Packet loss

samharris26

Active Member
Evening all, I have posted something similar on the PC forum pages and thought I'd got to the bottom of it, but last night the issue came back. I've been getting packet loss while playing Warzone and after some helpful suggestions on the PC forums, we seem to have narrowed it down to the backhaul causing the issue. I swapped the Mesh nodes to just be in bridge mode and things seemed to have got better until yesterday.

My setup at the moment is Virgin Superhub 3 in router mode, Nova Mesh WIFI MW6 (dual band) in bridge mode. I have a 4 nodes around the house and the room where the PC is is above and opposite side of the house (PC is hardwired in to a node). I'm getting speeds of between 50-170mbs on a single speed test on the Broadband Quality Monitor. Where as if I plug in next to the router I'm getting a steady 600-650mbs.

I'm looking for the best way to maintain these speeds where the PC is. Obviously the best way would be to hardwire, but I'm just weighing up options before routing cables through the walls.

Is it possible to buy a better router and a wifi card for my PC and then just use the Mesh nodes as a bridge from the router for wireless access to the other devices (they do a great job for everything else around the house). I'm thinking there's no way for me to guarentee which wifi the PC would connect to? Unless I could run two wifi networks - this feels like a backwards way to do things if even possible.

Would I get a better result using powerline adapaters? Or is there another option I haven't thought of that could do the job better. I'm happy to get rid of the mesh nodes but they do work for everything else perfectly fine.

Thanks in advance.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
No power like adapters are rubbish for the speed you are talking, you will be lucky if you get much more than 150Mbps throughput.

As for a different Wi-Fi you can’t change the laws of physics as @mickevh will point out. Imagine somebody trying to shout and then listen, there is a limit (by law) to how loud you can shout.

As mentioned on your other thread you really need to hardwire to get consistent speeds.

If you are getting loss then there might be an issue with the ISP upstream and all you can do is report the fault and hope they log out as the right thing.

Is part of your network still over wireless at moment?
 

samharris26

Active Member
Hi Chuck! Thanks for the reply.

My thought with the powerline adapater would be that even if it was 150mb, is it likely to be stable? I might be completey wroing but it seems to be the fluctuation speeds that cause packet loss/burst?

I'm not sure if this is helpful or not, but the latency seemed to go throguh the roof around the time I was trying to play oin Monday:

I have also been getting some strange results from BWM:

Part of my network is still wireless to the PC, it did seem to improve things when I made the Virgin SH the router again instead of the mesh units.

I think I will end up hardwiring, I just wanted to rule out any other solutions first, having seen some of the router reviews on here wasn't sure if they may be a solution.

Thanks again for the reply/help!
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
I just have a dislike of powerline adapters, particularly if the manufacturer advertises as 2000Mbps yet in reality only hits 150Mbps and they are not cheap. At least TP-Link have a bit explaining this on their website now... :(

Powerline adapters work in a similar way to WiFi in that their speed can vary, particularly with interference and imho won't be a good solution to your issue. With wired gigabit, the max speed won't vary from 1,000Mbps, the limiting factor will probably be the devices on your network.

Your latency graph looks fairly normal, as you use the upload bandwidth more then your ping will increase on BQM. Looks similar to mine, the issue is more if you get red creeping in that will be an issue.

The second issue, does that relate to when you changed your Super Hub from router to modem only or vice versa? Your external IP address with VM is quite sticky and is tied to the MAC address of the router. But if you change from modem only mode to\from router mode then you will get a different IP address. In which case you will need to update the BQM to monitor, otherwise you just get red like you see. Swapping between them multiple times though you normally end up with the same IP in each mode (so you only need to BQMs one for Modem only mode and one for router if you are going to swap and then disable the other one)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
In the field of data networking the terms "reliable" and "unreliable" have a specific defined meaning albeit that it's not too far from the natural language usage. All the data networking technologies we use at home are, by the data networking standards, "unreliable" in that packet delivery is never guaranteed. Even ethernet drops packets sometimes when they arrive corrupt and things like routers, AP's, switches, et al will drop packets if they are too busy to cope with the load.

Wi-Fi is fundamentally unreliable as it's based on a transmission medium (the radio airwaves) that nobody "owns," it's not just used for Wi-Fi (other things use the same frequencies) and as @ChuckMountain says in most territories there are laws about the maximum transmit power (which is deliberately weak) and most Wi-Fi kit is at of near the permitted max. Interference sources come and go, sometimes minute to minute. Literally someone might walk by with a mobile phone, a car may park up with an alarm that's radio based, etc. etc. Thusly the packet error rates can go up and down over time.

Powerline is also fickle because it's transmission medium (the domestic mains circuit) was never designed for data networking and is electrically noisey and at the mercy of anything plugged into it introducing noise sources that come and go. So, for example, things like a fridge kicking in and out, a washing machine that's only on part time, central heating and so on. Again, the packet error rates can go up and down over time. Dimmer switches and certain types of transformers are often cited as being particularly problematic.

There's much more we could explore, but this post is already getting pretty long and the result of such an exposition is simply going to be a greater understanding of why packet loss occurs and no real insight into how to fix it. In a sentence, there are no silver bullets available that's going to "fix" this using Wi-Fi or Powerline and yield a fast reliable networking solution as these two technologies are fundamentally unreliable.

I concur with @ChuckMountain - if you want fast reliable data networking, then by far the best solution is to get the drill out and install some UTP cabling to run ethernet over. It may even be a better use of your money doing so instead of buying more/alternate kit.

If you decide to go for cabling, then it may be a good time to contemplate just how much of it to put in. For example, you might put in cabled backhauls to all your Wi-Fi AP's (which would be a good thing) some extra runs for (I dunno) the TV, some extra phone lines and so on. One can quickly disappear down a rabbit hole here!

However many cable lobes you install, (if you choose to,) AVF mantra is to "always install two (or more)" along any given route. It's highly unlikely a UTP lobe will fail in service, but if one does and you have no alternative in situ, you are off the air until you rip and replace. With an alternate in situ, there's a chance you can get up and running again fairly quickly, albeit multiple lobes doesn't mitigate all risks. Cable is cheap compared to the hassle of installing it.

There are some threads here at AVF with "write ups" of members adventures installing cabling, some with pictures, if you want a reference source. And a few "regulars" in this forum are professional cabling installers, so you'll get good information here. If you don't fancy chasing walls to lay in the cabling, you can surface mount it into cable "trunking" which is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than clipping it to the skirting boards (etc.) and isn't too expensive. Much depends on your "domestic harmony."
 
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samharris26

Active Member
Hi both, thank you for the long and detailed replies. I think I'm going to take both bits of advice and go for the hardwire option, being WFH now I might as well go for the more robust option here to future proof us.

I'll have a look in some of the other threads for some tips, but it could be a good oppurtunity to move everything to the understairs cupboard as a hub and start some decorating!

Again thank you for the replies and advice.
 

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