Forum Discussion

GrumpyOG's avatar
New Contributor II
3 months ago

Online Gaming Lag? Upstream Packet Loss - is looking like *my* culprit.

It's been about 10 days now that I am getting vicious lag spikes that make my online gaming unplayable. 

I pay for the top tier Cox Internet and it's just lil ole me using it. (So it's not a case of multiple devices using bandwidth at the same time) and I have a wired connection to my cable modem router.

I had just replaced my Modem/Router in December and a Tech had come out because the line from house to pole had water in it. So it was extremely unlikely to be a local issue.

Over the holiday weekend - the lag continued to make my online games unplayable -  So I contacted Cox late on MLK day, they scheduled a tech visit for the an am appointment on 1/17 - I was fairly happy with this response time.

In the meantime, I did some research on my own.

(I am not endorsing these products, they just happened to help me identify what the problem was.)

First day I ran several tests was on 1/16/24:

Morning time - around 8am CST

 This was a one off, I haven't seen it go back quite as high as this, it's almost certainly because the timeframe was too short and timing was particular lucky/unlucky. 

I ran another one late at night (in case it was a case of business hours latency)

at 11:22pm

Ran multiple tests over 90 seconds each while the tech was here and they came back between 0.5 and 2.5% upstream PL - always upstream.

The tech arranged for "monitoring" of my internet, but explained that could take up to 2 weeks (7-10 business days - the official term for "soon-ish")

I continued to monitor - this particularly egregious one was on 01/20 in the morning.

 As you can see, back up to "Are you kidding me?" levels.

Today I was recommended, by a Network/System Admin friend of mine, to try out an application called pingplotter - which provides monitoring of your network and diagnostics of your connection. There's a free version, again - not an endorsement.

This was the first test between me and (I removed the IP info between me and hop #5)

pingplotter 10 minutes from 8:50-9:00am CST

the issue looks like tracert hop #7 and #8 to aka Arelion - massive packet loss on those two hops.

I ran another test 30 minutes later  - similar results:

pingplotter 10 mins from 10:25-10:35am CST

And just now:

pingplotter 10 mins from 11:34-11:44am CST

I am not a customer of Arelion/, Cox Communications is. 

So can you call them and ask THEM to turn it off and on again. Because the only other solution: "Stop trying to play online games" is not an acceptable one.

Hoping this post will be of use to anyone else who is having a hard time gaming online. 

And to be clear: This would only be an online gaming issue - as my sys admin buddy put it:

The gaming is the hard part because it's two way communication. That's why you notice the lag so immediately and so badly

Normal browsing or streaming is mostly one-way, or the two-way portion is so small that you don't really see it. The servers in question firehose the requested content at you.

But with gaming, those return packets are *important*. When they're slow, they slow the server response even more, which slows your response, and so on and so on. It snowballs *because* the server needs your input to be able to track things in real time

And this is absolutely correct: I am not having any noticeable issues with internet browsing or streaming content.

So it is likely that most non-online gamers (A large portion of the paying customer base) wouldn't notice this.

However, as you probably can tell, it's unacceptable to those of us that are and do.

3 Replies

  • GrumpyOG's avatar
    New Contributor II

    And what is up with this?

    Why is Online Gaming not an available Tag - and "Maximum number of tags" equals greater than one? C'mon Cox...

    Other tags I tried:

    • Upstream
    • Lag Laggy Lagging
    • Latency Latency Spikes
    • WiderMouthOpen's avatar
      Esteemed Contributor

      First, welcome to the forum and thanks for all the data!

      What games do you play? It is unlikely that your traffic is going through the same place as when you go to I am hoping to find you a IP that will better show the issue. As you can see, I get the same packet loss going to Cox and I am on FIOS with no issues gaming. I think it is what is called ICMP deprioritization. Notice it doesn't continue until the last hop. I am not saying you don't have an issue, just that the pingplotter data doesn't represent it well.

      Also, are you playing and testing on wired or wireless? I ask because the data shows 4ms just to your Cox gateway.

      • GrumpyOG's avatar
        New Contributor II

        At the moment, I'm trying to connect with a friends Minecraft server located in his house about 1 mile as the crow flies from mine. We're both Cox customers, so seemed like a logical connection to test.

        I also play HC Diablo 3, so as soon as there's a whiff of a lost packet, I nope the heck out of there.

        I have my Win 10 PC connected to the router via ethernet.