DISH VOD issues

mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
Full disclosure: I am not a dish subscriber, I am a Network Ops Tech at a small ISP.

I have a customer who is unable to consistently use Dish VOD. It will work about once a day but never consistently. He has troubleshot with the Dish tech and received 4 different STB's but can't seem to get anything to work when he wants it to work. Many times it will load the EPG and start to play a title and get stuck at the opening frame or just go straight to a buffering wheel. I have a bandwidth graph attached to his service and he will soak up 75M until he stops the VOD title so I believe the STB is trying to play the title.

At this point he has lost patience with Dish and the tech continues to blame my ISP. I don't believe the problem lies on my end but I don't want to leave the subscriber on an island with everyone pointing fingers.

If it is my problem I will resolve it. I have the ability to change routing decisions if there is an extra amount of latency going to the Dish VOD cluster(which I suspect). My problem is nobody can seem to tell me what DN or IP the VOD service is tied to. I have not visited the home and gathered this info from wireshark but i will if nobody has the answer.

Does anyone know the DN or IP of the VOD cluster? I would like to trace the path and see where the bottleneck lies.

The customer has no issues with speed or connectivity. Dish replaced the router with one that they "approved" and it still doesn't work. The customer is a 15M down/3M up subscriber but I have gifted him 300M/300M service until we get this resolved. We have tested at the site with the 300M speed and there is no packet loss and customer tests at just a hair over 300M every time.

Any help is appreciated.
 

sdfntx

Hook 'em, 'Horns!
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I have no idea if this detail will be of any help in troubleshooting, but . . . I have 2M down / .5M up (sadly, that's the best I can get from my only ISP out here in the sticks), and I'm able to use VOD without too much problem. It does have to buffer a bit before I can view, so if his issue is about viewing VOD immediately, my info probably doesn't relate. Do with it what you will! :) Oh, and my router isn't
Dish-issued - so I don't know if it's "approved" or not.
 

tallfence

SatelliteGuys Guru
Dec 1, 2010
143
67
New Hampshire
Try setting the max download to the hopper at 25M. Starting a few months ago I was consistently getting "download failed". I think it may have started after Comcast changed me from 25M down to 50M down. Someone on an old thread here said he throttled down the bandwidth to his hopper and the fails stopped. I connected my HWS to my cell phone's hot spot, which is about 6M down, and the download completed. I connected the HWS back to my cable router and set the max bandwith to HWS to 25M and now get consistent downloads without fails.
 
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mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
I'll gather the box model and software version. I'm not sure he can get that for me so I'll make a site visit.

I was told by the dish tech that his speed should be fine for VOD. Immediately after moving him to 300M he attempted to play Westworld and it worked for about 10 seconds then said buffering...his graph spiked to 73M and hung there for about 3 hours. 73M solid, for 3 hours.

I'm not sure he cares about viewing immediately but just in a reasonable amount of time(30-45 seconds). The issue is it just never plays, sometimes he can't get to the EPG, sometimes he can, sometimes it plays, most often it acts like it will start but never does. All other streaming services work great. Its pretty puzzling and I'm a bit torn about over-serving a service that I didn't install. Of course, I'm the ISP and its riding my internet....so naturally I'm used to getting the blame.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,195
Germantown OH
Try setting the max download to the hopper at 25M
I downloaded (3) VODs last night, well, I queued up (6) and (3) completed by the time I went to bed. I have 65/6 Mb/s, no QOS or throttling configured in my router, and downloads work fine. While they're downloading, it shows the 'streaming' speed and mine was routinely around 50 Mb/s.
 

mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
I've tried a bunch of bandwidth settings(luxury of being the ISP). I've tested with the customer on the phone with speed settings of 5M, 8M, 15M, 25M, 50M, and finally 300M. I have not attempted to change the route decision to use a different Tier 2 carrier. That's a change I'd be willing to do but I'd have to put a little more thought into.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,195
Germantown OH
Not really. When the receiver is installed, it automatically downloads software. The technician can't control what version it is.

Sent from my HTC6535LVW using Tapatalk
 

mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
Gotcha, Thanks for all the help.

So is there any fix then if its buggy software? I will hopefully get on site tomorrow to check the version for myself.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,195
Germantown OH
Wait.... for updated s/w, I mean.

Personally, I downloaded 3+ VODs yesterday with the latest s/w with no problem. I have U336.

Sent from my HTC6535LVW using Tapatalk
 

mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
I have a small update in case it would prove helpful to someone later on.

Customer has a Hopper w/Sling. I'm not sure what model that is but it is running U224 firmware. Whenever I checked network details in diagnostics the server connection was always red and displayed "failed".
Using a mobile hotspot wirelessly to the DVR the VOD content seemed to load no problem. So we went back to the ethernet connection and server connection was now "OK" but still failed to load VOD.

Long story short and 3 hours later....Setting a static DNS Server on their wireless router to 8.8.8.8(Google) and resetting the DVR seems to have fixed the issue. I suspect there is a DNS problem somewhere but I can't really prove it.

Maybe someone can tell me if this is normal but the DVR seemed kind of sluggish and took a bit to load the EPG cover art, and sometimes will download the content but only display a black screen and no audio for the length of the content. If you delete it and re-download the same content, it works fine. Is the firmware just a little buggy?
 

TheLip

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Feb 24, 2016
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Greendale IN (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Since Dish changed the receiver 3x (4 boxes) and we know he has plenty of bandwidth, I virtually guarantee it is an issue on the home network. Most likely the router. Consumer routers can do a lot of wonky stuff that defies any rational explanation.

On another note....@mtccarlson- I commend you for your over-the-top customer service. Your dedication to helping the customer in this case has been outstanding. Good customer service has become a lost art in many instances...kudos to you sir!
 

TheLip

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Lifetime Supporter
Feb 24, 2016
686
388
Greendale IN (Lawrenceburg, IN)
No, Dish has quietly acknowledged a s/w problem on their end. Doesn't matter if Dish swaps 25 different receivers, they get pushed the same "broken" s/w.
I am very aware of the issues. Many of us have the U334 software and have no consistent problems streaming. Four different boxes AND consistent problems AND the fact that a dns server change helped him point toward a network problem. Furthermore, depending on the timeline of the receiver changes, some of them could have pre-dated U334. U336 has been the software version most likely to cause vod problems anyway.
 

Least

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Weird question, but how many programs has he tried downloading at the same time. If a program is still downloading, it will stall out if the show isn't completely downloaded. It's more On (hour delay) Demand. However, it does rival cable quite well with a good internet package.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,195
Germantown OH
Many of us have the U334 software and have no consistent problems streaming
He has a Hopper w/Sling, running U224 (currently). No one can say which version for the H2 shares the problem VOD code that the H3 has. They definitely share code though, based on different issues that occur on the H1, H2, and H3.

U336 has been the software version most likely to cause vod problems anyway.
I have U336 and no problem with VOD. Go figure....
 
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Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,195
Germantown OH
Weird question, but how many programs has he tried downloading at the same time. If a program is still downloading, it will stall out if the show isn't completely downloaded. It's more On (hour delay) Demand. However, it does rival cable quite well with a good internet package.
Haha ! Very true ! If you're not careful and download multiple shows in a row, each new one takes the #1 spot in the queue. That is, unless you pick "Watch later" for the subsequent ones.

By the way, you can re-order them once they're in progress as well.
 
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mtccarlson

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 21, 2016
8
2
Iowa
Thanks for all the replies. Customer DOES attempt to download more than 1 episode at a time(impatient) but from what he explained to me he always chooses "watch later". I will say it seems the receiver struggles with queuing regardless of which option you choose. It seems to work best when you download an asset, wait for it to finish, attempt to watch it. With no more interactions with VOD during that download time.

TheLip - I've tried 3 different routers...DMZ'ing the STB. I'm not sure how changing the public DNS on the router would point to home network issues. To me if points to a larger scale issue with MX records pointing at servers on Dish's end. I've traced the Dish name servers (ns-1.dishnetwork.com, ns-2.dishnetwork.com) and always get a fail at a providers core router. I've attempted this using my ISP as the default router, Sprint as the default route, and VZW as the default route. Perhaps Dish isn't allowing tracing on their name servers.

I will agree, there is packet failure somewhere but intimately knowing my public network, as well as confirming the loss is not on the customers private network, I have to suggest this is a Dish problem either on the receiver firmware or on the server side.

I suggested the customer push Dish for a new Hopper 3 box to see if that helps(they have given him 3 different hopper w/sling). They refused unless he paid another $100 and signed a 2 year contract.
 

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