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lag and the statistics panel


Rhys Goode
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When I am in a crowded sim, and notice that I am jerking when I walk, I will bring up the statistics panel, look at my brower FPS compared to sim FPS and time dialation, and maybe check help>about to see if I have a lot of packet loss. (I often use wifi,  and usually see < 0.1% packet loss, but other days, there is external interferance)  Looking at these, I can usually figure out if it is the sim or my browser that is slowing things down.

Sometimes, in my home sim on the mainland, I log in, find the sim FPS right at 45, my browser is running over 80, but it takes forever (well, 1 minute or two) to change outfits.  Or to change a shirt.  Usually, almost instant.  Is there a reading on the statistics panel that would tell me that the sim is busy (or not)?

Similarly, if I TP into a crowded sim, sometimes the avatars all pop in very fast, other times some of them stay gray for 5 or 10 minutes.  My browser FPS and the sim FPS both good, often only using 100kbps download, but slow, slow, slow.  Presumably the sim is busy, but is there a reading that could tell me that on the statistics panel?

 

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I think most, if not all, your problems are related to textures....you didn't mention difficulty with movement.  Your viewer FPS apparently are good which means your GPU is rendering what it recieves well.......but if it's only recieving half the data needed to render the entire scene then that's all it can render for you. 

A couple things that might help.  Test your connection speed to both San Francisco, CA and Dallas, TX (A popular broadband speed test site is http://www.speedtest.net/ ).  A couple tests (or more) to each test server and take the average of all the tests.  Using that average speed take about 75% to 80%  to determine what a good bandwidth setting would be in your viewer preference settings.......that would the the maximum to give some overhead for other things your network may need from the Internet.  If you have a fast connection then the preference setting is probably irrelevant (10 mbps means you can set your bandwidth to 8 mbps which is way higher than the LL servers will ever send to you.  1.5 mbps is just about all the servers will send).  If you have a speed of, say, 1 mbps (1000 kbps) then 800 kbps would be the maximum.  Typically, setting the preference bandwidth too high for your connection causes excessive packet loss which you don't seem to be having so I would guess that your preference settings are probably good (but, just in case, I suggest you check that).  The other thing that I believe will help is to reduce your draw distance.  Everything within the draw distance that you have set in preferences is going to be sent to your viewer by the servers.  Even the textures and objects that are not in that cone of view but still within your draw distance will be sent (the textures and objects in that cone are priority but those textures and objects behind you are also being sent.....at a lower priority).  That can cause some of your textures taking more time to render that are in your cone of view.  And your FPS can be quite high since it's rendering the gray objects and textures until it gets all the texture information.  Reducing the draw distance reduces the amount of information the servers will send which reduces the time for you GPU to recieve everything it needs to render the scene properly.

And one last thing.  Wireless (as you seem to understand) is subject to interference.  It's also subject to outside connections to your network.  If your router is not secured (locked down) anyone within it's reception range can connect using your bandwidth.  Your neighbor may be "piggybacking" on your Internet connection robbing you of bandwidth you should be getting.  The seeming randomness you are experiencing make be think that someone piggybacking on you is a distinct possibility.  Check your router manual or call the manufacturer to get the router locked down (there is a security issure there too).  It might be that, for some reason, you can't connect using an Ethernet cable but that is almost immune to interference..............but from someone piggybacking (you still need to lock your router down).

All I've done is make a guess.  For more help, giving some specs for your computer plus your connection information is necessary.  For the basic computer specs launch your viewer (no need to log in) and under the "Help" menu click "About Second Life".  Copy the specs shown and paste back here.  Please don't start a new thread.....use "Options" then "Edit" to add to this post instead.

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Thanks for all the suggestions, but I am really looking for a simple way to see that the sim is having issues.  When my clothes are really slow, I can go to another sim and change just fine.  When I zap back and forth, changing clothes clothes in each sim and seeing my sim always be the slow sim, then it is pretty clearly a sim issue.  SImilar but slower to test the grayness of the avatars in a busy sim, but its harder matching "crowded sim" to "crowded sim".    But comparing behaviour in one sim to behavior in a similar sim is time consuming, and occasionally ambiguous.  I would really like to be able to look at the statistics panel, check a few parameters, and not waste time trying to solve the wrong problem.

And it is really a puzzle to me, why when I have a tested connection that supports 15 mbsp, max bandwidth set to 1.5 mbps (with my wireless rounter protected and isolated on my rather large RL lot) and half the textures in sight grayed out, the server still just dribbles out a measely 100 kbps as I sit and wait.  They will usually peak out at 1.5 to 2 mbps when I first TP in, then settle down to slowly fill in the rest.  It only seems to happen on some sims, not all the time even there, but on a given day, constant for that sim.

 

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I don't know but I think you might be chasing ghosts.  What you are discribing is pretty much normal performance for a computer with a better than onboard graphics accellerator but less than a mid-range card (computer stats would help in that respect).  I'm posting a screenshot of my stats bar on my mainland sim.  The similator numbers are pretty much typical of a healthy sim.....granted my sim is seldom busy but even a moderately busy sim will have nearly the same numbers, if it's healthy.  Note my bandwidth.  It's rather low which is to be expected once everything my viewer requests from the servers is sent and processed by my computer's CPU and GPU.......it peaks for a second or two at around 1.5 mbps upon entering my sim from a TP but settled quickly to about 100 kbps or less until something enters my field for view and the viewer makes a request to the servers (once whatever was requested is recieved and processed the bandwidth settles back to the 100 kbps).  My FPS is high which, again, is typical of almost any mid-range card once everything in the cone of view is rendered (it's just idling along rendering the same pixels over and over again).  If I go to the ground (I'm at 4000 meters on my platform) my FPS will drop to between 30 to 45 FPS.....but even then if I stand still and don't cam around my FPS will climb to alomst the same as at 4000 meters as long as nothing new enters my cone of view.  A very busy sim with lots of avatars coming and going and lots of textures changing my FPS will usually drop to 20 to 25 FPS and pretty much stay there.  It will also take longer for textures and avatars to rezz completely (but not 5 or 10 minutes like you).  All that is pretty typical for any sim........the more the sim has the more has to be sent to each avatar which takes more time which shows up as texture lag on most computers (lots of grey stuff and slower reaction to changes).  And on that note, it's not always the number of avatars that determine a busy sim....lots of textures (particularly  textures that are can't by scripts) will make a sim very busy.  Especially if the textures are large (more than about 256 x 256 pixels and/or are 32 bit textures).

My sim stats.jpg

 

On the number of avatars on the sim the easiest way I know is to open the big map and hover your cursor over the sim you want to know how many avatars are present.

Avatars on sim.jpg

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@Rhys

I know that I might be parrotting a bit but 1.5Mbps is very high for a wireless connection of any sort.  Do you see any packet loss?  Frankly unless it is absolutely unavoidable a wired connection is still by far the best for a good SL.

I would try a lower Max bandwidth, and I know that routinely on the Firestorm support groupchat 500kbps is suggested even with good wireless connections.  This maybe one of those occasions when less actually IS more!  One of the oddities of wireless comnnection is that the sim and router stats often look perfectly fine yet performance is poor.:smileysurprised:

What you describe is certainly indicative of a failing sim but is it on Main Server or one of the RC channels, cos Magnum RC is stuffed with bugs at present.

It might be that the server on which that sim sits is in a datafarm that is not performing well, while the others you visited are in properly working locations.

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Thanks for the suggestions, Ayesha.  I am well aware of the issues with packet loss and wireless.  For my home router, I typically see 0.0% when I try help about.  But I often get onto SL from different locations, traveling in my RV. I find about 2/3 the public access wifi's I try are usable to some extent, the rest forget about it, even if they test high for upload and download speeds. Yes, lowering max bandwidth can make a fairly big difference if you are running a few percent packet loss, and yes, switching to an ethernet cable from wireless usually results in improved performance even if you are running 0.5% packet loss.  Especially if you you have http textures enabled.

I'll have to pay attention to the server version next time I see the problem  My home sim is usually running LeTirgre, but I don't always look.

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A lot of people have tablets and smartphones now, and there are some good apps to give a picture of the local wifi environment. I'm lucky, I'm not in an area with a high density of wi-fi networks, but I can see that three of my neighbours use the same channel. I can see the drop in the S/N ratio when the microwave is running. I've been able to put my own wifi on the best available channel, so that the things I have which need wifi will work more reliably.

If you have the hardware, get the App. I know there are free wifi analyzer apps for Android, It is worth making these basic checks. And if you can run off a wired connection, do so. Wifi is used by so many things that the bandwidth available is becoming saturated.

 

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