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Networking The Internet United Kingdom Games

UK ISP To Prioritize Gaming Traffic 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the facilitated-fragging dept.
nk497 writes "A UK ISP is now offering a broadband package just for gamers, which will prioritize their traffic to give them an edge over rival players. Demon Internet has also set up direct networks with gaming companies to boost speeds, and is promising lower latency and a higher usage cap than standard packages. 'Looking at the usage of gamers, it's actually more akin to a small business,' the company said. While paying to get specific content streamed more quickly may worry net neutrality campaigners, Demon says it has enough capacity for its own customers and that's who it's looking out for."
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UK ISP To Prioritize Gaming Traffic

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  • This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

    You see how seemingly "good" laws can cause unintended and harmful consequences? (Lord save me from do-gooders trying to save my soul, or impose their morals upon me.)

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:40PM (#33328136)
      LOL wut? Net neutrality would prevent this, yes, but it would also prevent ISPs from holding you hostage for not paying up. I get that you're a Libertarian and it's all ZOMG gubment doin' stuff, but give me a break. The suggestion that what we have now works is as laughable as it is wrong. At bare minimum there needs to be rules to ensure that things are conducted in an above the board fashion.

      Additionally, this is in a sense a method of cheating, you're putting down extra money to have an in game advantage, It doesn't take a genius to see that it puts pressure on other players to pony up for it as well, whether it would otherwise be necessary or not.
      • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @07:09PM (#33328322)

        Prioritizing based on source or destination would be a problem under Net Neutrality but prioritizing based on protocol etc isn't necessarily unless it's to try to degrade a competitors products(like a phone company which is also an ISP intentionally degrading VOIP).
        NN doesn't stop you pushing VOIP packets through faster than FTP or UDP faster than TCP.

        • Is there any evidence that what would actually be enacted is this way, or are you like most Net Neutrality proponents who make up their own rules and decide that must be what NN means?

          • Re:Citation Needed (Score:4, Insightful)

            by P0ltergeist333 (1473899) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @07:59PM (#33328562)

            Is there any evidence that what would actually be enacted is this way, or are you like most Net Neutrality proponents who make up their own rules and decide that must be what NN means?

            It's still very much up for debate, and will be until it get's passed by the Congress, at least in the US. I think there are two pertinent points to be discussed here in regards to NN:

            1. Does prioritizing traffic compromise the spirit and principal behind NN if it does not degrade others service?

            2. Would it possibly be better to implement a QOS scheme that allows customers to prioritize whichever traffic is most important to them?

            My personal answers are:

            1. Not necessarily.
            2. Yes

            I will be contacting my elected representatives and the EFF with my views. I recommend you do the same.

            • by Ihmhi (1206036)

              1. Does prioritizing traffic compromise the spirit and principal behind NN if it does not degrade others service?

              Wouldn't prioritizing, by definition, degrade someone else's service?

              If your packet and my packet are going somewhere at the same time, but yours gets there first because you have priority, than my service is degraded as a result.

              It would be admittedly difficult to make a *truly* neutral system, though. I know there's prioritization based on protocol, location, and the customer's net usage for the health of the overall network (and in many cases, for the health of the ISP's bottom line), and I imagine that

              • Re:Citation Needed (Score:4, Informative)

                by P0ltergeist333 (1473899) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:33AM (#33330648)

                Wouldn't prioritizing, by definition, degrade someone else's service?

                It's easy to get that impression, but I don't think so. Your question seems very semantic to me.

                A major QoS benchmark is latency. Let's say your average latency to a given server is 13ms. As a gamer I want an average latency to my game server of 9ms. As long as your average latency remains at 13ms, while giving me the 9ms I desire, there's no problem. The problem occurs when the content providers (say, Time Warner) prioritize their media content over their network at the expense of their customer's connection to non Time Warner servers.

          • What would be enacted under any government bill by that title likely has very little to do with real Net Neutrality.
            Lobbyists poison everything.

            That doesn't mean people who support net neutrality support everything some shill calls by the same name.
            Like how someone who believes in freedom of speech doesn't have to support "Free Speech Zones".

            But is there any evidence that real net neutrality is this way or are you like most Net Neutrality opponents who make up their own strawman and then attack that?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by paeanblack (191171)

            "Net Neutrality" is too vague of a term, and it means different things to different people, depending on their agenda.

            Car analogy time!

            Option 1: All vehicle traffic is treated equally

            Option 2: Vehicles are regulated differently based on external characteristics
            -Trucks drive in right lane and pay more tolls based on weight/length/# of axles
            -Emergency vehicles are given priority

            Option 3: Vehicles are regulated differently based on traffic-relevant characteristics

        • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @07:37PM (#33328474) Homepage

          Prioritizing based on source or destination would be a problem under Net Neutrality but prioritizing based on protocol etc isn't necessarily

          Since most games run their own protocol, it's effectively the same. So the WoW protocol gets prioritized and the Age of Conan protocol does not, it works out to exactly the same as a src/dst filter.

          • by MtHuurne (602934)
            Realtime games all use UDP. What they run over UDP is indeed different, but an ISP could just prioritize all UDP packets and gaming performance would improve without violating net neutrality.
            • Except they wouldn't be prioritizing all UDP packets. Just the ones from the people who pay extra.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by yotto (590067)

                Tiered service is not a violation of net neutrality. You can pay more for faster speeds, or less for slower speeds.

                This is paying more for faster speeds. I don't see the problem.

                I also see nowhere in the article that states WHAT is faster. I suspect it's just a faster pipe overall and this entire freakout session is without purpose.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              but an ISP could just prioritize all UDP packets

              And that will be the day all torrent software implements a new option: UDP instead of TCP for file transport.

            • ...an ISP could just prioritize all UDP packets and gaming performance would improve without violating net neutrality.

              Doesn't work that way. See, if the ISP prioritizes all UDP, then latency-insensitive UDP gets prioritized as well, resulting in no net benefit. Effective QoS needs to take into account expected bandwidth, meaning either deep packet inspection (identify common headers for games/VoiP), or averaging out all UDP bandwidth. Unfortunately, net-neutrality does prevent effective QoS, because th

              • by lanswitch (705539)

                It's not only about Net Neutrality. QOS for one user means DOS for other users. Do those users get a discount because their traffic is slowed down?

        • by Matt_R (23461)

          Prioritizing based on source or destination would be a problem under Net Neutrality but prioritizing based on protocol etc isn't necessarily unless it's to try to degrade a competitors products(like a phone company which is also an ISP intentionally degrading VOIP).

          My ISP prioritises packets from its own SIP server, but don't mess with packets from anywhere else. They do this to make their VoIP service more reliable (so it won't break up if the customer is flooding their DSL with bit torrent).

          They don't do the same to 3rd party VoIP providers because it opens it up to abuse. Also a bit impractical to do it for every SIP server on the internet..

          • So they're using their position in one market(as an ISP) to give themselves an advantage in another market(VOIP provision)?

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              So they're using their position in one market(as an ISP) to give themselves an advantage in another market(VOIP provision)?

              No, you aren't paying them for a VOIP service, you're paying them for a DATA service. Just because you chose to run a VOIP application over your DATA service doesn't mean they should give your DATA traffic the same priority as a VOIP service which is sold as a VOIP service.
              Why should your DATA traffic which you use for a voip phone get any kind of special treatment over the DATA traffic I use, simply because I'm listening to music? That would be a NN violation.

              If I want to go to my ISP and ask for a dedicat

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        That's how it's always been. If you know where the game server is located you can sign with an ISP that has better connections to that centre. I generally avoid using overseas servers where possible it's just common sense.

      • by L0rdJedi (65690)

        Additionally, this is in a sense a method of cheating, you're putting down extra money to have an in game advantage, It doesn't take a genius to see that it puts pressure on other players to pony up for it as well, whether it would otherwise be necessary or not.

        So you're saying this is no different than the guy that works 60-80 hours a week and buys items off eBay to give himself an advantage in WoW? He ends up with an in game advantage over the people that don't have those items or that have to spend a lot of time earning them because they don't have the cash to outright buy them from someone else.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Additionally, this is in a sense a method of cheating, you're putting down extra money to have an in game advantage, It doesn't take a genius to see that it puts pressure on other players to pony up for it as well, whether it would otherwise be necessary or not.

        It's no more a method of cheating than:

        • Having a better computer (better FPS, less choke and/or lag)
        • Having cable or FIOS instead of DSL
        • Being geographically closer to a server than your opponent (and thus having a ping advantage)
        • Having a mouse with higher DPS on the laser, therefore affording me greater accuracy

        Is it cheating if we're playing on a NYC server, and I live in New Jersey but you live in Illinois?

    • by klingens (147173) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:44PM (#33328160)

      Let's create preferred lanes for Mercedes, Lexus and BMW drivers. After all, these people paid a lot more than Al Bundy for his Dodge and they pay more taxes as well. So it's entirely fair they get preferred treatment and lower driving latency (get to their destination faster). They're businessmen and women, so their needs are different from the normal people. We still have enough other roads for all the other drivers, don't worry.

      • In other news, the used car market for Mercedes, Lexuses, and BMW's is suddenly booming!
      • Can my Saab get in on that?

      • by parliboy (233658)
        You mean like a toll road? Oh, wait...
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Logistically it is far easier to tinker with network settings then get laws passed to this effect on public roads.

        Honestly, if they could do stuff like this and get away with it they would have already been doing it by now. "This highway sponsored by Mercedes; enjoy your complimentary Mercedes-only express lane!"

    • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:45PM (#33328164)

      If they had enough capacity on their network to avoid congestion, they wouldn't *need* to prioritise anything. This appears to be running a poor network, then charging more to compensate for it.

      Shame, Demon used to be a decent ISP in the 90s.

      • This appears to be running a poor network, then charging more to compensate for it.

        Or perhaps running a poor network at first, planning an improvement to the network, and financing the upgrade wiht a premium package targeted at early-adopting gamers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gilesjuk (604902)

        I was on them from about 1995-1998, I remember someone I know leaving them saying that "30%" packet loss isn't worth paying for, that was in the 1990s.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ksandom (718283)
        If we had enough capacity in our wallets, we wouldn't *need* to prioritize anything. Businesses and people need scarcity to survive. It's gives us something to overcome. Without it, we'd be fat and lazy, and would hardly achieve a fraction of what we do. Managing that scarcity is an essential part of surviving.
        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          That's something that always bothered me about the Star Trek universe. You had, in effect, nothing to really worry about save for the occasional Borg/Klingon/Dominion incursion. You'd never go hungry; hell, thanks to replicators there's pretty much nothing that you couldn't have instantly.

          How come they never showed the lazy bums of the future? Surely there were people who thought "Hey, you know... I don't actually *need* a career!" and loafed about for the rest of their lives. There's plenty of people who d

      • If they had enough capacity on their network to avoid congestion, they wouldn't *need* to prioritise anything.

        Congestion is unavoidable. As soon as the bandwidth appears, some use-case will appear that can suck up all of that bandwidth. A blanket statement of "prioritization = bad, capacity = good" is not productive, because both are important. Or do you think that mankind as a whole will suddenly become more frugal than history suggests?

    • by squidfood (149212) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:46PM (#33328168)
      Um, despite the "worry over net neutrality" cited in the article, the actual service just looks like they're repackaging a higher speed/business connection as a "gamer" package. Nothing there actually says that your connection will be slower by packet category.
      • I know another ISP that did this sort of thing years ago, but I don't know the ISPs in TFA. Business packages probably don't include QoS for common game packets. Gaming packages probably doesn't include static IPs or multicast routing agreements. VoiP prioritization is common across the two, but I wouldn't expect much more.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gm a i l . com> on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:46PM (#33328176) Homepage Journal
      I see it as more of a QOS feature than as a neutrality violation for two reasons:
      • The service is between the ISP and its customer, not a bribe paid by a customer to someone else's ISP.
      • It's sensitive to protocol (e.g. gaming vs. HTTP/HTTPS/etc), not to the identity of the party on the other end (e.g. MSNBC vs. Fox News or YouTube vs. Dailymotion).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AaronMK (1375465)

        "I see it as more of a QOS feature than as a neutrality violation"

        I have QOS on my router. Why should I have to pay an extra fee for it. If they are not overselling their network, they should not need to prioritize traffic to get the performance for which they are charging this extra fee. If this stopped at being a service fee for setting QoS on a single customer's connection for the services of their choice, and it did not include peering agreements guided by specific types of services for which they

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tepples (727027)

          If they are not overselling their network, they should not need to prioritize traffic

          If they are not overselling their network, then they are selling T1 connections, not residential connections. Imagine an ISP that splits your service into 256 kbps guaranteed and the rest oversold. The protocols you choose would go into the "guaranteed" bin, while things not quite as sensitive to short-term network performance, such as torrenting or someone else's web surfing, would go in the "oversold" bin.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I have QOS on my router. Why should I have to pay an extra fee for it.

          Because that controls the qos within YOUR network, not other people's networks, and you don't have to pay anybody anything to use it.
          The prioritizing they are speaking of doesn't happen at your router anyhow, it happens once you hand your data to them. NO network on the planet which is worth a crap listens to ANY qos information sent from a 3rd party network- not only would it make no sense & defeat the purpose of qos, it could (in some cases) be an actual security risk.

          If they are not overselling their network, they should not need to prioritize traffic to get the performance for which they are charging this extra fee.

          Ah, yes. Once again someo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 3vi1 (544505)

        1. QoS doesn't speed up any traffic. It drops un-prioritized traffic in favor of the priority stuff, when the link nears saturation. So, if your neighbor buys into this - it inevitably means slowing down *your* traffic in favor of his (even if you're no where near your speed cap). That's not neutral - it effectively penalizes you for not using the internet in the way your neighbor does.

        2. QoS does often involve identifying the other end of a conversation. Sometimes apps will negotiate a random port, o

        • by tepples (727027)

          QoS doesn't speed up any traffic. It drops un-prioritized traffic in favor of the priority stuff, when the link nears saturation.

          When an individual subscriber's link nears saturation or when the neighborhood's link nears saturation? Maybe I want to delay or drop web packets when I have VoIP or gaming packets, as long as I don't go over my share of the link. I imagine that everyone would get a "QoS allowance" at some fraction of the non-oversubscribed bandwidth of the neighborhood's link.

          Classifying the traffic based on the server endpoint is sometimes the only option.

          This works only on games that use servers, such as MMORPGs, not on games that choose one of the client machines to also run the server, such as first

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      If net neutrality laws were in place they'd still be allowed to prioritise gaming traffic for everyone.
      • If net neutrality laws were in place they'd still be allowed to prioritise gaming traffic for everyone.

        Define "everyone". Every single game may require different mechanisms of packet detection in order to even apply QoS in the first place. Most are port-based, but some may be protocol-based (i.e. deep packet inspection). Are port-based games "more equal" than the others, then? Also, please point me to the nearest lawmaker that knows enough about network infrastructure and software design to manage to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615)

      This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

      Would that be such a bad thing? Instead of prioritizing gaming traffic over other kinds of traffic, or doing the same for VOIP, or YouTube, or whatever else an ISP decides is more important than other protocols, why not adopt a QoS scheme that ensures equitable access to available bandwidth while allowing customers to set their own priorities within those equitable access constraints?

      • Because some protocols require low latency. Other protocols (such as bittorrent) don't require low latency, but will swallow all the available bandwidth, given the chance & prevent low latency protocols from working as intended, if the low latency traffic isn't prioritised.

        Demon is a UK ISP & there's no chance of this net neutrality nonsense happening here, so it's not an issue for them.

        • added to that, their connections are contended (50:1 ratio is usual here), all consumer grade connections are contended. so if a few of your neighbours are on bittorrent, you can't play games.

        • Because some protocols require low latency.

          That's why I mentioned VOIP as an example of a protocol ISPs would want to prioritize. Since no ISP is likely to keep track of all applications and protocols that call for low latency, giving preferential access on a per-protocol or per-application basis becomes a matter of playing favorites, which is precisely what net neutrality is supposed to prevent.

          but will swallow all the available bandwidth, given the chance & prevent low latency protocols from working a

      • by L0rdJedi (65690)

        This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

        Would that be such a bad thing? Instead of prioritizing gaming traffic over other kinds of traffic, or doing the same for VOIP, or YouTube, or whatever else an ISP decides is more important than other protocols, why not adopt a QoS scheme that ensures equitable access to available bandwidth while allowing customers to set their own priorities within those equitable access constraints?

        Yes, it would be a bad thing because they wouldn't do what you're suggesting either.

        In just a few posts we're already seeing the differences of opinion as to whether or not this violates net neutrality. Five different people here can't agree on it and you guys all want the government to make a law for it? The ISP simply wouldn't bother with any kind of QoS due to fear of being accused of violating the law and then all traffic would suffer.

        Personally, if someone wants to pay more for higher priority gaming

    • by Solandri (704621) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @07:13PM (#33328338)

      This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

      You see how seemingly "good" laws can cause unintended and harmful consequences?

      How do you figure that? You're assuming that the consequences of banning this would be harmful. There are two cases to consider here - one where the ISP is operating at 100% bandwidth, and another where they are operating below that.

      If the ISP is operating at 100% bandwidth, then this becomes a zero-sum game. The gamer's packets being prioritized come at the price of other paying customers' packets being de-prioritized. In essence, the other customers are not getting the bandwidth they paid for. The ISP transmits the same number of packets, they collect the same amount of money from regular customers, and they collect more money from the gamers. In other words, the ISP does the exact same amount of work as before, but collects more money.

      If the ISP is operating below 100% bandwidth, then the gamer gains nothing. His packets travel out with the same latency as regular customers' packets, so he gains nothing by paying extra. Again, the ISP does the exact same amount of work as before, but collects more money.

      So in both cases, the harm comes from offering to prioritize gaming traffic for an extra fee. At its heart, that's what Net Neutrality aims to prevent - ISP using their monopoly position over your network data to extract more money from you while they do the exact same amount of work. Net neutrality encourages ISPs to solve bandwidth problems the correct way - by adding more bandwidth. Except for illegal traffic (spam, copyrighted downloading), prioritization encourages ISPs to solve bandwidth problems the wrong way - by not adding more bandwidth when they obviously need it, and taking bandwidth some customers have legitimately paid for and should get, and giving it to someone else who paid more.

      Now, if ISPs wanted to lower prices for people willing to have their bandwidth degraded, while raising prices for people wanting to have their bandwidth prioritized, thus keeping their revenue the same, then there's no problem. But no ISP is going to do that because it involves them doing a whole lot of work implementing all this for no net revenue gain. The whole reason prioritization (of legal traffic) makes economic sense to ISPs is because it's essentially robbing from Peter to pay Paul, without Peter knowing that he's being robbed, and Paul is willing to pay extra for the service.

      • by netchipguy (1010647) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @08:00PM (#33328568)
        It's not as simple as whether the ISP is running at 100% or not (i.e. your packet will get through, or not). Some apps are very sensitive to latency (voice, gaming, etc) while most are not.
        The switches have buffering which gets emptier, fuller, emptier, fuller. When it runs out of buffering, i.e. your 100% situation, packets get dropped, and TCP "backs off" to try to avoid that happening again in the immediate future. In fact, Random Early Discard (RED) protocols will drop the odd random packet, with increasing probability as the buffer fills, to let TCP know to backoff.... before LOTS of packets start getting dropped. If you do get to 100%, it shouldn't last long.
        However when your time sensitive packets are in the same queue as it gets emptier, fuller, emptier, fuller, then even if the buffers never fill, you still suffer from increased latency... and also latency variation (jitter), which can be even more problematic (when do you decide the packets never coming and you need to fill in the gap?). Furthermore, you'd like to avoid dropping these time-sensitive packets with RED (which of course would be another "non neutral behavior"). That's because these kinds of apps generally send a steady stream, they will sorely miss the data in that dropped packet, and anyway they won't backoff in the face of drops, defeating the whole purpose of RED.
        Enterprises who use IP Telephony will usually put that traffic at a higher priority (and, for that priority, disable RED). Not because their gigabit LANs are at 100%... they do it because it makes the telephone calls almost as robust and low-latency as "fixed lines".
        The whole Net Neutrality debate would perhaps get somewhere if people agreed on what they were talking about. There's too many very different ideas bundled into the same name. The version that makes it illegal to willfully delay/block/etc will get 90% support. The version where it's illegal to prioritize ANYTHING is much more debatable. Those who have actually rolled out services over shared medium (IP telephony, video conferencing, etc) will have a lot of information to share on the latter.
        Simply throwing bandwidth at the problem is not (yet) a viable solution, since folks are still figuring out ways to use all the bandwidth they can get. It's like saying "I don't need background threads and foreground threads, just treat them all the same and make the CPUs faster". Sounds nice, in theory.
        Think of a service like Skype. Assume we want that kind of innovative service to prosper. This absolutely requires that service providers don't block/delay Skype packets. Meanwhile, to hit the quality and reliability of "fixed lines", some way to mark that small number of packets as "important" would help A LOT.
        -netchipguy
        • Is that an issue for the big pipes in the core though? I may be misremembering, but I thought the buffers stayed pretty much empty up to a very high % utilisation, as the aggregation of a huge number of independent flows smooths out the fluctuations and jitter associated with any one flow. As long as the capacity in the shared section is much larger than any individual's pipe, this should remain the case.

          I guess in a LAN there's still the potential for an individual machine to use up all the capacity, so th

          • by netchipguy (1010647) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @08:47PM (#33328738)
            It's an issue anywhere there is congestion. Which happens anywhere people don't like wasting money.

            Buffering versus line utilization is an interesting relationship. You NEED buffering if you want to keep the line highly utilized because data comes in randomly from various places -- if you have small buffers, then the various TCPs will often collide, drop, and backoff even though the line isn't highly utilized. The "right" amount of buffering is a function of how much you want to pay, the utilization you want to achieve, the latency you are willing tolerate, and, assuming an adaptive protocol like TCP, the round trip time of from one endstation to the other (not just on your segment).

            In the core, the lines are fast, but also very expensive. Providers want those things well utilized -- a 10Gb pipe which is only running at 20% isn't earning enough money. So the core tends to have deep buffering, lots of simultaneous flows, and hence runs at high utilization. It's not uncommon to have buffers on the order of several megabytes per port (providers often will measure it "milliseconds").

            In a LAN, gigabit lines run everywhere, and the wires are short and cheap. They tend to be cheap switches, with shallow buffers. No one cares too much if packets are dropped, there is plenty of bandwidth to resend things. It's not uncommon to have 2-4 megabytes shared for the whole switch (24 ports or whatever).

            In the first case, prioritizing helps avoid large latencies, since the core has deep buffers, and enough users to keep the buffers busy.

            In the second case, prioritizing helps avoid packet drops, since the LAN has shallow buffers.

            -netchipguy
      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        "In essence, the other customers are not getting the bandwidth they paid for"

        The problem with that statement is that you are assuming that these "other" customers were guaranteed something to begin with. They most likely were not. Terms of service vary of course, but every non-commercial account I have ever had uses wording like "up to XX mbps" when describing the service. In other words, there is an upper limit but no lower limit. The ISP could likely get away with actually giving them as low as 128

    • Foolish people like you, that have no concept of how networking works, will be the death of net neutrality and it's a shame. This company isn't speeding up the gamers connection... they are slowing down everyone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)

      Do you really want to have a gaming fee and a voip fee and a youtube fee and whatever "extra charges" tacked onto your bill for each service you want to work well? The way technology is evolving, you can effectively make gaming worse but not upgrading the normal connections and only upgrade those that pay extra, pretty soon it's almost a requirement. Yes, this is part of delivering an "Internet service", if access to one part of the Internet - in this case game servers - is too poor you must upgrade everyon

    • This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

      You see how seemingly "good" laws can cause unintended and harmful consequences? (Lord save me from do-gooders trying to save my soul, or impose their morals upon me.)

      Well it depends. It's one thing to say, "well, we're charging you more for a higher level of service" and another to say, "we'll degrade your service until you pay more." ISPs have always offered different classes of service: whether it be speed, maximum transfer, reliability, whatever ... some people are willing to pay more for some things. So, for an ISP to say "we'll reduce your latency by x-percent over our average latency" doesn't seem inherently evil, unless the ISP is deliberately slowing down everyo

    • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @08:38PM (#33328698)

      This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

      No. Actually it isn't necessarily a violation of net neutrality at all.

      Net neutrality (as understood by most rational people) is violated when someone who is NOT a customer of the ISP gets charged for better access to the ISPs customers. e.g. throttling google traffic but boosting bing traffic becasue google didn't pay and bing did.

      Yes, there are some nitwits who try and conflate net neutrality as being in conflict with QoS or Tiered ISP service levels like offering (slower lite vs regular vs higher speed connections), etc, etc, but that's not the "net neutrality" that net neutrality advocates are interested in.

      There is nothing wrong whatsoever with CUSTOMERS paying to have their traffic, or some subset of their traffic given priority. And in fact I EXPECT customers to be able and willing to pay for faster speed for their traffic within their ISP.

      You see how seemingly "good" laws can cause unintended and harmful consequences? (Lord save me from do-gooders trying to save my soul, or impose their morals upon me.)

      You see how conflating two network management issues that are unrelated creates FUD about the unrelated issue? People like you are as bad as the do-gooders.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Adrian Lopez (2615)

        Yes, there are some nitwits who try and conflate net neutrality as being in conflict with QoS or Tiered ISP service levels like offering (slower lite vs regular vs higher speed connections), etc, etc, but that's not the "net neutrality" that net neutrality advocates are interested in.

        Having read an online post where the owner of an ISP bragged about slowing down P2P connections and laughed about customers thinking the problem was on the peer's end rather than on the ISPs end, I tend to take a more expansive

        • ...the owner of an ISP bragged about slowing down P2P connections...I think the concept of neutrality should also prohibit those kinds of shady behaviors.

          I fail to see how that is shady behavior. That class of traffic is (1) not latency-sensitive and (2) very high-bandwidth. I would love to see my interactive web traffic, gaming, and video streaming all prioritized above P2P!

          Ok, I'll grant you that it's not optimal from a technical standpoint. Best would be applying QoS so that P2P operates at full l

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by L0rdJedi (65690)

        Yes, there are some nitwits who try and conflate net neutrality as being in conflict with QoS or Tiered ISP service levels like offering (slower lite vs regular vs higher speed connections), etc, etc, but that's not the "net neutrality" that net neutrality advocates are interested in.

        It may not be, but reading the FCCs request for comments on proposed rules seemed to say exactly that.

        You see how conflating two network management issues that are unrelated creates FUD about the unrelated issue? People like you are as bad as the do-gooders.

        Yes, because a law written by politicians and lawyers (in other words, not network guys) will surely keep the two network management issues separate. Or maybe standard QoS will just end up caught in the "for your own good" law and it'll die a quick painful death.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      You affirmatively assert it would be illegal. Please point to any part of any proposal that would result in this. The last ones I saw all allowed for "enhanced services" to be charged extra, as long as everything was explicit. This allows for buying "dedicated" service vs "best effort" service, but should also include the enhancement you claim would be illegal. I think you are wrong and lying because you have some bone to pick with it and make up things to prove your point. Prove me wrong. It should be
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      The law makes 100% sense. I'm not sure why we are defending paying 10 or so dollars a month just to be able to fucking play a game without being put into latency hell. This is a service they should be providing regardless! Its like "protection money" to the local Mafioso. Now we need to pay more just to keep the same level of service. Incredible.

      If anything, this "service" is exactly why we need neutrality laws. We're just turning the internet into cable tv. Various packages with premium prices for differ

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      As a non-gamer, I don't really see how not giving gamers priority would be a bad thing. Do you really need to hear that preteen shouting insults at you a milli-second sooner?

      Demon says it has enough capacity for its own customers and that's who it's looking out for.

      If they had enough capacity, the "gamer" plan would be identical to every other plan. So either they're lying about the benefits of the "gamer" plan or they're lying about their capacity for all the rest.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      This is the UK. They are not subject to the US constitution, or acts of congress.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      This prioritizing of gaming traffic would be illegal if Net Neutrality existed.

      Wrong. It would be illegal, if the law was framed badly. The whole point of "net neutrality" is to prevent ISPs and content providers from banding together to shut out other content providers.

      This is more akin to ordering a private wire circuit from your telco.

  • Prioritize? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garyisabusyguy (732330) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:42PM (#33328150)

    Prolly more like "Not intentionally slowing down"

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      So, ISPs are already doing this to an extent. Additionally, other businesses around the globe do this sort of thing on a regular basis, though, are not attacked the way ISPs are.

      • Ski Resorts offer priority to various customers. Some people pay for a regular lift ticket and get to ride a fast chairlift to the top of the mountain. Those who don't buy a lift ticket have to hike. How come the people with money get to buy their way to a faster trip up a mountain that is on public land? Not to mention the people
      • by ensignyu (417022)

        This isn't a net neutrality issue per se (although not everyone agrees on the same definition of net neutrality). Customers should be allowed to buy faster or slower network connections.

        The problem that net neutrality tries to address is where ISPs charge *providers* for fast access from customers. It's sort of like an extortion racket -- sorry, we're going to make your website's user experience crappy unless you pay up.

        The reason why we want to apply this to the Internet in particular is because it's an es

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          The problem that net neutrality tries to address is where ISPs charge *providers* for fast access from customers. It's sort of like an extortion racket -- sorry, we're going to make your website's user experience crappy unless you pay up.

          Where is this happening? If you tell me that Comcast throttles bittorrent traffic, well, that's a crap example. I like the idea of bittorrent, it's a good way to distribute stuff. Unfortunately, people use it to distribute stuff illegally. Comcast (or others, irrelevant) have every right to make sure illegal activities don't disrupt the network for everyone else. Sure, it may not be popular, but that's just too bad. Don't do illegal stuff if you aren't willing to pay the price.

          And yes, there are perfectly

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        other businesses around the globe do this sort of thing on a regular basis

        *Monopolies which design their systems to run poorly with competitors products.
        *Major phone companies which threaten to not allow their customers to call certain businesses (or threatens to make the lines really crackly and poor)who are connected through different phone companies unless the business in question pays them extra as well.
        *Manufacturers which pay suppliers to not carry their competitors products or delay their competitors

  • If I had this package, it would be incredibly easy for me to get a first post. Alas, I am outside their service area.

  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:51PM (#33328198)
    Paying £3 to get something extra doesn't sound too bad. What worries me is that ISPs may quietly start crippling their default packages so they can sell "extras". For example, this ISP could artificially raise the latency of normal users' connections, and when anyone complains they might say "it's because we give priority to the more expensive packages -- if you want better latency you must also pay more". You might say "meh, that'll never happen"... But, this is exactly the sort of thing our ISPs are infamous for doing here in the UK.
    • by Anaerin (905998)

      IIRC, Demon were typically one of the "Good guys", giving so many value-adds to their service, like a dedicated static IP, with a real, customisable subdomain pointed to it properly (So it can be reverse lookup'd), hosting ISP-Local download servers (with massive pipes) for most of the large-bandwidth services (Fileplanet, SunSite, AmiNET, Steam, pretty much every Linux distro out there...) to ensure you got the best transfer performance without contending over the "wild" internet. They had a reputation for

    • Especially since games don't use much bandwidth. Even a fast paced shooter probably uses 20-30kbytes/second max which is in the 256kbit range. That's nothing for a modern connection. Unless you are slamming your connection with torrent data (and in that case just put a limit in the software) it isn't going to have a problem getting through in a timely fashion.... Unless the ISP slows it down.

      Just observing my own connection and pings, there isn't a lot of room for improvement. The latency I get to servers i

    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      Really though why does this need to go beyond typical QoS type controls. I'll be dammed if I'm going to pay my ISP anything to ensure that for example VoIP traffic gets prioritised. It should already anyway since it's a low bandwidth highly latency critical application. We're talking the same thing here for games. Games are low bandwidth, basic QoS should prioritise their traffic.

      What you have just said is you wouldn't mind paying £3 for the privilege of being a customer who uses less of what typi
    • I certainly don't miss the overpriced service provided by ISPs in the UK. Unless you were within a few blocks of the highstreet, the bandwidth and latency were horrible (in the several towns and villages I lived in).

      I'm certain there is a special place in Hell reserved just for BT employees.

    • by khchung (462899)

      What worries me is that ISPs may quietly start crippling their default packages so they can sell "extras".

      You mean like selling games with a 2-page "manual" that just tell you how to start the game, and then selling "strategy guides" that contained stuff that should have been in the manual in the first place?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SakuraDreams (1427009)

      Something like this is happening in South Africa. Here one of the biggest ISPs released the first uncapped residential product which was originally not shaped very aggressively. They also released a business product which costs almost 4 times as much, this product was on contract and was totally unshaped. Prior to this residential offerings in SA were mostly capped - at limits ranging from 1 to 10 GB/month. The residential product's shaping increased dramatically as more customers came onto this semi afford

  • Hold one a moment, if Demon are going to offer high speeds for gamers traffic, that means that when they need tech support, it will take even longer to get help? ;)
  • Prioritization/deprioritization if it's clear what the facts are before, during and after people sign up. the transparency does seem to help.

    Also, reading TFA, this is partially about freeing up capacity on the residential network, and making good nighttime/weekend use of their relatively idle business network.

  • Prioritizing packets only makes any sense in congestion situations, otherwise there is absolutely no effect of it. Today congestion can only happen at the users uplink, and good routers support trafic shaping under user control there for years.

    If there is congestion in the backbone, the ISP is not doing it's homework.

  • Translation: 'Slow down everyone else's traffic'. Hmmm.

    If I were with Demon, I'd be looking to change ISPs about now...

  • great news for encrypted bittorrent, all you have to do is set your client to only use encrypted udp+tcp transfers on a 'standard' game port, for example 27015 that's used by most steam-based games. :p

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