I’ve recently installed the new Deco X20 mesh system and while the converage and speed tests were awesome, I always had the feeling the web experience could be a bit better.
So if we speak about browsing experience, the responsiveness of the DNS server is one of the main components which can make a big difference.
Note that by default, your IPS router will act as the main DNS server but unless it has cached queries, it will also pass the query upstream. If you also added a mesh system behind your ISP router, it means that you have two hops which are adding latency. So for sure the key here is to manualy add your favorite DNS server.
But how to choose it? While reliability and branding might be weighting alot, note that for DNS, speed should be the first thing to consider so we are also looking at proximity which translates into response times.
There are some good 3rd party tools out there that can help you select the best DNS sever, but I prefer to investigate it myself as it’s not rocket science 🙂
First test you can run, is a simple ping. Though note that DNS runs on UDP, while Ping is a TCP connection over the ICMP protocol. Ping will give you an idea, but not the ultimate response.
Taking for example 18.104.22.168 from Google and 22.214.171.124 from CloudFlare:
Allright, so at first look, CloudFlare’s DNS is faster, but let’s put it to real test.
From the router you’re connecting, go to Internet Setting -> DNS settings -> Switch from Auto to Manual.
First, adding Google’s DNS, starting a Wireshark Capture and accessing a website I never browsed before. Then from the filter bar, add dns.qry.name==”the website you’re accessing”. For example dns.qry.name==o365voicelab.com. This should filter out all the noise traffic:
Here is an example of querying a random website (which I removed for courtesy reasons)
The reposnse from the Google DNS server got back pretty fast (0.18 seconds):
But is it fast enough? Let’s test CloudFlare and see if we get even better timing:
Let’s see the response:
With 0.02 seconds, it seems we have a winner.
As a side note, next to the primary DNS server, for reliability reasons, I am also adding my router’s IP address (in this case 192.168.1.1) as secondary DNS server.
Note, I am not saying CloudFlare’s DNS server is the best option in general. It is for me. But i highly reccomend testing before implementing