poor remote audio

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  • Updated 4 months ago
Running a flex 6300 remotely with Maestro, PC and IOS.  Remote Radio connected directly to LAN via 1MB switch with CAT6 cable.
Internet speed at remote site 65mb download / 18mb upload bufferbloat A overall network performance A.  At operating site Maestro or PC connected via LAN cable to router download speed 25mb / 6mb upload speed.  Overall latency 70-90ms.
All screen settings to reduce latency set very low.
Problem with every QSO of poor adio with break up. Transmit delay set at 75ms.
Suggestions of what to do next please before putting the rig in the bin and look at remoterig solution ;-)
Thanks Glenn
M1AQO
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Glenn Nutsey

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Posted 4 months ago

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John - K3MA

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Glenn

You do not mention the buffer bloat at the operating site.  In my experience with the bandwidth you are quoting at both locations you should not have remote operating issues.  The only time I have experienced such a issue was when the provider had some issues on their network that showed good bandwidth on average but the graph over time showed a saw tooth problem.  They had to replace some components and ultimately the modem to fix the problem.

John
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Glenn Nutsey

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Hi John, thanks for your comments.
Both A A at the operating site to.
Not sure where to go from here.
I spend more time trying to fix problems than operating!
Thanks again
Glenn M1AQO
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Mike va3mw

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Hi Glenn

I have that happening to me on my 250mb/sec cable connection and it is a problem with my ISP's cable (Rogers Cable).  I have been chasing it down for months and nagging them every other day.  I have learned it is called a HeadEnd issue.

I still do not have it solved yet, but I would start logging calls and telling them you have VoIP issues.

The other thing you might look at is your Router and you might have to start working on some QOS settings.

Mike va3mw
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Glenn Nutsey

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Thanks for the info Mike but QOS settings cannot be changed on my router. One question Which is worth asking, do Flex use VOIP because my router may be blocking it. My network knowledge is limited so excuse me if there is an obvious answer to this.
Glenn
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Mike va3mw

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Hi Glenn, no, it does not look like a VoIP data stream.  I just mentioned that as it is easier to explain to your ISP.  Is any part of your contact path on WiFi or an RF path?
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Glenn Nutsey

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No, all hard wired. Just so frustrating.
I'm wondering if Remoterig is worth a look. I assume less data with an analogue rig like the 480 hen compared to the Flex.
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Mike va3mw

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Hi Glenn

Believe me, I hear you.  I do know that the Maestro/6000 solution does work very well as we have lots in play and I use mine remote every day without issue.  

What makes it hard is that there are a lot of players in between, ISP's, switches, routers, firewalls and everything has a hand in getting the date to you in a timely manner and with all the packets.

Of course, the next obvious question is that NetFlix works fine.  Yes, it does appear that way, but it is not a real comparison of apples to apples.  NetFlix HD streams are not time sensitive as it will buffer and if it drops some frames, you would never notice. You may very well have the same issue, but you can't see it or hear the difference.  

Personally, I have a 250MB/SEC connection at home, and it falls flat on its face around 8pm where I am not able to even load a video from YouTube and this is hardwired.

In 2015 it was reported that Streaming services now account for over 70% of peak traffic in North America, Netflix dominates with 37%.  Today, it is as high as 80%, but I digress.

1 simple question, are you using Gig switches in your house or 100mb?  If Gig, can you test on 100mb and see if it gets better?

Mike
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Glenn Nutsey

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I understand Mike that there are lots of obstacles down the line but is doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I did read about changing the switch so yesterday I bypassed it altogether and connected direct to the router and radio. No difference. Also spoken to the broadband provider asking if there is any restriction for voice data and they said no. One question that gas crossed my mind is that the LAN adapter on the back of the radio has a solid orange light displayed on the right if you were looking at the radio from the back and a flashing orange/ red orange to the left. Could there be a conflict ? I’ve trued two cables to check for a fault and used a cable tester and all appears fine.
Thanks
Glenn
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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There is no Ethernet conflict.  If the radio performs properly on the LAN when connected to SmartSDR for Windows, then the radio and your internal network are working properly.

We can appreciate your frustration and if there was something we could do to minimize latency, we would, but once the network traffic leaves the radio and passes through your router, we have zero control over the quality of the interconnected networks that make up the Internet.  We are already using audio compression via the OPUS codec and the amount of traffic on the TCP control channel is very small relative to the audio, and panadapter data.

And it is possible that your router may be the cause of these problems and not the ISP or the interconnected networks that are used to get your data from the radio to your remote client.  Some routers perform better streaming data and doing intelligent buffering to minimize latency.  If your upstream bandwidth is less than 100 mbps, the IQrouters have been shown to provide good throughput performance.
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Matt NQ6N

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Has it ever worked on SSB without the audio breaking up?  Is received audio also breaking up? 

I noticed that the sound card settings on one of my computers has its own microphone AGC setting. Between this and the many audio effects settings, it is possible that the audio distortion is occurring due to some audio effects settings.  

Also, if the breaking up is occurring only on TX audio but not RX audio, there may be RFI causing it.  It might make sense to try lower power simply to rule out RFI.

My Flex has not arrived just yet so I am not fully aware of all of the settings, but if there is a setting to use additional buffering it ought to be possible to avoid any internet latency-related audio distortion, at the expense of a bit more overall latency (TX/RX turnaround).  When I did a demo of SmartLink it appeared that the buffering settings were being set automatically.  

Have you tried connecting to another rig via SmartLink to verify that your operating position internet performance is adequate? 

One other thing you can do to test buffer bloat and latency is to set up a terminal that repeatedly pings a fast host.  I use 8.8.8.8 (google DNS) as it is very fast from my location.  Then while you are watching the ping latency in the terminal, run an internet speed test from whichever speed test service reports the fastest speeds for your connection. 

I found by doing the ping test above that the buffer bloat would sometimes report an A even though the IQ Router was not quite doing enough to prevent latency of some of the packets.  I am currently using experimental firmware on both of my IQ Routers which uses a much more conservative SQM setting that always strongly favors low latency over max throughput.  Now, when I run a speed test it takes a few seconds for the needle to indicate max speed, but the wonderful side-effect is that ping latency truly does not increase at all even when the internet connection is slammed by the demands of the speed test. 

One other issue I have had at both of my locations (operating position and remote station) is that line problems that my ISP was having were causing the upload speed to stagger a bit in the middle of a speed test.  What was actually happening behind the scenes was that the cable modem was getting too high a signal level and was abruptly resetting itself to a lower speed right in the middle of the speed test.  It's very important to note that this issue was not always causing all that much buffer bloat (my buffer bloat test would still average out to an A most times) but it was adding noticeable glitches and latency to the VOIP connection audio.   Thankfully, they must have sent their line team out to fix the issue a few weeks ago, and I suddenly noticed much much better performance of my remote setup (and the staggering in the upload test speed no longer occurred). 

Best of luck!
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Glenn Nutsey

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Thanks for all the comments.
I will check that it's definitely not RF causing the problem, and unfortunately changing the router is not an option with the provider. I will re check the standard set up and make sure the problem isn't present working without the remote in line.
I assume the only physical changes I can make is to reduce the panadapter frame controls and select lower bandwidth which I think only changes these settings anyway.
I will report back.
Thanks