Failing to diagnose latency issues in World of Warcraft

I've had this issue with very intermittent, short latency spikes in games (like World of Warcraft) that's been driving me nuts. I'm hoping someone could give me some pointers on what to try next to diagnose the issue. I can't even be sure if the blame is mine or my ISP. So far, I've done the following to try and root cause the issue.

  • Set up an mtr script that I run while gaming to see if I can observe lag spikes in the form of packet loss or ping increases. Here is an example capture. In this case, WoW rubber banded around 9:59 but nothing actually stands out in the data. This was hitting but I've tried to hit Blizzard servers before as well, though they don't seem to prioritize ping very high.
  • I set up cake on a RT-AC86U Asus router (running Merlin firmware) after taking a bufferbloat test on my older router and scoring a D (dslreport test). I do get an A to A+ now but I've still seen small lag spikes.
  • I do tend to have some packet loss according to tests, usually around 1%.
  • The tests are all run from a desktop with an ethernet connection to the router, and the router out to a switch shared by the entire building (12 units), which goes to a dish of some sort on the roof. I'm hazy on the exact technology though. It isn't cable, its over the air.
  • My tests using Flent look fine as well, spiking up around 40-50ms ping during the load test.
  • My router's logs don't seem to ever have anything useful in them at all, though I've only checked the main logs available via the GUI. I'm a programmer but I don't have a lot of networking domain knowledge so I'm not sure what's best to check after something goes wrong.

I use a smaller ISP in Seattle called Atlas. They're got pretty bad customer service and they haven't been helpful at all troubleshooting it. I don't have any conclusive evidence that it's their fault over mine just yet though.

Is there a better test I can run or data I can capture while gaming to try to find out why this happens? Am I just wrong to expect that those small lag spikes/rubber banding won't ever happen?

fundamentally microwave / radio wave is always going to suffer some losses due to noise/interference (you're seeing 1% packet loss, which is reasonable for that kind of tech). Packet loss and latency are very closely related in real-time / game systems. If a packet arrives late, it's essentially lost as the server won't go back and re-play the game. Depending on the technology there might also be some contention for the radio time that could cause latency.

over fiber to a close by server (5 or 6 hops) you could achieve that approximately, over a wireless system and the broad internet... no. you'll always have some issues. The goal is to minimize them to the point where they don't bother you too much.

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How is your question related to OpenWrt?

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