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  Topic: Shakey Internet Conditions (9 replies)
#1     Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:10 pm
WB0WLS
Grand Island NE -- Let's work some CW -- CW, music to a ham's ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 105
Subject: Shakey Internet Conditions

Internet conditions here have not been favorable toward CQ100 here over the last two or three weeks. There have been a few times where signals (especially on CW) have been solid but most nights/days including tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 28 ) have been marginal at best. Tonight has been one of the worst in a long time. Of course it affects CW worse than voice as it messes up letters and makes words uncopyable where as with voice, it isn't so bad as you can still make out the words even though there is lots of breakups.

As is typical of these conditions, the station disappears off the screen but continues to transmit. The station often totally goes away. Tonight the "connecting" words would often come across the screen as the program was trying to re-connect.

Something I had never seen before ... while CQ100 remains on top of anything else on the screen, the meter would still go dark even as I was transmitting, as if I had brought another program up "on top".

Anyway, it seems conditions remain as unstable on the internet (for voip) as they are on the "real hf" bands. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the actual workings of CQ100, but it is of course frustrating.

I wonder if conditions are the same for everybody or if it can actually be in specific areas on any given day.

I recall last summer when I tried to use the echolink test server to record my audio.... it was broken up very badly for a couple of days ... as opposed to normally hearing a very smooth voice recording. I talked to my local IP and they told me that for a period of several days a large area in the center of the USA was having internet problems. A couple of days later, the echolink voice was back to it's normal smooth sound.

A few weeks ago there was to be a "fix" with a big IP in Texas but from that point on, I haven't really seen things run any smoother for the most part.

This past Sunday night I worked some CW and conditions were beasutiful. Copy was pretty much 100% solid with no broken letters, no station dropout, etc. etc. Monday was not so good. Today ... terrible.

I notice that pages like QRZ are very slow to come up also. So I know this is NOT a CQ100 problem.

I know it's just the way things are ... and I'm not complaining... just trying to relate my experience from here in central Nebraska. Maybe the same thing is happening here that happened last Summer. Maybe my local IP is having trouble.

What are your experiences over the past days????? Anyone having the same troubles that I am seeing??

rich ae0v grand island nebraska USA
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#2     Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:22 am
VE3EFC
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 724
Subject:

Hi Rich,

Here is a free tool that will tell you where the bottle neck is happening...
http://www.visualroute.com/

I listened to the CW code practice last night for an hour and there was not a single dropout. I did hear that occasional thumping on the CW which we believe is an artifact of the GSM 6.10 audio compression.

If you have lights on your modem, close CQ100 and see if something on your computer is using the internet behind your back. If your ISP has overloaded your neighborhood, it will show using the tool above.

Maybe someone else is sharing or stealing your internet connection via wireless. If you catch a zombie virus, someone may be using your computer to send out a million spam emails. This will show on the modem lights. Some instant messengers are constantly downloading advertising.

I think the problem has to be an overloaded internet pipe at your end. At my end, the server pipe shows 90% empty. There was a problem with packet loss at my ISP a few weeks ago but it has been fixed.

Last weekend, I noticed a strange thing on my home computer. My connection seemed slow because web pages were very slow to load. After I shut everything down for the night, I noticed my modem lights were showing a constant stream of incoming packets being sprayed at my IP address. Perhaps a bug on some server somewhere. This went on for hours, so I powered off the modem, waited 5 minutes then powered the modem back on. This procedure gives me a new IP address and a clean connection.
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#3     Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:47 pm
WB0WLS
Grand Island NE -- Let's work some CW -- CW, music to a ham's ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 105
Subject:

Hi Doug.. I checked out the site you suggested and downloaded a couple of things... not sure if they are the correct ones to check what I need to check. I downloaded VisualRoute Lite Edition and VisualRoute. Are those the correct ones to use???

The results were all over the place on the graphs. I redid the test many times and sometimes only seconds apart and they were quite different every time.

The download test ranged anywhere between 200 Kbps to 800Kbps.

I forget what the other one showed.

When I did that test that shows the hops from me to my local IP, the lost packets indicated on mine would very anywhere from ZERO to 30% ... That graph was also all over the place.

Maybe I downloaded the wrong ones, etc.??

I'm not sure it is my end alone, as I was in a 3 way CW contact the other day and all 3 stations were hearing the same breakup from eachother, etc.

I wonder if I were to do these tests from another location... maybe that would give me some answers.

I did connect via two other people in my neighborhood that have "open" routers but the test then would not connect.
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#4     Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:03 pm
VE3EFC
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 724
Subject:

Hi Rich,

When I set VisualRoute Lite to trace QSONET.COM it usually shows about 80 to 100 milliseconds for the round trip. On rare occasions there is 10% packet loss, often in Chicago.

Packet loss higher than 20% will cause breakup in the voip stream.

I listened in to your 3 way discussion about key clicks yesterday. I was going to break in and explain my opinions, but its a complcated subject.

I beleive we have 3 causes of clicks on the CW audio.

#1) The GSM compression causes a thumping noise on the keying, and this noise seems to cycle better to worse every 10 to 20 seconds. This thumping is not related to any internet connection or the CQ100 software. We confirmed this by recording a CW wave file using Windows sound recorder, saving it as GSM and playing it back using Windows media player. GSM was developed for voice sounds and the on-off of single-tone CW seems to result in artifacts. Today I tried setting the attack and decay on the keying much softer than usual and it seemed to help.

#2) The CQ100 uses a dynamic anti-jitter buffer that grows as the total accumulated drop-out time increases. The buffer starts at 1/10 second and is allowed to grow as large as one second. Thus bad connections have more lag than good connections, in order to spread out the gaps. When you first tune in a signal, it is assumed both sides have a good connection, then the buffer grows as drop-outs are encountered. I often hear this effect where there are plenty of dropout clicks for the first few characters of a transmission, then they quickly disappear as the anti-jitter system adapts to the two-sided quality of the connection. This is normal. planned behavior, but more noticeable on CW.

#3) If either the sender or receiver has a poor internet connection with dropouts exceeding 1 second, these will cause intermittent gaps in the audio and associated clicks. The anti-jitter buffer exceeds its lag limit. We do not want the lag to exceed 1 second because it causes other problems.

What I heard listening to your 3 way QSO was a combination of all 3 effects. However, the effects were small and all 3 stations were perfectly readable. The problems seemed slightly worse on you than the other guys. When you changed from Bencher to typing, one station told you it was better on the Bencher but the other station told you it was better on the keyboard. I thought your keyboard had a few more dropouts but they were minor. Both Bencher and keyboard sounded great except for a few clicky dropouts.
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#5     Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:27 pm
WB0WLS
Grand Island NE -- Let's work some CW -- CW, music to a ham's ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 105
Subject:

Doug... how would a connection via cable compare to DSL?? I don't know much about this stuff but I would assume that how good of a connection you get with DSL would depend alot on the phone lines and how old they were, etc.

I'm on DSL here and wonder if internet via cable would give me a better connection?

Do you have any idea?
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#6     Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:27 pm
VE3EFC
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 724
Subject:

We are very lucky in this city because we have healthy competition between the local phone company DSL and the big Canadian cable company Shaw. I have Cable at home and DSL at the office. I find both of these are excellent. A few years ago the cable speeds were better than the DSL, but as more people got connected to cable, the speeds dropped off slightly especially during peak hours. The phone company has upgraded to fantastic speeds now, so the DSL is now better than the cable, but I am perfectly happy with either one.

I heard that DSL will drop off if you are too far away from the phone company. My office is just one block away downtown.

If you have friends with both, ask them to run this test to Dallas and compare their answers.
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

My cable always gets 400 up and 1200 to 2000 down, depending on time of day. I will test the DSL at the office tomorrow. Both DSL and cable limit the upload speed to 400 in this city.

Qsonet uses only about 16 up and 16 down, not both at the same time. It works fine on my 33.6k dialup modem. The ping time is more important than the data speed. The consistency between ping times is more important the the times themselves. Both my cable and DSL report steady ping times to Qsonet.com at 80 to 100 milliseconds using VisualRoute lite.

If you see the word PROXY on any of the internet hops, this is a bad sign because passing through proxy servers will cause troubles for VOIP traffic.
Try to avoid chosing an ISP who uses proxy servers.
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#7     Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:46 pm
WB0WLS
Grand Island NE -- Let's work some CW -- CW, music to a ham's ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 105
Subject:

when I put in an internet address and all those "hops" come up, all of them including mine always show zero packet loss.

When I do the hop only to my ISP it shows me with 30% packet loss... once in a while it will be 10 or 20 but usually 30%.

Why does it show then opposed to showing zero loss when there are 20+ hops showing??
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#8     Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:55 am
VE3EFC
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 724
Subject:

Hi Rich. 30% packet loss is a lot. It must be a different route when you go through them to Qsonet than when you go directly to them. Try entering them as dot com instead of dot net.

I just checked my office DSL to Dallas and it shows 3850 down, 320 up.

I remember running a test on the visualroute web site where they rate the quality of your connection for VOIP use. There was nothing to download, just a click on the voip test.
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#9     Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:38 pm
WB0WLS
Grand Island NE -- Let's work some CW -- CW, music to a ham's ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 105
Subject:

I can run the VOIP test and the SPEED (download/upload) test over and over one time after the other and it is different every time.... sometimes extreme.

The download/upload test done maybe 5 times over the course of a minute or two would bring download numbers anywhere from 900 as low as 180kbps.

The "quality of service" lighty will be green, yellow, red... usually different each time... but seldom greenj.

ONE time the jitter light was RED but it is usually green.

The test just seems to be very inconsistent.... or is my connection that different from minute to minute (or maybe second to second).
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#10     Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:19 pm
VE3EFC
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 724
Subject:

Rich, if you are using a wireless router, try connecting it wired instead. I heard form some people who say this solved all their problems. QRM and QRN in their house was bothering the wireless signal.
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