Microwave circulators play an important role in quantum technology based on superconducting circuits. The conventional circulator design, which employs ferrite materials, is bulky and involves strong magnetic fields, rendering it unsuitable for integration on superconducting chips. One promising design for an on-chip superconducting circulator is based on a passive Josephson-junction ring. In this paper, we consider two operational issues for such a device: circuit tuning and the effects of quasiparticle tunneling. We compute the scattering matrix using adiabatic elimination and derive the parameter constraints to achieve optimal circulation. We then numerically optimize the circulator performance over the full set of external control parameters, including gate voltages and flux bias, to demonstrate that this multidimensional optimization converges quickly to find optimal working points. We also consider the possibility of quasiparticle tunneling in the circulator ring and how it affects signal circulation. Our results form the basis for practical operation of a passive on-chip superconducting circulator made from a ring of Josephson junctions.