Huge Load times UNLESS I use a VPN

as it says in the title , when loading the sim on latest beta , when running FS, it takes 5 or 6 minutes to get past the “checking for updates” then at least 10 minutes once the flight is selected and then loaded…!!
Now here is the thing…IF I use a VPN , (Nord- connected to anywhere basically) its just as fast as ever before, - no issues at all ! so something weird is going on (though I cant confirm if thats the beta or just timing coincidence)
Whatever could be happening to cause this?.. there are LOTS of reports of having to use VPN to increase download speeds for FS when updating, but ive never seen any for the actual loading times…im on steam version BTW…
Is it Microsoft or is it my ISP somehow throttling a direct connection to them for some odd reason… doesnt make sense to me…
Any ideas folks?

Most times this demonstrates that your internet provider is throttling the feed somewhere.

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This is Huge.

That does sound possible …but why would they be throttling only FS2020 , and what in particular are they throttling?..certain ports ? or microsoft servers?..all very odd…
AS I mentioned MANY have reported very low download speeds when updating FS2020 which are fixed immediately by a VPN, so that also makes me wonder what is going on…

This is a very common occurrence.
The reason is that MSFS is such a large stream.
The same would happen for any stream of this size, but there aren’t that many others this big, so most folks wouldn’t notice it.

Interesting.(and surprising) …so even though my download speed is around 900Mbps somehow they can throttle the actual FS2020 streaming to a crawl…? How is that done…by specifically throttling FS2020 servers or is it port based… I will call and ask the ISP , but im sure will get a brick wall reply

They’re throttling the MS CDN that delivers many MS services, including FS.

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I saw one thread here where someone did just that.
The person answering said - no way we don’t throttle.
So they asked the responder if they knew how throttling works, and the reply was - no I don’t, but I know we don’t do it!

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Charter , for example, charges for internet speed.

An interesting point, and one I have be meaning to raise.

I work for a large UK University, which I won’t name. We have access to a 20GB pipe to the Janet network, the Joint Academic Network.

I know precisely who my Internet provider is, and have contacts at both Janet, and the University IT team responsible for both our link into the University, and from there to Janet.

I can ask both groups if they do any QoS on connections to/from MS CDN servers, and I suspect I already know the answer to this one, but it might be worth asking all the same. I would be surprised if they weren’t doing some form of traffic shaping, but in a more general sense.

On this connection I did a test download of the sim, on a work machine, promptly deleting it afterwards, and I saw the same ~3Mbps connection 90% of the time.

It would also be worth arrange a standard test that MS/Asobo would accept is valid, external to the sim. A test download from MS/CDN servers that anyone could access, like a 1GB junk data file that could be downloaded.

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Is there any way we can definitively measure the throttling to those specific Microsoft CDN servers…(aside from how long it takes to load and update in game)
that would be interesting to see and useful ammunition for conversations with ISPs

Another thought occurs.

If the assumption is that ISP’s are to blame, and this is happening to people all over the world, with many different ISP’s, what are the chances that they are all throttling it to the same ~3Mbps?

Which is more likely:

Several dozen ISP’s globally have either through collusion or chance come up with the same rate limiting.

Microsoft/Azure/Playfab, being the single point of contact, are throttling downloads by a set amount.

I know where my money is, and a technical breakdown of what went wrong on two occasions already outlines how they have manipulated download rates without an update to the client.

Occam’s Razor applies.

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VPN’s don’t help everyone.
For those that do find it helps, it does seem to prove that MS is not throttling the servers.

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Not necessarily, it could also be imbalanced CDN server infrastructure.

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True. If I had a server farm of 5 web servers where two of them are broken, all with the same site, and I had a local way of choosing which server to connect to bypassing a load balancer, does that mean two of the servers are no longer broken? No, of course not, you just have the ability to choose a server that wasn’t broken. The VPN is doing just that.

Broken is this context means bypassing overloaded CDN servers. And “throttling” in this context may mean different things as we don’t have a clear picture of what is going on behind the scenes, but the net result is the same, that a lot of users are getting stuck with ~3Mbps, and I don’t believe for one second that is an ISP issue. I could believe the client could be doing it rather than the server though, but then that should apply even with the VPN in that case.

Another thought. If the VPN is blocking your ISP’s ability to detect your traffic to apply traffic shaping rules, then it should be a guaranteed fixed for everyone, equally. It wouldn’t matter which VPN provider you use, or which country your terminate in.

But of course it isn’t, and my last experiment gave me the same result no matter which country I chose.

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One thing a VPN can do is resolve or work around issues with a double nat’d network configuration. Might want to investigate your network config.

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hmm…havent changed anything recently, but worth a look- thanks. !
EDIT… a tracert command shows only one local hop , so I guess im not double nat’d…

Great info…thanks. !

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Nah.
For sure smth is wrong between us and game, ms servers or servers between ISP and Asobo/MS/Azure/Playfab/etc :wink:

I got my answer back from the Infrastructure Operations Manager at the University. They are pretty much the head of Networks there, being the technical design lead.

Could you tell me whether the local network and/or Janet have any kind of traffic shaping to or from the Microsoft Azure/Playfab CDN servers?

Not an urgent query, just some background information needed if possible.

— Quoted message ends —

We do not and, last time I checked, neither does Janet.

So there we have it. My ISP conclusively does not throttle, traffic shape, or use QoS to or from Microsoft Azure/Playfab servers.

And for the bit I manage here, I know we aren’t doing that on any of our firewalls. It’s not even enabled currently.

image

And yet I have the same download speed issues here at work as I do at home.

For me, the VPN method has worked in the past, but as discussed before I suspect that is more a case of forcing you onto a different server, in a different geographic location, one which might not be overloaded, or something along those lines.

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