Fuzzy's Little Lag/Ping Primer -1 reply

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Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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2nd May 2005

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#1 13 years ago

Uh, people seem to be confused about lag, ping, whatever. Here are some basics for you (yes I do this for a living and it pains me to see people obviously being confused.) Load: the amount of crap (processes) waiting for CPU time or memory on your system at any given time. This can also apply to the server. Swap: when you run out of virtual memory and processes start using physical memory (hard disk) for work. Very slow. Ping: the time it takes mr. packet to get from point A to point B and back. Correct term for "ping time" is "latency". Latency is affected by how far you are physically located from your target, how many intermediate stations ("hops") your traffic has to go through to get there, the quality/grade/size of your links, same of the target (server)'s link, solar flares, telepathic hare krishnas, etc. Bandwidth: the amount of information that will go over your pipe in either direction at a given time. Lag can be caused by any number of these, although it conventionally refers to high latency. So, to reduce lag, you can: -reduce system load by killing unwanted processes -stop anything else that uses your net (bittorrent, WIndows Update, whatever.) If you have a cable modem (which is actually a piece of hardware called a "bridge"), you should know that cable is a "contention-based" medium, meaning that you have a "cloud" between your cable modem and where the provider's backbone starts. So all these hosers are contending for the same resources. If you have a good ISP, they will have fewer connections per cloud.

xDSL (ADSL, SDSL, HDSL, whatever) is "dedicated" (and stop calling it a friggin DSL modem, it's a ROUTER dammit). This means you have a point to point link between yourself and where the ISP's backbone starts. However, all that traffic still has to go over the ISP's backbone, so if it's insufficient and you have 500 little Timmies downloading porn, oops.

If you have satellite, you're SOL. Satellite either uses asymmetric routing (packets go up via, say, modem and down via satellite) or both ways via satellite. They still tend to have huge latency (they are limited by the speed of light, alas.)

The Internet is designed to route around failure and outages. While in practice this does not work nearly as nicely as in theory, it can still happen that your packets go up one way and back another way. One of these can be clogged, broken, whatever.

Traffic prioritization means that some ISPs put very low priorities (or block) traceroutes and pings, to avoid the above porn-hosing Timmies from pingbombing their routers.. That means that you can have crap pings but still get good performance.

While playing, what you can do is:

-Kill any unwanted processes, especially AV scanners and personal firewall software in your icon tray. Yes, these _do_ have an impact on stack performance, and they _do_ cause system load. SEE BELOW REGARDING FIREWALLS. For additional fun, go through your process list (control-alt-delete) and kill anything you don't know. Don't worry, you won't break anything and it's a good way of learning what does what. If you hang something up, just reboot. -Kill anything sharing your network (including downloaders, windows update, bittorrent, your brother next door downloading porn, etc.) -Reboot and reset your cable modem / DSL router (usually unplugging for ca. 10 seconds works.) -Get a real ISP. Voice & data transmission is a ruthless, filthy business, and most ISPs will do anything they can to cut corners, including using lower-grade lines. If the problem is at their uplink, there's nothing you can do.

Regarding security, anything and everything you do on the Internet can get you pwnt, including nothing. Windows is a badly written heap of crap that is a magnet for security problems. In addition to a good AV scanner (I like Avast! but have had good experiences with Kaspersky) and keeping your system up to date, I can't recommend strongly enough that people use external DSL routers/cable modems (not PCI cards) and external personal firewalls.

I have a PCEngines WRAP from http://www.pcengines.ch running M0n0wall (http://www.m0n0.ch) and it's 1337-h4x0r-approved. However, any commercial Linksys or similar device that lets all out but nothing in (unless you're paranoid about stuff calling home, like me) will do.

Hope this helps. And before you bitch me out, yes, I have been doing this for 15 years. No, it's not complete, Yes, it took me 5 minutes to write. No, I haven't had breakfast yet.




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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13th April 2005

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#2 13 years ago

:agreed Should be stickied. Let me add my little bit... I use McAfee. I have to go into administrative tools\services and end the mcafee processes there, first. Then go to taskmanager. When in the tasmanager, click on processes. Then click on the "username" header. This will sort all of the usernames, you will notice that inside that list contains your logon. End all of those processes (the ones with your username), except for explorer.exe. If I dont do it in that order the services will restart themselves. Oh and if your name is "Timmie" then you need to reboot before surfing for porn!!!!




|HV|MacGyver

Mr.Fixer

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12th November 2004

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#3 13 years ago

:agreed Indeed very nice!

xDSL (ADSL, SDSL, HDSL, whatever) is "dedicated" (and stop calling it a friggin DSL modem, it's a ROUTER dammit). This means you have a point to point link between yourself and where the ISP's backbone starts. However, all that traffic still has to go over the ISP's backbone, so if it's insufficient and you have 500 little Timmies downloading porn, oops.

Only (off-topic) comment I have is: [rant] It's actually already shared (bundled with other people their data) at your local exchange office. But it's true that in the beginning more people were on a shared connection with cable then xDSL. These days that doesn't really matter anymore, well not here anyway hehe.[/rant]




Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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2nd May 2005

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#4 13 years ago

I forgot a few small things:

-Defragment your hard disk. If nothing else, it may reduce your startup times by making it easier for your system to find game-related files.

-Rip your original game CDs with a good ISO ripper (I use Alcohol 120% but there is free software as well) that understands SafeDisc2/3, or whatever your game uses. Run the game from a virtual CD image tool, such as Daemon-Tools (it's free, but Nero also works.) You may need a no-CD patch from a site such as http://www.gamecopyworld.com. Before anyone gets mad, this is entirely legal if you own the game. I do this with all my original CDs/DVDs to reduce wear and tear. -You may have spyware/trojans. These slow things down and eat network resources, in addition to invading your privacy. Get AdAware personal (free, from http://www.lavasoft.de) and Spybot S&D (from http://www.safer-networking.org); Microsoft's spyware removal tool (at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx) is also a good start. I use AdAware and Spybot. Update and run these from time to time. They will not catch all exploits (such as some Internet-Explorer-borne ones) but they're a good start.

Oh, and regarding browsers, GET A REAL BROWSER. IE sucks and is a vulnerable buggy piece of crap. Firefox (http://www.getfirefox.com) is a much better, safer alternative, although also not 100% foolproof.

--Non-technical people ignore this:---

@MacGyver: I am being overly simplistic as you can tell--most people who have lag issues and can't figure them out tend to not be very technical. All DSL variants are dedicated point-to-point links between your router and the acutal MUX at the ecxhange. It's really only at the exchange where they're bundled--the DSLAM may just be overloaded, the router behind it as well, or the router interface, whatever. It could also depend on whether your ADSL provider is using CAP or DMT, and as I said, absurd factors such as your proximity to power lines (I'm serious), solar flares, interference from telepathic hare krishnas, whatever.




Bert Preast

GF Pwns Me!

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1st May 2006

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#5 13 years ago

You are being a bit unfair on Windows and IE I feel - there are security issues yes, but if 99% of hackers were to switch targets and go for Linux/Firefox you'd have just the same problems with them. To add something to the thread, having a router that hooks to your USB is costing performance - get one that plugs in through an ehternet card instead. If your ISP doesn't do one it might be better to go with an ISP that does.




Yossarian

Moose frots Obama

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28th March 2005

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#6 13 years ago

Don't mind Fuzzy's windows bashing. In his line of work, if you're a windows lover, you're out of a job. His career is advanced by making sweet sweet love to anything ending an a "nix"




Polska

"The original one"

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19th September 2004

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#7 13 years ago

Luckly I managed to split my connection between two computers, now I can download porn at one computer at a steady rate of 200Kb/s and play FH with the remaining 400Kb/s

Best of both worlds!




Mp5-Killa

FH Betatester

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19th April 2004

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#8 13 years ago

And we wanted to know that why Ted?

Nice post Fuzzy, cleared some stuff up for me - Cheers.




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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#9 13 years ago

Polska is resourceful, that one...




Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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#10 13 years ago
Bert PreastYou are being a bit unfair on Windows and IE I feel - there are security issues yes, but if 99% of hackers were to switch targets and go for Linux/Firefox you'd have just the same problems with them.

Please just trust my experience on this one (and if this degenerates into an OS flamewar by Windows fans who feel attacked, I'm asking an admin to lock it/move it--I don't have any preference, life's just too short for shitty software.) Microsoft's underlying security model (everything funnelling through RPC-DOM, poor kernel -level privilege separation, poor bounds checking by IE), despite some very clever elements, is kludged together on a user-level OS basis.

There are exploits and worms for other operating systems, but due to fundamental differences in how operating systems are structured, they are generally fairly effective. Look through the Blackhat or cansecwest/pacseceast papers of recent years--these are not people who jump on bandwagons as much as people who're interested in publishing academically sound papers of technical flaws. There is a reason why you have at least a 10-1 prevalence of Windows/IE issues compared to any other platform/browser.

That said, Windows is a necessity for most people (don't look at me, I do all my work on a Powerbook); it is possible to manage Windows infrastructures in a way that minimizes risk, but difficult for average, non-technically-skilled users to do so. A few basic mechanisms, such as the ones I wrote up, will ameliorate your exposure to a degree that you shouldn't have to worry about it anymore (and anything you still get hit with probably isn't something that you could do anything about in any case.)

Remember, most attacks are automated, and when running from a bear you don't have to be fastest in the group, just not the slowest.