Shortcut Forwarding Engine Trade-Offs?

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wheaton4prez
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Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 19:29    Post subject: Shortcut Forwarding Engine Trade-Offs? Reply with quote
Router used: Linksys EA8500
Current DD-WRT build: DD-WRT v3.0-r41517 std (11/11/19)

Networking is certainly not my area of expertise. So, please feel free to correct any misunderstandings I might express here.

I have been having off/on problems getting stable streaming from a NAS server to various devices through Plex. The problem seems consistent among the various devices (Roku, Amazon Fire, iOS mobile devices, Android mobile devices). They all say that the connection isn't fast enough for the video being streamed (on 5G wireless AND wired connections).

I have had stretches where this problem went away (using Kong builds). It's hard to track exactly because there are so many settings to consider. But, I believe it has to do with the Shortcut Forwarding Engine setting.

When it is on, the streaming doesn't work fast enough (or at least Plex doesn't think it does). But, I DO see considerable speed gains in regular internet speed tests.

When it is off, the streaming seems to be more stable. But, speed tests show some drop in top speed through the router.

-*-

So, my question is a bit general: does my description have technical validity? Is it possible that SFE is breaking streaming while making other types of transfers faster?

Should I leave SFE on and try to troubleshoot the streaming issue. Or, give up on the speed bump and turn it off?

Thank you for any insight, help anyone can offer.
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Alozaros
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 20:31    Post subject: Reply with quote
SFE is nothing more than a standard packet prioritising engine where it accelerates a specific packets trough
the NAT...
yes it could break things too...
I don't think streaming from a NAS, is a good idea as those speeds are slow anyway, also if few clients at same time than performance will drop dramatically...
try minidlna instead....(i guess that's what you meant
streaming from NAS is for you)...

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TP-Link WR740Nv1 -----DD-WRT 45993 BS AP,NAT
TP-Link WR740Nv4 -----DD-WRT 44251 BS WAP/Switch
TP-Link WR1043NDv2 ---DD-WRT 46316 BS AP,NAT,AP Isolation,Ad-Block,Firewall,Local DNS,Forced DNS,DoT,VPN,VLAN
TP-Link WR1043NDv2 ---DD-WRT 46166 BS AP,NAT,AD/Block,Firewall,Local DNS,Forced DNS,DoT,VPN,VLAN
TP-Link WR1043NDv2 ---Gargoyle OS 1.12.0 AP,NAT,QoS,Quotas
Qualcomm/IPQ8065
Netgear R7800 -----DD-WRT 46259 BS AP,NAT,AD-Block,AP&Net Isolation,VLAN's,Firewall,Local DNS,DoT
Broadcom
Netgear R7000 -----DD-WRT 46259 BS AP,Wi-Fi OFF,NAT,AD-Block,Firewall,Local DNS,Forced DNS,VLAN's,DoT,VPN
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Wildlion
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Joined: 24 May 2016
Posts: 1035

PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 23:25    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, it sounds like your NAS is on the LAN side... SFE would not make a difference there. Now it COULD increase people or traffic from the WAN to the LAN and thus cause more congestion.
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:35    Post subject: Reply with quote
Is Plex using a samba share on your router? If so, why? Plex over wi-fi can be choppy. It's even worse if you're trying to use a shared USB drive from another device. Add any other high-bandwidth activity on the same wireless network, there ya go.
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wheaton4prez
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Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:01    Post subject: Reply with quote
Alozaros wrote:
I don't think streaming from a NAS, is a good idea as those speeds are slow anyway, also if few clients at same time than performance will drop dramatically...
try minidlna instead....(i guess that's what you meant
streaming from NAS is for you)...


What would the alternative be for streaming locally stored content?

Plex has the option to use DLNA. But, I don't have that feature on...

The thing is, this arrangement has worked well before with previous dd-wrt builds (and also different software versions on the NAS, complicating matters). It's a custom built server, operating as a NAS with FreeNAS installed. It should be able to stream out HD to several clients at the same time.

Wildlion wrote:
Yeah, it sounds like your NAS is on the LAN side... SFE would not make a difference there. Now it COULD increase people or traffic from the WAN to the LAN and thus cause more congestion.


Ok. So, I'm barking up the wrong tree thinking about turning SFE off?

kernel-panic69 wrote:
Is Plex using a samba share on your router? If so, why? Plex over wi-fi can be choppy. It's even worse if you're trying to use a shared USB drive from another device. Add any other high-bandwidth activity on the same wireless network, there ya go.


Plex is using a samba share. But, not on the router. It's on the NAS server.

As noted above, as a case study I know it can work better than it is because it worked without buffering, streaming to multiple clients in HD over at least a year. I just can't resist updating things that aren't broken. Smile Now it's back to buffering (that I had seen long ago too).

I'm sure that local use patterns have changed too. So, that is a good point. A bunch of wireless traffic. Would that cause an issue with wired streaming?
foz111
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Joined: 01 Oct 2017
Posts: 437
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 13:19    Post subject: Reply with quote
So to be clear your files are stored locally on your NAS drive and your using Plex server with your tv is the plex client? (Surprised your not using dlna)
if so i suspect the problem is with the TV, Try a DLNA client on anther device like pc or phone and see if your still getting buffering.
Some tv's are really flaky, my sony is crap for youtube or local streaming yet everything works fine through my 4k FireStick.
what are you streaming 1080 or 4k?
whats your local LAN 100 or 1000mbps ? whats your weakest link in your network 100 or are you all 1000mpbs?
wheaton4prez
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Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 20:16    Post subject: Reply with quote
foz111 wrote:
So to be clear your files are stored locally on your NAS drive and your using Plex server with your tv is the plex client? (Surprised your not using dlna)
if so i suspect the problem is with the TV, Try a DLNA client on anther device like pc or phone and see if your still getting buffering.
Some tv's are really flaky, my sony is crap for youtube or local streaming yet everything works fine through my 4k FireStick.
what are you streaming 1080 or 4k?
whats your local LAN 100 or 1000mbps ? whats your weakest link in your network 100 or are you all 1000mpbs?


The TV is not directly the Plex client. The Plex clients are one of the following: XBox One (wired), Amazon Fire TV 4k (wired), Android Mobile Phone on 5G (wireless), iOS Mobile Phone on 5g (wireless). All of those have Plex client software installed on them.

They all seem to have the buffering problem. BUT, it does seem dependent on the media size. Plex allows you to downgrade the quality on the fly. That can be done to get the stream stable. But, then the picture is really muddy and terrible. It definitely worked at un-reduced sizes in the past (on Kong which happened to have SFE disabled).

The whole setup is 4k capable. But, I don't do any 4k streaming. It's all 1080p or 720p.

I believe the local LAN should be 1000mbps everywhere. But, networking is kind of a blind spot in my technical ability. So, I haven't and don't know how to verify that the 1000mbps is working all the way through with those clients. It definitely feels like it's going at 100mbps.

Another theory I have: Plex has a feature that allows you to stream content on your local server to remote locations. I sometimes wonder if its getting confused somehow and actually sending the stream out to some proxy and then back to the clients over the internet even though both server and client are on the same LAN.
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 22:00    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok, so is the Plex server on the NAS, or elsewhere? This is where I wish my late BIL was still around so I could pick his brain. I haven't really messed with Plex all that much, but it seems like something is amiss. Personally, I would probably opt to revert to Kong 40270M kongat and see if it magically fixes itself. If so, then you know BS builds aren't going to do you any favors and like tatsuya46, you can add to the complaints. BS builds seem to have a lot of latency issues according to tatsuya46, and have for a while, so maybe this might prompt things getting fixed. Otherwise, your only option is to invest some time into figuring out what configs are causing issues or learning Kong's OpenWRT builds.
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wheaton4prez
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Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 22:06    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
Ok, so is the Plex server on the NAS, or elsewhere? This is where I wish my late BIL was still around so I could pick his brain. I haven't really messed with Plex all that much, but it seems like something is amiss. Personally, I would probably opt to revert to Kong 40270M kongat and see if it magically fixes itself. If so, then you know BS builds aren't going to do you any favors and like tatsuya46, you can add to the complaints. BS builds seem to have a lot of latency issues according to tatsuya46, and have for a while, so maybe this might prompt things getting fixed. Otherwise, your only option is to invest some time into figuring out what configs are causing issues or learning Kong's OpenWRT builds.


Yes. The Plex server is on the NAS.

I may switch back to Kong as it did seem to work better for this.

OpenWRT just looks like more fuss than I'm willing to dedicate to routers. Smile
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 22:18    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's not all that much of a fuss, but it is a learning curve just like any other router firmware. At least it's not Cisco.... Laughing Wink
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Wildlion
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
wheaton4prez wrote:

Wildlion wrote:
Yeah, it sounds like your NAS is on the LAN side... SFE would not make a difference there. Now it COULD increase people or traffic from the WAN to the LAN and thus cause more congestion.


Ok. So, I'm barking up the wrong tree thinking about turning SFE off?


Yes for the SFE. I think with the other comments the community seems to agree and have other thoughts. Hopefully we are helping you, I know we are trying to understand the setup.

Let us know if you have more questions.
tatsuya46
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:35    Post subject: Reply with quote
my opinion of sfe is its crap, remember ddtb (ddwrt turbo boost)? its like that, but a bit better, and as a qos user, it completely kills downlink qos. i was told its technically possible to get downlink to work with sfe, i doubt that will happen. BS clearly isnt the "qos type", that was more kong (and markus years ago). sfe also created/creates other routing/vpn problems others have reported. and it doesnt help routers that are too weak to even run their own radios (locally, not nat) at max speed due to interrupts.

but since ive moved nat/firewall/qos/dhcp/dns to x86-64, i have zero need for basically ever, for sfe, as my current cpu going by current load, will take over 2gbps wan with qos.

sfe also doesnt help with the ipq806x latency and high cpu load issue either. and that cpu load issue isnt just with wan, its all over the router, even when operating as a switch and wap, 300mbps over 5ghz on kong build is like 10% cpu, BS build its exceeding 55%, but he still isnt acknowledging the issue is there so.. *shrug*

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foz111
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:39    Post subject: Reply with quote
Try a quick test, try running plex server on pc and use dlna client.
wheaton4prez
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Joined: 14 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 23:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, isn't THIS embarrassing!

The problem turned out to be one of those "check your power cable" kind of issues. A while back I was traveling and my wife called to complain about internet issues and asked how to fix. I made the mistake of telling her to just try power cycling the router "and other devices involved"... The LAN cable was pulled from the Fire TV device and never plugged back in. So, it was running off of WiFi the entire time since. Very Happy

Plugged it in and all works well now.

I discovered the problem by installing a network diagnosis app on Fire TV (quite useful: https://analiti.com/app-tv-fire-tv ). I could run a nice ping test for individual devices on the network with it. The Plex device was giving very erratic pings. So, I started checking all the wires...

On the plus side, during this exercise, I also discovered a cable in the path to the server that I had forgotten about. It's like a 500 foot, balled up piece of LAN cable that I once used in the early 90s to run internet over a roof. Once I removed that, my pings were faster even on the WiFi. So, at least I gained something here.

Thank you to everyone who pitched in with ideas. Helped me to at least rule out what it wasn't.

You may all laugh me off of the forum now. Smile
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:13    Post subject: Reply with quote
Only thing I will laugh at you or scold you about is the maximum length of Cat5, 5e, and 6 cable runs is 328 feet (some folks say 330 feet). If you can't make that, figure out a way to add a good switch. But anyway, glad you got it fixed!
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