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.

Moving from Libre Office to Office365

Image result for microsoft office 365

I’ve always been a huge supporter of open source software. From when I was running Ubuntu the Libre Office suite always sufficed my need for an office type package and Thunderbird was always the Outlook “alternative”.

The problem is though, in the back of my mind they were always just the “free alternative” to the benchmark software I’ve always needed. With a huge amount of deliberation I’ve now decided to take out an Office365 subscription and even though I’ve only had it a couple of days, the software just feels fluid and well finished and the “genuine article”.

So far there is no buyers remorse but it feels like I’m slowly becoming a Microsoft fan, first moving from Ubuntu over to Windows, then from Notepad++ to Visual Studio and now from Libre/Thunderbird to Office.

hAP Mini Configuration

I’ve recorded my hAP Mini config video a couple of times so far and still not found a version I like. It is in the pipelines though however I’m thinking that trying to include low powered device optimisation into the same video is a bad thing. Maybe that should be it’s own video?

Either way I’ve configured my new “toy” a couple of times now and have been really amazed by what I was able to push through it. Bearing in mind this is a low powered single core unit out of the box with a handful of firewall rules and NAT it was able to push 94Mb whilst maintaining only 88% of CPU utilisation (minus whatever it was using for me watching Winbox).

Testament to my previous fasttrack learning curve though, once I put a couple of fasttrack rules into the firewall that same 94Mb was achieved on just 22% of CPU utilisation (again whilst I had Winbox open so minus a few % for that.

I seem to be finding 94Mb as a limitation though, this will no doubt be in part due to the unit only being 10/100 and losing some overhead from that but I’m amazed how viable this thing is, even to the point that it would be able to be used for VDSL in the UK with no detriment.

Please keep your eyes peeled for some soon to come videos regarding the hAP mini, potentially a config and then a more broad stroke efficiency ideas.