cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi,
I'm sharing a connection with my partner, sadly the fastest we can get here is 6Mbit->6.4Mbit. If she's using Netflix while I'm on a voice chat in Skype or playing a game (usually League of Legends), then netflix is causing big ping spikes in my gaming and loss of quality in Skype. I've tried changing the quality settings of Netflix to lower quality, but it only seems to have made the problems less common, instead of getting rid of them fully.
It was my understanding that Plusnet provides something similar to QoS on the ISP side of things, should this not be helping my situation when the bandwidth is under contention like this? Is it possible there is an issue with the prioritization on my connection? Or have I misunderstood.
Thanks
15 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,043
Thanks: 4,332
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi swhitrmey,
Welcome to the forums and with an interesting question.
You might be simply asking too much of the available capacity.  It is one thing to run a single high priority service over your line, but its something else to attempt to run two or more.  PlusNet does indeed apply traffic priority management, giving time sensitive traffic the highest priority (like VOIP) and non-time sensitive traffic (like email) lower priorities.  The principles being that real-time stuff like Skype become unusable if there are marked delays if the circuit does not have enough capacity for all of the traffic, so things in which you would not notice a small delay (like sending and receiving email) might be slowed down a little.
When you try to use numerous same-priority services, there is no way to determine which should "win" over another.  In the case you cite neither Skype nor Netflix "loosing out" is really acceptable / viable.
I'm afraid that you are going to have to negotiate the use of your limited capacity with your partner - one of you can watch Netflix OR one of you can do Skype.  Doing both TOGETHER is going to need more capacity (or performance).  Fibre if available might address the issue for you.
It is possible though that your line is under performing.  If you can take a look at the speed issues thread (link below) and post all of the information requested there, we can advise on if your line looks like it is running at its best potential.
swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi Townman,
I appreciate you taking the time to write a response. I completely understand the answer you've given me, although I disagree that Netflix should be on the same priority as VOIP services and gaming and the like; since a streaming service can always re-buffer. I'm guessing there's nothing we can do in this regard though.
Sadly the powers that be haven't decided that fibre is ready to be in my area, so I'm stuck with ADSL for now. I doubt my connection is under performing.
I did some analysis on Netflix itself; because it seemed bizarre that SD streams (which should only require about ~2Mbit to stream) were interrupting other services. Lets over-simplify the streaming process into 1) buffering and 2) streaming to maintain the buffer. While Netflix buffers, it is greedy and maxes out the connection. I've noticed that this is when other services on the connection degrade. I'm going to attempt to locally throttle Netflix to attempt to mitigate this (cap it out at 300KB/s which is double what it needs to stream something), and hopefully it proves useful.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,043
Thanks: 4,332
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi,
On checking the details, Netflix (streaming) should be on a lower priority than Skype if the latter is considered to be VOIP (rather than streaming) - see http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/traffic_management.shtml?source=keymatch
Are you able to control the buffer size for Netflix?  A smaller buffer might slow-down the DS - or at lease break it up a little.
Is the line interleaved?  If there is significant error recovery being performed on the line, the comparatively slow SYNCH speed will be delivering a "near the margin" DATA effective speed.  Good synch speed with a high error rate is less useful that a slower synch speed with a lower error rate, a fact not understood by many.
swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi,
Good spot with the priority.
Sadly the options with Netflix are very limited, they only let you specify the quality level you want, and it'll choke your connection to achieve a buffer on whatever that quality is (obviously more data for higher quailty). I'll attempt to use a third party app to limit the maximum bandwidth the executable can soak up at any moment the down stream and see if it helps.
I've checked out a bunch of the stickies on this forum and I can't work out how to find out whether my line is interleaved or not. Is it possible that the sync speed is too high, and so interleaving was used to add stability? Furthermore, is it possible that lowering the sync speed could alleviate the error rate, and possibly help the prioritisation 'kick in' effectively?
One thing for sure is that this page says my line speed is 7.1Mbit: https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed but I've never measured within 0.5Mbit of that speed on a speed test.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,043
Thanks: 4,332
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

One good indicator that you have interleaving switched on is a non-zero FEC count in the router stats - if it reports them.
Which router have you got?  Can you take a look at the speed issues thread (link below) and gather the requested data and post back here please.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,223
Thanks: 494
Fixes: 22
Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

One thing to check is that the Plusnet current line speed matches the BT IP profile shown by the Further Diagnostics of the BT speedtester. If the Plusnet current line speed is higher than the BT IP Profile, then Plusnet's traffic prioritisation won't be effective.
Also, if we saw some DSL stats, and your upstream speed was about 440k, then you'd benefit from having your upstream speed uncapped. If you're on a "21CN" exchange then that's available for free.
Quote from: Townman
Is the line interleaved?  If there is significant error recovery being performed on the line, the comparatively slow SYNCH speed will be delivering a "near the margin" DATA effective speed.  Good synch speed with a high error rate is less useful that a slower synch speed with a lower error rate, a fact not understood by many.

The best thing I can say about that is I don't think it's worded clearly. If the interleaving process is correcting lots of errors, that's not really a problem in itself nor should it reduce the "DATA effective speed". I suppose it could make sense if "significant error recovery" isn't referring to errors corrected as part of the interleaving process, and instead is referring to data that has to be re-transmitted at the TCP or higher level.
swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

I'm at risk of cross-posting here, I couldn't find this thread and made a new one at https://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,140395.0.html As I mentioned in that post, this issue has become very prevelant during ANY activity on the connection, no longer just limited to Netflix.
In reply to your question, I just followed your instructions and I'm measuring the following on the BTW test (followed it very strictly with only 1 device on network, all processes closed etc):
Download speedachieved during the test was - 6.7 Mbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 2 Mbps-7.15 Mbps.
IP Profile for your line is - 7.12 Mbps
My profile on plusnet currently reads:
Estimated line speed:
   There's no speed estimate currently held on your account.
Current line speed:
   6.9 Mb  6.9Mbps.
Is this enough of a mismatch to be sufficient to cause problems?
I'm not sure how I can obtain the DSL stats you're after, I've got the stock router they sent me. I've got this on the router's 'helpdesk' section in the browser:
5 - Mode ADSL
6 - Uptime: 0 days 00:05:35
7 - Data rate: 1176/8067
8 - Maximum data rate: 1176/8136
9 - Noise margin: 5.9/6.1
10 - Line attenuation: 22.7/40.0
12 - Data sent/received: 2.6M/13.6M
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,682
Thanks: 665
Fixes: 166
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Some line stats, there are a few more errored seconds than I'd like to see.
Is the router in the master socket and is there any noise on the phone line?

  Loop Loss:  22.6  40.0 
  SNR Margin:  6.0  6.0 
  Errored Seconds:  0  29 
  HEC Errors:  0   
  Cell Count:  94870  1578711 
  Speed:  1176  8067
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Re: Master socket - I'm not 100% sure. There are two phone sockets in the property, it's a modern build flat. One in a bedroom and one in the lounge. I've had the router in the lounge but could experiment with the living room socket, but would rather not unless we're sure it's worthwhile.
Re: Phone line noise - I don't have a phone. I'll pick up a £5 handset today and test it when I get home.
Thanks for your help!
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,043
Thanks: 4,332
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Hi,
The master socket should have a removable lower portion, called the faceplate.  Behind that you will find the test socket which is the direct connection to the incoming line.
Off the back of the face plate will be the wires to the other sockets (extensions).  Ideally there should only be two conductors attached. Sometimes there are three and the third (the bell wire coloured orange connected to terminal 3) can cause problems for ADSL.  It can be safely removed.
If you do not have a socket with a removable face plate, then the installation might be a bit old.  Look for where the wires enter the property, that should help identify the master socket.  If you remove the socket faceplates, one (only one) should have a big capacitor on the back - it's a cylinder about an inch long and 3/8 inch diameter.
HTH.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,223
Thanks: 494
Fixes: 22
Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Quote from: swhitmey
Is this enough of a mismatch to be sufficient to cause problems?

Plusnet's traffic management will still be in effect if the Plusnet profile is lower than the BT profile. The Plusnet profile should automatically update to match the BT profile, this may take a few days.
I'm sorry I forgot to say earlier - you should disregard the BT speedtester telling you to reboot your router before running that test. Rebooting a router is very rarely the solution to a problem, rebooting a modem/router too many times can make things worse, but as a one-off here it's unlikely to have done any harm.
swhitmey
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎17-05-2015

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

So it's definitely the master socket in use, and I plugged a telephone into the line and everything was crystal clear.
I took the face off the socket to check out the wires, and I do have 3 there - one of them is an orange + white striped one which I believe is what you're talking about Townman. Is this just a general tweak? Or is it likely to help the specific issue I'm having?
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,223
Thanks: 494
Fixes: 22
Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

The bell wire removal is just a general tweak. If you don't use the extension socket for anything, then you could just use the test socket, removing the faceplate disconnects all the extension wiring. If you're going to be plugging and unplugging things, it's best to log in to your router and disconnect the Internet (PPP) connection first, wait a few seconds, then switch it off. Leave it off for at least 10 minutes before switching it back on. You might need to log in to the router and find a Connect button to click if it doesn't automatically re-connect. Try to avoid unplugging or switching off and on the DSL more than 3 or 4 times a day.
Anything that uploads a lot of data at maximum speed is likely to cause significant increased latency for anything else. Your upload bandwidth (1176k from your stats) looks to be about as good as you can expect to be. Doing a speedtest that measures the upload speed will cause that effect. Watching the network utilisation graph in Task Manager might give a rough idea if a lot of uploading is happening.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 13,043
Thanks: 4,332
Fixes: 26
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Netflix causing issues in Skype and Gaming

Though removal of the bell wire is a general tweak, it can lift synch rate and reduce errors.  Both of those (if attainable) would be beneficial to you.  Though as ejs has suggested, if you do not use the extensions, leave the faceplate off and just use the test socket.
If you decide to remove the bell wire, then do so at all of the sockets.