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ƒatality ƒorum§ » Tech Forums » Tech. Issues » Testing your internet connection
Testing your internet connection
RobDate: Friday, 2012-12-07, 6:32 PM | Message # 1
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If you are getting disconnected from the server and are not sure what to do hear are a few quick tests that may help you identify the problem.

Data Flow
Data moves across the internet from point to point in a Hop Scotch method. That is it goes from hear to there, then on to somewhere else and so on until it reaches the destination. There are many alternate paths that can be used. The path taken is determined by speed, reliability and cost.

The sections are called networks and the joining points are called routers. As the data moves from one network to the next through a router it is called a hop. There may be many hops before the data your game uses gets to or from the game servers.

At home you will have your local network. Even one machine and a router can be a network. Your internet provider (ISP) will assign your connection a number like 100.111.101.234 or something more complicated (IPV6) and something called a subnet mask. (These numbers are shorthand for a more complicated and hard to read binary number and the "subnet mask" defines the group of numbers that belong to the same network as you. I wont go further as it gets a little difficult for most people to grasp). Sites like www.whatismyip.com and www.moanmyip.com (for the more adventurist among us) will tell you your public IP.

So the numbers identifies you on the internet and all data sent from your computer is labeled with it. Likewise all other visible devices on the internet have numbers of their own.

Disconnections from games
Problems with getting disconnected or poor performance can be due to many problems. The most common is some or all the internet data not reaching it's destination. Other possibilities include a program (client) or service (server) fault or outage.

There is not much we can do about the game client and server problems or outages. However we can check to see if the servers are running.

Servers
Game servers are usually not one machine but many. The game software may need to talk to authentication servers and a unique server for each "game server" and other servers for each zone or location. Many addresses may be used but often are on the same network.

Logging into the game may not use the same network as the game. Also note the Turbine and LOTRO websites may not be on the same network or even in the same area.

Getting down to business - how to check things.

Checking servers are up.
There are online tools to do this plus the game client itself.
Keep in mind the servers may be up but they may be blocking your connecting to them. This is a common occurrence if they want to test the server before letting us in after maintenance or a patch.

Checking your connection to your router.

Your connection may use one of many technologies. Common ones are:

Wireless Internet - Uses Mobile phone network device plugged into your PC or Notebook.
WiFi - Uses Your Home or Hotspot wireless local network to connect to local router and internet.
Wired - Uses cabling to connect to local router and internet.

About Ping Testing
Ping is a command available in almost all computer operating systems.
Pinging a router can test connectivity between your computer and the router.

To enter a ping (or tracert) you will need to open a command line interface. In Windows this is called the DOS Prompt.
To open a DOS Prompt use the "windows key" and R and type "cmd" and ENTER. (omit the parenthesis)
The "windows key" is the key on your keyboard with the windows flag on it.
A black and white (usually) window will open.

To ping a server open a command line prompt and type:
ping (and a destination).
By default ping makes 4 requests so adding an option -n 100 will tell ping to do this 100 times.

e.g. ping -n 100 google.com (where google.com is the destination).

The computer will send small bits of data to the router for google.com and if "ping enabled" the router will echo back.
We can check the time it takes for an echo and if any data is dropped.
A successful ping will have a time usually in milliseconds (e.g. 30 ms).
It is normal for data to not to arrive however you should not see more than 2% loss. (Packet Loss)
In our example google.com is a hostname. It also has many internet addresses. One of which is 74.125.237.133

The command ping -n 100 google.com is equivalent to ping -n 100 74.125.237.133
(Continued next post)


Message edited by Rob - Friday, 2012-12-07, 6:57 PM
 
RobDate: Friday, 2012-12-07, 6:33 PM | Message # 2
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(Continued)

Where to ping?
You cant ping the game servers as they are not ping enabled.
Anyway such a test if possible would only tell us there is a problem (we probably know this) nor would it give us any indication of what is causing the problem.
The best method is to ping routers closer to the computer (yourself).
To do this you will need to know the identity of those routers and to do this we use another command named tracert.

Tracert
Tracert will list the routers starting closest to you and up to 30 hops by default.
It uses echo tests like ping does and a method of aging packets. (TTL time to live)

So tracert to a game server will give you the IP addresses of routers until you reach a router that is configured not to respond to tracert packets.

This is ok as we usually only need the first couple hops.

Typical trace using tracert:
Tracing route to 208.67.49.4 over a maximum of 30 hops

1 17 ms 1 ms 1 ms fw-net20.rayner.net.au [192.168.20.254]
2 29 ms 29 ms 29 ms 122-148-3-185.core.dodo.com.au [122.148.3.185]
3 30 ms 31 ms 30 ms 122-148-4-34.core.dodo.com.au [122.148.4.34]
(hops 4-15 removed for simplicity)
16 232 ms 233 ms 233 ms 64.125.186.90
17 * * * Request timed out.

From left to right (1 17 ms 1 ms 1 ms fw-net20.rayner.net.au [192.168.20.254])
the first number "1" is the hop count
"17 ms 1 ms 1 ms" are performance times in milliseconds (typical, minimum and maximum times)
fw-net20.rayner.net.au is the host name of the hop
[192.168.20.254] is the IP address of the hop

The first hop (router) is my firewall/DSL modem. Its IP address is 192.168.20.254
(fw-net20.rayner.net.au is a hostname like google.com) We will stick to using IP addresses for these tests but host names can also be used.

Testing
My first test should be to ping the closest router to my computer with 100 packets
e.g. ping -n 100 192.168.20.254

Sample:
(last few lines)
Reply from 192.168.20.254: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.20.254: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.20.254: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.20.254: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 192.168.20.254:
Packets: Sent = 100, Received = 100, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 2ms, Average = 1ms

Key things to note are:

time=1ms - (This should be low 1-3 millisecond for something close but can be a few hundred milliseconds to a remote router)
0% loss - (2% is OK however your local router should be 0%)

Ping the next hop as seen in your trace (tracert).
(In my sample above this router is 122.148.3.185 and note it is not in the same address range as my router 192.168.20.254)
This address is the first publicly visible address and we have two possibilities.

Its is the outside address of your router.
It is part of your ISPs network.

To find out open your web browser and go to www.whatismyip.com and the public address of your router will be displayed.
In my case it is not any of the addresses listed with tracert. If however it is the second IP address on your trace your next ping test should be to the third hop.

In my case I would ping the second hop with:
ping -n 100 122.148.3.185 (not a real address of mine)

Output will be similar to the previous. For DSL connections, if you get more than 2% packet loss then phone your ISP with the results and they should rectify it. Cable should have 0% loss. Wireless Internet I do not know what is acceptable but assume 2% is bad. 0 % is best but not always possible with DSL.

Pinging beyond your ISP although informative is out of your and probably your ISPs control. If errors there you may need to to wait for the problem to resolve itself.

(Continued next post)
 
RobDate: Friday, 2012-12-07, 6:34 PM | Message # 3
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(Continued)

Packet Loss
So what is packet loss. Packet loss is when packets of data don't reach the intended destination.
They can be lost due to a number off caused. The most common are:

Corrupted data transmission usually due to interference or a poor quality connection.
A router that should receive the data is too busy to processes it when it arrives and it is dropped.
A routing error has occurred and it is sent to the wrong destination and dropped.

TCP and UDP packets
TCP and UDP are two common internet protocols used by games.
Protocols set out how data is transferred from point to point.
The thing gamers need to keep in mind is the way these two protocols react if packets are lost.
TCP will request the data be resent at the protocol level.
UDP does not. For UDP any lost packets are handled by the application. i.e. The game servers and game client on your computer.
Games generally don't request packets to be resent if dropped. Some packet loss is not a problem. UDP is more efficient for gaming.

(Info for the technically inclined).
Authentications is done using HTTP or HTTPS (port 80 and 443)
Some business networks proxy port 80 and that may prevent you from playing.
For home networks (users) there is usually no need to create any special rules for this traffic.

Lord Of The Rings online uses the following ports
2900 to 2910 using UDP
9000 to 9010 using UDP
If these ports are blocked outbound the game wont work past the "checking for updates" at startup.


Message edited by Rob - Friday, 2012-12-07, 7:05 PM
 
VotreDate: Friday, 2012-12-07, 8:58 PM | Message # 4
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thank you so much.

Message edited by Votre - Saturday, 2012-12-08, 3:32 AM
 
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