WiFi Exibiting minor drop outs Versus ethernet... Possile buffering needed ??

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WiFi operation over Ethernet exhibits minor but quite noticeable "Drop Outs" on Rx & Tx within a strong signal zone. Looking at the throughput all looks in order however could a small buffering somewhere eliminate this ?
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James Nelson

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Posted 5 years ago

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Jim Gilliam

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Perhaps the network need less loading. You might try using only the Flex on the router to see if the problem persists.
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James Nelson

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Thanks Jim, I am watching the traffic as well with little success.... although the throughput is low interruption must be playing a part. It is minor although fixed would be perfection.
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Steve - M3SXA

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Hi James,  new to the flex 6000 series and nothing to do with wi-fi but where did the analogue meter come from on your photo?
Steve
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James Nelson

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Oh.... woodbox radio, a voluntary donation/freebie. Extremely GOOD looks GOOD and works a treat !
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Funny that this topic came up, I was thinking about this exact topic earlier today.  I'm wondering if my computer (via wifi) might be dropping some udp packets.  I could probably look at perfmon to find out for sure.  Also came across a registry key to increase the udp receive buffer size (you should probably only tweak this setting if you understand what it does, and be sure to have a backup of your computer, etc [insert appropriate disclaimer here]).

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18985816/change-default-socket-buffer-size-under-windows

Although you mentioned you were in a strong signal zone (did you mean strong adjacent interfering signals?).  Keep in mind most data that the radio sends/receives are UDP, and UDP packets are connectionless.  In other words, if the packet doesnt make it to your computer for whatever reason, the software doesn't care and it doesn't try to resend it.  That's one of the trade-offs for speed.  UDP packets are faster because your computer doesn't have to establish a new connection and send an acknowledgement packet (ACK packet) for every UDP packet it receives.

-Robbie

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Ernest - W4EG

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Nice explanation Robbie...  Thanks      * You got the Star
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James Nelson

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Hi Robbie,   12ft away from the router. Once your on WiFi its hard to go back to a piece of wire I can tell you. Great to have your expertise here too with low down on UDP & ACK explanation. I will keep trying in different locations and lets face it WiFi is everywhere around us like soup ! ..... So what is really happening in the Ghz world is beyond me. Although PC & Router are dual band.

thank you,

James

(Edited)
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James Nelson

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Looking at your comments re settings stack overflow etc.... yes its out my my league so that's a no go zone for me without supervision. I know Steve N5AC will have ideas on this as well seeing its the all important networking aspect of the project.
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James Nelson

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Ethernet...
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Sure, no problem.  Figured I'd toss it out there, I never know what level of technical background people have.  My radio knowledge is very limited (i'm an amateur, after all!), but I know computers pretty well. :-)

Yeah the FlexRadio guys will definitely have a much better answer than me, they know their product better than I do (I'm just a end-user like you are).

Although I can through this bit of knowledge out there as well.  Your dual-band router will only use one band at a time to your computer, and it will also step down the connection speed if the connection quality degrades.  I know how to find the connection speed on a Mac, but don't recall where to get the *true* connection speed information on a Windows box.  So if it seems like sometimes it works better than other times, that could be what is happening (but this is just a guess).  Any type of ambient interference (led/flourescent lights, wired smoke alarms, etc) can cause the speed to step down.  Same things that can cause intereference with ham reception.

And of course, it isn't just speed (I don't think the 6000 needs very much bandwidth), but it sends a continuous stream of data, so any momentary interruptions could cause an impact.  This sorta goes back to the buffering topic (kinda).

-Robbie



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James Nelson

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That's fine information Robbie, all good think tank stuff.....  So lets wait and see what's cookin !  To date I left the subject on the backburner in respect of the quantum tasks ahead and awesome progress by the whole Flex team. My fetish for playing with the absolute cutting edge can wait for the roadmap to become rolled out. No point screaming about the roads when they ain't been built yet....

LOL....

James

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Wi-Fi is half duplex. Think of Wi-Fi as an RF Ethernet hub, where the bandwidth is shared by all of the devices using the RF connection, whereas a wired connection via a switch (bridge) is full duplex, has sufficient port buffering, data is filtered by destination MAC address and the connections are not shared.

Increasing you UDP buffers will probably not make a lot of difference in the performance.  The default size of the UDP buffer is probably large enough to handle the data throughput for your wi-fi connection.

You did not indicate what speed your wi-fi router is running at, but looks like you have is fairly "loaded up" from a SmartSDR perspective since you are running CAT, DAX and a full compliment of pan adapters.

So if your wireless is running at a low speed, like 12 mbps (which is really 6 mbps maximum theoretical throughput - remember wi-fi is half duplex), you are over subscribed and packets will be dropped.  No amount of buffering will fix this problem.

So the first thing you have to do is determine your actual connect speed
http://kb.linksys.com/Linksys/GetArticle.aspx?docid=810e021f443a43779294b05bd6b5bedc_3967.xml&pi...

Also even if you are in a strong signal zone, multi-pathing and reflections can also degrade throughput performance.

The bottom line is that wi-fi while convenient and in a lot of cases ubiquitous, it is not the preferred method for connecting the 6000 to the PC client.
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James Nelson

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Thanks Tim,

Great information to ponder, experiment & think. Interestingly spending much of yesterday experimenting I found the following performance differences between WiFi and Ethernet that are probably known however the information may act as confirmation value for the Flex team;

*WiFi has fewer SmartSDR GUI Freezes and turns off the 6700 radio software reliably.

*WiFi has "MINOR" audio drop outs and I must stress "MINOR" not evident on Ethernet.

*WiFi SmartSDR panadaptor is seen to occasionally speed up and slow down displaying a kind of "Catch Up" scenario. (I run my frame rate at the eye pleasing cinema standard of 24fps)

*Ethernet frequently fails to close the internal radio software upon application close.

*Ethernet NEVER Exhibits any perceivable audio drop outs.

*Ethernet has MORE SmartSDR GUI freezes that are easily resolved by rebooting with little effect as the audio/dax/CAT remains working so your radio session is not affected for basic control.

To say operation on WiFi is substandard would be very wrong however the BUZZ of WiFi freedom is so enjoyable I find it hard to go back. Appreciating the much lower data rate I note the audio stream on Icom remote software is dropout free even on 3G so I guess the data priority ie Audio, Video Stream & other functions chew it up.

Runnig freeDV on the Plantronics headset in analog mode using WiFi VIA Dax in DIG mode has really caused a storm WOW factor here with the ESSB TS990 guys reeling at the quality despite some minor dropouts so Great Work FLEX !

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James Nelson

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speed....
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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In many ways we are "very close" to a full remote solution for the FLEX-6000.  In other ways, there is much work needed to be done.  I've done a reasonable amount of work looking at both wireless and Internet traversal of packets and latency and dropped packets are two areas where we need to focus and get a solid solution.  We're discussing things we will try to make this work well and we have recently hired another individual that is a networking expert.  We will be working this in more detail when we get to the remote feature (after the roadmap is finished out).  

Some of the solutions employed for the Internet today are just not viable -- for example with video, your client just buffers a substantial amount of traffic before starting the video.  Yes we could do this, but how would you ever transmit if your receive audio was always 30 seconds in the past?  The video solution on YouTube also understands that you are viewing finite content. For example, if you go to watch a 60-second video that will stream at 1Mbps and you can only get ~500kpbs rates off your connection, YouTube does the math and realizes that if it buffers for 30-seconds, it can start the video.  You will have "caught up" by the end of the video, but it no longer matters.  Listening to a radio is an "infinite content" problem because you are not likely to stop listening at any close point in the future.  

The video solution on Netflix is totally different.  Because their content is longer, they measure your stream rate and pick a certain bandwidth of video that will work (they have each show stored in a number of different streaming rates).  If you fail to meet your delivery goals on the content, they just bump down to a lower streaming rate.  Perhaps you've seen this if you use Netflix (I generally stop the video and restart, but I suspect I'm in the minority here). We can do things like this -- for example slow the panadapter update rate if there is network congestion. This is really the key part of the remote networking effort -- to make all this "just work" so you don't have to fool with a bunch of knobs to make everything work right.

All of this is why we've focused on minimizing all the traffic required for each stream/display we will send over the Internet.  We're working the same details on waterfall now and again we've gone to great lengths to minimize the network traffic so that we will be properly positioned for full remote that works well.
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James Nelson

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Thanks Steve,

While I don't understand the tiny cogs and wheels of it I find this fascinating, I was thinking about the stream priority as well. Note my comments/findings to Tim about yesterdays under the microscope observations & comments. I'm very proud to be associated and view the development of this.

Certainly the GUI should take second priority to the audio stream as maybe it does. I notice the GUI frame "catch up artefact "(speeding and slowing down) does not affect the audio stream on WiFi. Everyone's comments here are sensational..



Thank you

(Edited)
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Great explanation, thanks Steve!  (btw, I also stop/restart netflix if i get a bad stream).

-Robbie

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James Nelson

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Yes, ditto Robbie.... Great responses from a dedicated team. :-)
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Jim Gilliam

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Remoting over the Internet without a computer must be possible. I am the owner of an Icom 7800 and recently they upgraded their firmware which includes it built-in CODECS for both transmit and receive audio. Also the radio connects directly the Internet. It is the most fabulous remoting software I have yet to use. So I know this can be done and, hopefully, Flex will strive to make the 6000 series equally stand-alone for Internet remoting. I use the 6500 for remote panoramic display and the 7800 for the actual remoting.


Jim, K6QE

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James Nelson

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I am sure its happening Jim although the traffic is very different in this baby... having said that these "MINOR" WiFi droputs are minor and judging by the serious nature from Steve "we have recently hired another individual that is a networking expert" clearly Flex mean business !

James, VK2JN
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annakkili

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If you have drop out problem on your wifi,
try with the following steps,
1.)Reset the wireless router by using the power switch on it or by unplugging it and plugging it back in.
2.)Place the wireless router in an ideal location. The higher it is, the better, but don't put it near metal objects.
3.)Get as close as possible to the router with whatever device you're trying to connect.
4.)Keep the router and your connecting device away from other electronics. You should especially keep away from phones, fax machines and microwaves. etc.,
5.)Adjust the Wifi antenna if it has one.
6.)Change the router's channel, especially if other wireless routers are nearby.Following these steps would give you stable internet connection and also increased speed in connection. You can check your internet speed from http://www.scanmyspeed.com/ before and after following these steps.



(Edited)
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Michael - N5TGL

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Well, after fighting WiFi for several months, I switched to ethernet.  Conclusion: I should have done this a LONG time ago!  No lag, no dropouts, no startup crashes, no features that don't load (like the preamp and AF input box) it just works.  Mind you, my computer sits about 4' from the router, so signal strength shouldn't be a problem.  It's still going through the router, so the internal switching wasn't the problem.

Looking forward to the "network radio".  I've got a 6 mbit upstream with my provider, so I can't wait!

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