Question / Help Intermittent slow streaming

Gil

New Member
If I had any hair, I would be pulling it out. I'm hoping someone here might be able to point me in the right direction.

I have a new desktop PC. i5 4670K CPU, 250 GB SSD, 4 TB HDD, 16 GB RAM, Win 8.1, onboard ethernet, no wireless. I've been casting to justin.tv for years on my old Win XP PC using Adobe FMLE. I have plenty of upload bandwidth, usually measuring between 3.8 and 4.0 Mbps. I am not trying to do a high bandwidth cast. I set my video at 500kbps max, and sometimes as low as 200kbps. Audio is 128kbps.

My problem is that on the new PC, sometimes my cast starts dropping frames like crazy and the little indicator square bounces around in the red and yellow range. Viewers see very jumpy and freezing video. I believe (but am not certain) the problem is somewhere in the new PC, but I can't pinpoint it. The other night I was having these problems casting on the new PC. Then I stopped that and started casting form the old PC without similar problems, which I think means that the problem is not on the JTV side nor is the problem with my ISP (Charter Cable).

The really interesting thing is that the problem only occurs when I am casting with either OBS or FME and I am running a browser (Firefox, Chrome, or IE). While streaming, if I open a browser, the stream becomes unstable. If I close the browser, the stream goes back to being stable. This is a repeatable phenomenon.

Here are some things I have ruled out: It's not the CPU (80% idle worst case), it's not RAM (no more than 3GB in use), its not bandwidth (testmy.net shows 3.6Mbps while the problem is occurring, ShaperProbe shows no shaping [but see note], JTVPing shows acceptable performance [and I have tried different servers]. I checked my NIC driver (it is the current one) and my router (I did discover a firmware update but it didn't resolve the problem). I ran TCPOptimizer to no effect. I disabled the Windows Firewall, also to no effect. I reset the TCP/IP stack using netsh. There's probably some other things I tried that I can't remember right now.

Here's an interesting thing about ShaperProbe. I ran it on the new PC and it reported no upstream shaper but only reported a 373kbps rate (with 2 browsers open but not really doing anything). Then I ran it on the old PC and it reported a 3210kbps rate, also no shaping (also with 2 browsers open but quiet). Both PCs are wired into the same router.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
 

Mike

New Member
Ideally, you should set your max bitrate and max buffer size to at least 1600 kbps. I have a feeling you're stressing your cpu too much. Try raising these up and see if the problem persists. Also, for your cpu, head to advanced settings and change your cpu preset no higher than 'veryfast'.

Let me know how this works out for you (:
 

Gil

New Member
Thanks to both Krazy & Mike for their input.

Mike, I don't quite understand how I could be stressing the CPU when Process Explorer shows I'm never using more than 20% of the CPU, and usually less. Wouldn't a higher max bitrate (of 1600) require more CPU than the setting I'm using now (350) in Encoding settings? (My buffer size is also 350.) But, I will give it a try & see what happens. Also, my CPU preset was already "veryfast".

Krazy, I'd already read thru that link you provided, but I read it again to see if missed anything. I'm starting to consider that the final item in the list (bad hardware or driver) might be the problem. I'm playing around with the NIC settings and will report back.

I was able to reproduce another oddity I'd observed earlier. On the new PC, earlier it was reporting the upstream speed as 373kbps while at almost the same time the old PC was reporting 3210kbps. (The 2 PCs are on adjacent ports on the same Linksys E1200 router.) NOW when I run ShaperProbe on the new PC, it is reporting upstream speed of 4256kbps. The new PC seems to bounce between the very slow upstream speed and the good upstream speed. I think that's the cause of the problem, but WHY it is doing that is still a mystery. I'm hoping the answer is in the device settings for the onboard Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller network adapter.
 

Gil

New Member
I think I finally have the answer. In Device Manager, I went to the Properties for my network adapter. There, I disabled "Energy Efficient Ethernet", "Green Ethernet", "Wake on magic packet", "Wake on pattern match" and "WOL on (something, I forget)". My thinking is that the Green or Energy Efficient feature was causing my adapter to partially go to sleep when it shouldn't, dropping my upstream throughput by 80-90%. While I was there, I turned off the various "Wake On" features as I don't need to wake up my network adapter remotely or programmatically.

Exactly which setting was the culprit, I don't know. So far, I've been able to stream at a variety of bit rates for a couple of hours with NO dropped frames. CPU usage is hovering around 25% while streaming with OBS and viewing my channel in 2 different browsers at once.

I was pretty sure going in that this wasn't an OBS problem. But since the problem does relate to streaming, I thought the OBS community would be interested in the answer once the problem was finally resolved. Someone else might run into the same problem.
 

Gil

New Member
Sorry for the repeated posts, but I want to provide the correct info for anyone who comes later. Even with the "green" features turned off, the problem did crop up again, although it took awhile. I kept looking. I discovered my Gigabyte motherboard came with a utility called LANOptimizer from Realtek which was installed and running by default. LANOptimizer attempts to prioritize network traffic based on what apps it thinks ought to be favored. It occurred to me that maybe LANOptimizer might be throttling my upstream bandwidth at times. I turned it off. So far, so good, but I haven't tested at length yet. I won't post again unless LANOptimizer turns out not to be the problem, either.
 

Krazy

Town drunk
Thank you for taking the time to try to figure out what the heck was going on. I'll try to edit the network troubleshooting thread with that sort of information to give people some other steps to try.
 

micronn

New Member
...I discovered my Gigabyte motherboard came with a utility called LANOptimizer from Realtek which was installed and running by default. LANOptimizer attempts to prioritize network traffic based on what apps it thinks ought to be favored. It occurred to me that maybe LANOptimizer might be throttling my upstream bandwidth at times. I turned it off. So far, so good, but I haven't tested at length yet. I won't post again unless LANOptimizer turns out not to be the problem, either.
This was the problem, because I had similar software with my MSI motherboard called "Network Genie".
After removing it I solved my problem with dropping packets.

You don't need this kind of software when your router etc. has some kind of QoS.
 
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