The big irony, the enemy of cloud gaming is the internet itself

Posted in networking by aangelis on 29 August 2019

The typical gamer knows little or nothing about how the internet works, what makes this magic connection between his progress in a multiplayer game with the server and the other players. For those who are both gamers and network engineers is a pain to see that the path to consoles-less gaming experience is full of traps placed from the companies that provide internet backbone connectivity.

Every now and then I evaluate the status of cloud gaming for the reason that I both love gaming and networks. Unfortunately few things have changed in the past years, especially for those European gamers located far from the IX Mecca of North Europe.

Evaluating a well-known cloud gaming provider (Vortex) I found out the thing that I was expecting. I am located in Athens and the nearest server farm for this service is in Milan (IBM Cloud). A packet round trip time for this distance is about 25ms. What was the reason that Vortex's test tool scored my connection as fair with total latency of ~75ms?

10 out of those 75ms is my last mile (VDSL) connection latency. All the remaining delay is due to the fact that the upstream provider (OTEGLOBE) my ISP (Cosmote) uses, interconnects with this (major) cloud service provider in London! WHAT? Yes, this is the reason. Data have to travel back and forth from North to South Europe... the obvious direct path is not so obvious for some people.

Are there any technical issues that depict this situation? Yes and No. Can it be solved? Surely, yes. There must be at least one location in South Europe that internet backbone providers should use to exchange traffic. Till then, the traps are there and cloud gaming for half of Europe is not a option.

 # ADDRESS                          LOSS SENT    LAST     AVG    BEST   WORST STD-DEV STATUS
 1                     0%    1    10ms      10      10      10       0
 2 athe-asr99a-nion-asr9kc.backb...   0%    1  10.4ms    10.4    10.4    10.4       0
 3 kolasr01-hu-0-5-0-0.ath.otegl...   0%    1   9.9ms     9.9     9.9     9.9       0
 4                        0%    1  51.5ms    51.5    51.5    51.5       0
 5       0%    1  51.3ms    51.3    51.3    51.3       0
 6 ae5.cbs01.tg01.lon01.networkl...   0%    1  52.6ms    52.6    52.6    52.6       0
 7 ae0.cbs01.xn01.fra01.networkl...   0%    1  63.3ms    63.3    63.3    63.3       0 
 8                                  100%    1 timeout
 9 ae21.dar01.mil01.networklayer...   0%    1  71.4ms    71.4    71.4    71.4       0
10 po1.fcr01b.mil01.networklayer...   0%    1  72.2ms    72.2    72.2    72.2       0