Tips for improving online connectivity


#1

Hello everyone, Kooper here with another (hopefully) useful guide/FAQ for all of you.

The internet is a public domain, we’re all using it and sharing it. For example, say you send a picture to your friend. That information goes from your computer, to your router, to your ISP’s router, where it then takes various “hops” along devices until it is properly routed to your friend.

When you download a file from a server or load a webpage from a web server you send a request via these hops to the server with your REQUEST, which the SERVER (get it? Just like requesting a service from a waiter :wink: ) gives you the information you were looking for.

You’ll watch every “hop” it takes to get to Shoryuken.com and how long it took. This brings up one of the most fundamental aspects of networking, No matter how good your connection is distance will still affect your overall performance

Your internet connection is how fast you communicate between yourself and your ISP, which is the most important part of your connection. Different types of connections can only go so physically fast. For example, 56K and DSL both use phone lines in order to transmit information. Both only have a small amount of throughput in which to send information. However with Cable this amount of “throughput” or “Bandwidth” is increases and thus are able to send more information at once.

SF4, like all fighting games, actually don’t require much Bandwidth. The main issue is server/client Response time, or ping. If you are having trouble playing online this is what you need to figure out first. How far are you from your provider? The main goal you should seek is fixing this issue, either by moving next door to your ISP… Or finding the way to eliminate lag in your local loop.

One thing tricky about SF4 on consoles is that it actually does do some server communications; it’s not strictly peer to peer. With that in mind, the Microsoft Xbox Live network/servers are much better than that on PSN. So people playing on Xbox Live do have an advantage.

How does distance effect my online gaming?

As I explained earlier, when you’re downloading a file from a server, it’s the fastest route between you and the router. The physical distance between you means the information for your match must travel further, thus it takes more time. Another problem is that TCP/IP works on a “best effort” perspective. With a game like SFIV there NEEDS to be as much accuracy as possible so people can perform actions correctly.

Tips?

So you have a high-speed internet connection and you’re still having issues? Do not fear, there are still many things you can do to help improve your connection. Many connectivity issues are LAN based issued. A LAN (Local Area Network) is the networking you have in your home. Let’s go over some of the more general issues…

Physical Firewalls

When you’re having an issue the first thing you should assume is causing a problem is your firewall. Firewalls are made to protect you from outside attacks by closing the various “ports” which are used to access the internet. For example, when accessing a website, your web browser uses TCP port 80 in order to retrieve that website. Your gaming also requires ports in order to transfer information, but PSN and Xbox Live use a range of TCP and UDP ports in order to do this. Something else to keep in mind is many routers have a DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) setting. When setting something to the DMZ it opens all ports for that designated device, doing this on your PC is a very bad idea. However putting your PS3 or Xbox 360 on your DMZ is a good idea. Your PS3 and 360 can’t get spyware or viruses like your PC (theoretically) so it is a good idea to use your DMZ for such devices.

How to set stuff on your network to the DMZ or open Ports

Well for our systems we’ll want to set them to the DMZ, and for our computer we’ll need to open necessary ports. First thing you’ll need to do is get inside your router to configure it.

Click on Start -> Run -> Type “CMD” which will bring you into command prompt. Now type of the command “IPconfig” which will bring up very important network information. We want the IP of your default gateway (your router). Write that down, (192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 are very common address).

Now open up your favorite internet browser. Type in the default gateway’s IP address and hit enter, you should either log directly into your router or be prompted for a username/password. If you have never set a username/password for your router try admin or administrator as both the username and password, if not try a combination “Username: administrator, Password: admin” if this fails you can physically reset your router via the reset button on it and then try the default combination, and if you’re still having trouble google the model of your router to find the default login information.

Note about wireless: If you are on a wireless connection sometimes router automatically disable wireless peers to login into their firmware. If you are having difficulty doing this wireless please try the above on a wired connection.

So now you’re in your router. The first thing you want to find out is the DHCP information for your network. DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is what your router uses to assign IPs to everything on your network. Finding your DHCP information will tell you which IPs are being used for which devices. For computers you’ll see the computer name and which IP they have, for your consoles you should see the console name. Take note of the IPs your consoles have.

Now you’ll want to look around for either your firewall settings or DMZ settings. If you find an option to set specific IPs to the DMZ put your consoles IP addresses in those sections, this will open all ports for your console. If you can’t find any DMZ options in your router you’ll need to manually open specific ports in your firewall. Find your firewall settings and set to allow traffic through these ports and their associated protocols:

Xbox 360:

TCP:
80
3074
53

UDP:
88
3074
53

PS3:

TCP:
80
443
5223

UDP:
3478
3479
3658

If you need help finding out how to open ports on your router check out PortForward.com - Port Forwarding Guides Listed by Manufacturer and Model in order to find your specific router, just choose a random game from the list under your router type and follow along with the direction to find out where to find your firewall settings in order to open the ports you want. Also make sure you open the ports for your 360 or PS3’s IP address.

or

Use google, just do a search for “How to open ports on _____” <-- Where you put in your router’s model # and you will find results.

As you may know, programs such as 2DF and GGPO or online games such as World of Warcraft require you to have various ports open for optimal online play. Please look up which ports they require and you’ll have a much easier time online.

Network Segmentation

You can also segment your network by using switches in order to break down a large network into smaller areas. You can have a group of computers on one switch which then connect to one port on your router. This requires the router to do less processing at one given time. Here is an example of a segmented network. Notice how the router only has three ports used in which to process information, instead of having all nine computers connected to it at once. This approach can also be used for wireless devices by setting up different access points for different devices to connection to.

Your router’s firmware

You can put your own custom firmware on your router to replace it to improve the capabilities of your router and improve performance. One custom firmware which is very good in particular is DD-WRT. On their website look up their compatibility list and see if your router is supported, if it is I highly recommend you follow their directions to put their custom firmware on your router. DD-WRT has man advanced features and monitoring information like memory usage and even temperature. If your router does not have the capabilities to have DD-WRT installed on it that could be a sign that your router is in a bit of a lower ‘tier’ depending on why. Another popular firmware is Tomato.

Wireless

The first thing you should ALWAYS do if you have a wireless connection is to use some form of security on it.

Something you should take into consideration is if it’s possible to get your stuff wired to your network. Try to do some networking to get a LAN cable from your systems to your router, run them through walls and flooring if possible, it’s one of the best things you can do for your connection.

Increasing your wireless speed and range

Access Points:
An access point is a device you physically connect to the network in order to increase the range of your wireless network. If you can’t get a wired connection to your 360/PS3 than invest in one of these and get it as close as you can to it.

Wireless Repeater:
A wireless repeater is a device which you can use to increase your wireless network range. This doesn’t require a wired connection and will also increase your wireless range.

Bigger antennas: Your wireless router should have some sort of antenna(s) in order to send out the wireless signal.

The foil trick:
Yes this actually works. Normally an antenna is omni-directional, which is very wasteful. You can increase the strength of your router by directing all of the signal in one direction. You can do this simply by using tin foil as a reflective surface for the signal.


#2

Great guide. Thanks.


#3

Excellent guide, my man!


#4

I’d pos rep you, but it wouldn’t even matter, see you in 300 posts my man!


#5

kudos dude


#6

Great guide. Thx!


#7

Heh, I only use routers capable of running linux firmware (DD-WRT and others). There are a lot of options though, so it might confuse people who are new to networks. I too would recommend Tomato because it is more user friendly.


#8

Lots of good information here. I noticed a few things though…

Uhm, port 21 is for FTP. Port 80 is for HTTP.

Tell people to turn off their Windows Firewall when they have no other software firewall and possibly no hardware firewall is not a good idea. You should only turn it off if you know what you are doing. I recommend Sygate Personal Firewall as a replacement, even though it is no longer supported.

192.168.0.1 is probably more common than 192.168.1.1. :slight_smile:


#9

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#10

I can see you were up in the wee hours of the morning doing this, kudos!


#11

Very informative, kudos man!!! :china:


#12

Another thing that you can do is call your ISP and see what type of connection channel they have you on. If the person doesn’t know what you’re talking about, ask if they have the channel of your internet on fast path or interleaved. Having your computer’s internet on interleaved basically raises your ping an average of 20ms to any server/console. So you will have a huge amount of lag no matter what. You can ask them to put you on fast path so that you can have extremely low pings to someone next to an internet hub. The big hubs in the US are in San Jose, Chicago, Dallas, and New York.

This mainly applies to people using AT&T Uverse. If you have your tv service through them they can’t put you on fast path or else your TV would be extremely poor in quality.


#13

Great guide man. I always knew about this stuff but never really looked into how. VERY useful guide. If I could I’d rep you.


#14

PS3 can make use of UPnP, enable it and you don’t have to worry about setting up port forwarding. although on my Linksys router with DD-WRT, it’s not necessary to open ports or enable uPnP for things to work.


#15

While DD-WRT is great and all, it might be good to also note TOMATO, which is a lot easier to navigate and does a almost everything DD-WRT does (Pretty much everything you’d want unless you were hardcore into networking).

Tomato’s website: http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato


#16

Just because a router can’t run DD-WRT doesn’t make for a bad router.


#17

tin foil… cool!


#18

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#19

dd wrt fixed my connection problems. I had tried every other possible solution. After searching other gaming forums and finding that most people preffered it and highly recommended it, i too am now a believer in it.

In addition to being free, it will help whatever other devices you have connected to your router.

If you dont have a flashable router, you are in a way “missing out”


#20

In my opinion this guide hasn’t got enough to do with the specifics of playing beat’emups on-line. There are some specific issues these games face and I feel there is a lot of myth to debunk before giving general networking advice. Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but I’ve spent years trying to play games on-line and feel nothing but pity for gamers without as much hard earned knowledge.

I think the most important thing to understand is that both players will always experience the same game, the same lag in SFIV. Your on-line experience is the sum of both player’s networking conditions. A lot of this is out of anyone’s control so it doesn’t need to be mentioned.

I’d question how much bandwidth SFIV needs to run optimally. It only has to send the inputs from each player in real time and wait for the other player’s inputs before moving on to the next tick of the game’s clock. That’s not a huge amount of bandwidth, too much for 56k, but surely no more than streaming a youtube video? I guess this can be measured by a proper geek here?

I’d say the more important factor is the speed it does this at. I’d also question the difference a ‘fast’ router would make to your connection. Can anyone offer figures for the latency you might be adding to the connection if your router is slow? I imagine it pales in comparison with the latency added by the distance between players. I think I’m right in saying there will NEVER be any joy in Europeans trying to play against Japanese at SFIV because electricity will always take at least 400ms to travel there and back.

I think it’s a big shame that SFIV doesn’t allow players to narrow down their choices over who they fight online. HDRemix has a crap interface, but at least one can simply avoid connections with a high ping… nothing like playing next to a friend on the couch. Never will be… :sigh:

my top tips:

  1. Stop the rest of your household doing anything other than light browsing while you play online. Absolutely no youtube, web camera or downloading.
  2. Plug your console into your router rather than using a wireless connection
    if you can.
  3. Try to play local players. Same country, same area, same ISP if you can.
  4. If your connection isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Computers are always a shitting nightmare.