant when you fully saturate your connection, of course if you could score all A+ then that would be good, the easier option is to limit your bandwidth so there's head room for gaming traffic i.e. you want to avoid saturating your connection. Think of it like this, your gaming traffic is like a single car trying to join a busy motorway, if all lanes of the motorway have cars you're going to have to wait / struggle to get on the motorway, what you want / need is for the motorway to be less busy. Streaming is like a burst of cars, if you're unlucky to be joining the motorway at the same time as the burst of cars the only option you've got is to slow down for the gap - hence the ping spike.

Standard QoS is unlikely to help but ultimately if you can configure what you've got to seriously restrict streaming bandwidth down then that would work, I currently restrict streaming down to 4 Mbps, which is plenty. The router I use is a Ubiquiti  Edge router, it's one of the high performance models but you can get a cheaper version for about £50 off amazon. At a basic level it has a function called smart queue where it automatically recognizes the high traffic connections and restricts them to allow bandwidth for time sensitive applications. There's also queue setups that are better where you can restrict bandwidth based on IP address and / or subnet. 

The ISP I use is Leetline there's no ping spike issues just super stable gaming connections but I do see ping spikes with no bandwidth limiting with Netflix running, not massive spikes, somewhere around 40 to 60 ms. That's nothing Leetline is doing wrong, it's simply my bandwidth getting fully utilized. If I used my connection with no bandwidth limiting I doubt I'd notice it but me being a tweaker that looks at every ms then I have to configure my router to give me zero impact from streaming.

If you're using a PC to stream you could try a browser call  'Opera GX', this has a bandwidth limiter built in or use a PC application called 'net limiter', this also has controls for limiting bandwidth. For me though I like the controls a router gives you that hard limits what a particular device on your network can do overall.

 

 

 

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dubstepzombie
Aspiring Expert
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Message 986 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

As below here's my buffer bloat scores, my bandwidth is 65 ish Mbps down and 17Mbps up, as mentioned I just carve that up so everyone on my network can do whatever they like, download, stream etc,  it'll have no effect on my gaming at all. I allocate myself 32 Mbps down and 9Mbps up which is plenty for gaming, I could go higher but I prefer a paranoid safe margin.

bufferBloat.png

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loanhead
Aspiring Expert
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Message 987 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

I've already started talking to other ISP's - Leetline being one of them funnily enough, their customer support has been fantastic to ask some general questions to.

I don't think I could go through BT telephone support anymore, as experience in the past have been absolutely brutal and the response you get is usually: "we have ran a check on your line and there is no faults/your line meets the minimum speed guarantee" and that's it, case closed. I would legitimately rather switch to a new ISP than go through it again.

Im getting ping spikes when gaming alone - even when streaming is taken out the equation. This picture below is from one game of Modern Warfare multiplayer last night to test. No one else is using the line, only me, you can see how flat it is before and after the game. You can see the ping shoots up to 180ms+, when the game ended I went to dashboard and let it sit idle before shutting down.

Screenshot 2020-11-01 at 22.06.28.png

 

This graph right now is from my partner watching an Instagram video on her phone.

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 20.14.15.png

 

And this is from me starting up Netflix after the one above and starting a 1080p stream:

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 20.45.47.png

 

For comparison this is from last week from before I switched out my BT SH for a 3rd party router. This was a 1080p Netflix stream playing on TV while my partner was online shopping on her mobile.

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 20.51.33.png

Thanks

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dubstepzombie
Aspiring Expert
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Message 988 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

@loanhead 

Wow BT SH sucks, changing to a 3rd party router has definitely cleaned up your connection.

For a wired connection 180ms shouldn't be happening, the rest of the pings are definitely bad enough to ruin any kind of online gaming.

The pings to your gateway (192.168.1.1) look a little high, these typically should be less than 1 ms, I'm just guessing but this suggests Wifi to me, testing using Wifi and / or gaming using Wifi isn't going to give you the best / reliable results.

Modern Warfare from googling uses about 1.3Mbps, which seems about what I'd expect, so gaming alone shouldn't cause any issues.

What you're showing has characteristics of the BT infrastructure problem but I'm struggling saying that's definitely the cause, when I was with BT my ping was very stable until I started putting load on it, gaming on a quiet network was absolutely fine, when I say quiet I mean silent, if anyone breathed on the connection I'd have ping problems.

If it was me I'd make sure the network is stable with nothing on the network, for example just leaving a phone switched on connected over Wifi can be doing all sorts of background network usage, same for a PC / laptop, Windows updates, connections for anti-virus, Microsoft telemetry, Nvidia telemetry and so on.  I'd watch the ping for a while, you need to see no excessive spikes, if there is you need to figure out where these are coming from,  it'll likely be from your test PC / laptop - some back ground network usage or it'll likely be from the quality of your VDSL connection to the road side cabinet. This is where you need to dive into your router / modem and look at your DSL statistics.

I'd be interested to see a ping plotter to bbc.co.uk while you do a 'speed test.net', I'm just wondering what your max ping gets to and whether you see any packet loss.

Indeed Leetline have been fantastic in responding to my questions, they're a proper gaming focused ISP,  it's not marketing BS, ping and latency is their game. As said though if you join Leetline with a connection or network problems you'll just see the same problem, I can guarantee it won't be their hardware, I've been with them long enough to know their kit,  routers and peering arrangements are rock solid. I guess the best network experience is one you don't notice, you just forget about the network connection and enjoy / immerse yourself in the game, all shots register, even really fast flick shots, everything in the game is smooth, that's what I get with Leetline. 

This is what I had with BT, here I was skipping next track on Tidal - hires music streaming, shortly after they applied a bodge fix without telling me. If I was ever tempted to move back to BT I just need to look at this picture 🙂

intelNIC.png

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dubstepzombie
Aspiring Expert
771 Views
Message 989 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

Just to add to this, below is twitch streaming via BT when they applied their interim fix, this is typically what you'll get on any reasonable internet connection, ping spikes of 40ms ish, just the nature of how streaming works.

fixedBT.png

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loanhead
Aspiring Expert
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Message 990 of 1,014

Re: Recent online gaming ping spikes when streaming Netflix

Correct those ping plotters were done over Wi-Fi as I needed to work in various rooms of the house yesterday (console is hard wired though, along with the smart TV which displays Netflix).

Using a works laptop today so I’ve left my MacBook hardwired into the router with pingplotter running. Will update tonight if we’re gaming/streaming.

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