Connecting to Second Life

People have been having problems connecting to Second Life™ for as long as I have been using SL, probably longer. As the viewer is shifted to use more HTTP protocol services some are seeing better performance and others worse performance. Whatever the case, more use of HTTP is coming.

HTTP Library

Monty Linden has been working on the communications library used with Second Life. In general we know that work as the HTTP Library. The library is a file that contains all the code to run the HTTP communications channels for the viewer.

Putting all those functions in a single file (I use that idea loosely) gets the code the designation library. The library can be easily updated, used, distributed, and gets all related functions in one place. Eventually most SL Viewer to server communications will be handled through this library.

Monty is saying they have the HTTP Library mostly done and running in QA. Most of his current work is being done on what he calls: Defensive actions.

Defensive actions are usually the error traps and backup systems. In communications a defensive action can be having a fall back service in place for a failure of the primary process. The current viewer has a number of service requests that fall back to UDP protocol communications. Those have to be looked at and converted to HTTP protocol. Just finding them all is a problem.

There is no ETA for the services full rollout. Monty says it is a race with Avatar Baking service. So, that leads me to think February or March for an ETA.

Problems with HTTP

One thing Monty has learned is: some routers supplied to customers by AT&T and German TeleComms fail when used with Second Life. Apparently the cheapest routers fail.

There are also some routers that have a DNS blocking that kicks in when a large number of name lookup requests are sent, which SL can do. The routers essentially lock down for 5 minutes. I suppose it is some misguided effort to stop denial of service attacks. Monty wasn’t naming those problem routers.

I’ll tell you there are a number of cheap routers, like Cisco’s Linksys E4200 (about US$100 for new ones on Amazon, refurbished from Cisco $40, and $29 for used ones on eBay), that are good routers. Unfortunately the router specs normally published really don’t give you a clue whether they will work with Second Life. Search the SL Forum and SLUniverse for any router you are considering purchasing.

Some in Japan are telling us that HTTP doesn’t work so well. Monty looking at the data for connections to Japan can’t see where the problem is all that bad. So, I’m not sure what the story is for Japan.

For now I think resetting the router and seeing if that affects performance is about the only real trouble shooting step for determining if it is a router problem on your end.

Monty has suggested that Third Party Developers consider developing better diagnostics on the viewer side. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to do the work. It is a matter of having the time and when the Lab can get to it.

Communications errors that happen in the first 1 to 2ms of a call are likely local network problems. Errors that happen in 5 to 15ms range are likely ISP errors. Longer time to error or likely on the Lab’s side of things. One can tell better where the handoffs are by running trace routes to see where the local network stops and the Lab’s network picks up. Every thing in between is the ISP’s problem, either yours or the backbone guys.

You can see my Troubleshoot Your #Second Life Connection for more information on figuring out where your connection problems are.

4 thoughts on “Connecting to Second Life

  1. All I can say is that since around the release of the latest version of FS a few weeks ago and during the holiday season the stability of the SL grid has become HORRID! I have not seen laggy sims as bad as myself and many around me have been experiencing these past 4 weeks.

    Last night I was at one club that I visit quite frequently. In the past this busy sim can get laggy, but, last night I stood at this club and for 45 minutes almost none of the avatars would rez! I logged out and back in to see if that would help… NOPE. I cleared my cache that normally would only make rez time even worse but I was desperate. Well it was worse as expected. Others were saying the same thing at the club. I checked the Perf Stats and even though I could not rez any avatars – the sim’s upload/download was only running at ~ 1mbps or less! How could this be if the sim is desperately trying to send me and the other viewers content to rez?

    I also go to 3 – 6 live music events a night and betweein hanging sims and large numbers of Avatars being kicked out of SL at the exact same time for no reason and horrible lag… its becoming the Talk On The Grid at how bad LL and the Phoenix Team have made life over the past month. Live singers during their gigs open mention how frustrated they are on the stability of the venues and apologize to the visitors for the bad experience.

    I am ticked off that LL removed the Friday 4pm weekly meetings that I was able to attend. If I were at the weekly meetings I would be grilling the Lindens hard that if they think they have made things better – they do not know whats going on in the grid! They have created a major mess! Maybe they should attend some inworld events and feel the pain themselves before people like Maestro make statements that the latest sim code has been looking good.

    • I’m checking your thread in the forum. I’ll ask Andrew and Masetro at the meetings. I suggest you send them info and include links to the latest posts in the forum.

      Have your other region owners file a flood of BUG’s in the JIRA. I know it is hard to get the Linden’s attention. Baker is working on some rez problems. You might email him too.

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