CHR – Now faster and more efficient!

I’ve finally had some time to pull drag a monitor up into the attic to make some changes to the ESXi server that hosts my CHR. After some extensive reading on the MikroTik forum, it looks to read that a virtual CHR benefits from a “real” core and not a virtual one, in some cases virtual cores hindering performance! Even though my residential 55/15 connection isn’t going to set the world alight, I want to do some really in depth packet inspection next year so having raw performance is top of my list.

The changes I’ve made were to move the server BIOS performance setting from “OS Control” which was initially set to try and minimise noise in the cave to maximum performance, a few packets made there maybe?

The second big change was to turn off the hyperthreading on my Xeon. When I bought the Xeon I went out of my way to buy one with 4c/8t for maximum cores but RouterOS itself is very single core based and can’t multi-thread so single core efficiency is key. It also benefits from L3 cache so splitting the cache between 4 rather than 8 helps more so. There is also some heat efficiency to be made by running the processor without HT which counter balances the BIOS performance setting which could increase heat.

Overall testing without firewall now yields a far healthier 10+Gbps speedtesting to itself on a single core compared to the previous 7(ish).

All will be undone though if/when rOS7 launches with multicore!

New Hardware Incoming!

I’ve got some really exciting hardware changes coming up which I’m hoping are going to help me along my quest to make better YT videos! I will be saying goodbye to spinning discs completely in my main rig and will be migrating to NVME for OS with the “old” SSD being the new recording drive for super fast writes to enable me to get bandwidth up and help with post recording cutting and shutting.

In addition to that there will be some sound upgrades which are probably going to be less of an impact on the videos but still. Upgrades are upgrades.

CHR CPU Upgrade

Its been on my mind for a while that the CPU in my CHR wasn’t setting the world on fire, it was great for what it was doing and it was low powered but as I start and do more with my CHR, maybe start to look at a dude server and do some more advanced packet marking and processing I wanted something with more oomph!

I’ve now upgraded from a Xeon E3-1220L to an E3-1270. That’s a boost in base clock from 2.2Ghz to 3.4Ghz and a big step from 2c4t to 4c8t. I managed to do a small amount of testing before and after and whilst the difference from what has been done is negligible at this point, I’m expecting that as I burden the CPU more it will withstand the pressure for longer.

Before upgrade;

After CPU upgrade, same ESXi settings so this is “just” the core speed improvement;

This is the performance after shutting the machine down and applying the additional CPU cores;

 

Concluding my testing, a 400Mb increase in pushing traffic to itself from the CPU core speed upgrade, nothing to be sniffed at I guess, the traffic was also a bit more stable at this speed as opposed to the previous CPU.

FTTC Fast Path (Interleaving) removal with Plusnet

A quick and free boost for my broadband connection this week. I’d been monitoring my DSL service and was noticing some errors on the downstream and with some quick research Interleaving was a common cause of this. Interleaving in short splits your packets down and reassembles at the far end, it’s great for stability but does increase latency. It’s not great if you use VOIP and if you’re a gamer it can increase that all important response time which you need as low as possible.

A quick webchat with Plusnet support and I’d asked for my service to be put on “fast track” or in other words, having interleaving removed. A 24 hour wait and to my surprise my connection has improved!

Before;

After;

 

The only issue with this is if Interleaving was helping the connection there is a possibility it will wobble and DLM will re-apply it but the service in general is very stable so I am hopeful that the change will last.

Back to a CHR?

Friday 13th was an exciting one in my household! Not only did I kill the internet for everyone for a good 3 hour period whilst I swapped from an Ikea Lack table to a “real” 6U cabinet causing huge disruption when my planned single patch panel turned into 3! I also fired up old faithful and stuck on a fresh copy of the latest (6.42.6) CHR into my VM box.

Now I have my spare ESXi box housed in the attic in a real rack it means I don’t need it screaming away in the cave so I can finally move back to a CHR build and keep it. My rough maths says the CHR unit will have around 4-5 times the performance of the RB3011 which will now get moved to the cave as a dedicated VLAN breakout switch (or maybe sold) but ultimately I can employ some far more complex queues without worrying that I’m running the CPU up too far.

My long term plan is to SFQ my LAN traffic but then pick out particular traffic types from that and SFQ them against each other whilst doing some PFIFO pulling them all together. I’ll try to document as much as I can but in short it will be a huge amount of packet marking so CPU grunt is needed. I’m even now tempted to look at upgrading the CPU so it’s more than a dual core!

Fun times ahead.