Archive for Rogers

Another Update To The Rogers Lag Spike Issue

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 18, 2014 by itnerd

I found a solution to the lag spike issue that was reported to me and I did some investigation on. In the case of my customer, his lag spikes were caused by his Rogers supplied modem.

Here’s how I figured it out.

The customer was using the modem to serve up Internet access for his home. So I plugged my MacBook Pro into it via Ethernet and pulled up the page that allowed me to see the modem stats page. Then I had him play Team Fortress 2 and I waited. The stats looked good for the most part. But every once in a while they would fall outside the range that is optimal and that is when the issue would manifest. That implied a line issue or a modem issue. I then phoned Rogers and though it took a while because the tech at the other end of the phone was clearly not used to this sort of advanced troubleshooting, the tech finally suggested that we take the modem to a Rogers store to exchange it. We did that and so far he hasn’t had a re-occurrence. Though we continue to monitor the situation.

Now, I have a feeling that this is not the only cause of this issue. Googling this issue shows a variety of causes and a long history of this issue going back years. Clearly Rogers has a long standing problem with lag spikes that they need to address. I say that because a Rogers customer had to hire someone like me to solve their problem. That doesn’t reflect well on Rogers.

As for troubleshooting this issue in my condo, I have put that on the back burner until my MacBook Pro comes back from being repaired. Expect another update when that happens.

Two Announcements From Rogers That Will Get The Attention Of Hockey Fans

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers dropped me a note to share that they are starting off this short week with two exciting announcements for hockey fans:

ANNOUNCEMENT ONE – Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE - Rogers customers with the following services can now get a free subscription to  Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE, with GamePlus of course, until the end of the season, including playoffs:

Wireless:

  • In-market Share Everything Plan

Internet (Ontario):

  • Hybrid Fibre 60 or above
  • Grandfathered Extreme Internet or above

Internet (Atlantic):

  • Hybrid Fibre 50 or above
  • Grandfathered Extreme Internet or above

 

ANNOUNCEMENT TWO – NHL Centre Ice  – Starting today, Rogers customers with the accounts listed below will continue to get NHL Centre Ice:

TV:

  • Digital VIP or higher

AND

Internet (Ontario):

  • Hybrid Fibre 60 or above

Internet (Atlantic):

  • Hybrid Fibre 50 or above
  • Grandfathered Extreme customers and above

Customers who are not eligible for the above, can still get Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE and NHL Centre Ice to continue to watch the remainder of 2014/2015 season. Rogers wireless data and internet customers will continue to get a free subscription to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE until December 31, 2014.

Check out Rogers.com/NHL for more details.

A Follow Up To The Rogers Lag Spike Issue

Posted in Tips with tags on October 10, 2014 by itnerd

I just wanted to post a quick follow up to the story that I wrote about a Rogers user (and myself as I soon discovered) having lag spikes while playing video games. Out of interest, to do two things. The first was to check the stats of my modem and the customer (as the reader who contacted me has now hired me to help him solve this issue) as most if not all cable modems have the ability to display this information. Here’s my stats from my modem. Click to enlarge:

rogers

Now in my case, my modem stats are good. How do I know that? This is what I am looking for:

  • Signal power on the downstream or upstream should be between -10 to +10 dBmV
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) should be 32dB or Greater

Values outside of that usually indicates a wiring issue that Rogers would have to send a tech out to fix or a modem issue. My new customer was also in spec. Thus we now know that this is not a wiring issue.

Next I decided to play Team Fortress 2 on a specific game server while running a utility called, WinMTR in one of my Windows virtual machines monitoring the same game server. One of the things that WinMTR does is it looks for packet loss as I was theorizing that this issue might be a packet loss issue. To my surprise, I discovered that the issue wasn’t packet loss whenever the issue manifested itself. Every packet made it to their destination. Instead, what I am finding is periods of time where there is extremely high latency where the packets were delayed and then delivered to their destination. That was further confirmed when I discovered that I could not surf the Internet on any computer while this was going on. Now this could imply any number of things, but congestion on the Rogers network is one possibility. Another is traffic management which is another word for throttling. After all, Rogers has been known to do that. Or it could be something else. Clearly, something related to something inside the Rogers Network seems to be contributing to this.

Now Rogers is looking into this and I am feeding what I am finding back to them. Hopefully this leads them to a root cause. In the meantime, I am continuing my investigation. More info as I get it.

Canadian Hockey Fans Streamed 1.9 Million Minutes Of hockey On Opening Night: Rogers

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2014 by itnerd

Yesterday was the start of the National Hockey League season and according to Rogers, 55,000 fans live streamed their favourite team online using Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE. Some key stats:

  • 75 per cent watched the games online at home
  • 25 per cent caught it on the go using their mobiles and tablets
  • Fans streamed over 80,000 minutes of on demand video and replays from multiple angles with MyReplay

That sounds like a lot of people in hockey mad Canada leveraged this app. To find out more about GameCentre LIVE, check out this link.

 

Hey IT Nerd! I’m Getting Massive Lag Spikes On Rogers Internet. Help!

Posted in Tips with tags on October 8, 2014 by itnerd

This is a question that hit my inbox a few days ago. As I go along, you’ll understand why I am only posting it today:

Hello IT Nerd. I’m sending you this e-mail as I hope you can help me. I have Rogers Internet and for the last three weeks or so I’ve been getting massive lag spikes while playing Call Of Duty, Team Fortress 2, and Counterstrike among other games. I reached out to Rogers Tech Support and they had me do some trace routes as well as they looked at a few things on their end and said that there’s nothing wrong. But I still have these problems. I get the feeling that they will not fix my problem until I provide proof that I have a problem. So I am asking for your help. What can I do to get Rogers to do something about my lag spikes?

Thanks for your question.  First, some background. Playing games on the Internet with or against other people is a time and bandwidth sensitive activity. Thus if you have a bad or flaky Internet connection, you are at a huge disadvantage relative to whomever you might be playing with or against. Now this reader is experiencing lag spikes which Wikipedia defines as the following:

In online gaming, lag is a noticeable delay between the action of players and the reaction of the server. Although lag may be caused by high latency, it may also occur due to insufficient processing power in the client and/or server.

Let me give you an example of this within the context of what we’re talking about which is online gaming. You’re playing a game and you’re walking down a hallway. Suddenly you see an opponent. At the moment you go to shoot them, everything freezes and you are unable to do anything for 30 seconds. When things return to normal, you are dead (because you froze giving your opponent an easy target to shoot at). That would suck. Now imagine this happening every few minutes. That would really suck.

Now I did reach out to this reader to ask what type of computer he had just to rule that out. He came back with a very, very powerful gaming computer. So the Internet connection has to be the culprit. This is further confirmed by the fact that three weeks ago he had no issues while using the same computer.

Now the next thing I did is to use Google to see how widespread this is. A search using “lag spikes Rogers” brings back results dating back years and some involving the World Of Warcraft issue that was well publicized at the time. If you take the stuff related to World Of Warcraft out of the results, there seems to be a consistent pattern of users on Rogers Internet having problems using online games.

Now on to the troubleshooting that Rogers did. I am not sure what Rogers “checked on their end.” But I have to guess they were checking the ability of the customers modem to connect to them. Specifically the power and signal levels that the modem is reporting. I’m guessing that they found nothing on that front as they would have had to dispatch a tech if they did find anything amiss or suggest a modem replacement. That takes us to the traceroute that they did. What a traceroute does is it traces the route that packets take from say your computer to another location on the Internet like Google.com for example. It also displays the amount of time it takes to move between each “hop” on the net. A “hop” may be a router, a gateway, or some other device on the Internet and those should be very quick. As in milliseconds. Here’s an example from the computer I am typing this from to Google.com:

Tracing route to google.com [74.125.226.133]
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 2 ms 3 ms 1 ms 216-191-50-161.dedicated.allstream.net [216.191.
50.161]
 2 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms ae0.gw2-tor.bb.allstream.net [199.212.160.222]
 3 4 ms 2 ms 2 ms 216.191.190.154
 4 2 ms 3 ms 2 ms 209.85.255.232
 5 3 ms 2 ms 2 ms 209.85.250.7
 6 79 ms 8 ms 2 ms yyz08s14-in-f5.1e100.net [74.125.226.133]
Trace complete.

If you notice that it takes no more than 8 ms to go from point to point. That’s great. now if it were in the double or triple digits on one or more of the hops, that would be bad. Thus running a traceroute is a valid way of troubleshooting an issue like this. The only catch is that the readers issue is transient. Therefore unless you do the traceroute while it is happening, you may not gain any further insight as to what might be going on. In this situation, you’d likely have to run a packet analyzer for a period of time to catch this in the act. Now this is something that an ISP that has a business paying for business level Internet access would do. But no ISP is going to do that for a consumer grade Internet connection. So I am guessing that the person he spoke to at Rogers likely ran a couple of traceroutes and found nothing wrong because the issue was not manifesting itself at that time. Thus they said that there’s no issue. I can understand why the reader would be frustrated as he experiences an issue and Rogers can’t find any evidence of an issue. So in effect, it’s like the noise that your car makes that disappears when you take it to the dealer. They can’t fix what they can’t see.

Now one of the games that this reader mentioned was Team Fortress 2. I haven’t played that game in a very long time, but I have it on my MacBook Pro. So I fired it up and started playing. Within five minutes I was able to replicate the issue on my Rogers Internet connection. To further rule out the MacBook Pro as being the source, I played the game on two of my customer’s networks over the last couple of days (with their permission of course). One was on Allstream (which is business class Internet) and one was running Bell DSL. I could not replicate the issue on either. I did some further troubleshooting by doing traceroutes to the servers that my copy of Team Fortress 2 was connecting to via my Rogers Internet connection and I found that specific hops within the traceroutes that were within the Rogers network would be there in one moment and then be inaccessible the next. That I find weird as it is my experience that a hop is either responding or it isn’t and that shouldn’t change. Thus I think this is somehow related.

Thus this implies that Rogers may have an issue that they need to address. Though I cannot confirm what that issue might be. It also implies that I have an issue that I’ve never noticed because I am not a heavy gamer. That’s delightful. In any event, I have reached out to Rogers for a comment and I will update this story when I get some feedback from them.

Rogers And Telus Announce New Phones

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on September 30, 2014 by itnerd

I got e-mails from Rogers and Telus announcing that they’re carrying some new phones.

First Rogers. The Android based HTC Desire 510 launched today at both Rogers & Fido. The device is available for $0 on select two-year Share Everything plans with Rogers and $0 with a 2-year Tab24 agreement on a Smart plan with Fido. The device is available in grey and white – white is a Rogers/Fido exclusive. Driven by a quad-core processor for the LTE network, the HTC Desire™ 510 displays rich graphics on a 4.7″ display, juggles between multiple apps, and provides the smooth gaming of a premium smartphone.

Over at Telus the new Moto X will available in black at TELUS for $100 with a two-year SharePlus plan or $600 outright. The Moto X in bamboo finish as well as the Moto 360 smart watch will be available at TELUS on October 31. The Moto X will be sure to have friends burning with phone envy. From the phone’s stylish design, lightning fast performance, stellar voice activation powered by Google to the 13 MP camera, the Moto X has it all at an affordable price point.

I’ve asked for loaners of both phones. When I get them, expect a review or two to be posted.

Two Pieces Of News From Rogers [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 15, 2014 by itnerd

Rogers e-mailed me today to pass along two pieces of news. The first piece of news is that new and existing Rogers customers can now reserve the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus using the online Rogers Reservation System. While supplies last, customers who reserve will receive a free Logiix Bluetooth Speaker when they pick up their device in-store ($49.99 value). For more information, visit rogers.com/iphone. The second piece of news is that Rogers customers can now purchase the Samsung GALAXY S5 Active for $279.99 with a 2-year FLEXtab agreement on select plans. Details will be live on rogers.com soon and I will update this post with a link.

UPDATE: Here’s the link for S5 Active.

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