Monday, October 17, 2011

Game is not Over: Canadian Gamers vs. Rogers' DPI

The debate in Canada over Rogers' traffic management and DPI problems is not resolved yet. Although Rogers admitted to have  issues with its classification and policy enforcement actions in March (here) and was ordered by the regulator, CRTC, to fix it (here), the Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) is not happy yet. 

Several quotes from the letter sent by CGO to the CRTC last week, related to the classification and rate-limiting policies, are shown below (see the full text here).

All-in-all, it shows the complexity of implementing a scalable policy enforcement structure, that will allow the ISP to implement its commercial goals, to millions of users with combination of policies controlling "real-time (VoIP, gaming)", "jitter sensitive (streaming video)", "normal" and "bandwidth hogs" applications. 
Until this is done correctly, it will be very difficult to market premium "QoE based tiered services".  Nevertheless, referring to yesterday's post on standalone vs. embedded DPI solutions (here) - it seems that standalone products are much closer to implement this strategy.
  • .. Yet it is apparent from Rogers’ letter of September 2 that other applications and games are being misclassified by its ITMP and pushed into this rate limiting channel... Rogers states openly in its September 2 letter that World of Warcraft and unspecified “other games” are diverted to this rate-limited channel by its DPI. This would be consistent with reports the CGO has received recently from our members. It means anything running above 80/kbps with file sharing applications running is being actively impacted and misclassified by Rogers ITMP
  • Even if games or other applications ran below the 80/kbps threshold individually; if they were running simultaneously that combines upload traffic to exceed 80/kbps with P2P applications running, they would also be impacted by Rogers ITMP from what Rogers has disclosed to the commission.  Rogers’ ITMP is activated “for traffic at 80 kbps and above”, and through Rogers disclosure is only active when P2P file sharing applications are open. As the commission well knows, Canadian consumers can have several gaming systems, wireless devices, and PCs hooked up simultaneously in any given home network set up.
  • Further, CGO wishes to submit that not all games run below 80/kbps.  World of Warcraft is an older game, and since development and release of this game, newer games are increasingly becoming more sophisticated requiring much more bandwidth. World of Warcraft recently updated to provide a setting to users which would make the game server respond faster to user actions, but at the cost of the user's upstream bandwidth increasing.  World of Warcraft also has a built-in VOIP for in-game team chat on top of regular game data transmitted to developer’s servers and to other peers on the network, however the bulk of World of Warcraft users prefer to use alternate VOIP solutions (due to better sound quality/voices being much clearer), which can be additionally taxing on the upstream bandwidth.
  • The developers of the game Homefront,  for example, state it requires users to have consistent upload traffic between 100 - 120/kbps in order for the game to run smoothly with a direct connection to their servers, stating that most lower end DSL connections in the US support upload of 768/kbps. 


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