Saturday, October 24, 2009

Connection Testing On A Friday Night

There are two factors here, one is connection quality, and the second is connection speed. Quality, which is represented in the top image, has to do with your line stability and ping, which is the time that it takes a signal travels to a remote server and back. In my case, I got an "A" grade. The lower your ping, the better. In PC gaming, where we usually browse a list of dedicated servers before choosing which to join, we always go for a (populated) server with the lowest ping; anything under 50ms is great, although up to 100ms or so is playable for FPS games (RTS games can go even higher), but beyond that the game becomes laggy. Lag can be caused by either a server or peer to peer host who has a poor quality connection (high ping), or slow connection speed (quantity) which isnt sufficient to process the amount of data flowing in and out.

Without going too deep into the technical details, the packets that the host sends to each game client in a peer to peer hosted game like Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, or Gears of War 2 on the Xbox 360 are roughly 6-7Kb/s each in size. What this means is that if you have 10Mbps download/2Mbps upload type connection, you should be fine to host a 24+ person match. However, if you have a 512Kbps connection like much of rural America does, your game may start lagging beyond a 3vs3 or 4vs4 match. This explains why smaller gametypes (4vs4 modes in Halo 3 and Gears 1, Horde in Gears 2, Team Tactical in CoD4) seem to run much better on average than the larger gametypes featured in those games, although I think we can all agree Bungee and Infinity Ward set up their matchmaking and network code a whole lot better than Epic does.

On a scale of 1-5, Ive got a 3.8 for raw speed, which is actually pretty decent. What Im most pleased about is the 5Mb/s+ upload speed, which means my connection is solid for hosting (in theory) 48 person games, not that I would ever try it. 9Mb/s isnt amazing for download speed, but for gaming its far more than enough. While its nothing like having a fiber optic FIOS or T1 connection, its pretty good for just $50 a month. I truly wish I could see the stats of some of the other players who often get host in Gears of War 2, and what my ping to them is. Its amazing to me how often I will get connected to someone who either has a slow 512Kbps connection or lives in some remote area where their ping looks like this:


umopapisdnpuaq said...

Even the ping/speed to local servers is disappointing with my ISP now. Let alone trans-atlantic connections.

A supposed 10MB down 512k up never gets over 6MB over the past couple months and was down to 2.5 for a week. I use that site usually and the new ping thing is useful too.

The router was taken out of the equation too I tested direct to the internet.

There's no alternative option without having a whole new phone line installed because the cable company runs the phone/tv/cable internet on the same lines and you can't get dial-up type broadband with them.

umopapisdnpuaq said...

Haha so at 6:45am they can actually deliver what I pay for - to my nearest server a few miles away.
I don't remember ever seeing that in the past 4 years.

A realistic test to middle USA - Denver

Bear in mind this is under the very best conditions if the first test is anything to go by.

A future sample of peak time stats will be forthcoming.

Bond said...

For my ping it says my server is in LA~350miles away and my land quality is an A with 17ms. I got a 3.8 out of 5 for speed and ping. I have a download speed of 6.66Mp/s and an upload of 7.01Mp/s and it says my ping is 5ms for speed.

Bond said...

And 1ms jitter

Chronic said...

Bond how is your upload speed higher than your download? What the...?

MD Galaxy said...

Just figured I would throw this up here. This was done while connected to my router as I usually have it. I've been busy the last few weeks, but I'll be sure to get on tonight.

MD Galaxy Ping Test

MD Galaxy Speed Test

Chronic said...

Thats a very nice connection dude. I dont think the router should affect it much, unless your router is from the 1990s or something.

umopapisdnpuaq said...

Saturday evening 8:45pm to NY I get 2.59 downand 0.48 up and 107 ping. To my local connection I get 6MB

The cable company only offers 1.5MB upload on the max package - 50MB download. So seeing Bonds upload really shows how screwed we're getting in the UK with cable.

ADSL is not guaranteed either because depending how close you live to the nearest node your speeds can vary by several magnitudes, but they can't really tell what the speed will be until AFTER the phone line is installed and then after the service is being used for a week. So there's not really a big insentive to go through the hassle for something that may not be any better and worse for downloading.

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