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Old 12-11-2008, 11:31 PM   #1
sixseven
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Netflix, QoS, and DD-WRT

Hi Everyone,

So I run DDWRT on my router, but I'm not great with the advanced features. I have a 1.5 Mbps DSL connection, and I would like to optimize bandwidth for netflix playback.

Any suggestions on how to configure the QoS feature of the router to provide preference to the NetFlix stream?

Thanks,

67

Last edited by sixseven : 12-13-2008 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:28 AM   #2
drewpydog
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That's a great question. I use DDWRT also, but have a 6MB DSL connection. What I've done so far is to use the MAC priority, and set both Tivos to premium. This hasn't seemed to make much difference, though.

Anybody else have any other ideas?
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
oViTynoT
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QoS will only be useful if you have OTHER things on the network that are competing for bandwidth. If no one else in the household is consuming bandwidth, the policy is moot...
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
bru_man
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There are various instructions on the internet for setting up QOS on DDWRT, most I have seen recommend setting the max upload and max download to a little below the phyiscal capacity of the link so the DDWRT box is in control of the traffic shaping rather than the ISP/modem.

Then I would just bump the priority for the mac address of the Tivo, that way all traffic from the Tivo will take priority.

If you were able to get DDWRT on a router than I am confident you can work this out with a little googling and the right pointers.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:57 AM   #5
bkdtv
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In general, I would be hesitant to use the QoS feature on DD-WRT. My experience is that it actually reduces performance on many routers, which lack the processing power to do it with a large number of concurrent connections.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:07 AM   #6
jeepguy_1980
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I use QoS on my DD-WRT Router. I have to say that it functions perfectly, unlike the stock firmware or the QoS features on any of the other routers I have ever tried.

Ever since I gave my Vonage device an exempt status, it's actually worked like it should, regardless of what I was doing on my PC.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:29 PM   #7
sixseven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bru_man View Post
There are various instructions on the internet for setting up QOS on DDWRT, most I have seen recommend setting the max upload and max download to a little below the phyiscal capacity of the link so the DDWRT box is in control of the traffic shaping rather than the ISP/modem.

Then I would just bump the priority for the mac address of the Tivo, that way all traffic from the Tivo will take priority.

If you were able to get DDWRT on a router than I am confident you can work this out with a little googling and the right pointers.
Thanks for responding everyone...

I can definitely give priority to my S3's MAC. I'm pretty sure I can also figure out the max upload/download thing too.

I do have several other network enabled devices on my network:

PC running Vista Media Center (hard wired)
Media Center Extenda (hard wired)
Wii (wireless)
T-Mobile Hotspot @ home UMA phone (wireless)

Maybe I don't understand what QoS is all about. I thought it could also provide preference to types of traffic, which is what I was really after, the netflix stream. Of course over a 1.5Mbps connection, setting preference by MAC or traffic type may not really be noticable....

I'll report back on my results.

Other thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:51 PM   #8
muerte33
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Here are the suggestions at the Roku site for QOS and other networking tweaks:
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.php?t=16859

The real fix for me would be if we could force the high quality stream regardless
of the network connection that Tivo sees.

On the Roku device you could force the HQ quality picture.
It takes longer to get the initial stream going, but the picture is always great.

Here was the hack that worked....
Using the remote, hit Home Home Home Home Home Rewind Rewind Rewind FastForward FastForward (that's 5 Homes, 3 Rewinds, 2 FastForwards), keypresses about 1/2 second apart. You may have to try several times and the trick is to make the keypresses spaced out far enough. (Remember, the last two are <<< Rewind and Fast Forward >>>, which are on the bottom row of buttons, not the < and > keys to the side of the select button.) This will take you into debug mode.
You can then select the 2.2mbps stream speed.

Has anyone found that hack on the Tivo yet?

Handy search for Netflix on demand movies (better than Netflix search):
http://www.thenowhereman.com/netflix/
worked great in the Roku days (still does).

Last edited by muerte33 : 12-12-2008 at 10:00 PM. Reason: More Information
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:10 AM   #9
sixseven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muerte33 View Post
Here are the suggestions at the Roku site for QOS and other networking tweaks:
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.php?t=16859

The real fix for me would be if we could force the high quality stream regardless
of the network connection that Tivo sees.

On the Roku device you could force the HQ quality picture.
It takes longer to get the initial stream going, but the picture is always great.

Here was the hack that worked....
Using the remote, hit Home Home Home Home Home Rewind Rewind Rewind FastForward FastForward (that's 5 Homes, 3 Rewinds, 2 FastForwards), keypresses about 1/2 second apart. You may have to try several times and the trick is to make the keypresses spaced out far enough. (Remember, the last two are <<< Rewind and Fast Forward >>>, which are on the bottom row of buttons, not the < and > keys to the side of the select button.) This will take you into debug mode.
You can then select the 2.2mbps stream speed.

Has anyone found that hack on the Tivo yet?

Handy search for Netflix on demand movies (better than Netflix search):
http://www.thenowhereman.com/netflix/
worked great in the Roku days (still does).

Thanks for the Roku link.

So I've set the QoS upload and download link speeds. One thing that I though was interesting was that all ports were set to Premium by default. Acording to the ddwrt wiki, ports have top priority. (over MAC, IP, service) So if I understand everything correctly, when I turn on QoS in the default settings, all I am doing is giving my wired network preference over my wireless network. So I set all ports to Express. I then set the Tivo's mac to Premium. The wiki says that lan port designations will not override MAC and other designations. So I think I'm started down the right track...

http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Quality_of_Service

Quote:
Priorities explained
Bandwidth classification based on the four categories will be enabled first on the hardware ports, then on MAC addresses, then netmasks and finally services. For example, if you enable classification based on a MAC address, this will override netmask and service classifications. However, the LAN port based classification will work together with MAC, netmask and service classifications, and will not override them.
  • Exempt - This class tries to keep the bandwith and packet flow untouched.
  • Premium - The top bandwidth class. By default handshaking and icmp packets fall into this class. This class should be used sparingly. Occasionally VoIP service may be placed in this class so that voice receives top priority.
  • Express - The Express class is for interactive applications that require bandwidth above standard services so that interactive apps run smoothly.
  • Standard - All services that are not specifically classed will fall under the standard class.
  • Bulk - The bulk class is only allocated bandwidth when the remaining classes are idle. Use this class for P2P services and downloading services like FTP.

This has slightly improved my Netflix experience. Before, when I would start a stream, it would stutter in the beginning. Sometimes it wouldn't show the video, sometimes it wouldn't play the audio, and it would flash the "Receiving" window several times before the stream would lock in. I would have to hit the 8 second rewind button a few times before the stream would play correctly.

Now this only happens one or two times, and it plays much quicker. Also, if I go back to my queue and select another show, it plays immediately.

I may end up upgrading to 7Mbps, but if I can get by paying less for 1.5Mbsp, I wuold like to. Too bad Netflix can't buffer to disk like amazon.

I would love to hear any results from anyone else that is playing with ths...

Last edited by sixseven : 12-13-2008 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:58 AM   #10
bkdtv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixseven View Post
I may end up upgrading to 7Mbps, but if I can get by paying less for 1.5Mbsp, I wuold like to. Too bad Netflix can't buffer to disk like amazon.

I would love to hear any results from anyone else that is playing with ths...
The best you are going to get with 1.5Mbps is the 1.0Mbps stream. I believe that's 8/11 bars, but I'm not certain.

Netflix's streaming quality is much better than you get with Amazon Unbox, provided your connection can support it.

13/13 bars (full with HD icon) = HD @ 3.8Mbps
10/11 bars (1 short) = SD @ 1.5 Mbps <-- significantly better than Amazon Unbox
8/11 bars (3 short) = SD @ 1.0 Mbps <-- comparable to Amazon Unbox
6/11 bars (5 short) = SD @ 0.5 Mbps <-- worse than Amazon Unbox

With just a 1.5Mbps connection, you're not going to get the 1.5Mbps Netflix streams, regardless of what you do with your router.

Last edited by bkdtv : 12-26-2008 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:33 AM   #11
slowbiscuit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
In general, I would be hesitant to use the QoS feature on DD-WRT. My experience is that it actually reduces performance on many routers, which lack the processing power to do it with a large number of concurrent connections.
QOS is a practical necessity if you're running VOIP in your house on a slower DSL connection, because each phone line requires about 80k of dedicated upload cap. But it's mostly used to manage upstream bandwidth, not downstream, because it's difficult to manage QOS when almost all of the traffic is coming into the router from the net. About the best it can do is delay the TCP ACKs going up to slow the downloads down, but I don't find that to be all that effective.

All of this is kind of moot if you're only doing Netflix streaming with nothing else, because it's only going to use 60% of your bandwidth anyway, right?
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:37 AM   #12
bkdtv
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
QOS is a practical necessity if you're running VOIP in your house on a slower DSL connection, because each phone line requires about 80k of dedicated upload cap. But it's mostly used to manage upstream bandwidth, not downstream, because it's difficult to manage QOS when almost all of the traffic is coming into the router from the net. About the best it can do is delay the TCP ACKs going up to slow the downloads down, but I don't find that to be all that effective.

All of this is kind of moot if you're only doing Netflix streaming with nothing else, because it's only going to use 60% of your bandwidth anyway, right?
I think you misinterpreted what I said. I have nothing against QoS. In fact, I think QoS is important.

I replaced my old Linksys WRT54G router (with DD-WRT) because I found in testing that performance was so poor with QoS enabled when there were a lot of simultaneous connections. Looking to the DD-WRT forums for an answer, the consensus [at the time] was that many routers supported simply did not have the processing power to maintain a high level of performance with QoS enabled.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:02 PM   #13
stephenfisher
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Lightbulb

For quality of service (QoS) to be effective, it needs to be put on the end of the link that is doing the transmission of the traffic to be prioritized. Putting QoS for Netflix on your router could only give higher priority to the acknowledgements going back to the Netflix servers, which won't do much good (unless you're uploading lots of data during the Netflix streaming session.) Ideally, the ISP would put QoS to place a higher priority on Netflix traffic coming down your connection. But don't count on this happening.
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:33 AM   #14
bru_man
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
I replaced my old Linksys WRT54G router (with DD-WRT) because I found in testing that performance was so poor with QoS enabled
I am curious, what did you replace your WRT54G with?
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:40 PM   #15
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I am curious, what did you replace your WRT54G with?
The Dlink DIR-655 blows the WRT54G out of the water when it comes to performance. I use to play around with custom firmware all the time but once I tried this router out, I realized it was all a waste of time.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:51 PM   #16
berkshires
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Originally Posted by bkdtv View Post
The best you are going to get with 1.5Mbps is the 1.0Mbps stream. I believe that's 8/11 bars, but I'm not certain.

Netflix's streaming quality is much better than you get with Amazon Unbox, provided your connection can support it.

13/13 bars (full with HD icon) = HD @ 3.8Mbps
10/11 bars (1 short) = SD @ 1.5 Mbps <-- significantly better than Amazon Unbox
8/11 bars (3 short) = SD @ 1.0 Mbps <-- comparable to Amazon Unbox
6/11 bars (5 short) = SD @ 0.5 Mbps <-- worse than Amazon Unbox
Is there a link to the details about this? As in how many quality levels a movie has, what the resolutions are at the different qualities, what the specs are for other bar levels (if any such exist...) ?
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:03 PM   #17
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Is there a link to the details about this? As in how many quality levels a movie has, what the resolutions are at the different qualities, what the specs are for other bar levels (if any such exist...) ?
I believe that his information is derived from the "Encoding for streaming" entry on the Netflix blog, under the heading "Second generation encoding". We've been told in this forum by TiVoStephen that TiVo uses these encodings.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:33 PM   #18
GreenMonkey
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Bump

Anyone know what ports the Tivo is using for the Netflix streaming? It would be nice to prioritize just those ports and leave the Tivo system stuff on Bulk priority (so system updates, channel program updates, etc stayed as low priority and didn't interfere with gaming and the like).
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:29 PM   #19
twojciac
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Originally Posted by stephenfisher View Post
For quality of service (QoS) to be effective, it needs to be put on the end of the link that is doing the transmission of the traffic to be prioritized. Putting QoS for Netflix on your router could only give higher priority to the acknowledgements going back to the Netflix servers, which won't do much good (unless you're uploading lots of data during the Netflix streaming session.) Ideally, the ISP would put QoS to place a higher priority on Netflix traffic coming down your connection. But don't count on this happening.
Bingo! The only thing you can do to possibly improve quality would be to limit the speed in which the other devices on your network can consume, potentially limiting congestion... but in reality that's a crapshoot as well.

ISPs would love to charge more money to provide guaranteed bandwidth for applications like voice and video, but the government is looking to restrict such behavior. The current debate about network neutrality surrounds this very issue. People have the misconception that it's about Verizon or Comcast charging Google more for people to reach its website, but it's really about service providers adding services (for a fee) to guarantee bandwidth or provide a low latency path.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:35 PM   #20
berkshires
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Originally Posted by mikeyts View Post
I believe that his information is derived from the "Encoding for streaming" entry on the Netflix blog, under the heading "Second generation encoding". We've been told in this forum by TiVoStephen that TiVo uses these encodings.
There is plenty of good info in that. I found a post by bkdtv from early december which linked that netflix article of nov 6.

Thank you.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:02 AM   #21
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The Dlink DIR-655 blows the WRT54G out of the water when it comes to performance. I use to play around with custom firmware all the time but once I tried this router out, I realized it was all a waste of time.
I have the 655 as well.

Have you enabled WISH on it (or are you using the Tivo hard wired?).

When I download large files from a computer and watch netflix via Tivo, my quality Netflix quality drops. I hadn't enabled Wish. Did today, so we'll see how it works. But was curious to see if you had tried it.
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