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Getting read for SmartLink -- test your upload performance

Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
edited June 23 in New Ideas
SmartLink is coming and a number of you are going to want to give a try from Starbucks, your Mother in Laws, etc.  :)

This is going to bring a new phase of 'how good is my internet'.  We have always focused on download numbers since we were streaming or downloading.  Now, your upload is going to be part that is going to affect just how good your Remote operating is going to be.  

It is more than speed and latency is just as important.  In fact, latency is going to be critical.

For over 11 years, I have been operating remote using the internet.  At my remote base, my best speed is still about 14mb/sec down and about 1200kb/sec upload.     For years, I used Remote Rig and a TS480, and that worked well enough.

Once the Maestro came out, it was a game changer for me.  For over the past year, I have been running Softether VPN and the Maestro that traveled with me.   But, that required more upload and instead of using about 110kb/sec, I was needed about 400kb/sec with Softether.  That continues through to today.

As more upload was required, I had to work to tune my upload.  I learned about QOS and Bufferbloat.  Not to go into details here, but Bufferbloat is bad for streaming.   Streaming is what we are going to want when remote operating your Flex 6000.   

At the moment, there is only one good website for testing your Bufferbloat, and that is www.dslreports.com/speedtest.   You can do it manually by doing the steps outlined here:  https://www.bufferbloat.net/projects/bloat/wiki/Tests_for_Bufferbloat/

This is my test on a Sunday night (I should have been focusing on the hockey game).  BTW, this is considered somewhat higher speed for rural Canada.  High speed internet is not found in places where you want to install an HF remote station.

image
In the diagram above, my Bufferbloat number is a C.  At times it is an A.  For the most part, I drop about 0.01% packets, which is almost non-noticeable.  

So, how do you fix your BufferBloat?  Your ISP can't/won't/doesn't care.  That leaves it up to you or your friends.  If you have a gamer in the house, he or she might have already fixed this for you.

First, you'll need a router that you can manually tune your network connections.  Usually, even doing some QOS work will help, but it will be trial and error.   You'll be making changes and then running a test to see if it gets better or worse.  Just like tuning an antenna.

Routers that you can load DD-WRT, OperWRT, pfSense, etc. are your best bet.  

There is a new commercial router that is plug and play, sold by Evanroute.  It takes a week have the IQrouter automatically tune your network.  Personally, I have had great success with them on the networks I have installed them on.  Your mileage may very.  Some of the Alpha Team members have been playing with the IQRouter for a few weeks.  They are available on Amazon.  They can be configured for use on DSL, Cable and even all in one modem/routers.  

The IQrouter website is worth the read if and only you want an easy to read description of the problem.   BTW, the reading above was done with a pfSense router I am testing and not an IQrouter.  When I tested the IQrouter, it was almost always an A or B for my bufferbloat, however, I had to take that router and install it at a customers site.
  
The internet (or pipe as it is called) is something that FRS can't fix or control.   In the diagram above, my Bufferbloat number is a C.  At times it is an A.  For the most part, I drop about 0.01% packets, which is almost non-noticeable.  

The next phase of your HF operating is going to make a huge change.  Have fun with it and brag when you got to do it differently.  After all, that is what Amateur Radio is all about.

Mike va3mw

p.s.  I will be in Dayton, so if you see me, feel free to say hi!  I look forward to meeting a bunch of you.

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Comments

  • Tim VE6SHTim VE6SH Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Tnx Micheal. This is very helpful. Hope to see you at Dayton. 73 Tim VE6SH
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited February 2018
    I'm very interested, however, there is speed, and there is congestion. I hope that Flex isn't inundated with angry people who are upset that they can't work  their Maestro from say, McDonald's at breakfast, or StarBucks when everyone is sitting at the tables surfing. 

    There is basic speed, and there is congestion. I've been at Mickey D's when their normally decent speed is hammered by some folks checking out YouTube or Facebook and watching animations. 
  • Marc LalondeMarc Lalonde Member
    edited March 2019
    i ready , thank to fiber to home internet  
    and i planning to put 3.4GHz long range Ubiquiti Ethernet link to my remote site ;-)


    image
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I'm not sure about the US, but in Canada, McDonald's and Tim Horton's wifi is managed by Bell Canada.  In every case, it is non-usable and I resort to turning my phone into a hot spot.   I have even seen it non-usable when no one in place.   Even Starbucks is in the same boat, especially for streaming. 

    There is only 1 thing worse than no internet and that is some internet.  :)
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Marc, what is your bufferbloat number?  BTW, I live in Toronto, and Bell can't deliver Fiber to my street.  The best I get at home in the GTA is 15mb/s down and 4mb/sec up, yet I pay for 25/10.  I need to move.  LOL
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited May 2017
    Well, here's my home numbers. I used both with all my security software on, and with it off: They are close enough that it's within the normal difference between tests. Security software is the one with the Netflix logoimageimage
  • Tim VE6SHTim VE6SH Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    No Fibre as I live in an older part of Calgary, but Shaw gives me 50/6 with their mid high speed service. Only other option is Telus but it is not as fast. Tim VE6SH
  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Mike, This is an excellent post. Well done. Mack W4AX
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I love the A+ on the bufferbloat.  I have never been so lucky.  However, it is forcing me to learn about ACQ queues.
  • Jay SpauldingJay Spaulding Member
    edited February 2018
    I should be good.. 

    image
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hi Jay ... make sure you run the bufferbloat test and ensure your rating is not an F.  Many people are an F even with a Fiber connection.

    73
  • Jay SpauldingJay Spaulding Member
    edited May 2017
    Hi Michael,
    I did it shows it there. I rated a B grade. 

    Thanks
    73
  • K1UO - LarryK1UO - Larry Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Strange..  Get "A" bloat results here on the home network but the UPLOAD side of the buffer bloat test always causes my remote Ethernet link to the 4O3A Antenna Genius located at the remote to drop out and then auto reconnects just as the uplink portion of the test is finishing.   The AG8X2 Control App is on the shack PC but testing the bloat on the Den PC also causes the AG dropout.  Must be something in the ASUS Router as that is only common unit.    Just an observation.
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    That would be to be expected I would think as you max out the network.  You might want to see if you can QOS some bandwidth for the 403A.

    mike

  • KF4HRKF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited May 23
    All these speed test results are interesting but does anyone know what the minimum required up/down load speeds requirements are for SmartLink?
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I routinely run about 400kb/sec with 1 slice and minimum waterfall updates. I have contested with this but your bufferbloat has to be C or better. Mike va3mw
  • David OrmanDavid Orman Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    image

     Little bit of buffer bloat, but it's only when at max download.
  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    In my experience running SmartLink the biggest issue is Bufferbloat. My old router was not up to the task. I switched to the IQRouter (many Alpha testers are using this router) and performance has been flawless. In fact lots of people are using my station from the Flex Booth as I type this. 

    I'm sure there will be many people who are not experienced with real time internal communications who will try to blame Flex for poor performance when the issue is poor network performance. All of the Alpha testers are using it with no major issues from iPhones, iPads, Maestro's, and computers from every WiFi hot spot we can access. 

    My advice, if you're unsure how to tune your internet connection, is to find a competent friend or the community here to help you. It will not be Flex's problem to fix. 

    As always, I will help here as people experience issues. You're gonna love SmartLink. You can literally operate your radio anywhere with Internet access with a single click. I can't wait to go grocery shopping with my wife again and being able to entertain myself ;-)

    Vy 73,

    Mack
    W4AX
    Alpha Team
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Or better yet. Working DX while the XYL is trying on yet another pair of shoes in the shoe store
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Remote DX Challenge I have run my Flex 6700mRemote FROM 28 COUNTRIES so far Anyone want to try Remote DXCC. It just got a heck of a lot easier with SmartLink
  • Dave - WB5NHLDave - WB5NHL Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Sitting at Red Roof Inn south of Dayton. Obviously, WIFI

    image
  • Mike va3mwMike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hi David

    That is what I thought, but I had to make sure that happens when my skinny upload gets maxed.  There is where I had to do lots of investigation on my remote end using SoftEther.  It took some time, but I nailed it.  As Mack says below, there are plug and play solutions that work very well to help out.  Dave Bottom from Arlan communications had terrible internet at Dayton on the connection they provided him, and he then installed the IQRouter he brought with him and it was night and day.

    Your mileage may vary.

    73, Mike va3mw

  • David OrmanDavid Orman Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I'm using Ubiquiti UniFi gear, including a (USG-PRO-4) router. I'm not planning on downgrading to something like the IQRouter. The IQRouter only handles ~250Mbps, and my link speed is faster. ;) The USG has built in QoS if I want to enable it, but the bufferbloat isn't a problem until I'm saturating my link. I'd prefer not to enable QoS because I have to disable DPI in order to do so, and I lose HW acceleration. I don't anticipate any issues, but I'll cross that bridge if need be when it occurs.

    tl;dr the solution to 'bufferbloat' for most people is enabling QoS and restricting the outgoing/incoming throughput to a level at which doesn't saturate the buffers of the routing device/forwarding devices (especially if prioritizing traffic re: Flex). You only need to do this if you're having bufferbloat (increased latency) issues at the throughput at which you intend to operate remotely, which is in my case a fraction of link speed and a non-issue. I suspect a lot of consumer hardware has a much lower threshold before there are problems with routing/forwarding latency, and an IQRouter/any device that has QoS capability is a potential solution. You may want to shop around if your link speed is above 200-250Mbps, since you'll artificially cap your connection otherwise.
  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Here is my home... Standard residential cable, 9:00am Colorado time

    image

    But like I've found with these tests, I ran it 2 minutes later again and got a bufferbloat of C.  So totally variable I think.
  • Dave - W6OVPDave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    It says here "To use the SmartLink feature ... you must be away from your home network".

    QUESTION: How do you test your SmartLink installation from home if you have to be away from home??? Do you have to hijack your neighbors WiFi signal to test your system? <GGG>.
  • Tim - W4TMETim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited May 2017
    That is one way to do it, however I'd ask for permission before hacking their wifi password. You can use the hotspot capabilities of your cell phone if you have that feature.Or have a coffee at your local Starbucks and use their WiFi.
  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I test by turning off Wi-Fi off on my mobile phone and turning on personal hotspot. Then I connect via my personal hotspot over smart link to the radio. Easy. Mack W4AX Alpha Team
  • John - K3MAJohn - K3MA Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    I would just like to inject a few additional comments for those that might not have done much remote Flex operating.  I operate close to 100% of the time remotely using a VPN connection.  I have been doing so for more than a year.  I can echo the comments of others that if you have low bandwidth you can adjust the Spectrum FPS and Waterfall Rate to lower the bandwidth requirements.  Along with ensuring the only one slice is open and DAX is not turned on.

    However, it is my experience and opinion that the actual bandwidth needed to make the remote operation experience useful and pain free is 1 MBs.  Yes you can operate with less using the above tweaks but you will find the spectrum display and waterfall as operating tools quickly become less useful as you make these tweaks.  This is especially a problem if you are working a DX pileup on CW.  Add in the issues with audio breakups and latency delays and soon the normally useful panadapter becomes a liability.

    I would suggest if you plan to do a fair amount of remote operating and might have limited bandwidth that you prepare yourself for this potential frustrating remote experience.  I use a secondary remote tool called OCForb (remotehams.com) for just such times and if I want to simply listen or rag chew and do not need the functionality of the panadapter.

    I would also suggest that Flex might want to investigate adding a user option to completely turn off the panadapter when logging into a remote radio.  There is nothing more frustrating then logging in and the bandwidth being so bad that it starts up the panadapter and either immediately disconnects or freezes before having time to go into the Display settings and adjusting them to use less bandwidth.

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