Navigation is very slow, and 4K playback frequently buffering

Set up:
Vero 4k, running Oct. 2020 build.
Connected wired to powerline adaptor which has another associated powerline adaptor connected directly to the router.
My BananaPi media server is connected directly to my router.

I believe I’ve mounted the server over SMB using FSTAB.

Log of issue -

The whole set up used to work fine and at good navigation speeds quite a while ago, but for months and months now it has been sluggish. Particularly going between menus, for instance going from the home screen into a menu like TV Shows or Films. Then once in those menus it is slow to go to a further submenu. This is not the case for menus like “System” however, indicating it is probably a connection to the media server issue.

The delay between clicking to access and it loading is sometimes 20s or so. It appears to be getting slower over time too, although that could be my imagination.

Possibly linked to this is playback of 4K files. I don’t watch much 4K content, but tried it out today. Went to watch some Rogue One 4K and initially it played fine. But skipped forward a bit and then it was just buffering. Exited and left it for a bit. Went back and clicked to resume from where I was, it loaded and then played for a second or too, then buffering… I have managed to watch this 4K file before, so I know this wasn’t always an issue.

I then logged the whole thing after a fresh restart, so the slow navigation into the menus and the 4K buffering playback should be in the log.

Concerned that it may be throughput speeds over the powerline, I used the arnubox speedtest add on to test my internet download and upload speeds.

Download was bad… 4.79Mbps, but my upload was good 17.21Mbps. I repeated it and got the same results. I’ve no idea why my download speed is so slow. I’m presuming though, that that may be related to my overall sluggish speed issues?

I tried connecting wirelessly, but that was a non starter. Speeds were microscopic after that (0.04Mbps upload, 0.00Mbps download) so I’m presuming there’s too much stuff around there to get a decent wireless signal (I’ve got a chromecast TV, chromecast audio, echo dot, and google home all using wireless connections in the immediate vicinity).

Any suggestions you have would be very much appreciated, and if any further info is required, let me know.

Edited to update to correct log file.

While yes you have configured the SMB mount using fstab but at the same time you are not using it in your sources.

// /mnt/media cifs x-systemd.automount,noauto,password= 0 0

    <path pathversion="1">smb://BANANAPI/Media_Server/</path>

So you should change your sources to use
/mnt/media instead for your sources.

Use iperf3 to test your LAN speed

Ok, I will change things as stated, but I’m afraid I’m very much a novice at these things, so I’m not sure how to do what you suggest. I apologise for my ignorance on this matter! If you, or someone, could explain which file I have to change, and which bit I should change to what, that would be appreciated.

My guess on what to do would be to change this line

<path pathversion="1">smb://BANANAPI/Media_Server/</path>

<path pathversion="1">mnt/media/BANANAPI/Media_Server/</path>

If that’s correct, then which file is that in?

Otherwise, yeah, sorry. I need to be spoonfed this one.

Use iperf3 to test your LAN speed

Will do. Will follow the instructions and get that done and report back.

Thanks for your help here, and hopefully this will resolve the issues!

Yeah you could do that, the file is .kodi/userdata/sources.xml alternatively in the GUI remove your existing sources and add them again via “Root Filesystem” and then navigate to /mnt/media/

Ok, I’ve changed the sources.xml file with the updated line, then restarted, however there was no notable change to the sluggishness of the navigation or 4K playback buffering.

Iperf3 results were as follows:

osmc@osmcveroplayroom:~$ iperf3 -R -c
Connecting to host, port 5201
Reverse mode, remote host is sending
[ 5] local port 49410 connected to port 5201
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bitrate
[ 5] 0.00-1.00 sec 542 KBytes 4.44 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 1.00-2.00 sec 526 KBytes 4.31 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 2.00-3.00 sec 378 KBytes 3.09 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 3.00-4.00 sec 568 KBytes 4.66 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 4.00-5.00 sec 547 KBytes 4.48 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 5.00-6.00 sec 557 KBytes 4.56 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 6.00-7.00 sec 409 KBytes 3.35 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 7.00-8.00 sec 484 KBytes 3.96 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 8.00-9.00 sec 450 KBytes 3.68 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 9.00-10.00 sec 464 KBytes 3.80 Mbits/sec

[ ID] Interval Transfer Bitrate Retr
[ 5] 0.00-10.00 sec 5.26 MBytes 4.41 Mbits/sec 10 sender
[ 5] 0.00-10.00 sec 4.81 MBytes 4.03 Mbits/sec receiver

iperf Done.
osmc@osmcveroplayroom:~$ iperf3 -c
Connecting to host, port 5201
[ 5] local port 49532 connected to port 5201
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bitrate Retr Cwnd
[ 5] 0.00-1.00 sec 3.62 MBytes 30.4 Mbits/sec 0 180 KBytes
[ 5] 1.00-2.00 sec 4.40 MBytes 36.9 Mbits/sec 0 417 KBytes
[ 5] 2.00-3.00 sec 5.92 MBytes 49.7 Mbits/sec 0 658 KBytes
[ 5] 3.00-4.00 sec 3.51 MBytes 29.4 Mbits/sec 34 570 KBytes
[ 5] 4.00-5.00 sec 4.26 MBytes 35.7 Mbits/sec 0 649 KBytes
[ 5] 5.00-6.00 sec 4.18 MBytes 35.1 Mbits/sec 0 711 KBytes
[ 5] 6.00-7.00 sec 4.35 MBytes 36.5 Mbits/sec 0 757 KBytes
[ 5] 7.00-8.00 sec 3.34 MBytes 28.0 Mbits/sec 1 554 KBytes
[ 5] 8.00-9.00 sec 4.31 MBytes 36.1 Mbits/sec 0 600 KBytes
[ 5] 9.00-10.00 sec 4.27 MBytes 35.8 Mbits/sec 0 629 KBytes

[ ID] Interval Transfer Bitrate Retr
[ 5] 0.00-10.00 sec 42.2 MBytes 35.4 Mbits/sec 35 sender
[ 5] 0.00-10.00 sec 40.0 MBytes 33.6 Mbits/sec receiver

iperf Done.

So my download speed from the servers, as with my general internet download speed, is slow, but the upload speed to the server, again as with my general internet upload speed, is ok.

Any idea what could be causing this difference? I’m presuming that as I’m able to get 30-40Mbps upload then the physical cables etc should also be capable of achieving the same speeds in the other direction?

Edit: I don’t think I managed to update the sources correctly. However I think I’ve now done it all in the GUI, and I’m just updating the library to refresh the sources. That’s gonna take some time…

I would reboot your powerline adapters and if that does not improve the speed then I would recommend trying different ethernet cables.

Additionally on the sources change it does not look like it was done optimally. The sources.xml is only used for scraping. Any items already in your library will not automatically update to use the system mount just by changing the source path, only newly scraped items would pick up the new path. With the way you did this didn’t you get everything in your library in duplicate? The proper way would have been to either leave the source as it was and use path substitution, or in Kodi go to the source, context menu, change content, set to none, OK, say yes to removing all items from that source from the library, then change source path (you can do this in Kodi), then set content and scrape fresh. The latter method will lose watched status.

Yeah, I’ve now added all the folders as sources in the new file path, and am in the process of updating my library. Updated all my playlists to the new file path.

The lost watched status will be a pain, but if it improves performance it’ll be worth it!

Once library updated, I’ll reboot the power lines.

The system mount becomes beneficial with large rips but if your only transferring 4mb/s from your source the Kodi path is not going to make any difference.

My personal preference is using path substitution as there is no re-scraping of the library and watched status is not affected.

The cables use different connection pins for data going to and from the server, so unplugging/replugging the RJ-45 connectors might possibly help. Also possible, but less likely, is a duplex mismatch.

Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I’ll be able to remedy the transfer speeds to make a bit of a difference.

However, for the unit in question, it’s too late. I’ve changed and am rescraping it all. I do however have a second Vero unit that isn’t used as much, so to avoid the slowness of the rescraping, I’ll use the path substitution method for that one.

Thanks for the suggestions. Once all the on going rescraping has been completed, I’ll switch all the cables in the path around to see if that then reverses the speeds. And if so, will then see what can be done to sort it all out.

If no joy, I’ll then look into that duplex mismatch.

I am confused here. I don’t think this tests were done via “cables” but via your power line adapters, correct?

Yes I’m using powerline adaptors, but I was meaning the ethernet cables that are attaching the Vero and router to the powerline adaptors.

Ok, but surely different up/download values are caused by the powerline adapter not the physical cables.

I would have thought, possibly incorrectly, that their data transfer rate would have been the same in either direction?

I think the ones I have are rated as either 200 or 500Mbps.

And I’m only going with a suggestion made by someone else on here as something to try to check to see if there’s a cable issue?

I personally have found that powerline just doesn’t work well. At least here in the US. If both adapters are not on the same ‘leg’ of the house circuit, then you get poor, inconsistent speeds. Even on the same ‘leg’ I never got consistent speed.

That is well worth trying new cables. That will rule them out. I have had problems in the past with bad cables. (Cat chewed on one!)

No surely both RX and TX will be influenced differently on the powerline. Your powerline tool normally will also show two values.

While we all know that poweline adapters can be problematic, the sensible approach is still to take a graduated approach and start with the easy / low-cost matters before moving up the ladder of complexity / cost.

So the first steps should always be to (double) check connections and cabling and restart devices, and then move on to cable substitution. Only then can it be safely assumed that the powerline adapters are the likely cause of the problem.

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Or just use the power line adapter tool to check what it reports about quality and throughput