Network Connectivity for Opensim

In general the network settings required for Opensim are described here: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Network_Settings.

Network Bandwidth

If you want to run Opensim regions that can be reached from the Internet, you need a broadband Internet connection. Especially important is a fast upstream network connection. High latency, packet loss or varying bandwidths can cause problems. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) what quality of service is guaranteed. Be careful if you read statements like “up to” a certain bandwidth, because the bandwidth available in reality might be much lower.

From my experience you need between 300 and 600 kbps upstream bandwidth per avatar arriving at one of the regions on your server. And be aware that you need to add up all required bandwidths for all regions using the same Internet connection. This capacity should be available until everything is loaded in the viewer of a person and that can take some minutes, depending on the number of prims, textures and scripts.

If you have a region with many visitors, you quickly need much upstream bandwidth. In that case it is strongly recommended to install a dedicated server at a hosting center. Otherwise your visitors would experience slow rezzing, regions that not rez completely at all or in the worst case even instabilities of your Opensim region server.

Never use a wireless connection to your server, because under heavy network load you would experience bursts of repeated packets. This can cause disruptions of your connectivity for up to some minutes. The result is, that all viewers of the people currently visiting your region will get disconnected. Always use cable connections to your server.

Access from the Internet

To allow people to connect to your Opensim regions, you need a fixed IP address or with a dynamic IP address (changing IP address numbers) a DYNDNS domain name that does not change.

If you have a dynamic IP address visit http://www.dyndns.com/ and register for their Dynamic DNS service. Configure your Internet router such that it automatically updates the IP address of your DYNDNS domain. Or alternatively use one of the update clients DYNDNS offers to ensure that your domain name is always associated with your current IP address.

To test if your server is reachable from the Internet go to http://network-tools.com/ and use the ping service.

Now try the same external IP address (number and/or DYNDNS domain name) using a local ping on your computer. It is important that this also works. If not you may need to add such a new line to your /etc/hosts file (edit this file as Linux root user):

127.0.0.1    <your external ip address>

Firewall Configuration

Open the ports required for Opensim in your firewall and ensure proper NAT forwarding as described here: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Network_Settings

After having installed and configured Opensim (see following articles) ask a friend to connect to your Opensim region over the Internet. While you do this test, check the console of your Opensim server for incoming messages. If everything is configured properly, you will see messages that are received and sent by Opensim while your friend arrives on your Opensim server.

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