ping issues and trouble setting fqcodel on RT-AC86U (AC2900)?

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
So, let me start off saying I'm not a networking expert, but I'm computer literate and I've gone down a rabbit hole last few days trying to research this issue.

I recently got starlink internet after having nothing but fixed wireless available here. While they definitely have network congestion issues during peak hours, I'm still regularly getting 100+mb down and 10+mb up speeds, with pings between 30-60 in most usecases.
However, when I try to play Overwatch2, something I was looking forward too as my old internet couldn't quite handle it, I cannot get my ping below 110 and its often higher and/or spiking constantly. When I did some bufferbloat checks on https://www.waveform.com/tools/bufferbloat I would get between C and B+ ratings each time, with median pings in the 40-80 range.

After some advice in the starlink reddit thread, I was advised to enable TCP ECN and QoS using fqcodel. After some research, I found your 3rd party firmware for my router and flashed it. On the QoS page, it shows Cake as an option now when it didn't before, so I assume it flashed correctly.. however, I don't have the option to pick fqcodel (or codel/qdisc). I saw some others post screenshots of that page, and it's like the box to pick the configuration just isn't there. I have all the other options. I tried running on Cake, setting relatively conservative up/down bandwidth limits, and playing around with the WAN packet number, but it didn't seem to effect ping much at all. Sometimes, it seemed to go up even higher with certain settings, but never really dropped. I also disabled port forwarding, triggering and upnp based on other tips I found for Overwatch specifically.

Also, I never figured out how to enable TCP ECN, unless that's something rolled up in cake/fqcodel already? Or, those are better versions of what ECN is trying to do? I'm also unsure whether starlink is closest to docsis, vdsl, etc.. so ive tended to leave that as default.

Lastly, if there is some other direction I should be looking, I'm all ears. I know starlink is having network congestion issues during peak times, and I'm on the 'best effort' level that deprioritizes me vs residential customers when its busy, but during offpeak times I'm confused how I can have such amazing bandwidth/ping numbers in everything but Overwatch2 (maybe other games too, but this is the only one that my ping would matter and I have an ingame meter tracking it). Plus, there are tons of other people on Best Effort in the reddit that are getting sub 60 pings w/ starlink and the super basic router they provide (I used that originally and it was even worse).

I would appreciate any help you could give. If there is some tests, logs or sysinfo you'd like me to run or provide, let me know.
 
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DJones

Senior Member
So, let me start off saying I'm not a networking expert, but I'm computer literate and I've gone down a rabbit hole last few days trying to research this issue.

I recently got starlink internet after having nothing but fixed wireless available here. While they definitely have network congestion issues during peak hours, I'm still regularly getting 100+mb down and 10+mb up speeds, with pings between 30-60 in most usecases.
However, when I try to play Overwatch2, something I was looking forward too as my old internet couldn't quite handle it, I cannot get my ping below 110 and its often higher and/or spiking constantly. When I did some bufferbloat checks on https://www.waveform.com/tools/bufferbloat I would get between C and B+ ratings each time, with median pings in the 40-80 range.

After some advice in the starlink reddit thread, I was advised to enable TCP ECN and QoS using fqcodel. After some research, I found your 3rd party firmware for my router and flashed it. However, on the QoS page, it shows Cake as an option now when it didn't before, so I assume it flashed correctly.. however, I don't have the option to pick fqcodel (or codel/qdisc). I saw some others post screenshots of that page, and it's like the box to pick the configuration just isn't there. I have all the other options. I tried running on Cake, setting relatively conservative up/down bandwidth limits, and playing around with the WAN packet number, but it didn't seem to effect ping much at all. Sometimes, it seemed to go up even higher with certain settings, but never really dropped. I also disabled port forwarding, triggering and upnp based on other tips I found for Overwatch specifically.

Also, I never figured out how to enable TCP ECN, unless that's something rolled up in cake/fqcodel already? Or, those are better versions of what ECN is trying to do? I'm also unsure whether starlink is closest to docsis, vdsl, etc.. so ive tended to leave that as default.

Lastly, if there is some other direction I should be looking, I'm all ears. I know starlink is having network congestion issues during peak times, and I'm on the 'best effort' level that deprioritizes me vs residential customers when its busy, but during offpeak times I'm confused how I can have such amazing bandwidth/ping numbers in everything but Overwatch2 (maybe other games too, but this is the only one that my ping would matter and I have an ingame meter tracking it). Plus, there are tons of other people on Best Effort in the reddit that are getting sub 60 pings w/ starlink and the super basic router they provide (I used that originally and it was even worse).

I would appreciate any help you could give. If there is some tests, logs or sysinfo you'd like me to run or provide, let me know.

Cake uses AQM Codel honestly is probably what you want to use. However in order to get cake to work you must set your speeds to about UL/DL 1-2 Mbps lower then what your speed test shows.

Flex-QoS uses fq_codel but it’s a amtm addon.

ECN would have to be set using a boot script if available, I believe I’ve scrolled through some of these settings in the past.

However I recommend just sticking with Cake. Unfortunately for Starlink it’s speeds are not set in stone meaning manually setting Cake may not be viable unless you don’t care if one day you could potentially get above 100 down 10 up because the satellite is flying directly over you. Automatic speeds might overshoot and not correctly adjust for buffer bloat. My suggestion is set it for what you think you get the most often for speeds then maybe 1-2 Mbps lower. That should give you a improvement in your bufferbloat test and improve your latency.

Mode I would probably set to ATM to help with packet loss, and set wan packet overhead between 30-48.

You can also try modes normal or PTM I’m not sure if starlink uses 1500 MTU or more.
 
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Enzee

Occasional Visitor
Yea, the speeds are very variable, even minute to minute. I might get 120mb down on a speedtest, then 5 mins later get 75. During peak times (6pm-11pm) i'm lucky to get over 20mb down/5up, but I'm willing to just not play during peak times for now, at least until they get more sats in the sky and upgrade me to the full, residential service.


So, is there a significant downside to just setting my u/l limits thru cake to like... 30d/3u, even though I might be getting upwards of 4x that at the moment? Cause that was my thought process, to aim for the lower end of what I think is 'guaranteed', and thats the range I was testing with Cake. i.e. I tried 40d/5u, 50d/3u, etc..
 

DJones

Senior Member
Yea, the speeds are very variable, even minute to minute. I might get 120mb down on a speedtest, then 5 mins later get 75. During peak times (6pm-11pm) i'm lucky to get over 20mb down/5up, but I'm willing to just not play during peak times for now, at least until they get more sats in the sky and upgrade me to the full, residential service.


So, is there a significant downside to just setting my u/l limits thru cake to like... 30d/3u, even though I might be getting upwards of 4x that at the moment? Cause that was my thought process, to aim for the lower end of what I think is 'guaranteed', and thats the range I was testing with Cake. i.e. I tried 40d/5u, 50d/3u, etc..

The only downside is Cake might not give you more speeds then what you set. I’ve not played around with setting it far below what I normally get as I’m on fibre. Setting it lower essentially give it room to breath when sudden latency spikes happen. You always want to be lower then the spike so the data rate isn’t delayed. When it comes to cellular or satellite connections latency spikes can be all over the place. I assume starlink in fact mitigates much of it with its own built in QoS, but nothing is perfect when your zipping around the world. As for the lower speed that’s due to over saturation of the sats in one area for now.

That said Cake is more about bufferbloat caused by your router rather then wan line latency issues. I’m sure it will help regardless, but the nature of it would probably require a different congestion control more suited for long distance satellites. ASUS only uses Cubic (default) and maybe Reno I think.

Cake and fq_codel, and HTB are qdisc
Queue disciplines.
 
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Enzee

Occasional Visitor
All of that makes sense, and I think the issue will EVENTUALLY resolve itself as they keep adding more sats.. but I'm just confused why I seem to have this built in +60 ms ping in game specifically. I'll be getting 30-60 range, maybe with a couple spikes to 100, when I'm running the bufferbloat test, and then jump in game and get 100-110 minimum with spikes upwards of 200. Maybe its just starlink is so inconsistent its reading the highest recent ping, and 1 out of every X packets was at that latency.
 

DJones

Senior Member
All of that makes sense, and I think the issue will EVENTUALLY resolve itself as they keep adding more sats.. but I'm just confused why I seem to have this built in +60 ms ping in game specifically. I'll be getting 30-60 range, maybe with a couple spikes to 100, when I'm running the bufferbloat test, and then jump in game and get 100-110 minimum with spikes upwards of 200. Maybe its just starlink is so inconsistent its reading the highest recent ping, and 1 out of every X packets was at that latency.

It could also just be the game. You see where you are located isn’t where the satellite is receiving at a ground station. It then has to send those packets to the nearest games server. That in it self will cause higher latency. Games adjust for packet transmission based on how often things change in the game, so games like overwatch or rocket league almost require real-time connections other wise the game has to guess more and if it guess’s wrong you get rubber banding or curse the game because you obviously killed that guy, but still died. Faster paced the game the more latency matters and if you get packet loss or spikes it just adds to the frustration.

Things like Game CDN’s like WTFast would help a land connection because it routes to the games server more direct, but that can’t really be done locally to you over satellite because it would still have to route closest to that ground station some place else.
 
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heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
Yea, the speeds are very variable, even minute to minute. I might get 120mb down on a speedtest, then 5 mins later get 75. During peak times (6pm-11pm) i'm lucky to get over 20mb down/5up, but I'm willing to just not play during peak times for now, at least until they get more sats in the sky and upgrade me to the full, residential service.


So, is there a significant downside to just setting my u/l limits thru cake to like... 30d/3u, even though I might be getting upwards of 4x that at the moment? Cause that was my thought process, to aim for the lower end of what I think is 'guaranteed', and thats the range I was testing with Cake. i.e. I tried 40d/5u, 50d/3u, etc..
you may want to spend some time reading https://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man8/tc-cake.8.html with particular attention to the rtt setting.
In your case, I'd probably input a number rather than relying on their "satellite" default. 150ms will probably do the trick nicely to start

also - mtu/mpu between your router and StarLink may deserve an eyeballing and ponder
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
you may want to spend some time reading https://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man8/tc-cake.8.html with particular attention to the rtt setting.
In your case, I'd probably input a number rather than relying on their "satellite" default. 150ms will probably do the trick nicely to start

also - mtu/mpu between your router and StarLink may deserve an eyeballing and ponder
err, im not running linux? Idk how id even change the rtt setting.
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
Things like Game CDN’s like WTFast would help a land connection because it routes to the games server more direct, but that can’t really be done locally to you over satellite because it would still have to route closest to that ground station some place else.
I just signed up for a trial of ExitLag and tested it out. I'm still getting spikes, but my avg ping dropped by about 15-20 i think. It's hard to say for certain, since starlink seems to be pretty inconsistent. I also did a couple tracert and was getting weird ping times both AFTER it hit the ground station and after the first blizz server.

edit: oh, and I loaded up league of legends just out of curiosity. While I get spikes higher, my 'base' ping seems to be in the 60-80 range there, compared to the 100+ in OW2.
 
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DJones

Senior Member
I just signed up for a trial of ExitLag and tested it out. I'm still getting spikes, but my avg ping dropped by about 15-20 i think. It's hard to say for certain, since starlink seems to be pretty inconsistent. I also did a couple tracert and was getting weird ping times both AFTER it hit the ground station and after the first blizz server.

edit: oh, and I loaded up league of legends just out of curiosity. While I get spikes higher, my 'base' ping seems to be in the 60-80 range there, compared to the 100+ in OW2.
Well if it provides any improvement that’s good.

Also your router runs a Linux kernel you’ll need to ssh into your router use putty. From there you should be able to find the rtt setting assuming the instructions are detailed.
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
err, im not running linux? Idk how id even change the rtt setting.
The Wizard running things behind the scenes on your router isn't Oz, it's Merlin...and there is a LOT of linux-y stuff back behind the curtain.

If you look at the cake control panel in the Merlin GUI, you'll see you can enter values at setup in the "Custom Upload" & "Custom Download Parameters"
This is where you enter rtt 150ms or whatever you decide to make it.
You can also choose to mind/ignore the ECN data/bit or not in the config there: "Wash DSCP markings" on the up/download side (hover your mouse over the option in the router's GUI for a description of what it does - we call those tooltips)

So...have I convinced you to consider reading the manpage yet? You could also dig through the CakeQoS threads in here if you want. Both wouldn't hurt, if you really want to get a good understanding of what thing will make a difference for YOU to adjust in your case.

and if you dont mind me asking, are you gaming over wifi, or have you wired your console/system to your LAN?

FYI- Starlink is cool, but I get ping+jitter of generally <8ms on my 50/10 DSL.

Also - check this video out:
 

DJones

Senior Member
The Wizard running things behind the scenes on your router isn't Oz, it's Merlin...and there is a LOT of linux-y stuff back behind the curtain.

If you look at the cake control panel in the Merlin GUI, you'll see you can enter values at setup in the "Custom Upload" & "Custom Download Parameters"
This is where you enter rtt 150ms or whatever you decide to make it.
You can also choose to mind/ignore the ECN data/bit or not in the config there: "Wash DSCP markings" on the up/download side (hover your mouse over the option in the router's GUI for a description of what it does - we call those tooltips)

So...have I convinced you to consider reading the manpage yet? You could also dig through the CakeQoS threads in here if you want. Both wouldn't hurt, if you really want to get a good understanding of what thing will make a difference for YOU to adjust in your case.

and if you dont mind me asking, are you gaming over wifi, or have you wired your console/system to your LAN?

FYI- Starlink is cool, but I get ping+jitter of generally <8ms on my 50/10 DSL.

Also - check this video out:

I believe he’s only running standard Cake, otherwise I’m not even quite sure what you mean where you say to put rtt.

Cake
68B6D9EC-D948-4497-8879-6CE20A569182.jpeg



CakeQOS-Merlin

F154F170-5623-4DF5-9244-2C16F279854F.png
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
I believe he’s only running standard Cake, otherwise I’m not even quite sure what you mean where you say to put rtt.

Cake
View attachment 44781


CakeQOS-Merlin

View attachment 44782
whoa, i don't have that 2nd pic in my router GUI at all? I have the first one, thats how my page looks, but not that CakeQoS-Merlin tab. Does that mean I didn't flash the merlin firmware correctly? It says im on 386.7_2 firmware version.
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
and if you dont mind me asking, are you gaming over wifi, or have you wired your console/system to your LAN?

FYI- Starlink is cool, but I get ping+jitter of generally <8ms on my 50/10 DSL.

Also - check this video out:
I'm in the boonies, I'd be happy to get a solid DSL connection like that, but my only options prior to this was old school satellite internet or ATT fixed wireless. The fixed wireless worked decently the first year, 10-20mb down and 2-10mb up, but got much worse after as they overloaded the equipment with new customers. The last year I'd often get about 5d/1u speeds, with 110 base ping + spikes in game.


I've tried both wifi and wired, but mostly wired directly.

Also, thanks for the video, but I already knew all those :D I used to play OW1 quite a bit before my fixed wireless started crapping the bed. It used to give me 80-90 ping pretty consistently, with no real spikes, and just slowly got worse and worse over time.
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
whoa, i don't have that 2nd pic in my router GUI at all? I have the first one, thats how my page looks, but not that CakeQoS-Merlin tab. Does that mean I didn't flash the merlin firmware correctly? It says im on 386.7_2 firmware version.
check this post and read into the thread...I've not poked into this in a while now, so things may have changed...it could be an amtm install now.
I'm in the boonies, I'd be happy to get a solid DSL connection like that, but my only options prior to this was old school satellite internet or ATT fixed wireless. The fixed wireless worked decently the first year, 10-20mb down and 2-10mb up, but got much worse after as they overloaded the equipment with new customers. The last year I'd often get about 5d/1u speeds, with 110 base ping + spikes in game.


I've tried both wifi and wired, but mostly wired directly.
Wired - This Is The Way
I'm lucky living in a small city (135k population) that has recently been wired with Fibre, so lots of FTTN offers...the old copper phone lines is what I use, and I often take for granted the kind of service I have isn't as available as it should be
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
I believe he’s only running standard Cake, otherwise I’m not even quite sure what you mean where you say to put rtt.

CakeQOS-Merlin

View attachment 44782
Your 2nd pic, the CakeQos-Merlin tab...Custom Download and Custom Upload Parameters lines, just type rtt 150ms in, then hit Apply. But the version modified for Merlin needs to be installed first.
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
Satellite internet is not recommended for gaming and I'm seriously in doubt anything can fix it on your end. You can only make it worse.
Maybe old school geosynchronous satellites, but starlink is completely different. People in non congested areas, with full Residential level service, are regularly getting sub 60 ping, with no jitter/packet loss, and 20-30 being the best I've seen reported, though thats admittedly rare.

When all the V2 satellites are finally deployed (they've been launching these for a bit now, but it's a mix of V1/V2 sats in orbit currently), the ones with laser links, those ping numbers should become more and more common as they can avoid the majority of the congestion outside their network by routing from sat to sat in space. Only dropping down into the closest ground station to your end destination. example: say you live in NY and need to connect to a CA server for something, it'll go up to a sat, bounce between sats in space and come down to a CA ground station that is minimal hops from the end point. It'll be a far more direct route than ground based fiber that has to follow roads or snake around city blocks, and slightly faster speed (light traveling slightly faster in a vacuum). It's just they are having some growing pains in many areas right now and are overly congested. Especially, in the eastern rural areas of the US, which includes me (Arkansas). I'm sorta on the western edge of their 'bad' zone of the US. I was on the waiting list for almost 2 years, they kept pushing back when service would be available until they came out with this 'Best Effort' level for people on the waitlist in desperate need of broadband. We get deprioritized vs Residential level users for now, but once network capacity improves, they will automatically upgrade us.

From a theoretical standpoint, Elon thinks sub 20ms ping is possible for the service, but I think he's being overly optimistic about typical internet congestion. If everything ran with perfect efficiency, 10-20ms would be possible for most US to US connections, but things rarely run perfectly.
 

Enzee

Occasional Visitor
btw everyone, appreciate the help and tips. Apologies if I'm a noob and ask a dumb question, but I tend to catch on quick.
 

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