What is bufferbloat?
You may be wondering what exactly the word Bufferboat means when it comes to your Internet speed. In practice, Bufferbloat is actually when your router is becoming overloaded and makes your connection slow. This can be especially noticeable when undergoing heavy bandwidth activities such as voice calls, video chats, online gaming, and upload of heavy documents.
What causes Bufferbloat?
Bufferbloat is caused by a myriad of factors. However, bufferbloat occurs because Internet algorithms that control Internet speeds are congested due to the latest routers that have large buffers. Improper buffering by your router can lead to bufferbloat since buffering enables the congested network to be arranged in a particular place so that your Internet service doesn’t crash.
Why it is important to test for bufferbloat?
If you are experiencing slow Internet speeds, it is imperative to check for bufferbloat. Since Bufferbloat causes network performance problems. It is important for you to test your Internet service for bufferbloat. There are several websites which enables you to test for bufferbloat.
However, the tool I recommend is Flent. This is because of Flent checks various parts of your network alongside external servers. You can also read performance charts and graphs. These charts and graphs are well detailed and give an indication of bufferbloat problems on your servers.
Note: you can also use a ping test to know if your network is affected by bufferbloat. This is best done when you start experiencing the buffer bloating problem. Bufferbloat is indicated when your network latency has increased from normal. This can be a simple and easy method to diagnose Bufferbloat problems.
Alternatively, you can also use DSL Reports speed test; this can be an alternative to the two tests mentioned above, as it provides good results.
How to resolve the Bufferbloat problem
There is no specific method for resolving Bufferbloat problems; however, there are several steps you can undergo which can reduce the effects. Meanwhile, you can use the solutions I have highlighted below when you experience bufferbloat problems
Reconfigure your Router
This solution works well since you have to reconfigure your Internet router; this can reduce bufferbloat problems drastically. This is not difficult to perform, just follow the steps given below:
- Launch your web browser
- Visit a speed test website(speedofme is recommended for this test)
- Run speed tests several times (This enables you to know your average download and upload speed).
- Multiply your speed test result with by 0.95 and write your values down.
- Multiply your speed test result by 1000 and write your values down as well.
- Click on your QoS settings on your router
- Configure your packet queue discipline to FQ_CODEL or CODEL depending on what you have.
- Input the upload speed result number to the “Upload link” value
- Input the download link result written down to the “Download link” value
- Click save and apply your settings
- This should do the trick.
Note: you would need to access the quality of service (QSW) menu in your router settings to perform this process.
Locate the best possible location for your router
The location of your Internet router is quite important for your network connection. For the best connection signal, it is vital you keep your router in an open location. You can use the tools such as wall mounts or mounting holes to locate your router in the best position. You can use the following procedures to reduce bufferbloat problems.
Here’s how to do this:
- Always fix your router in an elevated position or on surfaces such as tables or mounts.
- Ensure your antennas are pointed to positions that would give you the best possible signals.
- Make sure your router is placed centrally in your house; this ensures Wi-Fi connection signal is spread evenly in your home.
- This solution would improve your connection speed thereby reducing buffer bloating.
Reset your Router settings using UNPP
This is a command based solution, which can be performed using the following steps:
The first step in this process is to connect your system to the web
- Go to the download site for namebench
- Download the program and install.
- After installation, run the program
Note: this could last for up to 30 minutes. It would list the best DNS servers available to your system. You can sidestep this initial process by running your server through the Google public DNS (18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124);however, it is recommended that you use namebench.
After this step, you would need to set up your DMZ server. DMZ server (DeMitarized Zone Server) this allows the entire portion your network to be opened when devices are connected. UNPP enables your devices across your router to connect quickly with each other reducing bufferbloat.
To configure your UNPP follow this steps.
- Log in to your router settings this can be done by typing 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.1.0 on your browser
- Your router address would usually start with the subnet numbers 192.168.X.X.
- To know your subnet just follow the following steps.
- Launch Command Prompt by typing “cmd” and then hit “Enter” key.
- When the command line displays enter C:>ipconfig
Use the default subnet 192.168.X.X.
Some Private subnets include:
10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255
To figure out your subnet, on windows launch command prompt (run, type cmd, press enter). On the command line, type
- This would display the subnet address of your router.
You may see something like this below
Connection-specific DNS Suffix. : mydomain.com
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : abcd::1234:1234:1234:1234
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 10.2.110.20
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.354.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 10.2.120.1
After checking this you would see UPnP tab
Enable this option
You are good to go as this could reduce bufferbloat
Use DD -WRT to eliminate bufferbloat
This is usually used by tech geniuses and requires some complex work. However, if you follow my step by step process, you would achieve the same result.
Note: you would need to have DD-WRT installed on your router. DD-WRT is a Linux open source firmware used by the latest Routers and Wireless Systems. The firmware essentially gives a wide range of features which enables several functions within the respective hardware router. The whole point of DD-WRT is to convert your simple router to a router with more advanced feature.
DD-WRT comes with latest functions such as support for the advanced quality of service, radio output power control, overclocking capability Kai network, daemon-based services, IPv6, and Wireless Distribution System
These steps listed below works only on routers with DD-WRT installed in it.
- Log into your DD-WRT interface after which you click on the MTU section in the Setup menu.
- Change the MTU setting to 1492; this is ideal as it manages your router packet fragmentation and the raw latency increase
- Save your changes and exit
- Install Namebench Utility and run the program.
- Namebench would check your DNS servers for the best one using speed and proximity parameters.
- Write down the name of the DNS servers indicated by Namebench.
- Log back in your DD-WRT interface and click on the static DNS section.
- Input the two best DNS servers provided by our earlier Namebench analysis.
- After this step uncheck the boxes stating Use DNSMasq for DHCP/DNS.
Note: this last step is important as it helps to regulate your router’s processor cycles used for Internet speed performances.
- Click on save settings and exit.
Note: You should refresh your Internet connection by unplugging your router cable from your PC. It is however recommended that you use CAT6 Ethernet cable; this helps to prevent connectivity and latency problems.
- Log into your DD-WRT settings
- Click on NAT/QoS tab, specifically the UPnP section.
- Enable UPnP service and also enable the clear port forward at Startup box. This ensures every port forwarded is a new port.
- Save your settings
- Click on the NAT/QoS tab, access the DMX menu and check the enable box.
- After which you place the IP assigned to your PC within the router’s range.
- Save the settings.
You may be wondering about the many steps involved in this process. However, this solution has proven to be efficient in eliminating buffer bloat.
This step is very vital in completing the process.
- It is essential you know your download speed and Uplink speed. This can be done with simple calculations.
- Let’s assume your download speed is 20mbbps and your upload is 10mbps.
- You first convert both values from mbps to kbps
- This is quite easy as 1mbps equals 1000kbps so 20mbps (download)= 200000kbps and 10mbps (upload) = 10000
- After knowing your values subtract it by 25 percent of the value
downlink 20000- 25% = 15000
uplink 10000-25% = 7500
- You then insert your obtained values in the boxes indicated.
- Also, tick all boxes in the TCP-Packet priority section, this enables reduced throttling of bandwidth speed.
- Apply and save settings.
- Enter the Administration tab and click on the IP filter settings
- Scroll to the TCP congestation Control
- Change the default congestion control setting from Vegas to Westwood.
- Also, remember to leave the Maximum ports section values at 4096
- Set your TCP/UDP timeout setting value at 120
- Save and apply settings
Note: Restart your PC Internet connection to confirm the new changes.
- Enter your administrator settings
- Enter the command menu and input the following command prompt in the command search tab
- ifconfig eth0 txqueuelen 2 and ifconfig eth1 txqueuelen 2
- Save and apply those settings.
This series of steps would relieve your PC from Bufferbloat problems due to improper broadband or wireless connections.
Purchase a new wireless router
If you have tried the solutions listed above, it is advisable that you change your router. You can always purchase a new router with the latest anti buffer bloating technology. The router recommended is the Netgear Nighthawk R7800 X4S. This high-end router uses 1.7 GHz Broadcom processor. This gives the router excellent performance which drastically reduces the chances of buffer bloat. It also gives amazing connection speeds and wide range signal from any location in your house.
Have you experience bufferbloat problems before? What method did you apply in fixing the problem? Let us know by commenting below.