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jawntronix

Exploring PC side adapter properties & QoS 4 dummies

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Really hoping for some info from @Bert, as a few of his posts started me down this rabbit hole. That said if anyone else has intelligible answers/thoughts on any of this feel free to chime in...

I've found as a gamer, "consumer grade" recommendations from websites I've never heard of telling you what to turn off and on with very little info, and extremely technical posts with no "layman's" explanations are a super thin line. Wanting to ask a few questions here because I really can't find that middle ground of verifiable info (that I can comprehend) for networking tips geared toward gaming performance.

Understanding all systems are different, below are some of my PC/Newtwork specs. I'll try to keep the questions broad so I don't write a novel here, but if anyone wants to go into detail with responses that's great. I'm all over the place, so if you want to just say something is or isn't worth looking into that's totally cool.

  • Router: XR1000
  • Firmware: 1.0.0.58_1.0.44
  • ISP: Cox (USA) 1000 down / 30 up
  • Modem: Arris SB8200 (Restricted from placing router into modem's DMZ)
  • Z590 Aorus Ultra (I225-V adapter) / 10850k / RTX 3080 FE / 32GB DDR4 2000MHz CL17
  • Windows 10

Overall Intent - Optimize Call of Duty - Warzone performance, while maintaining a stable home network for other non-gaming devices (phones,work laptops, smart tv's, etc).

Network Notes - Lots of devices connected  but no other gaming happening outside of COD. COD is played on hardwired PC only (PC only used for gaming), using Duma to geofilter to TX/Midwest for "equal" ping lobbies with friends from East Coast (I'm on the West-ish Coast). PS4 is also on the network at times for streaming apps and Plex use only, no gaming. Otherwise, streaming, phone browsing and 2 laptops working from home through company VPN during the day (non-technical work, video calls, excel, web based clients, etc).

PC Ethernet Controller Properties -  I could research for days on each advanced setting and just be overwhelmed with Chrome tabs, but given my system resources and intent, are there any obvious properties to enable or disable here to help prioritize Warzone packets/jitter/buffer bloat? (Jumbo Packets? Interrupt Moderation Rate? Checksums? Etc, Etc).

PC QoS Settings - I saw CoDeL mentioned and am just reading about the different methods of QoS implementation.

1. Can you (fairly) easily change what implementation Windows is using? Is this achieved through PowerShell (a lot of the info I find online is for MS servers, not consumer setups)?

2. If the gaming traffic is going XR1000 <-> PC, when talking about PC side QoS, do we then want to implement the best type for communication with the XR1000 and how the router sends those packets, not necessarily the best set up for Warzone server communication (since the router would handle that QoS) or are they both the same? If that idea holds weight, what method of QoS is the XR1000 using, and do we mirror that implementation on the PC for best "communication"?

3. Related to the above, if I placed the PC into the router's DMZ, would QoS/Pioritization be needed on the XR1000 side? Or would the router just send packets through with no filtering and let the PC QoS rules take care of the optimization rather than have 2 rules going on both devices maybe not playing nice?

Extra Hardware Options  - It seems like there's a lot of room for customizability with things like pfSense, Ubiquiti devices etc. Wondering if any of the hardware I have on hand would be worthwhile candidates for potentially optimizing my network and gaming experience, or if something from Ubiquiti up the line would help.

1. If the XR1000 is really only specifically used for the geofilter feature while gaming on PC, is there any setup that would benefit that experience? I.E. running the wifi connection off of a different device, bridge mode, etc to take processor load off of the XR1000? I have my previous Netgear R6700v3 router collecting dust, my previous gaming set-up I'm just using now as a glorified Plex library for the network (I5-7600k, ASRock z270 Pro4, 16gb 3200 16CL, PCIe wifi card, GTX 1060 6GB), and an unmanaged gigabit switch currently used to wire in smart TV, work laptop, etc. unfortunately while my modem has 2 ethernet ports, my ISP only allows one IP.

 

Again, a lot of topics here, and asking some broad questions, so I don't mind some broad answers... @Bert I'm unsure if you work directly for Netduma? If it's not a conflict of interest, have you considered any fee based advising on the side? It seems criminal to ask for all this expertise to be spoon fed when I'd rather just pony up some cash for a consultation if you feel you have the answers here...

Pertinent info from anyone welcome, again, looking for concrete networking advice, not youtubes from content creators or "try turning this off, I got a sick KD for 3 games after I did"...

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So I'll comment on a few things, I'm sure Bert (community member, not a Netduma employee*) will chime in, he is very knowledgeable and will give you a good idea of what to look into.

Your modem is a pure modem so that is why you can't put the XR in it's DMZ because it doesn't have one, it doesn't do any routing, just passes all traffic straight through to the router. The PC has very limited actual QoS options as it is not a router - all it has to do is send/receive packets really. It has a packet scheduler which can be changed but this is found in the registry which should give you an idea of how infrequently these settings should be messed with and how if you weren't sure what you were doing the kind of issues it could present. You don't want the PC to handle QoS, you just want it to do its simple tasks and let the router handle what it is made for. 

Network Adapter properties, this is where opinions would likely differ, there are guides such as this: https://www.digit.in/features/tech/tweak-network-adapter-properties-networking-ethernet-wifi-vpn-45243.html which provide details on what they believe give the best experience, having a quick look through some options directly contradict what I have read elsewhere. However, for these options as they are easily rectified if you really want to spend the time experimenting then you could. Just note down what the default settings are first. I have dabbled a little in this and not seen much improvement myself but others may have a different experience.

I would not suggest you put the PC in the DMZ as this can pose a security risk, it's also unnecessary especially if you have an open NAT - if you didn't then port forwarding only what is needed would be safer. QoS should still be used even if you used the DMZ/port forwarding. In regards to extra hardware I would recommend you keep it minimal. The more hardware you add the more hops to your final destination, now the hops would likely never exceed 1ms each but it's still added latency you don't need and in my opinion with no real benefit to gaming - unless you need to add something due to distance restrictions or WiFi range etc.

The XR1000 is a high spec router, just running the Geo-Filter for one device will not tax it enough that it causes any discernible latency increase. My advice would be to keep it simple and use QoS which it doesn't sound like you really are at the moment. Judging from your post I assume you're not having any real lag issues, just seeing if you can do any better, sometimes in my opinion, if it isn't broken don't fix it is a good policy!

No need to pay anyone, you've paid for the router and that pays for any support you need by us, whether that's an issue or just questions like you've asked here. Hope this all helps!

*Netduma employees always have "Netduma" before their name and we're shown as Administrators.

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Adapter properties really depend on what equipment you have. Not only the NIC but also your CPU etc, switches you attach to etc.

 

I have found that for 1Gbit nearly everything works and you don't need to do a lot of tuning. It's when you start upscaling to 10Gbit for example when things get interesting.

 

On that guide Fraser mentiones for example:

 

Jumbo Frames is not needed for 1Gbit and especially not when your PC is directly connected to your router with no internal file transfers taking place. It basicly sets your maximum MTU to 9000. Most internetproviders use 1500 or 1486 or 1522 etc depending if you use PPPoE etc so your router doesn't use jumboframes anyway. Best is to turn it off. MTU auto discovery should take care of things but if it doesn't you will get packet fragmentation. If you want to use jumbo frames, you need other equipment on your network to support it as well, ie switches and so on. I have it turned off since my file transfers are fast enough without it.

 

RSS scaling. You can turn it on or off. It means that recieving data is distributed along the cores of the CPU instead of single core. For 1Gbit this does not pose an issue but for 10Gbit again here things get interesting. My I7-2600 Win 2016 server box pulls 30% CPU load under transfers and RSS scaling is needed as otherwise it maxes out a single CPU core. For RSS queues you want to set it equal to the amount of physical cores you are using, not the amount of threads used. My i7 has 4 physical cores so I set 4 Queues, my AMD system is 16 core so uses 8, max setting in the driver. Aquantia NICs are set to 8 by default and I had a lot of issues with that. Basicly file transfer speeds were all over the place recieving to my i7 box, with the driver set to 8. I then turned it off for starters. That went well for a while until I started using Hyper-V hosts, ran out of CPU cyclces and needed it on. Then found that the Queues needed to be set to 4. 10850k is a 10 core system so setting max here is no issue.

 

Select speed. You NEED to set this to auto negotiation as you can have a lot of issues if both sides don't support setting physical speeds, the adapter will default to 100/half if you run into issues here.

 

Flow control I generally leave it off and also interrupt moderation off. Flow control needs to be supported by sender and reciever and also the switch in between. interrupt moderation slows you down when network transfers start using too many CPU cycles. My AMD system is fast enough and on my i7 server using a lot of CPU cycles is kinda the point.

 

Offloading tasks generally leave them on unless there is issues with large transfers.

 

QoS on PC can be set, but I generally don't. It attaches DiffServ tags but again here your other equipment needs to support it. I'm not sure if the XR routers effectively use DiffServ tags. I use DiffServ on my main switch, it automatically tags traffic on ports 3074-3076 and gives them their own priority lane. Otherwise if your switches or routers don't support DiffServ or DSCP tags it's a moot point. Some unmanaged switches from NetGear for example don't allow setting tags but will honor the tags. Setting it on my switch ensures both PS4 an PC can use the QoS over the switch. There is many guides on how you can set it in windows, just search "Set DSCP tags in windows" in google. You need to set the "Expidited Forwarding" flag if you want to use it for CoD.

 

Also sometimes overlooked is the Windows power profile. I found that in Win10, using the balanced power profile with minimum CPU set to 0%, incoming file transfers didn't properly turbo up the CPU, it stayed running 1.6GHz instead of 3.4GHz baseclock and this slowed the transfer enormously. Setting it to 50% still displayed some delay so I set it to 100% all the time. Incidentally I checked it's power consumption with a watt meter and there is no difference in idling on 1.6GHz vs idling on 3.4GHz when it comes to power consumption. Again for 1Gbit this is probably not an issue but at 10Gbit vs a lower end CPU it is. When your file transfers start slow, you can check this on the target machine. 

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