Download reduced by 95% after update - running in bursts

I feel very disappointed in having to post this instead of figuring it out myself, but I’m not finding any similar errors in search.

I’ve been running IPFire on X86 hardware for nearly 4 years, and it’s been running incredibly well (well enough that I’m an annual contributor… it’s better than any hardware router I’ve ever paid for.) Hardware is an older off-lease HP SFF PC. I basically forgot about it for well over a year, and decided it I’d better update. I was going to just reinstall as I couldn’t remember the admin PW, but luckily got the right one after about 20 tries (I use variations of the same thing.) Went to the latest 2.25, and to core 151 from (IIRC) core 127 - the system showed 554 days since last update. The multi-stage update took a good 15 minutes, rebooted, and all was well after reboot till I tried downloading large files.

My download manager was showing an initial burst at the 250 Mbit I have QoS set at that would run for 2-3 seconds, then nothing for 4-5 seconds. Another short burst, then nothing again. Went to the old speed test at DSL Reports, and it’s showing the same thing. I can post a SS of the graph, but I’m getting max speed for around 2 seconds (200+ Mbit), then it falls to zero, and winds up averaging out to around 10 Mbit. Upload at 15 Mbit is rock solid.

Turned off QoS, and same issue, though it looks like Charter Spectrum has upgraded the line a bit, as I’m getting a solid 20 Mbit on upload. Download, though, is still running in these strange bursts. I use QoS, as without it I get terrible bufferbloat which screws up timing in badly in latency sensitive games (Overwatch and FFXIV.) Turning QoS on or off, though, doesn’t change the issue.

Configuration is dead simple - it’s a red/green network only. No IPS, no explicit firewall rules. I originally went with IPFire on a pizza box PC from a hardware 66U router entirely to eliminate bufferbloat, as back in 2016 it was one of the few distros to use FQ_codel and it worked great for that. We were also hoping to get Gigabit in this neighborhood, but it’s only recently been announced for Q2 next year.

Any idea on what’s changed? If it’s something on the Charter/Spectrum end it would a huge coincidence, as it was running perfectly fine last night. Downloading from USENET always maxes out the 250 Mbit cap (DSL Speed reports showed a consistent 260, so I set it just under that.) It was a major update as it had been almost two years since I’d run it. Was something turned on by default between 2.17 and 2.25?

Played a quick game of Overwatch, and it seemed to run fine with my typical latency of 45ms. It appears only large bursts of download traffic causes the stall. Where should I start looking?

Further troubleshooting - looking at the back of the box, and the onboard NIC is physically shutting off and going dark periodically under load. It wasn’t doing this before the update - coincidence of updating causing the hardware to fail, or is it a compatibility issue with the latest version? The hardware is coming up on 7 years old.

Nevermind. Issue was discovered and solved Here. 2.19 and onward uses a newer Intel driver that seems to have an issue with certain HP & Lenovo machines. Fix is to put ‘ethtool -K green0 gso off gro off tso off sg off’ in console, and this solved the problem. Since I upgraded all in one go from 2.17 all the way to 2.25 I’d never encountered the issue before.

Ordering another discreet NIC tomorrow so I can simply disable that onboard interface.

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