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high latency winmodem

Posted on 1998-12-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Just got a Compaq Pres/P2/450MHz/128MB/Win98 with a SupraExpress K56i/V90/PCI modem. This is a winmodem and I've already been advised to chuck it. The problem I have is that although throughput is fine, latency really sucks (about 2-4 times higher than other puters sitting next to it). It's so bad that for instance Internet gameplay is impossible. Question: Is there anything I can tweak to improve latency??? (I've tried decreasing IP packet size and killing off all background junk - didn't help)
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Question by:mlonnrot
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:syzygy
ID: 1146304
I hate winmodems too.   :)

I've fopund latency is more a function of ISP than modme... if ither modems are fine w/ this ISP, it could be that the ISP does not like that particular modem.  see if they hav a different line available.  ALso see if they have a 33.6 k line, see what sort of latancy you get over that.


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by:mcdonc
ID: 1146305
Stuart Cheswick's paper "It's the Latency, Stupid" contains a link to (possibly outdated) user polls regarding latency for particular modems.

It's a great read anyway.

http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/rants/Latency.html
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by:mlonnrot
ID: 1146306
Thanks for the link - good reading! If you care to follow Stuart's link to "Modem Latencies" and then "more recommendations" you can cut-n-paste an answer to my question and get the credits.
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mcdonc earned 100 total points
ID: 1146307
Easy enough....

From http://www.op.net/~darxus/ping/tweak.html

Tweaking Your Modem

(To accomplish the following steps, look up how to set your "initialization string" in your modem's manual -- all
modems are different)

As I said, the first two steps in reducing your latency are:
1)Shut off "error control" -- the games handle error control themselves, and this adds an unnecessary step
2)Shut off "data compression" -- again, you don't want your modem taking the time to compress data, you just
want it transferred as quickly as possible

The next two can make things a bit more complicated:
3)Lock your port spead at 9600 baud
4)Disable hardware and software flow control
5)Set your comm port spead to 9600 baud

These three steps remove the process of flow control. Most modems have your port spead (your computer <->
modem connection) set at a higher rate (say, 38.4), and your modem spead (your modem <-> remote modem
connection) at a lower spead (like 14.4). This works because flow controll buffers data coming from your
computer, and sends it out as soon as possible. If you lock your comm port spead and modem spead at the
same rate, and disable flow control, you remove the step of buffering (having packets wait around till they can be
sent out is *bad* for latency).

Feel free to experiment with locking your comm port spead (in the program you use your modem with) and your
modem's spead (in your modem's init string) at higher rates (as long as they're the same rate!!).

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Author Comment

by:mlonnrot
ID: 1146308
As a final proof point, I found an old USR 28.8 in an abandoned office at work, which I took home and tested. It outperforms the Supra Express 56i winmodem 3 to 1 in latency. Death to the winmodems!
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Expert Comment

by:mcdonc
ID: 1146309
:)  Software sucks.
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