You are probably suffering connection issues if you regularly experience all of the following symptoms:
- Inventory does not load completely, part of inventory is missing
- Many objects (sculpted or mesh) stay grey or don't take shape for particularly long time
- You are logged out often on region crossing or teleport
Some of these issues can be caused by packet loss, but usually you will be seeing a lot more weirdness in that case. You can check your packet loss in [...]
Traditionally, Second Life has used UDP protocol for most of its messaging. UDP can suffer packet loss. Since a few years, an increasing number of services change to HTTP protocol, which cannot suffer packet loss; however, it can suffer broken connections. HTTP connections are more resource-intensive.
Rarely, the cause of the issue is bad Internet connection per se. In these cases, UDP and HTTP connections would be affected equally, and you would be seeing high packet loss figure. More frequently, the low-end home routers are at fault and HTTP connection quality suffers as a result. We have designed Singularity viewer to be as router-friendly as possible, however we are confined in what we can do by the decisions of Linden Lab regarding new protocols they employ. Most of the time, new features are no longer introduced to the classic UDP protocol and higher performance is promised with HTTP.
Here's what you can do.
Special case: Inventory
Many people experience issues loading inventory, and these are rarely caused by connection issues in general. So please first try the following:
- Teleport to an empty or mostly empty region, such as Cyclops. If you like, also visit our place at Hippo Hollows!
- Clear Cache
- Log out and back in
- Wait and watch your inventory load
If this doesn't help, there is still a possibility that your inventory database is having issues at the central services. If you use Second Life, you may need to take it up with Linden Lab for support. [how to request Second Life support?]
Use good DNS servers
If your home router has internal DNS server, such as Fritz!Box by AVM, you don't usually need to do this, you're all covered. If the router provides a named (i.e. http://fritz.box/) instead or besides a numeric (http://192.168.178.1/) address for its setting page, you know that the router has internal DNS.
DNS servers are used to convert Internet names into numeric addresses. Most ISPs provide their own DNS servers. In theory, those should be the best because they can be very close to you. In practice, those are more often than not, slow wrongly configured garbage. It's usually easy enough to change DNS servers in your operating system settings, but some routers allow to change the DNS servers for all computers on the network.
We are particularly fond of Google DNS servers. Configuration instructions here.
If your ISP has some internal web pages that you need to use which are only available from within their network, they might no longer be available if you fully switch to a public DNS server. You can configure two DNS servers, and you can chose one public DNS server as the first one and one ISP-owned DNS as the second.
However, if DNS server performance has a grave effect on the viewer, chances are it's a bug in the viewer, so hit us up on the Issue Tracker!
Limit HTTP connection intensive software on your network
P2P file exchange applications, such as BitTorrent are particularly bad. Some MMORPG clients use BitTorrent technology in the background to deliver updates quickly and cheaply, you'll want to stop those from running while you're using Virtual World software such as Singularity.
[list known culprits here]
Some BitTorrent clients can use the new µTP protocol. These clients co-exist better with other software using the network if you limit the bandwidth in the settings and force µTP protocol for all connections and disable classic BitTorrent protocol.
Reboot your router/modem occasionally
Home devices are typically equipped with a very low amount of RAM. As you use the router, its internal software bugs cause the memory to fill up. Some routers are programmed well enough and equipped well enough to run for months on end, most notably Linux-based routers by Linksys (some models) and the Fritz! brand by AVM (all models). Most cheaper devices used to retain decent performance for a week on average, more recent ones for about a month.
To reboot your device, you usually need to disconnect it from power source for about a minute.
Disable Active Firewall/SPI
In your router options, disable options which can have following names:
- Active Firewall
- SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection)
- Intrusion Detection
- Anti-DoS Firewall
You can usually access your router settings as a webpage at http://192.168.0.1/ for about 80% of the routers on the market. On some routers, the settings can only be accessed via Ethernet cable and not via WLAN. Please refer to the manual of the router on details of how to connect to the settings page and the settings, and try not to change other options you don't completely understand. This option has been known to adversely affect the stability of programs which issue many connections, such as BitTorrent clients and P2P games, but also Virtual Worlds such as Second Life in the recent years.
In theory, this option can prevent extra junk traffic from reaching your PC. In practice, the PC operating system will be more up-to-date than the security issues the router may be aware of, and can reject the same traffic and guard other issues more effectively. The notion of Anti-DoS on the router is completely ridiculous, because it's the router which will go into Denial of Service first because of its very limited computing resources. Furthermore stray IPv4 traffic is rejected by the router regardless of these option due to the nature of NAT (Network Address Translation) required to bridge a home network to the Internet.
Some routers have this feature force enabled. You probably want to toss them out at first occasion, but first try following setting page: http://\<router-address>/firewall_spi_h.stm You might find some hidden settings!
One may suspect that larger amount of processing vs. limited memory and CPU performance on the routers could sometimes be the cause of the issues when this feature is enabled. On many routers however, the memory and CPU can be sufficient and the effect could be intentional for limiting BitTorrent traffic in particular. On many devices, these settings enable an intentional - and usually intentionally ridiculously small - limit on the number of connections per host which are in a particular state such as requested but not yet established.
Disable some HTTP protocols in the viewer
For some of the new protocols, there are older alternatives which usually perform a lot slower but could be more reliable in your case [list/extend/elaborate]
Be a mole, dig a tunnel
This is the last resort option for some of the affected people, because it incurs extra running costs. Making a tunnel helps in cases of various connection issues, up to high packet loss. You receive a virtual network driver which appears as a new network device. Any connections going through that device are in fact bundled into one connection, and unbundled into separate connections on a server somewhere out there on the Internet. It's the resources of that server tha will cost you a few bucks a month. They are usually sold as VPN services for the purpose of making online gaming more reliable or accessing region-locked Internet services and websites.