33 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2016 8:22 AM by jjmas RSS

    bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers

    jimr1

      this is my first post here, so please be gentle in your corrections.

       

      got my slingbox about a month ago.  my purpose was to put it in my second house, so that I could watch the programming from there when I'm in my main house (have different television provider here).  hooked it up, works just find, HD picture, all that, all good.

       

      here's the thing.  I will be watching, getting a nice, 7Mb bitrate, the rate then drops to as low as 200Kb, causing the picture to glitch.  it then recovers and the rate comes back up, but the glitch is annoying.  so, how do I troubleshoot this, find out exactly where the bottleneck is, and fix it somehow?  it's just as annoying (maybe more so) when I use auto quality, as it's constantly blinking as it switches quality.  seems best when put on "best" quality but still will glitch sometimes, and why shouldn't I get HD quality when my average rate is so good?

       

      tech details:  comcast cable internet at both ends.  10Mb uplink at the sling end, 7Mb downlink at the TV end (upgraded from 3Mb, which helped a bit, but it's still doing it.)  hard wired local network at both ends.  standard routers.  tried doing some TCP optimizing, seemed to not make any difference so I went back to default settings.  the comcast is actually the same local comcast provider at both houses so there shouldn't be many servers inbetween.  the slingbox is set in the router to be in the DMZ.

       

      other questions:

      1.  wouldn't bigger buffers in the slingbox plugin help?  any way I can induce this?

      2.  at one point I had managed to get a "statistics" box when the plugin was running, giving me all kinds of useful info on networking.  but I don't know what I did to get that and can't get it back.  anybody know how to get this?

      3.  any advice on tuning my local TCP?  it's a windows 7 box.

       

                 thanks.

        • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
          jimr1

          is this really that difficult of a question?  no one even has a suggestion for me?

          • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
            jimr1

            ok I guess I answered my own question.

             

            I found this http://www.speedguide.net/articles/windows-7-vista-2008-tweaks-2574 which contains several useful tweaks for windows 7, in case anyone else is running this combination.  after applying some of these suggestions, and using SG's optimizing tool to increase my receive window size, sling performance seems much better, a lot fewer drop-offs.  hopefully it's not just a coincidence of having less overall network traffic colliding with mine, time will tell.

             

            fwiw

              • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                chakkarinen Apprentice

                Glad things are working better for you.   However, I am wondering if the improvements came from applying the tcpip tweaks (which I also happen to use on my Windows 7 computers, but for other reasons), or are just "coincidence"?  I bring this possibility up because of the instances that I've heard about for stuttering and stalling were related to constrictions on the upload side of the transmission chain -- i.e., at the physical location of your Slingbox.   But since the Slingbox is, I presume, directly connected to your router at the Slingbox location, the speedguide.net tweaks would have no effect on the upload speeds.

                 

                There might well be some settings in your router itself that could be tweaked to improve uploading.  You might try checking the users manual for that router to see if there are means to improve its upload speeds to eliminate all instances of stuttering/stalling.

                  • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                    jimr1

                    thanks for your response.

                     

                    you may be right, while my initial results were better, I am still getting the stuttering behaviour.  and other streaming (amazon prime, youtube, etc) on this computer all work just fine, so yes, the uplink end would be more suspect.

                     

                    specifically, what router settings am I looking for?  I went through just about all the settings in the router setup and didn't see anything that might help.  I will pull down the users manual next time I am down there and try again (I don't even recall exactly what the model of the router is ATM).  perhaps replacing the router with something newer, that has some settings that I can tweak, is in order?  I'm willing to try anything at this point.  I do have PNP turned on.  I have the 350 set up as DMZ.

                     

                    the 350 is hard-wired to the router, direct at this piont with no switches involved.

                     

                    would appreciate any pointers or advice.

                          thanks again.

                      • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                        dewdude Newbie

                        I've been having the same issue for a number of months. I usually watch over a rather strong wireless-n wifi signal; so speed isn't the issue as there's about 94mbps of usable bandwidth on my 150/300mbps link (40mhz wireless-n channels use MIMO and have seperate uplink and downlink streams, 150mbps each). You'll watch it, then it'll glitch, the bitrate drops; and slowly climbs back up. However, sometimes I get disconnected from the Slingbox entirely, stating there's a bandwidth concern. Sometimes I can reconnect, sometimes I have to wait five minutes, sometimes I have to physically reboot my 350 to get it back.

                         

                        I've studied networking, so I can diagnose a network issue pretty quickly. When all your other services are able to push 15 or 16mbps for hours on end (HD Streaming over UPnP/DLNA), then the network isn't the problem. The "fix" you mentioned only affects your localized PC; and even then, the default "unoptimized" settings should be more than enough for the 8 or 9 mbps max the Slingbox will used. In fact, years of making that change have never showed much of a change in bandwidth. I had considered that maybe this was just too much for the average wifi; and in fact that *may* be true with some rather cheap wifi equipment. But after configuring my own wifi AP that would avoid that problem, it didn't get any better. It points to the Slingbox itself rather than the network.

                         

                        As far as tweaking your router; there isn't really much you should have to do. As I said, I'm getting this over local-network where it's all network switches and isn't even touching a single router setting. Setting the DMZ is a little unnecessary; there's only two ports open on a 350; the port it uses to stream and, for some reason, port 22 for an internal SSH server. It doesn't "optimize" or give priority to your device; all that merely does is route connections to ports that aren't routed directly to the DMZ rather than rejecting them.

                         

                        I've come to the conclusion that this is some sort of firmware issue inside the Slingbox that Sling hasn't been able to fix. Another option is maybe there's a mild hardware problem causing the ethernet controller to "drop out" once in a while.

                         

                        My home internet has 35mbps uplink. When I was away over the holidays I made excessive use of my Slingbox; the frequency of the dropouts was about the same. One every few hours, but then I'd have hours and hours of solid streaming at around 8000kbps.

                          • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                            jimr1

                            I can believe that.  I did tweek my downlink side router, added some QOS stuff to give priority to the PC that I most often use for the sling player...didn't do much.  and I doubt very much that any QOS tweeking on the uplink end would help...there really isn't anything else hooked up to the internet at that location at this time of the year.

                             

                            it sounds like I need to do some testing next time I am at my other house, where the slingbox is installed.  what I plan to do is:  test the uplink speed, at the router, at the slingbox, using the cable I usually use for the slingbox (it's kind of long, so I would like to eliminate that as a culprit) and directly plugged into the cable modem.  if these numbers are all roughly the same, and sufficient (as I expect) I will hook everything back up and try to watch the slingbox over the local network, at 100m.  if what you suggest is true, that it's a bug in the firmware causing this issue, then I should see the same glitching issues there.  of course it could be a problem with the viewer as well.

                             

                            when you say you are watching at home on wifi, do you mean the slingbox is on the same local network as the viewing device?

                             

                            yes, I agree with you about the DMZ, I could just as easily forward the couple of ports that I need to, but DMZ was the easiest way to get it going so I went that way.  do you think the slingbox is vulnerable to any kind of attacks, so that it needs to be behind the firewall?

                             

                                   thanks.

                              • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                dewdude Newbie

                                I did tweek my downlink side router, added some QOS stuff to give priority to the PC that I most often use for the sling player...didn't do much.  and I doubt very much that any QOS tweeking on the uplink end would help...there really isn't anything else hooked up to the internet at that location at this time of the year.

                                 

                                Tweaking the QOS on your client side router won't really help much. AFAIK, most QOS is a service configured rather than PC configured. There may be some QOS like options your rotuer gives you to assign priority to an IP; but I don't think this is your issue unless you've got someone else on your internet using a lot of bandwidth. Tweaking the QOS on the uplink side won't help if there's nothing else on the internet. QOS basically prioritizes traffic like VOIP to ensure that even during times of "full-throttle" usage, those services continue to work.

                                 

                                it sounds like I need to do some testing next time I am at my other house, where the slingbox is installed.  what I plan to do is:  test the uplink speed, at the router, at the slingbox, using the cable I usually use for the slingbox (it's kind of long, so I would like to eliminate that as a culprit) and directly plugged into the cable modem.  if these numbers are all roughly the same, and sufficient (as I expect) I will hook everything back up and try to watch the slingbox over the local network, at 100m.  if what you suggest is true, that it's a bug in the firmware causing this issue, then I should see the same glitching issues there.  of course it could be a problem with the viewer as well.

                                 

                                Unless your internet iself is dropping; I doubt this is an issue with uplink speed. It sounds like it's capable of supplying the amount of uplink. The length of ethernet cable doesn't matter unless you go over the maximum allowed link. Since I don't think you're using a 350ft Cat5 cable; this isn't your issue. The network cable going to my bedroom is at least 75ft long; I get absolutely no speed degredation because of this becuase it's Cat5e. I highly suspect you'll see the same numbers and same behavior. If it was an issue with your uplink; you might see it quite often. It sounds like you're only seeing it occasionally. I don't think network/internet is your issue.

                                 

                                It *could* be an issue with the software; I don't seem to get the same behavior on the mobile apps. They just fixed the audio-lag issue, maybe they haven't found this particular drop-out issue yet.

                                 

                                when you say you are watching at home on wifi, do you mean the slingbox is on the same local network as the viewing device?

                                 

                                Yes. Depending on where I am in the house; I'm either pulling from a wireless access-point that's connected directly to the network switch the sling box is connected to. If I'm outside in the back yard; I'm using my ISP's WiFi, which is just going through a second switch. (I originally only needed one network switch till my router moved and I began needing 3 ethernet ports in my bedroom)

                                 

                                 

                                do you think the slingbox is vulnerable to any kind of attacks, so that it needs to be behind the firewall?

                                 

                                I don't think the device is vunerable. But if the ISP sees port 22, they might want get after you for running a "server".

                      • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                        RGeorge88

                        I am having similar issues I recorded a short video of the issue as mine seems to be persistent however, my setup is slightly different.

                         

                        Setup:

                        Slingbox PRO HD

                        Slingbox 350

                        Cisco ASA 5505

                        Local ISP: 80Mbps down, 30 Mbps up

                        Both Slings are connected directly to ASA (no WiFi, hubs or switches in the middle, short 25 ft factory terminated cables)

                        Distant ISP: 40Mbps down, 10Mbps up

                         

                        Testing done thus far:

                        Swapped ASA for ISP provided router, does same thing

                        Hard reset on 350, no difference other than a pain to resetup remotely

                        Had friend login from a Verizon FIOs connection that is less than 20ms away, same symptoms

                         

                        Explanation of detailed testing in video linked below:

                        https://www.dropbox.com/s/5bk0fdjd0ldgi2t/SlingTshoot2.zip

                         

                        To show ISP link is solid I started a FTP transfer from the Sling location to the remote location, download was a constant 4.5 Mbps. Remote location is ~80ms away. Started both PROHD and 350 from same computer and displayed statistics, notice how they both fluctuate but the 350 is much worse (both running in TCP mode). Each Slingbox has a guaranteed 5Mbps via QoS with 0 drops on local end.

                         

                        Questions for Engineers and/or Developers:

                         

                        1) Why TCP!? From a raw video stream perspective UDP is far superior.

                        2) What could cause the symptoms in the linked video? It seems like the network connectivity is solid because FTP never takes a hit.

                        3) Even if it were to be network related why is the 350 so much worse?

                        4) Why did they remove the ability to statically assign IP addresses and ports? Yes DHCP reservations exists on some gateways, but not ASAs.

                        5) How does increased latency affect the stream, when I am less than 20 ms away I can get 8 Mbps, but at 80 ms only 4.5 Mbps. I suspect this is due to TCPs default behavior.

                        6) Was there a recent software upgrade that could cause this, about 3 months ago I did not have this issue.

                        7) On my HTPC computer the blues flicker when using the FireFox or Chrome plugin, but if I use the SlingPlayer software its fine. The previous plugins did not do this.

                        8) Why does the 350 keep it's IP even after a reboot? This is rather annoying if I am trying to force it to DHCP a new address. Either give us the option to statically assign addresses or let DHCP do its magic.

                        9) I like Jimr1 idea of a bigger buffer in the slingbox plugin, I would rather wait a few minutes for it to buffer video in HD before watching. I am guessing this is a hardware limitation.

                          • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                            dewdude Newbie

                            Wow. This is outstanding...where do I begin?

                             

                             

                            Cisco ASA 5505

                            Local ISP: 80Mbps down, 30 Mbps up

                            Both Slings are connected directly to ASA (no WiFi, hubs or switches in the middle, short 25 ft factory terminated cables)

                             

                            Ok, why an ASA? That seems a bit overkill. I mean, that's a great enterprise piece of equipment; but I'd expect an ASA device to cause more problems. As far as the length of the network cables; seriously, that doesn't matter in most LAN enviroments. Even a 100ft cable wouldn't make a difference. My 350 runs through a switch in to another switch, my solo is running to the second switch; before I ran the ethernet cable the Solo was connected through a wifi-to-ethernet bridge (Linksys E1000 running dd-wrt). Never saw a problem with any of those....so I think we can, for the most part, rule out network cable length and network switches. My 10 year old network switch doesn't cause any issues; I can run with or without it and it doesn't change the infrequent dropouts.

                             

                             

                            Distant ISP: 40Mbps down, 10Mbps up

                             

                            That's kind of pushing it for an HD stream. I'd have to question how reliable that 10mbps uplink is.

                             

                             

                            To show ISP link is solid I started a FTP transfer from the Sling location to the remote location, download was a constant 4.5 Mbps.

                            Sorry, doesn't prove much. The connection rates you see are from FTP clients are rounded. You're probably not seeing the jitter. 4.5mbps would be pretty low considering the links. 4.5 MB/s oh the other hand would be reasonable for a 30mbps upstream.

                             

                             

                            Remote location is ~80ms away. Started both PROHD and 350 from same computer and displayed statistics, notice how they both fluctuate but the 350 is much worse (both running in TCP mode). Each Slingbox has a guaranteed 5Mbps via QoS with 0 drops on local end.

                             

                            Latency is nice and all, but really all it does is tell you how long it takes a packet to get there and back. Overall latency can change depending on connection type and traffic conditions. For example, when I had DSL it was a hard 24ms latency just to get to the internet due to interleaving. So I could be pinging the same computer on a DSL line that's right next to me from my fiber and would see *at least* 30ms of latency...even if it's traveling up to the same datacenter and back. (I'm about 7ms from WAN gateway on fiber). Once you get out in to the internet, it's one way of determining distance, although a bad router along the path will really screw that up.

                             

                            As far as bandwidh fluctuating....I don't think you're taking in to account the fact the VC-1 video codec is a variable bitrate. A constnatly changing bitrate is to be expected. That or the uplink isn't as stable and steady as you speak. Also, you're likely to not have a full 10mbps, so I wouldn't assign each slingbox 5mbps; that's kind of pushing it.

                             

                             

                            1) Why TCP!? From a raw video stream perspective UDP is far superior.

                            2) What could cause the symptoms in the linked video? It seems like the network connectivity is solid because FTP never takes a hit.

                            3) Even if it were to be network related why is the 350 so much worse?

                            4) Why did they remove the ability to statically assign IP addresses and ports? Yes DHCP reservations exists on some gateways, but not ASAs.

                            5) How does increased latency affect the stream, when I am less than 20 ms away I can get 8 Mbps, but at 80 ms only 4.5 Mbps. I suspect this is due to TCPs default behavior.

                            6) Was there a recent software upgrade that could cause this, about 3 months ago I did not have this issue.

                            7) On my HTPC computer the blues flicker when using the FireFox or Chrome plugin, but if I use the SlingPlayer software its fine. The previous plugins did not do this.

                            8) Why does the 350 keep it's IP even after a reboot? This is rather annoying if I am trying to force it to DHCP a new address. Either give us the option to statically assign addresses or let DHCP do its magic.

                            9) I like Jimr1 idea of a bigger buffer in the slingbox plugin, I would rather wait a few minutes for it to buffer video in HD before watching. I am guessing this is a hardware limitation.

                             

                            1) Sling probably wanted to ensure a more reliable stream. UDP has no flow control and most routers don't handle it properly; so you run a MUCH higher risk of losing packets. TCP has transmission control, so the unit has more of an idea of what packets are getting there and which ones arent, allowing it to reduce the transmission rate based on returned/error/collided packets.

                            2) I'm not sure.

                            3) Different hardware likely. Those of us who bought one of the first revisions of the 350s are probably the ones that expierence this. It's possible they've made a minor revision to the board that fixes this.

                            4) That I don't know; probably because this was never intended to be used in an enviroment where an ASA is. Also, anyone who's running an ASA likely is running a seperate DHCP server; it's not your average consumer piece of equipment and is entirely overkill unless you're running a datacenter in your house.

                            5) Latency of that degree shouldn't affect it at all. I'm willing to bet there's some lousy connectivity on the 80ms link you don't notice. I mean, if the FiOS guy can get 8mbps but you only get 4.5, then there's *something* really wrong with the routing. IF one end can push 10mbps and you can only get 4.5...but Fios guy gets 8...you need to look at maybe your ISP sucks.

                            6) They started having issues with the clients a few months ago they've been trying to fix. I won't actually say for sure it's not a client viewing issue.

                            7) I do not notice this. It could be with your video drivers and how the plugins use the overlay vs Sling software. Whenever I stream from Chrome to an LCD; you can't tell it's being streamed. It looks just like the normal box.

                            8) To make life easier. If you had to set the port forward yourself; you wouldn't want to change it *every time the thing changed IP*. It would get annoying and you'd complain. It's also designed to be left on 24/7, so it wouldn't be changing IP's that often. Reboot? It's probably not going to be turned off enough for the DHCP lease to expire; therefore it'll request the same IP it had before. Why do you feel the need to change IPs that often anyway? It's not necessary.

                            9) Well, I for one don't want to wait a few minutes to watch TV. When I load my Slingbox, I expect to be watching TV within a few minutes. It's not that I'm impatient; but sitting there waiting forever would make me wonder "why did I buy this ****?" It would seem really pointless if it took 5 minutes of buffering; not to mention if you change channels having to wait to find out just what you're on now. Forcing a few minute buffer would actually ruin the idea of watching "live" TV. You can't slow the audio/video down much more before it becomes terribly noticable. Occasionally I'll hear something during the first two minutes of streaming that grates on my ear becuase it's speed-shifted about 33% slower.

                              • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                RGeorge88

                                DewDude thanks for your speedy response. The ASA is a bit overkill for the normal user but the VPN is nice. To clarify I have 80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up at slingbox location so there is plenty of bandwidth to host 2 slingboxes, heck I should have no issue with 5+.

                                 

                                I did some more experimenting last night and found the slingbox can operate in 3 modes, RELAY, SNATT or TCP.

                                 

                                1) RELAY - Seems to use some external server to bounce video off of, terrible quality, I assume this happens when ports are not forwarded and ports are blocked.

                                 

                                2) SNATT - I disabled port forwarding and slings go into SNATT mode ** more on this later

                                 

                                3) TCP - The normal preferred method per Slingbox.

                                 

                                Can someone clarify what it takes to force the Slingbox to the various modes above, I have an idea but not 100% sure.

                                 

                                ***Ok back to SNATT... I disabled port forwarding but still permitted the ports on the outside of the firewall, both Slings are in SNATT mode. Packet capture shows UDP directly to the slingbox. The PRO HD is running a solid 3.4-3.6 Mbps with no fluctuations like TCP mode was. The 350 however struggles to get to 2.2 Mbps and can't handle HD. Any thoughts? Defective unit? I hope so, Amazon already has a replacement on the way... Will update on if this fixes, if not I will follow up with a video and hopefully the developers will chime in.

                                  • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                    dewdude Newbie

                                    I did some more experimenting last night and found the slingbox can operate in 3 modes, RELAY, SNATT or TCP.

                                     

                                    And I'm still trying to figure out what the SSHd on 22 is for, so you've gone far beyond anything I've ever done. I also haven't installed anything to analyze network traffic, so I haven't been able to look at the raw packets going to and from the Slingbox.

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    The PRO HD is running a solid 3.4-3.6 Mbps with no fluctuations like TCP mode was. The 350 however struggles to get to 2.2 Mbps and can't handle HD. Any thoughts? Defective unit?

                                     

                                    At this point I would wonder if there wasn't some kind of issue with the thing. I know for a fact that mine doesn't have any problems pushing a nice clear HD picture over the internet; easily hitting 8000kbps. I didn't have to do anything special except just forward ports.

                                    • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                      RGeorge88

                                      UPDATE****

                                       

                                      Slingbox 350 replaced and new one does the exact same thing, TCP bit rate all over the place, SNATT mode ~2.2Mbps and basically unusable. My PRO-HD is 3.5-3.8 in SNATT mode and is rock solid and HD content is crisp and clear with no issues. I suspect there were major hardware and software changes. I really need a developer/engineers input on this issue. Help!!

                                        • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                          dewdude Newbie

                                          Ok, here's something crazy I just thought of. I went through your previous messages and never saw you list what your specific PC stats are. I did some digging around becuase someone asked if the 350 would be more efficient than a Pro-HD on bandwidth. Turns out that not only is the 350 much newer hardware than what's in the ProHD (that would almost be a given); but it streams in a different format. The Solo and ProHD both use VC-1 to stream, the 350 and 500 stream in H.264. H.264 is actually a more efficient codec than VC-1; it just requires more CPU power to decode an HD stream than VC-1 does. Without knowing your system specs I can't make a guess as to if this is happening; but maybe for some reason the HTPC doesn't have enough oomph to actually decode the 350's stream. If that wants more CPU than available, I could see it starting to affect things like the TCP stack...or the software freaks out and stops requesting data while trying to catch up.

                                           

                                          I realize this is a total longshot idea, but it's the first thing I can think of if we can rule out networking and defective hardware.

                                            • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                              RGeorge88

                                              DewDude good theory but looks like they actually use the same codecs and my Gaming PC is way overkill see attached screenshot. Does same thing on my HTPC.

                                                • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                  dewdude Newbie

                                                  You're right. I didn't realize the H.264 support went back that far.

                                                   

                                                  I have no idea how to bring those dialogs up. I probably remembered, but I haven't had a need to in the last few years.

                                                  • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                    dewdude Newbie

                                                    Ok, let's do this.

                                                     

                                                    My 350 is sitting on a 35mbps uplink and is capable of doing TCP mode across the internet. Send me an email (dewdude[at]gmail) from the email your sling account is on; and I'll give you temporary guest access to my 350. I know it is perfectly capable of pushing full rate over the internet becuase I've not only watched it from across the state; but my friend in Scotland gave it a try and had no issues getting a clear usable stream. If this works, then it still means you've got some issues with your network connections I think we're missing. If it doesn't; then it'll be something else entirely that we haven't thought of.

                                                     

                                                    But I'd like to make sure you can physically stream a 350 before we get too crazy with this; and since I know mine is working properly I'll offer it up for the task.

                                                  • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                    jimr1

                                                    I'm running a dell inspiron 560, it has an E6700 processor.  looking at CPU usage, it's running pretty constant between 10 and 20% usage, even during glitches, so I'm thinking that's not it, in my case anyway.

                                                     

                                                    my upload speeds were pretty constant at 8M, I checked it several times from different places, including right at the slingbox.

                                                     

                                                    so, I finally figured out how to bring up that statistics window in the slingbox viewer (CNTL-ALT-click).  I'm in TCP mode all of the time as far as I can see.  what do all those other metrics mean, and can I use them to help diagnose the problem?  particularly, the SQA network health.  when the picture is glichy, these numbers go to all zeros.  they sit at 4 or 5 normally.

                                                     

                                                    the glitchyness seems to have gotten better lately but it still occurs.  I guess some of the things I've done have helped a bit.

                                                      • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                        dewdude Newbie

                                                        I also found the stats window; I forgot it was internal to the sling plugin.

                                                         

                                                        Like I said, I only have the occasional dropout that causes disconnection. In the long term, I don't have *any* of the bandwidth issues that people are reporting. I get insanely high bitrates over the local network (which should be expected); I also get the same insanely high bitrates when going over the internet. I'm only limited to the downstream of the connection where I'm viewing.

                                                         

                                                        I haven't looked at stats from outside the network, and I don't have any VPN's elsewhere to run through; but I can only assume it's using TCP mode most of the time since I have the required ports forwarded.

                                                         

                                                        I did some digging on the various modes, and here's what's going on.

                                                         

                                                        Obviously, many will say that UDP is preferred for streaming applications; and in some cases it is. The problem with it is that it's completely unreliable. Many of the reasons I talked about with George in an earlier post seem to be why Sling prefers TCP. When you're stuck with UDP mode; you have no control over the stream rate, no ability to acnkowledge packets, no ability to sequence. UDP is actually a very unreliable connection mode because of the utter lack of control. People claim "but it's better for streaming". It is...kind of. TCP has it's own problems with streaming where as that's what UDP is designed for. At the same time, if you were trying to stream a slingbox over UDP; you'd probably have all kinds of issues getting a steady stream.

                                                         

                                                        The one thing about UDP is that you don't have to have a port forwarded. The Slingbox tells the server what it's internal IP is; and if a direct TCP connection isn't available; it have the player send a request to the router that says "there's a device on this ip internally I want to talk to". The router then opens a connection. You get  UDP stream, but often times the UDP will cause more issues. I hear people reporting "I get much better speeds"; you do up to a point, but if your latency starts to increase, your usable bandwidth over a UDP stream goes down.

                                                         

                                                        http://placeshiftingenthusiasts.com/forum/slingbox-and-your-network/network-performance-tcp-vs-udp/ explains it nicely. Relay occurs when the router doesn't respond to UDP and TCP fails.

                                                         

                                                        Like I said, I don't have any of these masive issues you've described. I get the occasional drop out; but it lasts for just a few seconds and then it's back to streaming 8000kbps for hours at a time. I've seen it happen after 5 minutes, I've seen it happen after a few hours, I've seen it take up to 12 hours before the stream decides to die. But it generally only occurs once a day for me; not every five minutes like I'm seeing complaints about.

                                                         

                                                        When I was at my sisters over Christmas, who lives about 200 miles away; I had no issues getting a good 7000kbps stream from my slingbox over her Comcast; at that point I was getting to about all her cheap wireless router could handle.

                                            • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                              eds7

                                              Hello, I'm in Oman and have a download speed of approx 4mb/s.

                                               

                                              I use a MAC here with  aslingbox pro hd in Edinburgh.

                                               

                                              NOw and again it drops the line and I get  a message telling me it was an internet connectin problem.  yesterday it started happening every minute, which makes it impossibnle to watch anythin, as it's log out-log in-watch for a mintue-drop out.

                                               

                                              I've no idea what's causing it.

                                               

                                              Anyone have any ideas, this is the only source of entetnainmennt for me and mu family!!

                                               

                                              Cheers.

                                                • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                  dewdude Newbie

                                                  I use a MAC here with  aslingbox pro hd in Edinburgh.

                                                  You may want to ask in the forum for the Pro-HD.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  NOw and again it drops the line and I get  a message telling me it was an internet connectin problem.  yesterday it started happening every minute, which makes it impossibnle to watch anythin, as it's log out-log in-watch for a mintue-drop out.

                                                  I've been using a friends Slingbox somewhere in the UK; the Sky box has a NorthWest viewing card but the IP says it's just outside of London. I've never had any issues trying to stream from it. I read where they sometimes needed constant rebooting, so maybe that's what yours is in need of. May be a bit difficult unless you've got someone there that can cycle the power on it. Of course, the one I've got doesn't get an HD signal from the box so it's streaming in SD.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  I've no idea what's causing it.

                                                  I think the general consensus is that no one here knows exactly what's causing it outside of possible issues with the hardware.

                                                    • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                      eds7

                                                      The SKY box isn't HD.  My uncle is in  Edinburgh.  I usually get him to switch the sky modem and router on/off but I'm scafed to swithc the slingbox off/on in case iti doesn't work again.  If he swithces the slingbox off it will just automaticlly reboot itself, I don't want to make matters any worse.  He's 84 so there isn't anyhting else he can d apart switch the power on / off.

                                                       

                                                      Cheers.

                                                        • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                          dewdude Newbie

                                                          I'm scafed to swithc the slingbox off/on in case iti doesn't work again.  If he swithces the slingbox off it will just automaticlly reboot itself

                                                           

                                                          It shouldn't be an issue. My Slingbox Solo stayed powered off for close to a year after getting my 350; and when I plugged it back up it saved all the settings like it hadn't ever been disconnected. Unplugging the power for five seconds and plugging it back in shouldn't cause any issues. It'll boot back up, load stored settings, and begin working again.

                                                    • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                      jimr1

                                                      looks like I solved my problem.

                                                       

                                                      I replaced my ancient router at the uplink end with something a little newer and a little better.  I wasn't sure how much this would help, but my son is in need of a router anyway, and the old clunker will suffice for his needs.  lo and behold, my picture is now solid as a rock on auto mode.  no blinks, no stutters, no resolution adjustments.  at least so far, I was watching for about 2 hours last night.

                                                       

                                                      thanks to all who helped me troubleshoot this problem.

                                                      • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                        jimr1

                                                        sorry to sound so wishy-washy, but I take it back.  my video is just as glitchy as ever, even with the new router.

                                                         

                                                        I am at a loss now as to how to trouble shoot this problem, other than to blame the whole thing on comcast.  can anyone give me some ideas as to how to determine whether this erratic bandwidth problem is 1. on the uplink side 2. on the watching side or 3. in between somewhere.

                                                                   thanks.

                                                          • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                            dewdude Newbie

                                                            I think we established it's not on the watching side last month; you said

                                                            watched mine for a half hour with no glitches. That eliminates the playback

                                                            on your end. What it doesn't eliminate is a problem with Comcast or in

                                                            between Comcast and your ISP.

                                                              • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                jimr1

                                                                apparently half an hour is not a certain test.  this problem is intermittent enough that it's difficult to tell if you have it fixed or not.  I had watched for 2 hours after I changed out the router on the uplink end and was convinced I had fixed it, only to find out after about a week of watching that it was no better.  so I am no closer to knowing what is going on than I ever was.

                                                                 

                                                                and BTW, it's comcast on both ends, both on the uplink and the watching end.  so it's comcast talking to comcast.  you would think they could get that right.

                                                                 

                                                                I'm not sure why this even happens.  I mean, if the bitrate drops low enough that the picture can't stream, why not just freeze the picture until they have enough bits to continue?  they have a 30 minute streaming buffer in the watcher software, why not just put me some seconds or a minute behind, and then catch up when the bitrate picks back up?  if I wanted to catch up later I could do that.   that would be so much preferable to actually missing part of the action, or that annoying blink when they change quality in mid-stream.

                                                                 

                                                                I am really disappointed in this slingbox, ready to throw the thing in the trash.

                                                                  • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                    dewdude Newbie

                                                                    jimr1 wrote:

                                                                     

                                                                    apparently half an hour is not a certain test.  this problem is intermittent enough that it's difficult to tell if you have it fixed or not.  I had watched for 2 hours after I changed out the router on the uplink end and was convinced I had fixed it, only to find out after about a week of watching that it was no better.  so I am no closer to knowing what is going on than I ever was.

                                                                     

                                                                    and BTW, it's comcast on both ends, both on the uplink and the watching end.  so it's comcast talking to comcast.  you would think they could get that right.

                                                                     

                                                                    I'm not sure why this even happens.  I mean, if the bitrate drops low enough that the picture can't stream, why not just freeze the picture until they have enough bits to continue?  they have a 30 minute streaming buffer in the watcher software, why not just put me some seconds or a minute behind, and then catch up when the bitrate picks back up?  if I wanted to catch up later I could do that.   that would be so much preferable to actually missing part of the action, or that annoying blink when they change quality in mid-stream.

                                                                     

                                                                    I am really disappointed in this slingbox, ready to throw the thing in the trash.

                                                                     

                                                                    Comcast going to Comcast should work absolutely fine; so we can rule out the something in between. I mean, it sounds like that very strange very intermittent issue I get occasionaly. It'll run great for five or six hours then just glitch and come back. Mine was doing it on really good local network conditions; and it was nothing more than the occasional annoyance every five, six, seven, twelve, etc; hours. I've been busy playing with a ProHD unit in the UK to really even watch mine.

                                                                     

                                                                    The whole changing quality isn't why you miss the action; the action is already gone. For whatever reason the data connection dropped, or the unit hiccuped, or packets stopped that you're probably not going to have the action in the first place. You might try setting a quality setting manually, but that's not going to prevent you from missing something whenever the bitrate drops off; the Slingbox itself doesn't have much of a buffer itself.

                                                                    • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                      jimr1

                                                                      are there any slingbox engineers that monitor this forum, that can chime on in this?  specifically, how can I make use of the information on the STATS screen to help me debug this problem?  IS there a known problem with the slingbox software or the windows viewer that would cause this problem?  is there a known problem with comcast throttling network traffic from slingbox to the viewer?  any helpful information would be nice.

                                                                              thanks.

                                                                        • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                          dewdude Newbie

                                                                          jimr1 wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          are there any slingbox engineers that monitor this forum, that can chime on in this?  specifically, how can I make use of the information on the STATS screen to help me debug this problem?  IS there a known problem with the slingbox software or the windows viewer that would cause this problem?  is there a known problem with comcast throttling network traffic from slingbox to the viewer?  any helpful information would be nice.

                                                                                  thanks.

                                                                           

                                                                          I don't think any engineers monitor this forum. It's been my expierences that most support forums run by companies have a few customer service reps that will initially respond to a problem and offer the standard generic help; but after that they don't monitor. It's pretty standard practice since engineers generally do not get along well with the consumers...that and they're too busy.

                                                                           

                                                                          As far as a software problem; I'm not sure. Mine will drop out occasionally; in fact last night I was watching mine and after 20 minutes it disconnected; but after reconnecting it was fine. I can't rule out network conditions as my wifi was barely pulling 10mbit under it's poor conditions. I do know mine get constant use and I've never had anyone complain.

                                                                           

                                                                          I don't think Comcast is actually throttling network traffic as much as it doesn't have it. When it comes to upstream data on cable; you're dealing with a much smaller amount of available data..you're having the share the same chunk of cable bandwidth with everyone on a node. It may not be that Comcast is physically throttling it; but simply the cable connection cannot handle the constant upstream a Slingbox demands due to the oversubscribing of the network.

                                                                           

                                                                          Let me explain it this way. Let's pretend you have 500 customers on a single node. All 500 customers are essnetially being served from a single piece of coax that runs out from the node to neighborhood distribution lines and then to the customers. Cable only has so much frequency space it can devote to services like internet. Upstream data is usually limited to all the frequencies *under* 54mhz (VHF channel 2). If that sounds like a lot, it's not. The sub-channel frequencies aren't very reliable for high speed data like the downstream; not to mention the cable company HAS to provide some space for public,government, and educational channels for uplinking the signal to the cable company. So there may not be that entire 54mhz spectrum available to use the uplink. But...let's pretend there is...that would give you just 9 channels to uplink data for all 500 customers; and each channel can carry somewhere around 30mbps depending on the revision of DocSIS they're using. But..of course, depending how the cable system is set up; they may not have 9 channels available...they may only have 4 uplink channels available. That means all 500 customers will have to "fight" for the same 122mbps of available upstream...which works out to well under 1mbit per customer.

                                                                           

                                                                          You're not getting your own chunk of bandwidth with cable...you're having to share the same the DOCSIS bandwidth with *everyone*. This is why cable companies often don't come close to quoted speeds and give you virturally nothing in the way of uplink. I think you're dealing with a physical limitation of cable, there's too many people on the line. Comcast won't be interested in really fixing it because providers generally do not care if a users uplink speed is stable...they don't like you sending out a lot of data anyway.

                                                                            • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                              jimr1

                                                                              that's all very nice but it does not help me fix my problem.  and if the internet infrastructure can't handle slingbox streaming, then SLINGBOX DOES NOT WORK as advertised.  the idea is to place-shift.  I'm only trying to place-shift about 10 miles, and it doesn't work.

                                                                                • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                                  dewdude Newbie
                                                                                  that's all very nice but it does not help me fix my problem.  and if the internet infrastructure can't handle slingbox streaming, then SLINGBOX DOES NOT WORK

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Ok, look guy...you can't fix your problem. If it's as absolutely horrible as you say it is then it's either Comcast or you're just being entirely wayy picky and complainging about one or two dropouts every few hours.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I'm only trying to place-shift about 10 miles, and it doesn't work.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Welcome to Comcast. Look....your internet is only good as how it gets to your house...also called the last mile. Comcast has a MAJOR habit of overselling their networks....the network is physically congested. You are trying to blame Sling for the fact you're on an oversold over-congested last mile network. That's like blaming Ford for letting you drive drunk.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  You need to blame Comcast...and when you complain to them about it; they *will* lie to you....becuase thats their job as a large media monopoly.You'll also probably find yourself being told to get rid of the Slingbox as it's against Comcasts rules and "well, our network isn't designed to handle that anyway". Again...NOT a problem with Sling...not a problem with the internet infrastructure...it's a problem with Comcast.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  The internet infrastrucure doesn't work the way you assume it does. Lots of people have very little problem streaming...but you're having all kinds of issues. If you won't buy that it's Comcast that's the issue; then there's nothing else any of us here can do. I've tried explaining it, if you're too dense to quite understand it...I'm not going to try anymore.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  You have a horrible internet provider that is unable to push a stream 10 miles becuase you're probably on of 1000 people trying to use such little uplink bandwidth. But since Comcast is a "natural monopoly" and made it impossible for any competition; you're probably suck with them.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Either that or your PC is too old to do HD streaming and you've missed the conversations I had about it.

                                                                      • Re: bitrate drops off suddenly then recovers
                                                                        jjmas

                                                                        I turned off upnp on the router at slingbox locale and it forced a relay mode when used with iPad or iPhone and it seems much better. Data rate stays pegged at 3400kbps most of the time and tcp mode used to roller coaster from 200 to 8000.

                                                                         

                                                                        Tcp mode seems way less stable even though it is supposed to be preferred setup method . My 350 is about 1400 miles away and maybe it's a excessive router hop issue.  Some people have complained about RELAY mode but it's fine for me.

                                                                         

                                                                        Also.. I have heard that RELAY mode relays the image to AWS (Amazon Web Services) and maybe I get less router hops... Or the relay doesn't allow Comcast to throttle port 5201.  Or.. the smart people at Amazon have a better buffering algorithm versus TCP connection.

                                                                         

                                                                        Either way I'm happier... I'm realistic and realize that a few dropouts have to be expected. But I was getting WAY more dropouts during prime time hours at night.  Sometimes I couldn't even get connected again.

                                                                         

                                                                        Hope this helps somebody.

                                                                        Mark