Experiments on Ethereum Staking Upload Bandwidth

I have set up rocket pool Ethereum staking node for about 1 month now. I have to say the experience is relatively smooth and the support is great. In fact it is so smooth, setting up the node itself is not worth a blog. 🙂 So far it has already produced its first block.

The only issue is the upload bandwidth concern. It was using almost 5mbps, about half of my ISP service allowance. While technically this is fine, I feel I would be comfortable if I have more headroom. Plus, I plan to add minipools. So I looked around and found that I could reduce number of peers to reduce bandwidth. However, there is very little information on how much bandwidth can be reduced when you reduce number of peers. So I set out to do an experiment.

My ETH1 client is Besu (Java) and my ETH2 client is Lighthouse (Rust). BTW, I’m choosing clients purely based on the programming language.

By default Besu has 25 peers and Lighthouse has 80 peers. In week 1 of the experiment, I used the default peer numbers. In week 2, I reduced Eth1 peers to half, 13 peers. That did not yield too much bandwidth saving. In week 3, I reduced Eth2 peers to half, 40 peers.

See results below. The numbers are taken from router. Note I only focus on upload bandwidth, not only because that is the issue of concern, but also I have highly variable download bandwidth and the numbers are not reliable.

Rocketpool pool uses about 75% of total bandwidth. So the true percentage change is amplified by 33%. From the table it seems we can save about 25% upload bandwidth of Ethereum staking node when we slash peers to half for both ETH1 and ETH2 clients.

weekweek 1week 2week 3
ETH1 (Besu) peers251314
ETH2 (Lighthouse) peers808040
total upload (GB)327.4312.1266.4
daily upload (GB)46.844.638.1
% against week 1100%95%81%
staking node %100%93.5%75%

PS – A few weeks later, I added a second minipool. I was expecting the bandwidth increase. However, the daily upload bandwidth actually dropped to about 27.5GB (2.55mpbs). This is puzzling. It could be due to the drop of actual peers connected (which is around 33 now). Or it could be due to “maturing” nodes or connections? In any case I’m happy upload bandwidth does not appear to be an issue anymore. And most likely I will create 2 more minipool after the Ethereum Shanghai upgrade and Rocketpool LEB8 introduction.

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