For over 6 months I've had repeated complaints on and off about ping. Since january, I've even experienced the problems heavily. I've always assumed it was a resource issue or a software problem. Today I proved it wasn't the server itself.
While playing I turned on and off the firewall. At most there was a 2ms difference in all pings. So its not the firewall...
Then, I decided to give it a big test. I compiled FreeBSD completely, first the kernel and then the userland. It is the most stressful thing you can do and often used as a rough benchmark of a box's performance. Pings didn't go up AT ALL during the compile and no new lag noticed. That means its not a cpu, ram or hard drive performance problem!
What does that leave? Well 3 remaining things: the network card (unlikely), the ISP (Very likely) or the connection after the isp. Of course if it was 3, then it wouldn't effect EVERYONE.
My ping was 20ms slower than usual today. Some of the euro players weren't that high, but still claimed there was a lot of lag. traceroutes showed consistant issues between the hop before the isp and the isp itself. Further, it was a chicago to cleveland run which means its probably in a VPN tunnel because no one runs cable that far and has 1 router. In case you didn't know, a vpn can hide the physical link from everyone as the pings go through it and only show the endpoints. I learned this five years ago while working for usol.com. (fred was playing with dialup users link to the office)
Now a thread on the isps forum suggests that they are in fact bandwith shaping now. They admitted to bandwith shaping ICMP (ping,traceroute) but i bet they shape game servers if they do ANY shaping at all. Hence the pings are NOT MY FAULT and WILL NOT GET BETTER regardless of what i do. The only solution is to get a new hosting company if i want the et server to perform.
I can't do that right now for several reasons, mostly financially. Even if the new place is cheaper, they usually have a setup fee and 1 month overlap to move it. Its also a big pain in the ass.
If caryn and i stay in michigan, I found a place i can colo near flint that looks really good and affordable. There is also a place in grand rapids. The flint place looks better because default bandwith allocation is more. Its also CHEAPER to colo a normal case than a 1u. So i can buy a dell POS w/ a xeon, core dual or p4 htt or get a sun (except more $ unless i get the workstation!) I can't colo a G5 or an xserve there without paying a shitload though do to size. I might get away with caryn's G4 though if she got a new box...
Sun's appserver works on freebsd if you use the opensource version and compile. (might switch)
I'm also working on upgrading the jail to a new freebsd userland since i upgraded the parent. There are a few bugs in the beta that i need to correct. As long as i reboot once a week its a no brainer.