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Server crashes
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

4th Dec 2013
23:14:18
Greetings all,
Perhaps some of the many great brains out there can shed some light on this...

My server, UK317, occasionally suffers from what I can only describe as a 'hang' which causes all players to get a message that the server has been closed down and one by one they all leave. This typically happens when a player is leaving the server and results in the server being emptied of players for about 3-4 minutes after which they are all able to get back in again.

No error messages come up on the server PC, no event is logged in Control Panel, Admin Tools, Event logs (that is, the logs show no event to correspond with the incident). No indication of router/broadband service issues. Consequently, there is nothing clear to suggest what is going on.

While I realise this is a bit like asking "How long is a bit of string?" I wonder if any of you out there can shed some light on this mystery.
In hope of an answer,
Derek H.
(Derek317)

David Bartlam
United Kingdom

5th Dec 2013
09:55:18
Hi Derek,

Although unable to say what happens and why, I can say that my server also suffers from this. I've experimented before and narrowed it down to players leaving the game incorrectly (by not going to the lobby and leaving the game). When this happens, you get the blue loading signal and a few players lose connection. I'm not sure how and why it happens but I advise all my users not to touch the mouse or anything else whilst it recovers itself

Sorry I can't be of any help
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

5th Dec 2013
10:03:39
Hello David,
Thanks for your response. You would not be the first person to suspect that players 'slamming the door' (exiting by using the 'X' (close program) rather than by using the menus) is a potential culprit. Trouble is that this happens so infrequently there is no obvious pattern to it. Obviously I am keen to pin down what is going on for the sake of players, and server reliability.
Derek H.
Dave Wave
United Kingdom

5th Dec 2013
14:53:02
I think what happens is:

If a player leaves normally your server is notified.
When a player crashes or quits fsx instantly then your server continues to send data out to the player. As no response is heard back then your server thinks it could be a network problem and resends data. If you don't have much upload capacity on your broadband then this becomes overloaded and so data sent to players still in your session gets missed and has to be resent. This causes more stuff needed to be resent and it snowballs out of control.

Make sure you have enough upload speed on your internet connection!





Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

5th Dec 2013
17:18:33
Hello Dave,
Thanks for that. It does seem to 'feel' something like that is going on. As for the upload speed I have BT Infinity, the most recent checks on SpeedTest indicate that the upload speed is 8mbps on average. This sort of problem used to occur before fibre-optic broadband was installed when my average upload speed was just 0.36mbps!
Derek H.
Robert Dunn
United States
7th Dec 2013
10:05:51
Hi, Derek. I meant to get on this thread when you first posted but, alas, I got just swamped. Those techies in our community agree with Dave's analysis. We STRONGLY encourage our pilots to "ease out" of multiplayer for such lag reasons. Our FSX host doesn't disconnect people but complaints of lag are definitely heard on our Teamspeak.

We currently have some extra FSX host server capacity in our community and we would gladly offer strongly connected hosts of decent computer capacity to you if you would like to conduct any testing or if you just need a UK317 specific configuration of FSX-FSOpen Server2 to use for a while. Keep it in mind. We at msFLIGHTS.net do not forget that you dropped by our TeamSpeak one night and helped us out with advice that we needed to reconnect to FSOpen for our session to so register. Remember?

Respects and admiration to the UK317 community from msFLIGHTS.net. We hope to see UK317 on the cross community flight on 14 December. EVERYBODY will be there. Dave Wave, it would be particularly cool if you might drop by that cross community flight to say hi also. This time Boston Virtual is the host.

Respects, Bob...
RSDunn2@msflights.net
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

7th Dec 2013
21:46:52
Hello Robert,
Well that's 3 people who have independently mentioned this 'leaving nicely' matter, there may be some truth to it! I shall be writing to all users on my list advising them of the potential problems with slamming the door and will also post something on the web pages, hopefully some will take note.

Since the last crash I have been trying a 'tweak' from Ventubo, so far, so good, but the jury is still out on that one.

Yes, I do recall my popping in to give you the heads up on the server/FSOpen glitch a while back.

Will look out for details of the December 14th event you mention.
Cheers,
Derek H.
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

10th Dec 2013
20:51:44
Hello again,
Further information on this 'crash'... I have just witnessed another event whereby the server appears to be running normally but some players were disconnected and unable to re-enter the server for a few minutes. The server PC and router do not show any events that coincide with this ocurrence, it is as if the server has stopped 'talking' FSOpen, but, the server, and FSX, FSOpen software are all running without any apparent hitch.

However, at the time there were 2 additional players in session, both with the same IP numbers, but different user ID's. How is that possible?

Lastly, different articles suggest different things, can someone clarify if the only ports required to be open on the router are UDP 6112-6122 and those alone?
Derek H.
Dave Wave
United Kingdom

10th Dec 2013
22:15:11
If a user quits unexpectedly fsx/fsopen don't know the player has left so both apps will drop the player out.

If the player joins again he can be on the same ip address before the previous instance is dropped. Or it could be 2 people/pcs on the same router.

Only use 6112-6122, that's what the standard is. You can tell fsx to use other ranges but unless people connecting to you do the same they won't be able to connect. So no point opening other ports!!! If anyone says otherwise then it demonstrates a lack of knowledge lol

Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

10th Dec 2013
22:50:22
Hello Dave,
Thanks for your message. I think this latest glitch is the 4th or 5th in a week, usually happens when a player leaves the server, then it seems that other players end up losing connection very shortly after.

Thinking back, the players with the same IP joined separately with the same IP number but within a minutes of each other. So it could well have been 2 players using the same router, like in the same house.

As for the open ports, will remove all but 6112-6122 and see what happens, I did wonder about the other ports but the information may have been from an old forum.

Thanks Dave for clearing that up. But for the moment the server glitch case is still open.
Derek H.
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

11th Dec 2013
23:00:33
Hello,
Dave, can you confirm that the ports to be open are UDP only?

There was yet another server crash this evening, same apparent symptons as before, nothing shown on system or application logs, nothing seen on router. This time server PC was frozen for about 8 minutes and came back to life on its own accord!
Derek H.
Dave Wave
United Kingdom

12th Dec 2013
07:36:37
Yes UDP only
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

20th Jan 2014
10:28:26
Greetings!
A month on my server is still subject to occasional crashes, always as someone leaves the server. The server PC seems to get hung and ultimately other users connected to the server get dropped. I am now fairly certain that it is not related to my connection speed or router configuration, just FSX on the server getting overwhelmed when people disconnect incorrectly. So stricly speaking this is not so much a 'crash', rather a temporary 'hang'.

So another question is: Would a faster PC and processor alleviate the problem? What I am curious about is that if the server PC were more up to date and was using faster hardware would it be able to cope better with the demands placed on it and hence recover quicker?
Derek H.
Dave Wave
United Kingdom

20th Jan 2014
13:15:37
Yes it will, the bigger and faster the server the better.
Derek Haselden
United Kingdom

20th Jan 2014
13:54:54
Hello Dave,
I was beginning to ponder the possibility that my hardware may not be up to scratch, I've ruled out pretty much everything else I can think of. Upgrading the server PC was going to be the next step so thanks for bolstering what I already thought. We shall see...
Derek H.
Jarno van Werkhoven
Netherlands

3rd Feb 2014
15:46:54
Derek, your hardware is fine...

Use my three tweaks from my website for starters.
www.fs-pilots.com

And do not host via Tower, but via Cessna172. I host permanently without failures huge sessions without any fatals from my hosting-side

If you have more questions I can help you further. Use the 'contact' button on my page ;)

Sincerely
Jarno van Werkhoven
fs-pilots.com



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