VPN bug caused bandwith issues in Steam even when toggled off in Total

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NetQvist
NetQvist Posts: 3 Observer

I wasted 2-3 hours yesterday troubleshooting why Steam's download speeds had dropped to 1,5-3MB/s instead of the usual 55MB/s. Asked some local friends on the same ISP within a few km to see how their speeds were.... maxed out, no issue.

Every other launcher (Ubisoft, Epic) and Internet downloads were doing 50+ as well. I even tried swapping to a mobile connection and it still had the same issue! Tried another computer and that one had no issue so it was clearly just this one computer.

I have not enabled the VPN a lot even, perhaps <10 times and to my knowledge I've always turned it off.

Finally after trying everything else I thought I'd see if using the VPN would change anything. So I turned it on with the Finland one. Magically the download speed instantly went to 55MB/s..... I was just like what the heck. So I turned it off again and it stayed at 55MB/s.

So your VPN had somehow screwed up Steam's download route permanently even though it was off. Something was left somewhere in Windows that really messed things up and a toggle off and on fixed it.

Things that did not fix it:

  • Rebooting router
  • Rebooting PC
  • Changing Internet connection to Wi-fi
  • Changing Internet connection to mobile through wi-fi hotspot
  • Changing Steam download region
  • Any setting in Steam downloads

And once again, the only affected application was Steam. So it was just by pure chance that I tried toggling the VPN which finally fixed it. I'm not sure how long this had been an issue but I remember having issues with the download speed for a few other things on Steam around 1-2 weeks back so it would probably have been a permanent issue.

Accepted Answer

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,637 Superuser
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    Hello,

    I'm not going to call some phone number for this, I'll uninstall the junk well before that.

    Okay. Just to add a bit more clarity: "web-chat" option is also available (which is 'like' web chatting); so, no need to call some phone number - instead, you can try to trigger discussion with Support technicians (as a way to open a ticket or 'sharing' technical information about your case) for further more convenient ways. This is a widget in 'bottom right corner' of Support page (Contact support | F‑Secure (f-secure.com)). It is available most of the time; when not - just advisable to try fifteen minutes later (or so).

    Concerning Steam you are allowed to use a VPN, no issues at all. What you aren't allowed to do is spoof your location in any way to buy products from another region. Anyways it's not Steam I'm primarily using the VPN for, honestly I never really used it apart from activating it a few times to read region blocked sites. The exclude thing also does not nothing for this sadly.

    Good to read that. I do not use Steam for my own, so it was a bit of 'strange' for me to read some mentions of restrictions with VPN and Steam usage. But your mentioned situation is a bit more understandable.

    If the F-Secure network device is installed on this computer my Steam somehow throttles like crazy.

    ...

    I wouldn't be inclined to believe something like this myself normally but I've toggled the VPN so many times now and seen the speed magically go from 2->55 MB/s within a instant that I have no other explanation as to what is doing this.

    Again, if it is so reproduceable. I only would suggest to share this information with official F-Secure Support or maybe to wait an attention from F-Secure Community official members.

    Because, based on your description - it should be quite visible/relatable to something around VPN. Usually generated fsdiag (by F-Secure Support Tool) is required - but its content cannot be shared publicly.

    In my experience, I practically never use a VPN (in other words, I don’t need it and can only turn it on sometimes to test this or that functionality). Therefore, with this use, I did not notice any impact on the system or network speed. But again - you describe that this only happens with the Steam client.

    Since there are a lot of discussions on the Internet about the “strange” decrease in loading speed on Steam (without reference to specific other applications, OS or any other settings). Maybe turning F-Secure Privacy VPN on or off might change something causing Steam to go back to normal. But... in this case, some of the other actions you described should have helped too. And, then, it doesn’t explain why complete deactivation of the component has any effect.

    And their own position (Steam Support :: Programs Which May Interfere with Steam (steampowered.com)) - anything may affect their service.

Answers

  • NetQvist
    NetQvist Posts: 3 Observer
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    Figured out another way to fix it.... uninstalling the f-secure vpn adapter from network devices and download speed instantly shoots up. I don't know what the heck f-secure is doing to my steam connection but it's extermely annoying.

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,637 Superuser
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    Hello,

    So your VPN had somehow screwed up Steam's download route permanently even though it was off. Something was left somewhere in Windows that really messed things up and a toggle off and on fixed it.

    Have you tried contacting F-Secure technical support? Since, obviously, it is likely that some logs or something else will be required to determine whether F-Secure Privacy VPN is the cause of the indicated problems.

    F-Secure official support channel (as a way to start ticket about) there: Contact support | F‑Secure (f-secure.com)

    But note that the official F-Secure representatives on the Community pages may also be able to help and assist with a technical solution. So if you have the desire and time, then sooner or later someone will try to help you and collect more information.

    Based on your description - I can't say that F-Secure Privacy VPN looks like an obvious cause of speed problems on Steam. Yes, and it’s a little strange that even a disabled VPN connection somehow affects only one specific application. By the way, there were mentions somewhere that Steam does not allow the use of a VPN - so it’s better to exclude it just in case (Allowing applications to bypass Privacy VPN | Total | Latest | F-Secure User Guides ).

    uninstalling the f-secure vpn adapter from network devices and download speed instantly shoots up.

    If it wasn't a coincidence. Have you tried simply "disabling" adapter (make it "gray") instead of uninstalling?

    as such, troubles with 'downloading speed' in Steam is a quite popular topic. I mean, in general terms (Steam community and so on).

    Thanks!

  • NetQvist
    NetQvist Posts: 3 Observer
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    I'm not going to call some phone number for this, I'll uninstall the junk well before that.


    Concerning Steam you are allowed to use a VPN, no issues at all. What you aren't allowed to do is spoof your location in any way to buy products from another region. Anyways it's not Steam I'm primarily using the VPN for, honestly I never really used it apart from activating it a few times to read region blocked sites. The exclude thing also does not nothing for this sadly.


    And this problem itself, I honestly cannot figure it out. If the F-Secure network device is installed on this computer my Steam somehow throttles like crazy. Turning it on and off seems to usually fix it from the UI. But restarting the computer had it back again. But I've found a "permanent fix" now at least. And that's disabling the f-secure vpn device in the device manager. After this Steam is permanently working without any issues over reboots and so on.

    I wouldn't be inclined to believe something like this myself normally but I've toggled the VPN so many times now and seen the speed magically go from 2->55 MB/s within a instant that I have no other explanation as to what is doing this.