Just a brief overview of my mental notes on Monday , will have add a more formal post later once I get all the numbers looking pretty.
a. Steam Caching - was a big reason for our success. Cached 108G of games and saw at several times it as the #1 talker on the network to local clients.
b. Traffic Shaping configuration - we had some times were there was high latency to Internet traffic and servers but overall it was a workable config and it can and was tweaked when needed to get better results.
c. No issues with table switches / main switch / cabling.
d. DNS spoofing for *.cs.steampowered.com - this made the caching work and might look to do this with other domains as well if we can expand on the caching that nginx does for us.
a. TWC got us with same gateway for both modems till we change NIC MAC's and resolved that. Need to remember MAC's for future use so we can have both modems on different gateways.
Once we had both modems working and load balancing on Sunday - LoL pings were under 100 and BF3 server pings were under 80 even to Euro servers. This will let us bring in a 3rd modem and do some even more advanced configurations with traffic segmentation and optimization. (Did I mention I am always looking to do things better than I did the last time down to the nth detail??)
b. Alias configuration of port map in PFsense - Looks like I will need to tweak that a bit as the big configuration of ports was working from some games but not for others it seems. I will have to consolidate ports by Protocol and then re-segment by game type I think for a cleaner configuration. I had to tweak the qNerf queue a couple of times to not block some legitimate traffic for some of the games.
c. PRTG stat monitoring - I was not able to do as much as I wanted with PRTG this time. I had bigger plans for it but with all the other stuff going in , it goes pushed to the side. I will work on it for next time. If we can get Trendnet to give us that switch then we can pull stats from that like I plan on doing. My goal was to make PRTG a link on ALP so that people could go to it and using a generic login - look at stats on their PC and even find their IP / workstation name and see what their machine was doing on the network.
Overall I am pleased with how the event ran from start to finish. We showed that we can run on one modem , granted ping times were higher than we wanted to and some games had latency but I did troubleshoot those for the most part and resolved a lot of them for the attendees.
Here is my wish list for the next event:
1. Mini-ITX motherboard for firewall / router - being worked on now
2. Better switch from Trendnet for core switch - prefer a L2 / L3 switch to pull SNMP
3. Make or purchase new cables for staff area - use orange for the color
4. Find a small rack to use for network equipment - so we can look like we are pro's
5. Fully develop PRTG for stat monitoring
6. Ban LoL as a LAN party game!!!! (just had to put that in there)
Please add anything you guy's saw or heard and also any areas that you feel that I can improve upon from the event.
I love the idea of getting the network hardware racked in a small 8U or 10U unit; maybe even with casters on the bottom so it can be easily rolled in and out of the venue.
Regarding general caching of web traffic, you can install squid
in pfSense and provision a cache size of your choosing to take caching a step further. It would probably be worthwhile to find a way to exclude Steam-destined traffic from Squid so we're not double-caching or negating the benefits of the Steam reverse proxy.
I think that the PRTG integration to ALP would be very helpful for responsible LAN participants that want to be aware of their usage and help minimize harmful network traffic/Internet usage. If I saw that I was still pulling 2Mbps I might realize that I left my BT client running (I'm not really a BT user, that said) and could shut it down. As this is a web integration, if you'd like me to look into the implementation I'd be happy to take a look at the ALP source and the PRTG API and see what we can do.
All in all, I think the network performance at v13 was a great improvement over some of the obstacles that were faced at the two prior LANs. There's a clear path of improvement already set for v14 and I'm excited to see what other innovations like the Steam proxy are implemented in LANs to come.
I very much agree with what everyone has said. Sideout you did an awesome job with the network, made my life easier when it came to running the tournaments. Can't wait to see what you do next. But for now, take a break for a few days at least.