There are many possible causes of lag. 99% of the time it will be nothing to do with your computer or Avalon's servers but a bottleneck at one of the many points or nodes on the wider internet. The string of inter-connecting nodes linking you and Avalon is known as the "route". Depending how far you are from Avalon's server in Washington DC, you will have more or less nodes in your route. We provide independent hubs as additional 'routes to connect' always available for your use, free and simple: see HELP HUBS for more info.
Everything you send to Avalon, and everything you receive from Avalon, is conveyed along the "route" in little chunks called "packets". These "packets" are time-stamped and destination-stamped so they know where they're going, and which order to display in. This is important as there are trillions of packets zinging around the internet at any given moment - and, since traffic is unpredictable, sometimes a packet sent a microsecond after its predecessor will actually reach you first and need to wait 'til the the former arrives to be displayed in the right order.
Avalon is sited in Washington DC at what we have determined the 'optimum' location on the global internet: equal distance Westen Europe to Avalon and West C oast USA to Avalon. Washington DC is one of the so-called internet hubs - a nexus of super-connections, so wheresoever the traffic originates it has a good chance of reaching us as quickly as could be. Four primary Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from the backbone to which Avalon is connected through its origin ISP of NetworkLayer: Level3, AlterNet/Verizon, Telia and RR.COM. There are some exceptions where special deals are brokered but most traffic goes through one of those four. Almost always lag will originate from the backbone or one of the ISPs.
Avalon provides you with three commands to test server speed, route and lag: HEARTBEAT, LAGTEST and TRACEROUTE. Type any of these commands while in Avalon, as described below:
Syntax: HEARTBEAT to listen to the Avalon "heartbeat".
It informs you how the Avalon server itself is doing. It takes up to a minute to hear the heartbeat. If ever you see capacity showing above 100% you will know the Avalon server is responsible for at least some of your lag.
Syntax: LAGTEST to begin the "ping" testing speed 'you <--> Avalon'.
This lagtest or "ping" involves sending a packet as directly as possible between the Avalon server and you and back again. This is repeated numerous times to work out an average time, which you will be told. It typically takes 30 seconds to complete.
Syntax: TRACEROUTE to list detailed route map 'you <--> Avalon'.
The "traceroute" uses a series of "pings" ultimately between Avalon and you but also between Avalon and each of the nodes between you and the Avalon server, working out an average time for each. This typically takes a minute. What this can show up is where on the internet the bottleneck of lag can be found since you will see fast trouble-free pings (low timings) to the fully-functioning nodes and then - when the lag pocket is hit - suddenly slow unreliable pings.
There are many tools you can download for your computer, to test your internet routes and connections. Traceroute and ping tend to be available in some form on almost all computer systems.
If you find lag a persistent problem and none of the above helps you pinpoint its cause, let us know by e-mail to email@example.com and we will do what we can to help. Check out HELP PING for a little lesson in how the internet works, how all these tests work and what results are satisfactory depending where you are in the world.