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[SOLVED] How I fixed my choking Xonotic network experience!

This is how I smoothed out my Xonotic experience and got a better, more stable, Internet connection.

I write this because of a discussion I've had with Drummyfish, Gravikappa, and others, about optimizing the net (router) for Xonotic. To reduce net lag and eliminate buffer issues.

First I upgraded my client distro to the latest which is Linux Mint 20 (Ubuntu 20.04).
Then I fixed most upgrade-errors and upgraded/updated everything to the best of my ability, also installed the latest Linux release of Nvidia 455 for my GTX960.
I then recompiled Xonotic to the latest GIT and ran the SDL executable.

I noticed that Xonotic loaded faster but the net and in-game experience was still somewhat unstable, a clear sign of bufferbloat which occasionally blocked the stream. This is only occurring sometimes but on a regular basis with intervals, like every 10 sec I could feel that my weapon switching was suffering, especially in demanding situations. After the "bufferbloat" fix I did not detect any abnormalities again and no more laggy incidents during the game. Overall, it has helped tremendously and made Xonotic much smoother. I know that the server can be stressed and make it hard to play, but if my side of the equation is optimized then it really makes it a better experience no-matter how the server is running.

So what did I do?

I moved on to eliminate "bufferbloat" on my 500 Mb/s Fiber connection.

I have OpenWrt installed on a Linksys EA8500 router which is bridged to my ISP. I run the firewall on my router. I'm in control, no x2 NAT.

I installed the "luci-app-sqm" Qos application on OpenWrt. Smart Queue Management (SQM).

Configured it to max allow around 85% of my actual DL/UP (ingress/egress) speed through.


Download speed (kbit/s) (ingress): 470000 Kb/s
Upload speed (kbit/s) (egress): 470000 Kb/s

Queuing disciplines: fq_codel
Queue setup script: simple.qos
Advanced settings: untouched

Link Layer Adaption: Ethernet with Overhead (VDSL)
Per Packet Overhead (byte): 44


I rebooted the Router, tested the bufferbloat once again and it went from grade C to A+. This is tested on:

The SQM app details:
A little more tuning:

As you see I choose to use fq_codel and simple.qos instead of cake which is recommended by OpenWrt and DSLreports to eliminate bufferbloat. I remember that I used fq_codel with Nexuiz on m0n0wall and pfsense previously, many moons ago, so fq_codel works fine for me on different distributions. At that time the Internet was ADSL 20/1 Mb/s on shitty copper far away from the central running on simple hardware, but I had to use Qos on that too because it had bufferbloat. This indicates that everyone have problem with bufferbloat but are ignorant of the fact that this causes choking while playing online on servers. So every time you feel that the server is lagging, how can you be sure that it is the server lagging and not your very own network that is choking? The only way to be sure is to fix it on your end.

The only negative thing is that the EA8500 only can push 50% of it's DL speed now but it is far than enough for our use. The positive thing is that we have eliminated bufferbloat and network constagation is smoothed out so that every FPS game launched will have optimal circumstances to perform at it's best. In my Xonotic experience it was like going from rain into sunlight, it was really that obvious, also when just browsing the net, the pages loads faster now.

So all-in-all, this is what you have to do to eliminate some of the network choking experiences you have got so far. In my experience it was the bufferbloat (choking) which was the culprit, after the Qos was setup Xon/Internet felt like butter.

Try it out and don't let the net be the cause of your frustration, set it up correctly and you will see the improvement immediately and that is in everything net-related. Feels like a new ISP Smile - if it was a fluke and only a one time experience and the server ran nicely and with only a few people, at night, only time will tell. I will test it out over a longer period of time, maybe make a few changes and tune it further, but right now it is GOLD. Previously it made my game better with nexuiz, for longer periods of time, this is why this is the best method to get Xon to play nicely with online servers. An unmanaged setup default to your ISP is a death sentence, Covid for the Internet, no more air to breath. You have to setup Qos no matter what and cap that spike-noise out. Remember to choose fq_codel first and try it out before moving on to more exotic cake solutions, it really depends on what Router-OS you have installed, most supports fq_codel though.


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