Author Topic: Speed Troubleshooting Guide (covers slow/inconsistent/pickup problems)  (Read 38005 times)

Offline Reuben

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Updated: 25 May 2010

Special thanks to Edenx for pointing out some outdated info.

Dear Customers,

Before you begin, you might want to check our server status to see if there is a problem with any of our servers. You are free to switch to a working one if it is down (to find out how to do so go here). Also please report the downtime to us if we are not already attending to it.

There are a few main reasons why you may be experiencing slow speeds:

1) Bad Streamyx/ISP Line/Routing
2) Poor seeder/peer ratio on the torrent
3) Faulty configuration
4) Firewall/P2P Shield is blocking BolehVPN
5) Not enough half open connections
6) TCP optimization not done.
7) Connected to a full server
8) A problem with our VPN server.

Our experience is that 80% of the problems are generated by issues 1-3. Issues 4 and 5 may need a little technical expertise but should be fairly easy to understand for the intermediate user.

First of all we are NOT responsible for any damage these tweaks/programs/patches will cause to your computer and are done entirely at your own risk. I have tested all these tweaks and patches with the exception of the Vista half open patch.

In an effort to reduce the tech support load here is a guide:

Please use the Test Ubuntu torrent for testing speed.


We use ubuntu as a benchmark because it is both legal and also well seeded.

1) Bad Streamyx Line/Routing

This is currently the most common reason for slow speeds.

We notice that lately Streamyx has been rather unreliable with certain IP ranges. An IP address is like an internet address that identifies you and is in the form of a sequence of numbers for e.g. 60.54.97.81. Streamyx assigns this automatically to you but it seems that certain IP ranges give different performance.

Please refer to our FAQs on this:

What is a good ping? (Finding out if your route to us is bad)

Finding a Good IP Range for Streamyx


2) Poor seeder/ratio on torrent.

This unfortunately is another of the most common problems we have identified with users reporting slow speeds. This is not our problem nor BitTorrent's problem but merely just not enough people to send the file around. When I point this out, the most common reaction I get is 'BUT THERE ARE A FEW HUNDRED SEEDERS!' to which I point out there are a few thousand peers. To understand why this is relevant, please read below:

In a nutshell:

MORE SEEDERS THAN PEERS IS GOOD. MANY SEEDERS BUT MANY MORE PEERS IS NOT GOOD.

The larger the ratio between seeders and peers (that means more seeds to peers), the better the connection will be.

Bittorrent works by having people send to each other parts of the file which they have.
There are two kinds of people on a particular torrent.

Seeders: People who have the entire complete file and are just uploading.
Peers: People who do not have the complete file and are downloading. They also contribute a bit of upload.

With this in mind, even if a torrent has 100s of seeders, if it has 1000s of peers, the speed is necessarily going to be bad.
For example, let's assume you are downloading a file and it has:

500 seeds
3000 peers


In this scenario, for every 1 person who is uploading, there are 6 ppl downloading a lot faster than they upload (because most broadband has a larger download speed than upload speed). For Streamyx, those on a 1 mbit package get 1024 kbps download / 384 kbps upload so each person can download 2.7 times faster than they can upload.

With some common sense and elementary mathematics, you can see that such a number of seeds cannot adequately seed those number of peers with good speeds. There is nothing anybody can do in such a case regardless of VPN or without VPN.

At times you may be lucky and get a good seed/peer that can send to you really fast in a poor seeder/peer situation and then it will drop once he stops sending to you. So even if you can get a high speed momentarily, you can expect your speed to fluctuate in a poor seeder/peer situation.

Generally, if you can get good, stable speeds on ubuntu which almost always has a good seeder/peer ratio, there is no problem with your setup or the VPN server.

3) Faulty configuration

Double check the installation guide. Read it very carefully. Many people skim through this and leave out some core configuration and then complain about slow speeds.

A common mistake is setting UPLOAD speed BELOW 5 kB/sec. This will result in the torrent client slowing you down automatically for being a selfish person. Set it to 10 kB/sec at least.


Make sure it's almost exactly the same except for the 'Port used for incoming connections' which can be different.

Check if you have any third party firewalls running (anything else besides Windows firewall). If you do, try disabling it and see if it affects speeds.

4) Firewall/P2P Shield is blocking BolehVPN

Third party firewalls like Mcafee, Zonealarm if not configured properly will block BolehVPN. Try disabling them first. Windows Firewall is fine though has been known to cause issues. Please disable these.

P2P shields like those that come with Avast also sometimes mistakenly. PeerGuardian will also block our servers unless you add them in the exceptions list.

Some router firewalls have been known to mistakenly detect our traffic as a DDoS attack. This is a false positive. Try disabling these functions in your router.

5) Not enough half open connections

If you are using Windows XP, Service Pack 2 introduced additional 'security' measures. One of them is the crippling of the TCP/IP stack.

Windows XP SP2 limits half-open connections (SYN) to a maximum of 10 (the previous limit was over 65,000). This is supposed to slow down certain viruses/worms because their spreading strategy is to try to connect to a high amount of random IP numbers.

The drawback with this connection limit is that other legitimate network intensive applications can be slowed down as well. P2P applications and VPNs are particularly susceptible to being slowed down by this.

Vista SP2 and Windows 7 systems do not need this patch.

To get around this:

Windows XP only:

Download this patch (taken from Half-Open.com) and increase your half open connections to 100.

6) TCP optimization not done.

Often your TCP settings are not optimized. A simple program called TCP Optimizer can do this for you (requires some technical skill).

If you need help with the program, check the TCP Optimizer documentation and the Optimizer FAQ,

7) Full Server

The server you are using might be full or over utilized. Please switch to another server which is less utilized.

To check which servers are not full, refer to the server status page.

Full instructions on how to switch are listed here.

8) VPN Server Problem

If you have tried all of the above and still experience slow speeds, then it is time to look for us. We might ask you a few questions to ensure you have done the necessary preliminary tests above and then move on to checking the server's status.

We would need you to provide:

a) OpenVPN logs (this can be done by right clicking on your OpenVPN, clicking status and pasting what you see there into your tech support request)
b) Your user.ovpn file (where user is your username). This can be found in your C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config folder.
c) Your BolehVPN username
d) Your operating system and torrent client.


We can be reached via

Support Forums: Here duh! The preferred method.
E-mail: support@bolehvpn.net

Support forums have the fastest response and allows a larger number of people to deal with the problem.

We generally only want to do MSN chats when there is a serious problem and all the above tests have been done.

Warm Regards,
Reuben


PS: A VERY BIG THANKS TO ALL THE OTHER RIVAL VPN PROVIDERS WHO DECIDED THEY WERE UNCREATIVE ENOUGH TO WRITE THEIR OWN GUIDE AND RESORT TO STEALING MINE.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 11:05:12 AM by Reuben »
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