10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2012 10:25 AM by jtkszeto RSS

    Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK




      My parents use a Slingbox to watch TV from Cyprus, via my Sky Broadband Unlimited connection in the UK. For many months they have had a good quality picture, with a bitrate of around 700-800 kbps, occasionally reaching 900 kbps. Around a month ago this decreased to around 450/500 kbps.


      Using speedtest.net, I regularly get 0.91mb as my reported upload speed; with my router reporting it is connected at 1101kbps.


      I did have a problem for a week or two where this was lower, and after several calls to Sky they increased the upload speed (without suggesting they had decreased it). However, looking back at my historic results in speedtest.net, the best speed I've ever had has been 0.91mb, which is what I am now again getting - yet my parents connection is rarely going about 500 kbps.


      I tried taking the Slingbox to a friend's house. They have a slower internet connection, with an upload speed of 0.31mb (via speedtest.net). From here, my parents were able to get 230-300 kbps.


      So, if they can get 230-300 kbps via a 0.31mb connection, then it seems feasible that they should be getting 700-800 kbps from my 0.91mb connection (as they were previously). Yet, they are only getting 450/500 kbps.


      As a further troubleshooting step, I also tried temporarily changing the router for my connection to Sky - with the same result.


      Speedtest.net does allow you to test a connection across different parts of the world; and regularly we seem to be getting good results in both directions suggesting that bandwidth between the UK and Cyprus isn't an issue. If speedtest.net is showing good bandwidth, I can't see why they are not getting the 700-800 kbps that they were.


      Apparently CytaNet (the Cyprus provider) have been carrying out work over the past few months, but with good bandwidth seen each time we measure it, I can't explain the issue.


      I am running out of ideas.


      Any suggestions for troubleshooting further much appreciated ;-)




        • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

          Graham you have just described the same symptoms im having with my sling box.  No one has bee able to help me with any suggestions either when im home in jan im thinking about taking a hammer to the slingbox sytem   lol

          cheers ww

          • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

            Wow, I think I'm having the same kind of problem here in Japan. My  box is set up in Atlanta in the US. I used to stream around 1200, but  after updating the firmware recently, I'm streaming at 150. I know it's  not the connection because this happened immediately after the update. I  have crazy internet speed here where my download is 70mbps and the  upload in Atlanta is 6mbps. My brother in law tried the stream from the  same house where the slingbox pro is set up and he said that his stream  was horrible although he didn't specify the speed. While in Atlanta,  before the update, I was streaming at 8000. Is your problem related to  the firmware update like mine? I know I've got the latest version (2.1.8 I believe) because I check for updates everytime I get online.

              • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                Hi, after the last suggestion about firmware I had a look online and found this link http://placeshiftingenthusiasts.com/downgrade-or-upload-any-slingbox-firmware/. I downloaded the older version of SlingPlayer, and it reports that I am currently running version 1.4.20, from 30/04/2010.


                I would guess this must be the latest version for my SlingBox but I will double-check.


                The above link does describe how to downgrade firmware, but I haven't tried this.


                For me, the problem happened fairly recently so if the above information is correct then I wouldn't think it was firmware that was the problem. Will have a look around though...

                • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                  Hi, I tried using a program called Bandwidth Monitor at both ends of the connection. Available for free evaluation for 30 days from http://www.bwmonitor.com. What this shows is the bandwidth in use. I have set up remote control via logmein.com of my parents PC. I tried copying a file using the remote control software and monitoring the upload speed from my own PC, I could see that I was getting 1.01 mbps (see below).uk to cyprus upload.bmp

                  I also tried running the bandwidth monitor on my parent's PC at the same time, and could see the following:



                  which again seemed to suggest that my parent's PC, and their internet connection in Cyprus, was capable of downloading with at least 1mb.


                  I know that I was copying a file, rather than sending a stream via the slingbox, but at both ends that seemed to show the connection as capable of 1mb, whereas they are only getting 450-500k when watching the slingbox.


                  I have still not resolved this problem, but am copying this in case it helps other people as the bandwidth monitor tool could be useful.


                  I have contacted Slingbox support, via a paid incident, and am now working through the problem with them. I am going to try taking my slingbox to a friends house, someone that has the same upload speed as I have, to see whether this gets my parents back to their 750k connection (indicating a problem with my ISP), or the same 450-500k connection (leaving me back at square one, or potentially indicating a problem with the slingbox hardware).


                  I will keep this updated with results, but further feedback welcomed...

                • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                  This is what the bandwidth monitor shows when the slingbox is being used, a very different picture from the above:


                    • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                      When copying a file from Cyprus to the UK, the download is all over the place, as per the slingbox stream:


                      cyprus to uk download.bmp

                      but this would be the Cyprus connection *uploading* and the UK *downloading* which is different to what would happen when the slingbox is being used, which would be the reverse i.e. the Cyprus connection *downloading* and the UK *uploading* which gives good results as shown in the previously uploaded screenshots that show a perfect 1mb upload from UK and 1mb download in Cyprus.



                        • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                          Tried one more test. Used hamachi (a program from logmein.com) to set up a gateway network from the UK pc to the Cyprus one. This had the effect of giving the Cyprus PC a 192.168.1.x address, so that when running the Slingplayer from the Cyprus PC it pushed the traffic via my PC here to the slingbox, rather than via slingmedia.


                          Got the following:



                          which does seem to show the problem, the connection very unstable, but not yet figured out why.


                          Will try it from another location and update when I know more...

                      • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK



                        I took my Slingbox to a friend's house. A friend who has an almost identical broadband connection (upload speed) to my own, albeit with a different provider. My parents received a signal that was consistently high, as below, and a connection of 932kbps! (as opposed to a connection which was fluctuating all over the place, and just around 550 kbps).


                        This very much points to a problem with my broadband connection and I have again raised this with my broadband provider. Oddly the connection speed via speedtest.net is the same in both cases, but I wonder if there is some throttling of the connection going on, or some other problem which affects stability.


                        I will keep you posted!


                        • Re: Help troubleshooting low bitrate when connection seems OK

                          I've seen similar up and down jumps in my bandwidth. I used to have a reliable outbound streaming rate of 520 kbps--which was just about right on spec for the DSL service. But recently it won't go much above 380 kbps. I had the telco check the circuit and it checks out at full spec -- 640 kbps outbound.

                          But something is checking the streaming video--one second it is at 520 on the graph and the next second at 200 something--averaging out in the 300's.

                          Of course the telco will never admit they are throttling, but it is obvious. On a straight file upload or download, no problem--full spec. But streaming outbound--it's clipped. Incoming streaming does not appear to be throttled.

                          Is there any way around this? Would changing from Port 5001 help?? Note the sharp up and down bitrate on network traffic. The video was a static camera image--so the video would not be causing anything to change.