SF Firmware 6.2.0 - First impressions

I was having this conversation via e-mail, but now I’m moving it to here for the benefit of everyone:

Hello guys, how are you?

I’ve tried the new 6.2.0 beta firmware, first of all thank you for your work. I’ve seen that you added a feature that I’ve once requested to Keith, a simplified interface for SF monitoring and testing.

As you might know I use Peplink router to live stream HD video over the internet, using the SF bonding capabilities. I always use 3G/4G USB dongles to provide a fast and reliable network to do the streaming.

This way I don’t use all of the features that the Peplink routers have, and sometimes when I’m training new people to operate the system, they get a little confused with so many options, so a couple months ago I’ve asked Keith about the possibility to create a simple interface focused on video streaming.

Here we are now, and here is my first impressions of the new SF monitoring system, I’ve created a video to show my workflow, please have a look:

As you can see in the video I think the interface got a little harder to work with. To make it better I would point the following:

1 - SF “Speedtest” and “Analyser” should not overlap the SF tunnel monitoring

2 - When you start the test and close the tab to vizualise the SF tunnel the test stops, this way I can’t perform my analyses.

3 - You have to click on the SF profile to unfold the tunnel details, I would keep that open by default. I understand that you made this way to make it simple when dealing with a lot of SF profiles, but on video stream you will basically use only one profile at time.

4 - To resolve items 1 and 2 I would place the Speedtest and Analyser buttons bellow the tunnel

5 - I would also remove the search boxes on top of everything, to make it cleaner

6 - I would love to be able log into this screen without passing trough the “admin + admin” screen. A direct way to access only the SF information would be very helpful.

Besides that I’ve noticed some instability on the SF tunnels, it was dropping a lot of the connections, could be the place I’am, but 6.1.2 felt more stable to me. But I’ll double check this.

I’ve also found a bug regarding to the SF monitoring when removing a USB modem, I’ve also made a video out of it. Maybe that could help you guys:

Thank you very much for your time and work.

Steve kindly replied:

Hi Pedro,

This is Steve from SpeedFusion Team. We appreciate your help on testing the beta firmware and really love your quick feedback!

As you may have found already, there are still some noticeable glitches in this 6.2 open-beta-1, we are aware of that and most of them have fixes on the way, but yea some of them are quite rare and we may have missed, sending us the video demonstrating how to produce the bug will definitely help :slight_smile: Thank you very much for your help and effort on it!

So here about your feedback:

  1. When we design the new UI layout, we expect users will click on the “graph” button first and it will open a new browser tab for monitoring the PepVPN statistics in a colored graph, and then on the original tab, users can then start PepVPN test to check the performance. Do you think opening a new tab is not a good idea or not efficient enough?

  2. Could you please tell us more about “visualize the SF tunnel”? Do you mean checking for the stats located under the PepVPN Test panel? As stated in point 1), we think opening a new tab to monitor the throughput graph is a better way to get detailed stats, but we will think it again and see if we can further improve this process and reduce the steps needed to perform the test.

  3. You’re right, we have plan to make them default expanded when there are only a small number of connected PepVPN peers.

  4. The search box only appear on Balance 305, 380 and above (i.e. the search box will be hidden on MAX HD2 / OTG, for example), which we expect there can be lots of connected peers. Hmm… I got what you mean, let’s see if we can improve this within the release schedule.

  5. We are still discussing about this internally within our team, and trying to come up with a solution to help users like you to use our devices in a more efficient way, may not be in this firmware release though, but please stay tuned.

Finally I would like to show you a hidden feature that you may be interested in, on the SpeedFusion profile configuration panel, click the “help” icon on top right of “WAN Connection Priority” table, you can enable two new hidden features there, “cut-off latency” and “packet lost pull-pack time”. You can configure it to fit your environment so your SpeedFusion will utilize all the WAN in the way you want. As always, don’t forget this is still in beta and please don’t hesitate to let us know your comments.

Hello Steve, how are you?

Thank you for your e-mail.
As for the hidden features, this is brilliant! I’ve been wanting some feature like that for a long time. I’ll review it right away and send the feedback back to you guys.

Now, about your comments:

1 - I see what you guys meant, but I will give my personal opinion on that: The graphic is great, but I think it’s much easier to visualize the SF tunnel sum, when it’s placed horizontally, like the picture bellow. Maybe that’s because I’m use to it, but I found the graphics have too much information at once and when I’m working on the field decisions have to me made quickly and the quicker I found what’s wrong, the better.

2 - Yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about on the first item. I also think that keeping everything on the same tab would be better. This again is my personal opinion, my systems use a touch screen monitor, and swapping between the tabs can be tricky when you are on a rush.
Here is how I think it could be done:

When I first tough about this Video UI feature I’ve imagined a simple dashboard that would include everything I need to use, something like this:

The bottom line is, in my opinion the best way to visualize the SF stats is horizontally, and everything on the same tab. In order to do that, the test results can’t overlap the profile information.
If you guys disagree on that, maybe you could add the profile stats on top of the graphics (that opens in a new tab)

6 - Thank you, that would make things even easier, I would also suggest the same interface for SF on iOS and Android utility, this way people can make the tests on a mobile device as well.

Thank you very much for listening to my ideas.

Hi Pedro, 6.2 open-beta-2 is now here!

The PepVPN status should work as expected in beta 2, and also as you suggested, we have revised PepVPN Test UI and is now showing per WAN statistics for easier performance analysis.

Also, here is a technical notes giving a detailed explanations about Cut-off Latency and Packet lost pull-back features, I think you’ll like them, and feel free to send us any suggestions about this release, thank you! :slight_smile:

Hello Steve,

The UI looks perfect now! Thank you very much to listen to my opinion. I personally think that is much better now and will definitely make my life easier.
If it’s not asking too much, I would like to add a couple more ideas:

1 - I think the Analyzer should have the same WAN statistics, just like the new UI for the VPN test. This way we can see in realtime how each WAN is performing, in my opinion this is more effective than looking to the final result only.

2 - Would be nice to be able to access the VPN screen for testing purposes without having to go trough the login process. Maybe a direct address for that.

As for the Cut-off latency, and packet loss pull-back features, I thank you very much for that. It’s definitely something that I was looking foward. That might be a awesome way to improve SF performance. I’ve made a preliminary test with Latency Cut-off, it performed really well. But I still need to make bigger field tests. I’m planning to mount it on my car and go for a spin streaming live via LTE to see how it goes, I’ll building a hardware for that.
I’ll try to make a video about the results and come back to you.

Thank you again for the great work.