Advisories from the fcc and elsewhere are encouraging folk to "schedule their time", to "stop using bandwidth hogging applications", and so on, when the root cause of why so many of our home and small business networks share badly is a problem called "bufferbloat". I've been working on solving this problem, worldwide, for a decade now, and while many solutions are now available, very few are configured properly, but when configured properly, you really, really can, do multiple things with multiple people with your home network at the same time.
If you have having issues sharing your network at home with your family, particularly with videoconferencing running simultaneously with anything else, try running a dslreports.com test, and note the bufferbloat grade. See also the worldwide report of the bufferbloat problem they provide
, as in an ideal world, no uplink would have more than 30ms of persistent buffering. Overbuffered uplinks contribute to the lag and quality of your videoconference, in particular, and any competing traffic can mess it up.
A metric ton of home routers today have a "QoS" or "SQM" (smart queue management) option. If you take a few minutes out to configure it at slightly below your advertised bandwidth settings for up and down from your ISP, the overall sharing behavior of your network will probably get much better. If your router doesn't have modern queue management as an option, get one that does. Or, reflash an existing router with something more modern, and secure, like openwrt, dd-wrt, etc. (but certainly don't risk your main router doing this for the first time!). All the most bleeding edge code for fixing ISP bufferbloat (cake) and wifi (fq_codel) are in these third party firmwares. There are thousands of routers supported by these third party firmwares
, and the odds are good you might have one in a junk box somewhere. You can build a pretty good router out of an old x86 box as well, and layer openwrt, ipfire, pfsense or dozens of other firewall distros on top of it.
DOCSIS 3.1 modems have "pie", but it's not universally turned on, but get one if you can. Ask your cable provider which ones have pie enabled.
Off the shelf, many leading wifi brands nowadays also have some form of SQM, of particular note are evenroute, eero, and ubnt's edgerouter series. Most of the time, if your ISP bandwidth is below 100Mbit you have a major bufferbloat problem there. Faster than that, it shifts to the wifi, for which only a few (google wifi, eero) have fixes (outside of the more bleeding edge firmwares like openwrt, which have had them for a long time)
pfsense has an easy to configure fq_codel option (the underlying algorithm for many SQM implementations). Preseem is selling a WISP solution, also
We've given a lot of talks, and written a lot of stuff about the bufferbloat problem, (which ideally would be solved by ISPs supplying correctly configured hardware, in the long run). You'll find more info at www.bufferbloat.net , wikipedia, and by scouring the web, sites like reddit, and the outputs of the IETF AQM working group
. Perhaps the most comprehensive recent article was by jim gettys, where he put out a call to action that too few have heard
You can make your network better at every bottleneck point by applying modern SQM techniqueues. We generally don't need "more bandwidth", but better bandwidth
PS:This past week, I've dedicated some time to making the ath10k drivers vastly better in linux
, finishing up some work that got cut short due to lack of funding 4 years ago
. If you look at plots like that and extrapolate to millions of users in the field with wifi behaving that badly, perhaps you'll want to toss a bit of funding into my patreon
for this round... and at least, get sqm running on your existing routers, and cross connects. It would be good if more ISP's also told their customers how to go about fixing bufferbloat on their routers, or autoconfigured.