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Bandwidth Use In MMOs

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-always-more dept.

The Almighty Buck 188

Massively is running a story about bandwidth costs for MMOs and other virtual worlds. It's based on a post at the BBC on the same subject which references a traffic analysis (PDF) done for World of Warcraft. Quoting: "If you're an average user on capped access, the odds are you have roughly 20Gbytes per month to allocate among all of your Internet usage (it varies depending on just where you are). For you, sucking back (for example) a 2GB World of Warcraft patch isn't something you can just do. It's something you have to plan for — and quite often you have to plan for in the following month. Even a 500MB download has to be handled with caution. MMOGs as a rule don't use a whole lot of bandwidth in actual operation. However, the quantity definitely rises in busy areas with lots of players, where there are large numbers of mobs, or on raids, and takes quite a much larger jump if you're using voice as well."

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first post! (-1, Troll)

revjd909 (749913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478603)

just using up a little bandwidth to say that.

Offline patches? (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478615)

Can't you get offline installers that you can download from school/work/friend's basement and bring over by sneakernet?

Re:Offline patches? (1)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478651)

A lot of MMOs don't make their patches available as standalone downloads... after all, they're online only games, so the thinking goes, who would need anything besides the built-in updater?

Re:Offline patches? (4, Informative)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478671)

WoW and Eve offered standalone ones owing to the fact that autoupdate's don't always work correctly.

Re:Offline patches? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478741)

There are standalone patches available.
http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/patches/worldofwarcraft/patch.html

Re:Offline patches? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479049)

What about other MMOs like Age of Conan, SW:G, LOTORO, etc.?

Re:Offline patches? (0, Redundant)

ignorantus (860657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479749)

Last time I looked for AoC patches elsewhere, must have been back in August, there was no other option than to use the built-in downloader. Of course, now they've gone 3-4 weeks without a patch so I guess everything is perfect. Riiiiiiight....

Re:Offline patches? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480293)

LOTORO

Lord of The Online Rings Online?

Re:Offline patches? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480541)

Token Rings for the Nerd-kings eating pizza pie?

Re:Offline patches? (5, Funny)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480899)

No, TOLKIEN Rings.

And please see the story on Ars Geeks are Not Comic Book Guy [arstechnica.com]

Re:Offline patches? (2, Informative)

chrish (4714) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480481)

With City of Heroes/City of Villains you can just make a copy of your friend's installation and dump it on your machine when you get home. Easily fits on a DVD, and there's nothing that requires an actual installer (no registry munging, etc.).

Re:Offline patches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478673)

For WoW you can. You just need the the Patch file itself. Stick this in the proper folder and run it from there and it'll update your client.

Of course you need the full patch file itself. This being the patch file from patch day.

For large patches Blizzard has a preload system where your computer can download much of the patch file content before the patch is actually released. On patch days if you've gotten the preload then the Blizzard BT client will just update the preload with final cahnges and you're good to go. For smaller patches there tends to be no preload at all.

Re:Offline patches? (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479585)

Stand-alone download installers for WoW patches are indeed available, albeit not always easily so. Certainly, Fileplanet makes them available, but with heavy priority for subscribers. That said, there's often a bit of a wait for the stand-alone downloads to appear, particularly for the non-US versions.

The best piece of advice that I can give about getting WoW patches is to not use the Blizzard torrent client to get it. Let the update start using the default client, then cancel it immediately. You can then grab the .torrent file from a temporary directory within your WoW folder and feed it to a "proper" bittorrent client, which has actual connection configuration options. The default client likes to max out my upstream (and can't be disuaded from doing so easily), with the result that my connection become near-unusable and my downstream speed suffers horribly. By using a proper client and capping the upstream 10k/sec below maximum (which still allows for a decent upload speed and maintains my status as a good citizen), I was able to achieve almost 10 times the download speed I was getting from the official client (going from 60k/sec to 550k/sec), while also keeping my connection vaguely usable for other things.

On an unrelated note, Blizzard are absolutely horrible at rolling out patches. I used to be a hardcore Final Fantasy XI player and since then I've had short bursts in Lord of the Rings Online. FFXI patch-day bugs would be things like "some obscure fight in the Den of Rancor which nobody's done for weeks now has a bit of a pathing-bug, which we'll fix overnight". LotRO patch day was a bit bumpier, but that's understandable given it was a new game at the time and even then, stuff was fixed quite quickly. Any major patch from Blizzard effectively means at least a week (sometimes more) of seriously disrupted play, through server instability and massively disruptive bugs. The most recent patch has resulted in innumerable server crashes and restarts, severe intermittent latency issues throughout the evenings, disconnects when zoning in and out of instances, and a number of graphical bugs affecting machines with SLI graphics cards (albeit bugs with workarounds). The previous patch (2.4) effectively made Heroic instances unplayable for a week, along with the usual latency and disconnection problems. All of this is despite Blizzard having one of the longest and most public testing cycles in the industry for new patches, via the PTR (test realm).

Re:Offline patches? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480263)

On a related note, my Azareus client seems to be much slower and asks more upload then allows me to download, I almost want to use blizzard's torrent client to download my movies! I always get my patches in about 20 minutes, and they are min. 500mb. My Azareus takes me a couple of days for a 700mb movie!

Go figure!

Re:Offline patches? (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480413)

My Azureus can download the latest 150 megabyte SG Atlantis episode in just an hour across my 700 kbit/s line. That's because it has lots of seeds.

Vice-versa if I'm trying to download something that has just one seed, then it can take seemingly forever. It's not the client but how many connections you can make that determines the overall speed of a P2P client.

Re:Offline patches? (3, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480145)

>>>If you're an average U.K. user on capped access, the odds are you have roughly 20Gbytes per month...... For you, sucking back a 2GB World of Warcraft patch isn't something you can just do. It's something you have to plan for --
>>>

The internet companies could eliminate this problem if they, like other utilities, provided for metered usage. Say $0.50 per gigabyte. Then an average user like myself wouldn't need to "plan" or "worry" about going over the cap. Instead I could just grab the 2 gigabyte update and pay an extra $1 that month.

And the internet companies would benefit too, because they could take the extra money and invest in upgrades to the network.

Re:Offline patches? (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480627)

And the internet companies would benefit too, because they could take the extra money and invest in upgrades to the network.

I started to write a lengthy response to this, but I scrapped it and will go with a much shorter response... HAHA!

In all seriousness, however, I don't know about in the U.K., but here in the states I would never trust a company to use excess money to increase/improve infrastructure, provide better service, or even hire more techs. Actually, I'd never trust them to do anything with it except pad their own balance-sheets and the wallets of their C-level executives.

Re:Offline patches? (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480861)

>>>I would never trust a company to use excess money to increase/improve infrastructure...
>>>

I disagree. Internet companies have a long history of improving infrastructure. Many American ISPs have histories dating back to the 1980s, when speeds were a slow 1200 bits/second. Over time they improved themselves to 2400, then 9600, 14.4, 28.8, 33.6, and finally 56k. They used their profits to upgrade their modems and networks to handle ever-increasing speeds. ----- But they didn't stop there. Next they offered DSL which can range from 500k upto 12000k. The latest technology called "FiOS" is being rolled-out, and that apparently can offer 100,000k connections.

Over the least twenty years, these companies HAVE invested their excess dollars into providing faster and faster and faster service. From a lowly 1.2k all the way upto 100,000k, these companies have served their customers extremely well, and provided the rapidly-increasing bandwidth necessary to grow from text-only BBSes to full-on video downloads.

Do I think companies will continue upgrading their infrastructure? I know of no other way to predict the future, except to look at the past, and the past shows that they have and they will.

Re:Offline patches? (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480701)

And so we return to metered access, where people have to watch the download meter instead of the clock to ensure they don't face a ridiculously hefty bill.
And an angry kid with a ddos botnet can not only kill your connection, but also cost you a lot of money, get you disconnected for non payment and give you a bad credit rating.

Also in the UK it's not the network that needs upgrading, it's the ridiculous prices BT charge for bandwidth on wholesale ADSL.

Re:Offline patches? (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480971)

>>>And so we return to metered access, where people have to watch the download meter instead of the clock to ensure they don't face a ridiculously hefty bill.
>>>

Isn't metered access better than hitting a 20 gigabyte cap (U.K. average), and then being cut-off completely? I know I'd rather choose the former than the latter.

And what's so horrible about metered plans anyway? We use meters virtually everywhere else: gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, natural gas, electricity, phone calls (long distance), and on and on. I can not think of any reason why internet should be different than every other utility. '

A person who downloads 200 gigabytes a month should pay a hell of a lot more (~$20 flat rate + $90 metered rate) than poor Grandma who only downloaded 1 gig of email last month (~$20 flat rate). I think that's entirely fair. Same way all your other utilities work.

Re:Offline patches? (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480175)

P.S.

TRIVIA - A recent study in the U.K. shows that bandwidth use of *legal* video streaming is going up. Peer-2-Peer traffic has dropped from 30% to 24% of traffic. Legal video streaming has increased from 4% to 11% of total traffic. Users are gradually switching to legal methods to watch their favorite TV shows.

I don't have any data for MMOs or online gaming, but I imagine it too has seen a boost in traffic. It will be interesting to see how ISPs respond. When they declared war on P2P they tried to block the connections. Will they now try to block users access to sites like BBC.com, NBC.com, or worldofwarcraft.com in order to lower traffic (or competition)???

Re:Offline patches? (4, Insightful)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480769)

Let's change "Users are gradually switching to legal methods to watch their favorite TV shows." to "Users are finally being offered legal means to watch their favorite TV shows online without paying or paying too much."

Imagine... (4, Interesting)

Tempest451 (791438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478627)

How good MMOs could be if bandwidth wasn't an issue?

Imagine...Size matters. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478799)

How good would any game be if patches weren't measured in Gigabytes?

Re:Imagine...Size matters. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479325)

Patches that fix things are generally pretty tiny, as they're generally not much more than s/badcode/goodcode/. It's content patches that add new stuff that get huge, and are inherently big due to big files required, like textures, sound files, etc.

Re:Imagine... (2, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479043)

As far as MMOs go, latency is the main barrier to decent gameplay.

the creativity bottleneck (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479647)

Though I don't disagree that latency is an important issue, I would say it's the game developers and designers (and, by extension, their extremely risk-adverse employers) who are the main barrier to decent gameplay.

Re:Imagine... (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479097)

Imagine how good MMOs could be if [storage space/cpu power/graphics cards/ram] wasn't an issue?

Putting everyone on a 1Gb link isn't going to magically make MMOs better.

Re:Imagine... (2, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480279)

Of course not, with a 20GB cap you won't have very long to be online :D

Re:Imagine... (2, Interesting)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480611)

Imagine how good MMOs could be if [storage space/cpu power/graphics cards/ram] wasn't an issue?

umm.. D&D on IRC?

As always with MMORPGs, the answer is: ... (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479215)

... look at what Korea has right now. Summary: you're not missing much, unless you like grindy games with microcredit transactions. (Don't worry, US players: you will have this business model, too, sooner rather than later.)

Re:As always with MMORPGs, the answer is: ... (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480965)

Korea has something that works for them. A lot of people play in spurts in cafes where you aren't necessarily going to find an open seat (though it is likely). If you can't adequately predict your play times and what not, and even if you can, sometimes these "microcredit" transactions are best/cheapest.

Re:Imagine... (1)

vandel405 (609163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479493)

I don't mean to troll, but "Imagine how good life would be if only money wasn't an issue..." You can replace 'life' and 'money' with whatever you feel provides the best example. The point is that problems and solutions are really only interesting when they have constraints.

Erm (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478655)

1) Make false assumption about bandwidth usage caps
2) Write article based on false assumptions
3) Blame MMOs
4) Profit???

Re:Erm (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478699)

In the US, there really aren't any such caps but in the UK and elswhere, there often are.

And I was told internets in the us were teh suxors.

Re:Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478949)

Comcast is capping soon or currently. Its pretty high at 200 Gb though. Not a problem...yet.

Re:Erm (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479513)

Oh really? I'm in Sweden and I haven't heard of any ISPs around here having bandwidth caps except for a handful of crappy local ones, and AFAIK very very very very few people are limited to only one of these ISPs.

/Mikael

Re:Erm (2, Interesting)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479819)

If you don't have a cap then you're likely in a very developed area. I live in a less developed area and am stuck with wireless broadband to a T3 trunk. Sure my latency is great, but my cap is 600M per day. That's not a rolling average either, that's a "soft" cap. If I go over I get a hand delivered letter letting me know that I used 601M yesterday!

Re:Erm (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480813)

The real story in the article isn't about the size of MMO updates and managing use on a cap. The juicy bits were the arguments that US broadband carriers may be running trials and leaning towards implementing caps.

It may not be true for the majority of carriers, and the article certainly is light on details (even regarding the supposed topic of MMO bandwidth usage), but it's something that should be of concern for everyone currently on unlimited access. I know that in the last month I've downloaded several gigs of data without even considering the impact because I have an unlimited connection, and I haven't played an MMO game in a couple of years. A couple of linux distros and several massive updates, a 1.x gig download for the highest-quality version of NIN's internet-release album (and the accompanied uploads since he's using BitTorrent for distribution). Still not in the 20GB range, I would hope, but it's not something I usually have to think about.

Re:Erm (3, Funny)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479331)

Imagine the irony if this had been a main story and the article got slashdotted.

Re:Erm (1)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479891)

In Belgium, most of the ADSL providers caps to 20GB/month for their best offer. Some caps are as low as 100MB/month... Now some of cable operator have offer with Unlimited* download (but I have never get the time to read the fine print)

Re:Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480235)

Move north. In the Netherlands most (all?) major providers are unlimited. No capping whatsoever.

However, your beer is better than ours! :-)

Re:Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480357)

I live in South Africa and have to make do on a 7GB hard cap (i.e. they cut you off completely after 7GB until the start of the next month) costing the equivalent of nearly $100. That and the line is only 384k.

Trust me these assumptions about bandwidth are not false. I really do have to plan download schedules to make ends meet every month.

Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478657)

If an ISP has you capped at 20 gigs a month, switch.

Unfortunately, that may not be an option, depending on where you live...

It's my hope that things like MMOs, voice communication (and videoconferencing), YouTube, etc, will all drive ordinary users to use more bandwidth. Hopefully a lot more.

And that these applications will appear too fast and too varied for the ISPs to attempt to make deals with them.

This would force ISPs to stop focusing on bandwidth leeches (and specifically targeting BitTorrent), and actually start increasing their bandwidth to match the very real demand.

I could be entirely wrong, though. All of the above rests on the assumption that MMO companies ultimately have more power than ISPs.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478803)

If an ISP has you capped at 20 gigs a month, switch.

Unfortunately, that may not be an option, depending on where you live...

It's my hope that things like MMOs, voice communication (and videoconferencing), YouTube, etc, will all drive ordinary users to use more bandwidth. Hopefully a lot more.

And that these applications will appear too fast and too varied for the ISPs to attempt to make deals with them.

This would force ISPs to stop focusing on bandwidth leeches (and specifically targeting BitTorrent), and actually start increasing their bandwidth to match the very real demand.

I could be entirely wrong, though. All of the above rests on the assumption that MMO companies ultimately have more power than ISPs.

unfortunatly in some areas of the world its hard to get more than that.

for instance as an aussie I only get 15gb for my $50 a month....

unlimited just dosen't exist here as companys have to bring all the data across from the us etc for the most part.

and here they capacity dosen't exist to just up the quotas... many times i have seen areas limited in speed do to the links being fully saturated and company's don't have the millions to upgrade them with out getting it somewhere.

if you can find a AUS isp that offers unlimited access for a reasonable price i would pay this comment.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480051)

unlimited just dosen't exist here as companys have to bring all the data across from the us etc for the most part.

I wonder if what they are saying is true, or just an excuse. Providers such as Google (ie. YouTube) don't generally ship everything from a single location in California. They have massive colocated facilities around the world, so most of your YouTube videos and much other content will be coming from Australia.

Rich.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0, Redundant)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479033)

How for those people who don't have other ISPs?

For example for me, I only have cable. No DSL because of distance (20K ft.), no WISP, no FIOS even in Verizon area!, etc. ISDN and IDSL are too expensive. Satellite ISPs have caps, slow, and expensive.

I can go back to unlimited 3 KB/sec dial-up without caps. :P

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (3, Insightful)

OneArmedMan (606657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479145)

For an idea of what its like to live in a country that has to get all of its internet data from USA / Europe, read this article, and watch the embedded flash video.

http://www.zdnet.com.au/insight/communications/soa/Net-neutrality-is-an-American-problem-/0,139023754,339292161,00.htm [zdnet.com.au]

FYI I pay $70AUD (~$48USD) per month for a 1.5mbit / 256kbit DSL line with 40Gb of data.

This is from one of the more expensive / boutique providers in AU. You can get DSL a whole lot cheaper, but the quality of the connection, speed of downloads and support suffers greatly.

You can use this page to get an idea of what is available in AU.

http://bc.whirlpool.net.au/bc/?action=search [whirlpool.net.au]

Like I said, you can get DSL cheaper, but sometimes good things are worth paying for.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480303)

Article says it all with this one sentence: "The problem with an "unlimited access" plan, explains Hackett, is that it "devalues what a megabyte is worth".

So clearly, we should charge more for things that we already oversell. Yes, what a wonderful man this guy! (sarcasm)

If you guys pushed for better connections, they would start to be worked on. As is, you are getting raked over the coals worse than we are in the US.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479165)

Changing ISPs to something better is not always an option. For context, where I am currently working, the largest (conventional) cap available is 3 gigs a month (although they usually allow some more), which includes local traffic and uploads. Pass their upper limit, and you are not throttled, but limited to local traffic only (no external traffic at all). So, multiple large downloads will quickly kill my account. The way I deal with this is to run multiple accounts, which is very expensive (ADSL, plus accounts costs more than USD100/month).

It is very unlikely that their costs are anywhere that high, but the external bandwidth is effectively monopolised by a government organisation. When (if?) the competition arrives, this is a case where I suspect caps will rise and prices drop dramatically. Competition is good...

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479263)

What if my ISP has me capped on 2GB per month but I've never had them tell me I'm using too much transfer and it's free as part of another package?

IMO, you've either got to be downloading lots of ISOs (e.g. Linux distros), far too many stupidly huge patches, enough demos that you're better off buying a gaming magazine (which also include some of the large patches), or doing a huge amount of pirating for the normal person to have a problem at 20GB.

The only exception is people who use the "watch anytime" TV services, but given the quality of content on TV when it's first broadcast, why would you want to watch it later?

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479403)

Well, personally, I watch NHL hockey online since it's not on TV where I live.

I also build and distribute virtual machines for our engineering staff at work. Those average about 8-10GB each and I upload and download multiple per week.

I would guess I top 150GB, sometimes approaching 200GB, without ANY pirating or downloading of anything that could be achieved by any other means (other than mailing a hard drive to our datacenter in Texas or our offices in California... so practical)

Caps suck.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480353)

The parent was probably talking about personal, non-commercial use of high speed internet. You are talking about uploading 8 - 10 GB as part of your support of engineers, which I assume is work related... if that is the case, I'd think a commercial account with unlimited bandwidth cap would be more appropriate. Yes, they will charge you more, but you get what you pay for including terms of service more appropriate for a commercial use.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480431)

> I also build and distribute virtual machines for our engineering staff at work. Those average about 8-10GB each and I upload and download multiple per week.

Sounds like a need for one of the many remote desktop technologies. Leave the 10GB VM's on the server at work, and build them remotely.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (3, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479287)

"If an ISP has you capped at 20 gigs a month, switch."

It's not always that simple, many ISP's change bandwidth caps behind their users backs and without their consent. My ISP did exactly this a couple of months ago changing my regular cap and cutting it by over 30%, needless to say they got an ear full. ISP's unfortunately are a really uncompetitive industry in north america because of the nature of how they get profits, they could choose to "improve" their service, but most customers are too inept and too stupid to care about such things, hence they get away with things like overselling, etc. It's one sector of the economy where the market fails due to ignorance and it's sad. Hopefully as more bandwidth intensive apps appear it will force them to upgrade, but most likely they will push caps and overselling until they get enough complaints to do so.

Most people don't switch internet that often and for many, there are only a few options available, and even when there are more this does not mean people have any clue they exist. Especially DSL providers, technically you should be able to get DSL from a lot of vendors if you live in a densely populated area, but this often comes at quality of service. I thought of switching to DSL many times but my cables speed is ridiculously fast compared to the DSL when I tried it out for a couple of months. I notice that DSL providers will give you unlimited dl's but slower speed, but as file sizes increase speed matters just as much as bandwidth caps for some people.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

excelblue (739986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479361)

I'm in an university dorm. Here, I get extremely fast and reliable internet where downloads from mirrors.kernel.org go at LAN-like speeds (10.5MB/sec average), as well as with many other fast servers. The only problem is - 8GB/wk cap. Go over, and you're cut off - no other options. Need more? It's time to get that unlimited mobile internet plan that allows tethering while costing you an arm and leg, or negotiate with your roommate to run a dialup connection from your dorm phone at all times. Though, if you're a reasonable user, large downloads can slip by without much problem. I find my usage to be under 1GB/wk when I don't download anything. That leaves 7GB/wk for occasional stuff.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479529)

or negotiate with your roommate to run a dialup connection from your dorm phone at all times.

Even that is only interesting if you get a phone plan with unlimited local calls or something, which usually costs as least as much as unlimitied mobile internet, depending on where you live.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479395)

If an ISP has you capped at 20 gigs a month, switch.

Unfortunately, that may not be an option, depending on where you live...

So - switch, unless you can't?

This would force ISPs to stop focusing on bandwidth leeches (and specifically targeting BitTorrent), and actually start increasing their bandwidth to match the very real demand.

A much, much better alternative is for content creators to make sure their software is explicitly licensed as redistributable so ISPs can easily mirror it (my argument is anything distributed by BitTorrent has such a license as you're implicitly granting redistribution rights to everyone anyway, but I don't know if a court would agree with me).

This is what we do in Australia - where the average monthly download limit for many people is between 12 and 20 gigabytes - with ridiculously good effects. Most ISPs have some sort of mirror service so we're not wasting international bandwidth with 50,000 WoW users sucking down the latest 2 gigabyte patch via BitTorrent. Instead, patches are mirrored on the ISP, meaning traffic stays local - reducing international load, network traffic across the entire world, and thus also cost.

It is a massive value-add for customers that care about gaming. Some ISPs also offer big open source repositories, etc, so if that floats your boat and you want to sync nightly with an Ubuntu mirror without eating into your monthly cap, you can do that too.

Re:Get an ISP that doesn't suck. (1)

shish (588640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480251)

Unfortunately, that may not be an option, depending on where you live...

England :-(

20GB/month? (0, Troll)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478665)

Poor bastards.

Re:20GB/month? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479243)

Hey, I'm on 2GB per month you insensitive clod!

(No, really, I'm on the Sky "Base" package [sky.com] and it's fine).

Transfer Caps (5, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478693)

This doesn't seem to be an issue of bandwidth, but of transfer caps. Unless bandwidth refers to both caps and connection speeds.

Re:Transfer Caps (1)

cailith1970 (1325195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478933)

Here in Australia, usually you get a transfer (quota) cap of whatever-you-pay-for Gb a month, and if you exceed that in a month, you get shaped (connection speed gets reduced significantly). Some of the big ISPs such as Telstra used to charge you per Mb if you went over, not sure if they still do that.

Re:Transfer Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480669)

Unless bandwidth refers to both caps and connection speeds.

Technically, it's a measure of a connection's ability to transfer data, given in a bit rate.

Unfortunately, for years technically disinclined web hosts have been misusing the term, so now it also commonly refers to the amount of data transferred across a connection over a given period of time.

I use to argue with people, especially on web hosting forums, about the distinction between transfer allowances and bandwidth, but it's just not worth it anymore....

Specifics? (1)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478705)

TFA gives the size of a patch or a game download. But that information is easily found. What would actually be useful is the information on how much bandwidth gameplay actually consumes, perhaps in Kbps, for a few of the more common MMOs like WoW.

Re:Specifics? (3, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478747)

TFA gives the size of a patch or a game download. But that information is easily found. What would actually be useful is the information on how much bandwidth gameplay actually consumes, perhaps in Kbps, for a few of the more common MMOs like WoW.

Such information is also easily found: http://www.google.com/search?q=wow+bandwidth [google.com]

WTH? (1, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478719)

It's possible that you live in one of the four or five countries (out of roughly 195) in the world where you have access to uncapped Internet access at acceptable speeds and monthly costs...

United States, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Singapore. That's 9 countries off the top of my head that I know of which offer uncapped downloads.

Re:WTH? (2, Informative)

skreeech (221390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478783)

Both major services in British Columbia Canada are capped. Telus is 40gb/month, Shaw was 30 a few years ago but may have increased. Telus also seems to cap total transfer speed around 250kb/sec, torrents, PS3 updates, itunes, and regular downloads noticeably slow down web page loads.

Re:WTH? (2, Informative)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478823)

Shaw raised their cap to 60GB around '06 I think. Anyway thats for the average highspeed internet, the next step up can be had for an extra 10 bucks and doubles the speed and raises the cap to 100GB.

Re:WTH? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478941)

Telus and Shaw in BC are both 60GB for basic service. Not to be confused with the 'Lite' service they both have, capped at 10GB.

http://www.telus.com/portalWeb/inlineLink/CP_SCS/Product/Internet/High_Speed/Compare/High_Speed_Plans_and_Prices/?_region=BC [telus.com]
http://www.shaw.ca/en-ca/ProductsServices/Internet/ [www.shaw.ca]

Honestly skreeech, you should take the few seconds to look it up if you're going to post "facts" here for everyone to read. It's just courtesy.

Re:WTH? (3, Informative)

Overkill Nbuta (1035654) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478837)

No clue how you put Canada on that list. I live in Calgary Alberta. And not a single ISP offers Uncapped Downloads unless you pay for a small Biz Line. Caps start at 20 Gigs for the slow internet 200kbits/s up to 100 Gigs for 10Mbit/s

Re:WTH? (4, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478975)

if you have a business connection then you might have access to uncapped internet access in the U.S., but otherwise most residential broadband services are capped--even if the ISP doesn't tell you.

when it's standard practice to oversell to the point that your total network capacity is only enough for 1% of your customers, then of course bandwidth caps are going to be put in place. there's no way that Verizon, Comcast, or any other major U.S. ISP can handle even a quarter of their subscribers using their service plan's full advertised transfer rate 24/7.

with bandwidth throttling & packet shaping, i'm only getting about 50~60 GB total downstream throughput per month (if there are no major outages). and we're charged about 1000% the bandwidth costs (per Mbps) of countries like Sweden, Japan, Korea, etc.

Re:WTH? (1)

Ksempac (934247) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479313)

France has uncapped access.

We're very lucky regarding Internet access : If you don't live in a remote area, standard price is 30 euros/month for triple play (DSL Internet access up to 20 Mbits/s + free call to fixed phones nationwide and some others countries + TV)

Re:WTH? (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479339)

Add also Italy to that list. As far as I know, major ISPs offer uncapped bandwidth.

Re:WTH? (1)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479341)

Add Czech Republic to your list... 13 Mbps uncapped for $35.

Re:WTH? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479383)

Add Germany to the list. EUR 25/month for Alice DSL, 14Mbit down/1Mbit up, no caps. In Berlin, at least.

Re:WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479615)

Add the Netherlands, too. Most DSL and cable plans are without any data limit and all but the most expensive are very affordable.

So far I've heard of two ISPs that do some form throttling on busy times (both cable). As far as I know, none of the DSL ISPs do it.

Re:WTH? (1)

borizz (1023175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479631)

Netherlands. 20 euros for a 20/1 MBit ADSL line. No caps, but all ISPs here say they have a fair use policy, but I've never heard it enforced. My old ISP's tech once explained it to me like this (cable internet): If your neighbourhood does not complain about slow speed we don't care how much you use.

Re:WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480065)

netherlands is mostly uncapped too

the only caps i know of are on mobile phone 3g plans, and on the usenet servers provided by the ISP (yup, a few ISPs actually provide free, full speed usenet servers)

just as well though, in the last 32 hours i downloaded (which is legal in the netherlands! its the uploading that is illegal) about 160 gb :)

Re:WTH? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480197)

Ireland too. 30 euros for 3072/384 kbits down/up, no cap.

Re:WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480405)

UK has uncapped or near uncapped...

Take Virgin Media for instance. I pay them £25 a month for 20MB internet. If I use too much in any given 4 hour period, i go down to 5MB for a few hours. It's pretty generous with the caps too. MMO patching certainly won't trigger it!

Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478749)

I go to a local community college with five T1 lines for about two thousand students, so bandwidth is extremely tight. We can't download drivers in computer classes because ftp is blocked, the typical time wasters (myspace, facebook) are blocked, but the people playing WoW on their laptops in the cafeteria five hours a day have no problem.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479101)

I go to a local community college with five T1 lines for about two thousand students, so bandwidth is extremely tight. We can't download drivers in computer classes because ftp is blocked, the typical time wasters (myspace, facebook) are blocked, but the people playing WoW on their laptops in the cafeteria five hours a day have no problem.

FTP blocked? Admins know you'll down load warez loaded with trojans.

Facebook and Myspace? Guess those fake profiles of the admins weren't such great ideas after all were they Einstein?

WoW works just fine? What the hell do you think the admins do when they're not getting all BOFH on you? On a side note, why do you think your guildies asked if you were drunk when you were on earlier? And did you know the admins all have multiple epic mounts for their mains and alts and they didn't have to farm or buy a single copper?

You know you might be in a bad guild when... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25478789)

you're so bored in between pulls you study the traffic WoW is generating.

I didn't care about bandwidth (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478819)

I used to have a 15 GB cap and I didn't look at every download with care. Nor did I plan gigabyte patches. Most of the time I just downloaded what seemed fun and stopped downloading at all when I reached 14 GB.
Of course, now that I have a 100 GB cap, I don't watch out at all. The fact that I'm at a college with a 5 GB cap might have something to do with that.

Re:I didn't care about bandwidth (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478839)

wait do you have a 100GB a month cap or a 5 Gb a month cap. You really seemed to say you have both.

Re:I didn't care about bandwidth (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479293)

He probably means that at home (or his parents home) he has a 100GB cap. When he is at his dorm in college, he has a 5GB cap. So dealing with a 5GB cap on most days, and then going home and having 20 times that, he doesn't have to worry so much.

Multiple accounts (1)

toccoa (206164) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478899)

There is a small but growing segment of users who play multiple accounts simultaneously. The number of people "dual-boxing" went up after Blizzard's recruit-a-friend program; a few hardy souls even 5-box. So the downloads and online bandwidth required on an ISP account could be double that of a traditional user.

Re:Multiple accounts (1)

K3ba (1012075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479587)

I don't dual-box (or 5-box!), but myself and my wife do play WoW. Not that we have a bandwidth cap, but to alleviate the time patching for the big updates, one of us does the update, and then we copy the patch files to the other computer.
I'm sure dual-boxers are just as (if not more so!) intelligent about their bandwidth usage and will do the same thing. In the end its actually a time consideration rather than volume issue that makes most people with more than one account played through the same internet connection to do the same.

Re:Multiple accounts (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479711)

Your right on that account. If you multibox across machines you go out of your way to keep everything in sync. This means same hardware and having what is installed software wise being the same. Most just copy the patch from one machine to the next. In my case, I am on a Mac, I have one install and a bash script which allows me to launch as many copies of WOW as I want. Makes running multiple copies of the game a breeze. No corruption of WTF, Cache, or my Addons, has occurred in the few years I have been doing it that way.

Bandwidth wise, I would have to say that even multiple accounts isn't enough to put any stress on a home dsl/cable connection.

Abusive bandwidth count (2, Informative)

bidule (173941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25478969)

I've been a WoW raider for years and always used 2-3 gig a month for 15-20 hours of raid with vent, plus a few more hours of solo play. That's patch and surfing included.

I know, because I'm using a cheap metered connection and I have to pay extra when I bust the 2 gig/month cap. I don't see why I should pay 50-80$ a month for bandwidth I won't use.

http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1005029 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25479095)

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Problem? (1)

Grenk (1093561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479327)

I'm in the UK and I just don't have an issue with my 25GB(20GB until a few months ago) cap. I've used it all ONCE in 4 years, when I was replacing my computer and had to reinstall everything. It's not that I'm a cautious bandwidth user either.

I play WoW(1.6GB path last week) and Warhammer(10GB beta download). I never worry about my limit and download games, music and video, whenever I wish. I also manage a dedicated server, with website and all the data transfer that involves.

I wonder, what nefarious activities are all you lot up to that demand so much bandwidth? Maybe I should contact the MPAA...

Re:Problem? (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480707)

something tells me that your not in a high usage area so they don't care what your doing. Here in the US I have notice the people that keep getting their internet shut off are inside major city limits where there are thousands of users on their systems

Capped bandwidth is not ok!! (1)

Arthurio (1392181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479893)

I live in Estonia (that's a relatively poor eastern Europe country with low population density) and I have a popular uncapped 11Mbit down/ 768Kbit up ADSL2+ connection that's about 50$/month and comes with iptv (50 channels) and telephony. The IPTV when turned on uses about 6mbit/s but if turned off I can use the full 11Mbit/s speed all the time! And no it is not oversold! I regularly download at about 1MB/s and it depends on the source not the time of day or anything like that. 50-80+ gigs a day is no problem ... ye you could ask who needs 50-80gigs a day but just as well you could ask who needs over 640Kbytes of ram ... technology is supposed to evolve and go forward not backwards and IMO capping bandwidth for home users is a huge step backwards... Of course I don't download 80 gigs every day. But when I need to I sure appreciate the opportunity. Same goes for not having to 'plan for' any game updates ... wouldn't that just suck huge donkey balls? I didn't write all that just to brag over what I have I wrote that so that all of you with capped connections realize how much you're getting screwed and start taking some action against the moronic ISP-s you seem to have.

Again showing why bandwidth caps are backwards (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25479933)

It reminds me of the time limits that ISPs added when the internet got popular. It worked out to 3 hours a day.

And people claimed it was "reasonable" and that "somebody had to set limits".

Seems like a quaint notion today. Kinda like a 250G bandwidth limit. I don't quite understand why anybody but narrow-minded ISPs defend the practice, either.

Tonker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480047)

bandwidth cap, whats that?
I live in norway and i haven't heard of a single ISP operating with something like that.

Thankfully/sadly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25480179)

the "capped" type of subscriptions appear to be a problem "only" in USA, for pretty natural reasons. No ISP in the scandinavian countries, or pretty much the entire Europe, deal with bandwidth allowances - actually, the majority of them didn't even do it back in, say, 2000, when jumping over to ADSL for the first time.

The article is from the BBC (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480871)

That's in England, not the US.

And it's Australia that seems to have the most problem with bandwidth caps - so far as I can tell it's universal there: you can't get an uncapped connection down under.

The way ISPs cap usage seems to be more abusive in the US, though (when there is a cap, that is). From what I understand you simply get throttled in Australia once you hit the cap. In the US you start paying overcharge rates instead.

New way to make money? (2, Interesting)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25480525)

Imagine instead of carbon credits you have download credits. Hey I only downloaded 5 gigs this month I want to be able to sell the other 15 gigs to anyone who is over their limit.

Not really a bad idea :-)
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