I am just throwing this against the wall to see what sticks…
I have played video games all my life. I consider myself just a tad bit higher than average at most games, but my internet connection has always been a huge disadvantage ever since online gaming became a thing.
I imagine if there are any gamers amongst us, we probably face the same challenges, and while Peplink doesn’t advertise any “gaming” features, I believe that they have given us all the tools to optimize gaming traffic. I am getting older and I need any advantage I can get.
I am currently playing Apex Legends on PC. For the most part it works alright, but this game does some goofy stuff to the PC and network. I have run several packet captures and I am still scratching my head. At the end of every match, you leave the game and return to the lobby. Whenever I am returning to the lobby, party chat on XBox has issues. I don’t think that it is congestion based on the traffic graphs - but it is very consistent. When using discord for voice, it doesn’t crap out. Another issue is that the matchmaking bounces me around onto sub-optimal game servers.
I have tried to use packet capture software to help diagnose the issue, but I am still struggling. I can’t track the workflow, nor the “conflict”. It is almost like the game is trying to switch to a udp port that is in use by the party chat. They both seem to use ephemeral ports.
For the matchmaking, it is getting the list of available game servers through some mechanism other than DNS, I haven’t been able to match a DNS response address to the game server address. It seems to do a latency check at some time after the game and before you join a new one. It seems that “something” is causing latency to spike - and then the game just picks one at random. I don’t know how it is calculating this latency, so I don’t know what QOS settings that will make it better.
Any help is appreciated. I mainly just want to get a discussion going if anyone else is interested in such things.
One thing that has helped with the game play was changing the WAN buffer size to a smaller value. I chose 512, then lowered it to 256, then I tried 128, but I started getting a bit of packet loss, so I left it at 256.
Another tweak that has helped was to route all tcp out the wan with higher capacity, and only routing UDP down the tiny DSL link. My DSL link is much more consistent with latency, although it has higher latency. My other WAN is a WISP and the jitter is so bad, that I prefer a consistent high latency over a sporadic latency. Since both the voice chat and the game data are using UDP - I am sending them both down the same WAN, ideally I will find a way to identify what ports or port ranges each is using and then routing them separately. Unfortunately, they both appear to be so dynamic that I can’t find any static ports.
I thought UDP was supposed to be easier to deal with than TCP, but I am finding that it is harder to diagnose and troubleshoot.