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Diagnosing Network Issues

Understanding and resolving network and internet issues impacting your Softdrive experience


If your Softdrive experience is less responsive than you would expect, or if you are seeing a flashing network issues indicator, you may be experiencing network issues.

Softdrive network issues indicator

Softdrive's remote desktop software attempts to automatically adjust to the quality of your network by calibrating video quality. As a result, improving your internet connection could improve Softdrive's visual quality and responsiveness.

Please see the following steps for ways to diagnose your network quality:

  1. Checking your internet speed
  2. Testing for packet loss
  3. Measuring bufferbloat

Additionally, you can look into:

  1. Adjusting Softdrive's quality settings
  2. Collecting your network analytics and submitting them to Softdrive's support

1. Checking Your Internet Speed

Go to www.speedtest.net and hit "Go" to measure your download and upload speeds.

If the results are lower than expected, contact your network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Generally, a fast download speed is more important for Softdrive than a fast upload speed. We'd recommend a download speed of at least 5 Mbps, though higher resolutions and additional monitors may require a faster speed to run smoothly.

2. Testing For Packet Loss

  1. Go to packetlosstest.com
  2. Select the Preset Approximation to 1080p game stream
  3. Select a server close to the location of the PC you are connecting to
  4. Press "Start Test"

Observe the Total Packet Loss value in the Results section. Please see the following guideline for standard values.

While, Softdrive is capable of running despite packet loss, it will require additional bandwidth. A high amount of packet loss may still lead to a degraded experience.

To address packet loss issues, contact your network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP) and show them these results.

3. Measuring Bufferbloat

Go to www.waveform.com/tools/bufferbloat and hit "Start Test".

Bufferbloat is the degree to which your router can cause additional lag. The link above has a lot of additional detail!

If the test identifies issues with your router, contact your network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP) for help and show them the test results. You may need to modify the router's settings, update the router's firmware, or replace your router.

4. Adjust Softdrive's Quality Settings

Softdrive's video streaming algorithm will attempt to adapt to your network quality by analyzing the transmission of Softdrive data. Using the Quality Settings page of our overlay settings menu, you can influence the behavior of this algorithm to better suit your preferences of visual quality vs. latency, and you can experiment with manual settings in scenarios where the algorithm is getting it wrong.

See the sections below for suggested configurations. Typically, we would recommend leaving all settings on Auto in the absence of network issues.

quality settings menu

Prefer Visual Quality over FPS

If your available bandwidth is insufficient and you would prefer your bandwidth be allocated to increasing visual quality rather than a higher FPS (frames per second), you can unselect Auto under Max Frame Rate and select a value using the slider.

Prefer Smoothness over Visual Quality

If your Softdrive experience is lagging and not very responsive, you can try setting the Min and Max Quality settings to lower values.

Manually Specify Available Bandwidth

Softdrive calculates a target bitrate based on your detected available download speed. It may be fixed at a value lower than your available bandwidth if deemed that using additional bandwidth would yield diminishing visual quality returns.

If this value seems inaccurate, or if Softdrive is lagging heavily, you may also try to specify a bitrate value by unselecting Auto and adjusting the slider.

Constant Bitrate (CBR)

We'd generally recommend leaving CBR unchecked (disabled). This is an alternate encoding mode which attempts to use a more predictable and consistent amount of bandwidth, but will lead to visual quality and sharpness issues for mostly static (low FPS) content. You can try this setting with videos or games, or if visual quality with static content is less of a concern. When using CBR, setting a Min Frame Rate can improve visual quality. When CBR is disabled, we generally recommend leaving Min Frame Rate on Auto (0).

5. Collecting Your Network Analytics

If you suspect issues in Softdrive network when connecting to your Cloud PC, you may gather the following diagnostics and submit them to us to analyze.

We have 24/7 monitoring of our network environment, and the steps noted above will resolve issues 9 times out of 10. If you are confident that your internet connection is fine but your Softdrive experience is still lackluster, our team is always available and willing to investigate.

Softdrive's software has some base performance logging. As a first step, you can open a support request and let us know when you were experiencing network issues or a degraded Softdrive experience.

Our engineering team may require additional analytics to properly investigate the situation. A packet capture is helpful data which records network data as it is received or sent from a PC, prior to it being processed by an application. This can be used to examine Softdrive's encrypted data. While we cannot decrypt your data, this can be helpful to eliminate our software or your computer's processing as variables.

Note: A network filter driver (used by some VPNs) may interfere with the ability to capture packets on your computer. You would need to disable this or analyze the data with your VPN provider if this is the case.

To perform a packet capture, please follow these steps:

  1. Download, install, and run Wireshark from www.wireshark.org/download.html.
  2. Select your active interface by clicking on it once. It will have some data in the small graph to the right, and it will typically be named Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
  3. Apply the following capture filter: (tcp and port 9260) or (udp and portrange 9250-9260). Make sure to enter it in the Capture section, rather than the display filter section. Please see the screenshot below.
  4. Double click the selected interface.
  5. Run Softdrive.
  6. If possible, perform steps 1-4 on the Cloud PC as well.
  7. After the issue occurs, press the red square to stop the capture.
  8. Save the capture by going to File->Save As.
  9. Attach the saved capture files to your support ticket, or email them to us.
Wireshark filter screenshot