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fyhuang

Network stability testing?

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Hi all, I've been having problems recently with my wireless router (it's a D-Link) and gaming over the wireless. The games I've been playing (Call of Duty) I think use UDP broadcast to find games (which is not working), and also communicate in-game through UDP. I don't know if the problem is with my router or not, as clients are sometimes disconnected randomly or "lag" a lot. My question is: do you know of/is there any good network stability testing software I could use to get to the bottom of my problems? I've tried setting a ping from one computer (wired) to another on the wireless, but an entire night of pinging returned no dropped packets. I'm guessing that packets might start dropping when the load gets higher. Would, say, network throughput software also work for my purposes? I'm mostly interested in, by the way, free and/or open-source solutions; while annoying, this problem is not high-priority enough for me to spend real money on. Thanks in advance!

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Can you please specify exactly if you mean gaming on your network, or gaming through your internet connection? I tried rereading your post but i am still not entirely sure. You can use various tools no matter what the above answer is, like a packet sniffer (wireshark is free) to track the packet communication back and forth. You can also use tracert, ping...etc to one of the clients whose ip address you have who had been dropped. First send a ping to him after he was dropped, if it goes through check the ping delay, if it doesn't go through do a tracert and trace where the connection is failing, tracert is only useful though if you're talking about gaming by internet or unless you have a rather complex network setup, otherwise on a single router network it will essentially tell you the same as a ping.
There are other suggestions i have, but i would rather not get too specific without an answer to my question above.

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Ah, sorry, I'm talking about clients connected solely on my LAN: no Internet players. All traffic therefore goes through the router; it's just that one computer is connected by ethernet to the router and the rest use the wireless. Basically I want to see if the router starts dropping packets on the wireless under high load, or multiple clients sending/receiving at the same time (which is what I suspect).

I've found a number of Linux-based tools, but I have one Linux computer and multiple Windows computers connected to my network, so a cross-platform tool would be preferred.

Thanks again!

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Quote:
Original post by fyhuang
Ah, sorry, I'm talking about clients connected solely on my LAN: no Internet players. All traffic therefore goes through the router; it's just that one computer is connected by ethernet to the router and the rest use the wireless. Basically I want to see if the router starts dropping packets on the wireless under high load, or multiple clients sending/receiving at the same time (which is what I suspect).

I've found a number of Linux-based tools, but I have one Linux computer and multiple Windows computers connected to my network, so a cross-platform tool would be preferred.

Thanks again!

Well, there are two types of heavy load.
1.) Is high throughput traffic, where the number of clients the router is dealing with is low, but the load is high. To test this, you can download the free version of starwind and starport, create a ram drive on one computer and do aggressive throughput test with the drive mounted by iSCSI on another computer on the network. This will stress the crap out of the throughput and packet switching capabilities.
2.) Too many requests may also cause a high load. However, i don't know of a test for this off the top of my head, sorry.

If you want to see if it is dropping packets, use wireshark. It is a pretty nice, and free, packet sniffer. It will let you see if there are a lot of resent packets (a sign they're being significantly delayed or lost entirely), assuming the traffic is TCP. Only problem is that if you're talking about UDP, then there is not any way i know of tracking its packet loss. Hence its parody of a name, Unreliable datagram Protocol ;-)
Then again, your problem is complicated even further since you're using wireless. Because of this you may also want to make sure the channel your wireless router/ap is set to is not working within a high interference zone for its particular frequency band. Changing the channel may help if the dropping is due to periodic excessive noise.

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There is a tool called Iperf which can dump ALOT of traffic on your network.

Another is multiple Pings with the payload parameter set high (like 64k). I used this at work to stress wireless (having several hundred DOS boxes open on one windows laptop -- driving the thruput to 50%...)

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