Bug #2659

VOIP sound keeps breaking up on jittery connections

Added by osmo over 5 years ago. Updated over 4 years ago.

Status:Closed Start date:07/07/2009
Priority:High Due date:
Assignee:- % Done:

50%

Category:VON
Target version:-
Affected ArmA II version:1.51.71083 DVD First affected build:
Reproduced by another DH user:No First affected ArmA II version:
I am using some Mods: Single / Multi Player?:
I am using: BIForumURL:
Reproducible for you: NGUrl:
Related to content of DLC: WIKIurl:

Description

This seems to be an issue with everyone I've talked with. The in-game voice chat keeps breaking up once in a while when using it. Sometimes some words gets completely missing, sometimes the voice just stops and then continues after half-a-second or one second from where it was.

We have tested it with the server VOIP quality set to 3, 7 and 10. Same issue in all cases.

ArmA2-Sound-Bug.ogg (309 kB) osmo, 01/17/2010 16:26

History

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Feedback

Any specific reason you can see or assume that causes it?

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

At first I thought it could be bandwidth issue, but since we have players with many different kind of connections and the breaking-up seems to happen randomly to anyone (and then everyone hears that same guy breaking up), it seems that something else is causing it.

Some of the breaking up might have to do something with the fact that the game seems to still activate the sending of voice according to the volume level of received sound in microphone even if push-to-talk is used. What I mean by that is: If we use push-to-talk, it should be sending the sound from mic in all the time when push-to-talk key is pressed down, but it still seems to send it only when high enough volume of audio is detected from the microphone (as in voice auto-activation). I'm not 100% sure that this is the case, but it appears to be so. We found this out as someone was speaking quietly, it kept breaking up, and when he spoke more loudly, it did not break up anymore.

Probably disabling the voice activation while push-to-talk is used could improve part of this issue.

This, however, can't be the source of all of the cut-offs, because some cut-offs also happen in the middle of loudly-spoken word, and then after the break the word continues from where it left. Could this be caused by some of the VOIP packets coming a bit delayed?

If yes, then maybe if more of the received VOIP talk could be buffered more in the receiving side before it starts playing it, this could be solved as if some packets are delayed, the buffer keeps the voice playing without breaks.

Edit: Something I could add is that this breaking up happens quite randomly. Sometimes it breaks up about 30% of all VOIP, sometimes some guy's voice is 100% breaking up (1-2 breaks in a second). Sometimes it works fine and does not break up at all. Still every time we have given it a try, we have experienced a situation where the break-ups have been so bad that the VOIP could not be used for communication as we simply can't hear each other properly.

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

I have had many people telling me about the same problem. Actually I have never talked to anyone who would have the VOIP working without breaking up. The built-in voice chat has a lot of potential and is superior over external programs due to the direct talk and not needing to install another program etc, but currently afaik it's not used almost at all mainly because of this breaking up problem.

Updated by Alan.rio over 5 years ago

osmo wrote:

I have had many people telling me about the same problem. Actually I have never talked to anyone who would have the VOIP working without breaking up. The built-in voice chat has a lot of potential and is superior over external programs due to the direct talk and not needing to install another program etc, but currently afaik it's not used almost at all mainly because of this breaking up problem.

I can confirm this on our servers too.

Updated by Fireball over 5 years ago

  • Due date set to 09/10/2009

This needs verification for 1.03 and later, but changelog did not indicate any changes. Unless anybody can confirm a better working VON, I'll set this to 1.03 affected version on due date.

Updated by Dwarden over 5 years ago

  • Assignee set to Dwarden
  • Target version set to 1.04 BETA
  • % Done changed from 0 to 50

should be resolved / better in latest public beta

Updated by Dwarden over 5 years ago

  • Affected ArmA II version changed from 1.02.58134 to 1.03.58627

Updated by ViperMaul over 5 years ago

I myself and my teammates experienced this problem with build 58972. There were some missions that did not have this problem however.

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

  • Due date changed from 09/10/2009 to 09/23/2009

After the hotfix now the complete fix:

[58990] Fixed: Crashes in VoN when many players were speaking simultaneously.

Please confirm it working or not. Thank you!

Updated by ViperMaul over 5 years ago

After testing build 59025, it is much improved. It no longer keeps breaking up for me. Only on the initial voice received from player speaking seemed to cutout half of the 2nd word of the session but after that it was smooth for me. I was able to hear direct communication channel for up to 80 meters away. But that should probably be a separate issue report. I am pleased VON is getting better with each build now. Almost there.

Updated by Inkompetent over 5 years ago

Playing beta build 59025 my voice is still breaking up for others when I'm speaking to the point that VON is completely useless for me to use. I'm usually playing at TacticalGamer server from Sweden, which means trans-atlantic connection and about 120+ ping.

I can hear others just fine, but it seems that the worse the ping, the worse the VON. In programs like TeamSpeak I have zero issues though, which ought to mean something is wrong with the way VON transmits.

Also, the more people that speaks simultanously (i.e. exponentially more people getting VON data transfered to them) the worse the quality gets, and fairly quickly it is at a point where it doesn't matter what bandwidth or quality settings the server has. People will still cut out or get generally low quality/jaggy comms.

Updated by ViperMaul over 5 years ago

Hello Inkompetent, good to see you again.
For the record, we should probably add what VON Quality Setting the TacticalGamer server was set to.
I will find out the server I was using, generally get 70 ping and I believe the VON Quality was set to 6. I will have to confirm that.

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

I can confirm that it is still breaking up. We are using quality 7, and the breaking up / cutting off in the middle of word makes it quite difficult to understand orders spoken over VOIP. Sometimes it's almost usable but other times it's so bad that it cuts off all the time. The cut is usually less than a second, in middle of sentence.

Here's my theory of what is causing it:

Maybe ArmA2 does not buffer the sound at all when it receives it, but instead starts playing it immediately. As all network packets don't always transfer smoothly, if some packets of the sound arrive a bit late, it immediately causes the sound stopping on the receiving side until the next packets arrive.

A solution for this would be to buffer the sound before playing it in the game. E.g. 0.5-1.0 second buffer would most likely get rid of all cut-offs if this is the cause of the problem. If some packets get a bit longer to arrive, the buffer would handle it and the sound would play well on the receiving side.

Updated by Fireball over 5 years ago

  • Status changed from Feedback to Assigned

Thanks for the feedback!

kju, as for the CL reference, I think the crashes are a different issue than the one this bug refers to.

Updated by Fireball over 5 years ago

  • Subject changed from VOIP sound keeps breaking up to VOIP sound keeps breaking up with high latency

I according the feedback and my own experience (long VON chat with Dwarden), it must be all connected to latency.

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.04 BETA to 1.04.59026

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

So I assume this is still valid for 1.04?

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

Yes, problem is still there in 1.04. We've tested it quite much in 1.04 and it seems that it's same as it has been before.

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

  • Due date changed from 09/23/2009 to 10/23/2009
  • Target version changed from 1.04.59026 to 1.05 BETA
  • Affected ArmA II version changed from 1.03.58627 to 1.04.59026

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Updated by Dwarden over 5 years ago

  • Status changed from Assigned to In progress
  • Priority changed from Normal to High
  • Reproduced by another DH user set to No

Updated by Fireball over 5 years ago

  • Due date changed from 10/23/2009 to 11/23/2009

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

  • Target version changed from 1.05 BETA to Upcoming version

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

I don't think this problem is necessarily connected to latency. We have people who constantly break up (e.g. 50% of what they say just gets lost and we can't hear it), with good (50 ms - 60 ms) pings. On the other hand, someone from Australia with over 300 ping is always very audible and does not break up.

Could be something to do with jitter, though? I will try to investigate if those whose sound breaks up have jitter.

Updated by Fireball over 5 years ago

  • Due date changed from 11/23/2009 to 12/28/2009

Unfortunately, most admins disable it still on their public server, which makes it hard if not impossible to test it.

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

We've been trying to use the voice chat for several weeks now, and one observation we've made which might be important is this: The problem seems to be always with the sending. E.g. if someone is received fine by one person, he is received fine by everyone. If someone's voice is breaking up, he is breaking up for everyone at that moment. So this problem seems to be already occurring in the upload of the one who is speaking, not on the receiving side.

Updated by 1longtime over 5 years ago

VON breakup is still a major issue. Some players broadcast with long pauses every time they speak, sometimes the entire message is sent (in pieces) and other times the message is incomplete. This occurs often on the server I play on frequently (tacticalgamer.com) and most often when European players are attempting to broadcast a message to groups of North American players.

osmo wrote:

Probably disabling the voice activation while push-to-talk is used could improve part of this issue.
This, however, can't be the source of all of the cut-offs, because some cut-offs also happen in the middle of loudly-spoken word, and then after the break the word continues from where it left.

Identical symptoms for me/us. I have experienced this on several different servers.

Several server admins use Teamspeak almost exclusively because VON reliability is so poor. There was some improvement with VON performance widely noticed after switching servers to a 1.04 beta a couple of months ago, but the overall problem is still very bad.

Updated by kju over 5 years ago

My advice would be to contact Dsl from ShackTactical.
Maybe he/they can get more attention from BI on VOIP.

Updated by osmo over 5 years ago

This doesn't seem to have anything to do with ping/latency. We have server in UK, and everyone can always hear my voice perfectly (I am in Finland). We have one player from USA and his voice is always heard perfectly. We have some from UK with much lower pings, and they are breaking up.

Another thing, it doesn't matter where the sound is sent to. If the sound works fine, everyone can hear him fine no matter where he is (e.g. everyone in USA, Australia can hear me always fine even though I am in Finland). However, if someone is breaking up, he is breaking up for everyone. This has something to do with the sending of the voice, not receiving.

Updated by Preacher over 5 years ago

Our server also has quality issues. We would LOVE to use in-game VOIP and have tried it with every patch since ArmA 1 days, but it's unusable. The quality is variable and very choppy. We run a TeamSpeak server on the same physical server and Teamspeak sounds fine, so it's nothing to do with the physical server or network. I've mucked around with arma2.cfg network settings to no avail.

One theory is that perhaps ArmA doesn't prioritise VOIP packet processing and people's CPU's are spiking and interrupting VOIP processing, whereas TeamSpeak is able to get enough CPU time as the OS will pre-emptively multitask.

Updated by osmo about 5 years ago

Attached an example (ogg format), recorded 2010-01-16 with version 1.05. Voice quality is 8. The problem is still there and I haven't seen any change with 1.05. As mentioned before, does not seem to be connected with latency (even though the topic says so). Some people from Finland, Australia and USA can be heard by everyone and each other nicely, but on the other hand some people from UK who definitely have low latency to server and each other are breaking up for each other and everyone else.

It must have something that happens already when the voice is sent, because when one person's voice is breaking up, his voice breaks up int he same way for everyone (we have tested and confirmed this).

Updated by kju about 5 years ago

  • Due date changed from 12/28/2009 to 02/17/2010
  • Affected ArmA II version changed from 1.04.59026 to 1.05.62017

Updated by osmo about 5 years ago

To the contrary of my experiences previously, it seems that voice quality has significant effect on this. For a week we tried to use quality 10 on the server, and everyone were breaking up so badly that we were not able to hear almost anyone. 80-90% of people were breaking up most of the time.

After changing the quality to 7, a lot of the people can now be heard well. Now 80-90% of people are can be heard well and are not breaking up, or break up only a little bit. However, there are still people whose voice is breaking up so much that it's hard to understand them.

Updated by kju about 5 years ago

  • Category changed from Multiplayer to VON

Any improvement with the latest beta patch?

  • [62533] Fixed: The voice over net speech was often delayed more than required.

Updated by osmo about 5 years ago

This problem seems to have gotten worse with the latest patch.

We've tried it with server and all clients patched to latest ARMA2 Build 63826. Everyone was breaking up more than usually. After we switched to a server without beta patch, and some people did not use beta patch, the voice of those people was much better. However, those people who were still using ARMA2 Build 63826, were breaking up a lot more than before when they used 1.05 patch without beta.

Updated by osmo almost 5 years ago

The topic still says "with high latency" although this problem seems to have nothing to do with latency. It is more likely connected to jitter. We did some analyzing of one of the guys whose voice is always breaking up (much more than others), and it turned out his connection has jitter. Probably only way to fix it is to somehow improve the way ArmA 2 handles incoming packets. My assumption is that currently ArmA 2 discards any packets that come in a wrong order (due to jitter) and thus voice gets lost.

Updated by Fireball almost 5 years ago

  • Subject changed from VOIP sound keeps breaking up with high latency to VOIP sound keeps breaking up on jittery connections

Updated by mr.g-c almost 5 years ago

For further tracking you could let "wireshark" run in the background and capture all packets. We've used this mighty tool a lot on Network-Debugging .-)

Updated by kju over 4 years ago

  • Due date changed from 02/17/2010 to 08/01/2010
  • Status changed from In progress to Feedback
  • Assignee deleted (Dwarden)
  • Target version deleted (Upcoming version)
  • Audio card set to Please specify!
  • Size of OS swap file set to Please specify!

This should be improved in OA. Please confirm.

Updated by osmo over 4 years ago

Confirmed. VOIP now works without breaking up for some who were always breaking up before. Tested with latest version (1.52 + first beta) of OA.

Updated by kju over 4 years ago

  • Due date deleted (08/01/2010)
  • Status changed from Feedback to Closed
  • Affected ArmA II version changed from 1.05.62017 to 1.51.71083 DVD

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