How to use VPN?

Can anybody please explain the use of VPN to improve download speed when installing the sim or items in the content manager. I have never used VPN for anything so far. So I don’t know what it is and how to set it up correctly.

So I found out myself how to install ProtonVPN. It was much easier than expected. Now I can download at 50 Mbit/s which is a lot faster than the 2 Mbit/s before.

I wish I had read about that earlier so my reinstall would have taken only a few hours, not two days. Now I know better.


Glad you got that sorted out. I had been planning to run some tests on this. The plan was relatively simple:

  1. Download something from the Marketplace with no VPN running. Make a note of download speed. In the background run Wireshark to determine the content server I am pulling from.
  2. Establish the VPN, relaunch the sim, and repeat step 1, noting the new speed, and the new content server.

The idea might be to build a database of content servers that have speed issues, and those that don’t.

Tough to do though as those servers and speeds can constantly change. You tend to have your average stable/faster servers but nothing is ever a guarantee and is also very much largely specific to the person’s location and their internet provider.

For me as an example, I use AT&T. Being in Northern California, off of a VPN, my best speed comes from an AT&T server in Santa Clara in the Bay Area or a server from the Valley. Now, which server my internet comes and goes from is anyone’s actual guess but that’s what shows up on a speed test.

Going on a VPN, I do a speed test twice a day. Once at the beginning of the day and another in the afternoon/evening. 8/10 times the top speed is coming from a server in Boston. That’s entirely across the country but yet has the best speed but a slightly higher ping, as expected. The other times it’s a server West Coast based or sometimes randomly in the middle of the country.

The other side of things are that depending on which server you use, you may or may not be access restricted to regular websites you use without a VPN. Example, on Santa Clara I can load everything pretty much just fine but sometimes the pages take a bit to fully completely load themselves to where the busy circle on the web browser goes away. Using the Boston server, loading Google takes me to a search address. Also, FlightAware sometimes connects and sometimes says it can’t connect and I have to wait and page reload.

Then you have the mess of different types of VPN connections such as Stealth Mode or simply Open within each application typically.

So, if you just want faster speeds for downloading things it’s a good alternative. But to use it to take advantage of those speeds and do everything else, it can be an annoyance. That and once you get into it you’re constantly wondering if you’re on the best server or not. Speeds are also dictated by how well that server can access whatever it is you’re trying to download things faster from as too. So while it does help normally, there’s just so much uncertainty in the whole thing. Far beyond what most basic users are willing to do to get the best results.

Not tough at all. I’ve already done it twice.

The intent behind the VPN is simply to make the sim believe I am in some other geographic location, and force it to use a different CDN server.

I’m in the UK, so I would set my VPN to terminate in the US, or Japan, for example. I repeat the test, and simply look for lots of 443 traffic, and look back for the “Client Hello”, and “Server Hello” packets. I just found my server!

I think people know what VPN’s are LOL. Especially with all the MS server issues. You’re from a tech background and the last paragraph you wrote for the majority of people on here would be looking at an ancient lost language. Having been involved in computer support stuff, it’s still surprising how you would expect people who use computers daily to be able to get some type of skills to figure out issues or understand how software works but it’s not as common as you think.

Are you referring to just servers for the content manager or something broader than that? Again, it’s a very fluid thing and 99% aren’t going to spend time to learn how to read traffic data and have the patience to go through those steps. Finding the right VPN server is like starting a flight and hoping you get VATSIM ATC by the time you get to your destination.

Just downloading content from within the sim, since that seems to be the majority of complaints.

I get the same thing. I have a 550Mbps connection, and I’ve never even got close to that. The most I ever saw was ~200Mbps, and that was using a VPN. There was a time during much earlier SU’s where the updates were coming down at 2Mbps. I’m reasonably convinced that some parts of Microsoft’s network were saturated. It’s not hugely better now to be honest, but nothing like what it used to be, thankfully.

I don’t expect people to know any of this stuff, but it might help them to understand what is going on, and why.

The eventual aim would be to build something of a block list of IP’s that are known to offer slow speeds, and ban the sim from contacting those. With any luck the sim will simply think that host is down, and will choose another one, which might offer better speeds.