Sunday, July 6, 2014

Upstream Saturation and You

So, I was watching the latest Far Lands or Bust (at the time of this writing, at least), and therein, Kurt mentioned that for the first time in a while he tried out Firefox, in place of his usual Chrome.  Everything generally went well, and he noticed much faster upload speeds to YouTube.  That seems like a benefit at first, but then he couldn't do anything at all on the internet while that upload was happening.

I've had a similar problem to this in the past with BitTorrent, and know from my experience in computer networking that the cause and solution are both very simple.

The cause is simply that Firefox is saturating his upstream on that one upload.  This means that anything else he tries to do has a hard time getting a request out.  This is akin to the Slashdot Effect, but affecting your upstream as opposed to an unsuspecting web server's downstream.  If you do manage to get a request out, you'll get the resulting page at pretty much the same speed as always, since your upstream being saturated doesn't affect your downstream at all.

The solution is to throttle the upload speed of the offending application.  Do a speed test sometime when you're not using your upstream for anything at all, and cap the offending application at 50-75% of your total upstream.  With most BitTorrent clients these days, this is trivial.  Unfortunately, in Firefox, there is no way to throttle its bandwidth usage.  A few searches for extensions or settings that might be relevant turn up nothing of use.

My suggestion to Kurt?  Use Firefox for day-to-day browsing, and use Chrome for uploading videos to YouTube.

Strangely, when I uploaded my silly 10 hour video that took this computer 20 hours to render, I used Firefox and had no such upstream saturation issue.  It was an older version of Firefox, but Firefox hasn't changed significantly since version 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments because when Blogger originally implemented a spam filter it wouldn't work without comment moderation enabled. So if your comment doesn't show up right away, that would be why.