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BT Gets Exclusive Rights To OnLive In the UK

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the stick-with-myst-in-the-sticks dept.

Cloud 128

arcticstoat writes "UK telecoms firm BT has signed a deal with cloud-gaming firm OnLive, which gives BT exclusive UK rights to bundle the OnLive Game Service with its broadband packages. Although OnLive will also offer its service directly in the UK, BT (and PlusNet, which is also owned by BT) will be the only ISP allowed to offer the service. UK gamers will need a connection that can cope with the bandwidth demands too, which is a concern when so many UK homes don't have access to fast broadband. Speaking to Thinq, BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming. This will effectively rule out the use of the HD service in areas of the country that can only get a 2Mb/sec connection. BT plans to start trials of the system in the UK later this year, and plans to launch the service in 2011 or 2012."

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128 comments

It's ADSL though (2, Insightful)

PhongUK (1301747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32204994)

In my experience ADSL broadband has always been out performed by DSL in both speed and quality. Given the technical requirements of OnLive i can't possible see how this is going to work for any real time games. Looks like you're going to have to be practically sat on top of the exchange box for this to work.

Re:It's ADSL though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205018)

well I don't see an issue as in this case they require a bigger down link than an uplink which is the main difference between DSL and ADSL

Re:It's ADSL though (1)

PhongUK (1301747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205046)

The problem with ADSL is that the service deteriorates rapidly the further away from the exchange you are. So while this might be ok for browsing web pages, i have had profound problems with services such as iPlayer, youtube et al. Also, unless you ring up BT and request it, you basically get lumped with a poor ping (approx 40-100ms based on the service i am getting now) which is hopeless for anything real time.

Re:It's ADSL though (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205042)

I'm firmly in the don't think it's gonna work very well camp because of the extra latency introduced over local processing but I don't get your point about ADSL.

In theory shouldn't ADSL be fine because most of the bandwidth will be consumed by sending the video stream to the client? You're only sending user input back to onlive ( you don't send the video back to onlive too ) so an asynchronous lop sided channel like ADSL should be fine. Or am I missing the point and it's not the A in ADSL that you're concerned about but the overall unpredictability and continuous variation in the ADSL service that you are concerned about?

Re:It's ADSL though (1)

PhongUK (1301747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205070)

Yes you are correct about my point. I should have been more clear, unpredictability in the service of ADSL from BT as a whole was meant to be the focus of my original point. In my experience it just wont work for real time stuff unless you are in the ideal location etc, which most people arn't.

Re:It's ADSL though (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205548)

I should have been more correct

Fixed that for you. You still win .3 of an Internets though for being man enough to very nearly admit to posting technobabble bullshit.

Re:It's ADSL though (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205658)

>>>unpredictability in the service of ADSL from BT

Why is ADSL unpredictable? I have ASDL here in the States, and it always gives me what I paid for. It's *very* predictable. I think the previous poster is correct that you'd only need a narrow upstream path to send back joystick commands, player's data, et cetera.

Trivia-

I remember playing head-to-head Populous on only a 2 kbit/s phoneline (circa 1988). It worked fine. I don't understand why today's games need anything faster than ~120k upstream. Maybe the programmers don't bother to optimize/compact their data anymore.

Re:It's ADSL though (3, Informative)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205130)

What do you mean? Isn't ADSL a subset of DSL? I'm fairly sure DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a description while ADSL (or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is an actual implementation/technology. There are many other forms of DSL as well: DSL technologies [wikipedia.org] . As for being sat on top of the exchange, pretty much. I live maybe 2 miles away from mine, but I only get ~1mbps. Virgin certainly isn't available in my area, and even with ADSL 2+ when it becomes properly viable I'd only get ~4mbps, so no HD OnLive for me (heck, no SD Onlive at the moment :( ).

Re:It's ADSL though (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205702)

>>>There are many other forms of DSL as well: DSL technologies.

Question: I have a friend who has *zero* access to DSL. Or ADSL. Or IDSL. Or cable. Anyone know where he can get cheap satellite service (i.e. less than US$30 a month). Everything I've seen so far is outrageously expensive.
.

>>>I only get ~1mbps

The government ought to pass a law that websites must provide a "low bandwidth friendly" alternative to their site that will work on 750 kbit/s or less. I'm sure the politicians can invent some appropriate moniker like the "Equal Access Law" or "Equal Virtual Opportunity Law" to sell it. IMHO it's ridiculous that you can have high-speed internet and yet still not be able to watch youtube due to video bloat (VEVO being the worst culprit).

Re:It's ADSL though (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205210)

ADSL *IS* DSL - what are you talking about? Perhaps you meant in comparision to cable broadband (which is NOT called DSL).

If you meant SDSL, then the download rates of SDSL are usually MUCH slower than ADSL (typically 2Mbit in each direction for the UK), which stands zero chance of any HD streaming for gaming (or anything else).

Re:It's ADSL though (4, Funny)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205308)

ADSL broadband has always been out performed by DSL

Yes, Fords are always outperformed by vehicles too.

(Yay I finally managed to post a car analogy on Slashdot)

Re:It's ADSL though (1)

telchine (719345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205844)

In my experience with BT (which some of my neighbours use). They set up their routers with WEP by default. It looks like I'll be getting free gaming. Yay!

Re:It's ADSL though (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206336)

An ADSL line is a DSL line, although a DSL line is not necessarily an ADSL line as there are many DSL implementations.

BT has announced this because they've also announced they're now getting fibre to the cabinet rolled out to 75% of the UK, and so it's off the back of that they'll likely be trying to sell it.

Unfortunately for me I'm not in that 75%, apparently the outskirts of the 3rd largest city in the UK is not financially feasible according to BT it seems, or perhaps it's because our area is already due to be fibred up by another company and BT are scared fucking shitless of competition where they can't perform price gouging, who knows, but it means I wont be able to get OnLive.

Oh well, however will I cope? I mean really, I've been so so looking forward to it, the idea of being able to have additional input latency added to all my favourite games, I mean, that's awesome.

No, really, I couldn't give a flying fuck. In fact, I'm glad it's limited to BT, because maybe that way at least less people will bother with it and more people will stick to classic console/PC gaming meaning there will be no decrease in people to play against online. Still, good luck with the business model OnLive, you'll need it.

cue the skeptics (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32204998)

Every OnLive article, the comments overflow with skepticism over lag. So come on, let's hear it.

Re:cue the skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205028)

Skepticism? It introduces latency, period.

Is that you and your financial interest talking, Steve Perlman?

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205108)

Okay.

TACHYONS! Obviously BT has cornered the UK market on Tachyons, and so they're going to be able to run the service flawlessly!

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

LS (57954) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205172)

I'm guessing you are joking, but this is the big complaint that everyone has... "you can't get around the speed of light". The thing is if you are 5 to 10 kilometers from an OnLive server installation with at most a couple hops on the network, are there really any real latency issues introduced by the speed of light?

Let's say the roundtrip for pressing the button on your controller to seeing a response on your screen is 20K worth of wire. 20K At the speed of light (ok, maybe a little slower over wire), that makes for a .00007 second delay. NO PROBLEM

Re:cue the skeptics (2, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205242)

Except that electrons travel a fuckton slower than the speed of light through a wire. 66% through standard coaxial.

Further, the issue is latency. In an average multiplayer game with a dedicated server and a good connection, I can still have a ping of 200 ms, which is noticeable. And that's without the server needing to render the entire scene, saturating my bandwidth. So, for a SINGLE PLAYER GAME, I'm using a good chunk of my bandwidth, looking at possibilities of 200 ms latencies, less if I'm lucky, more if I'm not, and if my network spazzes out and drops for a minute, or any router along the way fucks up and needs to reroute, I get fucked over.

How the fuck can anyone think this is a good idea? It's like Ubisoft's DRM, but somehow even MORE retarded.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205270)

Except that electrons travel a fuckton slower than the speed of light through a wire. 66% through standard coaxial

Electrons travel a lot slower than that - although you are correct that that is the wave propagation speed in coax which is what really matters.
It's still faster than wave propagation in an optical fibre though.

Re:cue the skeptics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205486)

66% of c is not a "fuckton" slower than the speed of light. However, electrons through a wire will move at a speed of millimetres per second which is a "fuckton" slower than the speed of light. In any case, the energy transfer is not through the electrons, but through the E field which propagates at a fair chuck of the speed of light.

As for optical fibres. Well, they're made of glass through which light certainly does not propagate at the speed of light in a vacuum. If you assume that n=1.5, then the signal moves at 2/3 of the vacuum speed of light. Nobody claims that optical fibres are superior because of increased propagation speed (because it's simply not true). The real advantage is that the available bandwidth is much larger than for a copper wire, with less signal degradation. If your 200ms ping time was solely down to signal propagation, you'd be 25000 miles away from your ISP.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206046)

Where the hell are you playing to get a ping of 200ms? Unless it's BF:BC2, you're either playing on a server on another continent (or maybe east cost west coast) or there's a horrible amount of congestion in which case you'll also get dropped packets which will be much more noticeable.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207492)

*points to sig* I'm Canadian. I'm never near a server. I'm so not near a server that when I used to play TF2, I managed to get fairly good at playing with a ping of 700. Never quite managed the 800. Eventually moved to where I could change ISP, and now I deal with 150-200 as a regular ping.

I can't recall any service ever placing a server in Canada. So even if they placed a server right on the border, I'd be hundreds of kilometres away. But a server on the border would be in Montana, which I imagine gets screwed over nearly as often. So, if I was lucky, they'd place a server in Seattle, something like 700 km away.

However, the plus side of my situation is I already know exactly how services like this will work for anyone not in the exact region of the server: poorly.

Re:cue the skeptics (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205260)

But it isn't just 20km of wire. Just getting to the Manchester backbone (10 miles away) for my ISP needs 4 hops and has a latency of 20ms (0.02 s). Getting to the web page for Manchester university routes the packets through London, and uses 17 hops and is about 30ms latency.

Just the process of compressing the video for the client will add latency. You can't squish an HD frame instantly. You can't decode it instantly either. While analogue TV was still broadcast in my region, you could flick between digital and analogue and the digital always lagged behind - yes, it was buffered, but that's a necessary consequence of the technology.

Even if they are setting up the video rendering servers in the local exchange - which assumes a ridiculous amount of competence - you are talking about adding between 2 and 5 Mbit/s of traffic per client. The local loop of copper wire can only accommodate a certain amount of traffic for a given pool of customers - your contention ratio is based on this fact.

So ; twitch gaming is right out. In fact, the only kind of game this would work well for would be high-latency games like World of Warcraft, strategy games, etc. In other words, the kind of games for which you don't exactly need a stellar rendering setup anyway.

It's really offensive from an engineering viewpoint as well. All the same components have to be there (game client computer with expensive GPU, game server, internet connection to carry multiplayer messages), but you have to add an extra computer (the "thin" client), add extra messages across the network for the controller, and of course, pipe a video stream across the internet instead of a monitor cable. It's just not efficient. Even if the service is pitched at casual gamers who can't be bothered to install a game and want instant gratification, it will be equally damaging to all the other customers on that network because they have to share their bandwidth with people streaming HD video.

I'm actually really glad that BT has signed them up exclusively because I'm on cable - thanks guys... you just saved my ISP from shooting themselves in the foot with this crap.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206534)

Round trip time for small packets (ICMP Ping) on my connection to the fastest service outside my ISP (latency wise) is between 26 and 29ms, much higher than the 0.07ms delay your "considering the wire only" calculation results in.

Many people see noticeably higher latencies than that simply because of line quality issues (causing the ADSL equipment to use interleaved modes, reducing packet loss at the expense of higher latency), line length from home to exchange in some cases, backbone topology (there are places in Yorkshire where data on BT's backbone goes up to Manchester before heading down to London before being handed off to their actual ISP which may involve another trip of measurable length unless the ISP just resells BT's service rather than having their own equipment and peering operation), or congestion due to bandwidth saturation (believe me, there are many ISPs who are far too oversold to expect any decent latency, even to relatively local sites, in an evening).

My gut feeling is that 30ms of lag would be fine for many players even on relatively fast paced games like most FPSs. Remember: this service isn't aimed at hard-code gamers who are, or claim to be, good enough to notice a small amount of extra lag, and WoW is fine for many people with a higher latency than that. But... if you are trying to play a fast response game (a fast FPS, or a not-too-easy driving game) the latency that many see on their ADSL connections would be at best irritating. Of course, not all the games are going to be those that need fast reactions - I think the success or not of the service will rest with other, slightly more sedate, games.

Re:cue the skeptics (4, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205120)

The critics will be silent when (1) they can try out the service for themselves, at home, on their own connections, and (2) it doesn't suck. Until then, there will be healthy skepticism.

I'm also skeptical of how profitable the service could be, even if there was zero lag. There must be a high ratio of "subscribers" to "servers" in order to pay for the servers and make a profit. 10:1, 20:1, that sort of thing. But demand for a game is not constant [steampowered.com] . Players mostly play at the same time - in the evening (local time). This is the time when the contention ratio matters. If 9 out 10 players cannot play because all the servers are busy, then they are going to wish they'd saved their subscription money and spent it on PC upgrades.

All online services have peak usage periods, but Amazon and Google do not have a big problem with them because users can be served by any data centre anywhere in the world if necessary. In peak time, if your web page takes 50ms longer to load, you don't even notice. That's what the "cloud" is supposed to do. But OnLive can't do that. All its data centres have to be geographically close to you.

Re:cue the skeptics (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205182)

Why doesn't somebody come up with a system that can host games locally? That would totally cure the input lag issue.

Hey, maybe they could offer a monthly fee instead of making you pay up front for the hardware, and at the end (when you've paid the value of the system) you get to keep it!

Oh boy, I'm going to make millio... Waitasecond.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205728)

>>>a system that can host games locally

Your idea is "anticloud". We ALL know the world will be better when distant mainframes do all the processing, and you are just using a dumb terminal to display the video. Your idea of having local smart machines (PS3, Xbox, etc) to do the processing is old-fashioned and not progressive thinking. It is anti-cloud thinking. We will now stone you
.
. /end humor

Re:cue the skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205410)

The critics will be silent when (1) they can try out the service for themselves, at home, on their own connections, and (2) it doesn't suck. Until then, there will be healthy skepticism.

Well then I expect we'll never have to shut up. While condition (1) can be satisfied most of us critics are of the opinion that (2) can NEVER be satisfied. Especially those of us critics who are dedicated PC gamers used to spending very pretty pennies to wring every last smidgen of performance out of our CPUs, GPUs, RAM, peripherals and network connections all in order to achieve the optimum gaming performance so that we may pwn your face while your clunky old box is still thinking about rendering the current frame.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205428)

In peak time, if your web page takes 50ms longer to load, you don't even notice.

Buffering... yes.

"the skeptics" (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205498)

you CAN'T make player preduction with this system. Not ifs, or buts, or other conditions. NO, ..YOU CAN'T,.. player prediction is not given to you, player.

player prediction is what make a poor ping feel almost feasible. no player prediction and a bad ping automaticall mean a bad gameplay.

with online you will have the problem (bad ping) withouth the solution (player prediction), hence, It will suck for FPS's.

no ifs, buts or opinions. Theres not reason to add opinion here, these are the facts.

Re:"the skeptics" (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205584)

You are probably right about the FPSes.

However, the system might (that is a very cautious 'might') work alright for stuff like RTSs and it'll definitely work well for turnbased games, of course no-one ever plays those any more.

Speaking of which do we even know what games they'll offer?

Re:"the skeptics" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205694)

I thought the whole point of OnLive was that it would let you play very demanding games without having to buy a high-powered computer.

Undemanding things like RTSes and turn-based games will already run perfectly well on any computer that's even capable of decoding an OnLive video stream in real time, so it's hard to see what the point would be of using OnLive to play them.

Re:"the skeptics" (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206206)

The "point" to OnLive is to move the game to a server that they can control so you can't "pirate" the game. It has NOTHING to do with what they're claiming it to be.

Re:cue the skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205574)

You forgot 3) it offers some resolution that doesn't rape your eyes.

In all honesty, I'm starting to think this might have a decent chance to compete with consoles. After all, console players already put up with a ridiculous amount of input lag:
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-lag-factor-article

Re:cue the skeptics (2, Interesting)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206182)

Heh...

I'm skeptical because of the brutal NUMBERS involved with this silly thing. In order for it to actually be remotely usable, you need to account for just how many people you can jam onto the pipe and there's this fixed peak value (which you MUST observe or things do go to hell in a handbasket immediately...) that is 1.5 mbits/sec for 640x480 type (SD) resolution and 5 mbits/sec for 1024x768 (HD) type resolution.

For SD resolutions, you can do...

30 people peak at T3 data rates.
103 people peak at OC-3 data rates.
414 people peak at OC-12 data rates.
1666 people peak at OC-48 data rates.
6000 people peak at OC-192 data rates.

Remind yourselves that this is SD resolution for starters. People drubbed the Wii for running with that resolution and while it was the runaway seller, there's a cruel reality with it all as well. The industry's used to having numbers like 250k sold as being only so-so as a run and a million plus as GoTY levels of sales. 6k's a paltry number of people to run with in a given area- and OC-192's are "godlike" bandwidth, not even remotely cheap ($20k/mo would be on the low-end of the pricing on that...), and it's all you can hope for for SD levels of resolution for a minimally credible number of people using the service. Putting it with the ISP is an entertaining direction that some will take it- especially in light of the above numbers basically choking off the pipe to the point that you're better off picking 3/4ths those numbers to ensure you've a smidge of headroom so you don't start losing traffic as the congestion algorithms beat you all to hell. They're already bitching about things like bittorrent, video-on-demand, and sites like Google...

It can't be fixed in a manner that'd scale well. And if anyone did these off the cuff calculations of things would see that it's not going to work. If you knew anything about how TCP/IP networking worked you'd end up with the same conclusions.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207764)

You misunderstand the technology.
Since BT are going to have exclusive rights they will create edge servers at their ISP. At this point all the network traffic is internal as BT own all the exchanges etc.

If they were trying to host this on a website outside their network it'd never work.
I believe similar things happen for the iplayer with akamai having edges at ISPs. I once calculated how much at standard bandwidth costs that akamai charge what the cost to the BBC would be. It ended up many times the BBC's total budget but with edges I'm sure they save a ton.

Re:cue the skeptics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205184)

If your ISP actually hosts OnLive server, lag is not different then playing over LAN. As always, big cities will see great performance with OnLive servers being just around the corner. There is no need, technically, for any lag whatsoever, except for router latency. Actually, this type of services will improve latency of ADSL/Fibre modems over time. Latency was not _that_ big deal in the past, but now it will be, each ms will count.

Re:cue the skeptics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205480)

It's a huge difference, because when you play on a LAN there is no input lag. 20-40 ms isn't so bad when it's applied only to positions, collision detection and so on, but when it is applied to your mouse the effect is very, very noticeable. It's pretty much impossible to aim in an FPS even with just a frame or two of lag.

That's the main problem with OnLive. Of course, it only applies to reaction-intensive games.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207144)

If your ISP actually hosts OnLive server, lag is not different then playing over LAN.

You don't understand how online games work. Even with a low latency there will be a significant difference. Latency in Onlive isn't the same as latency in a conventional online game.

Normal online games rely on clientside prediction to hide network latency. Instead of waiting for the server they respond to user input instantly. You can look around without latency, you move instantly and fire instantly no matter what your actual ping is.

Onlive can't do that because it introduces latency to the controls themselves. Any type of game where fine timing or control is required would be adversely affected.

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205438)

OnLive has some pretty fancy and attractive features.
Playing games using serverside rendering just happens to not be one of them.
Eliminating significant input lag is unrealistic. Video frames may be compressed in 1ms but it could take a hundred times longer for it to simply reach the user.

Maybe it'll work better when internet 2 comes out.

Re:cue the skeptics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205518)

here we are, folks: proof that low UID does not exempt you from being a fucking moron

Re:cue the skeptics (1)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205798)

I'm not sure why there should not be an expectation of skepticism. I'd like to see an example of something that's universally liked by everyone.

I'm skeptical of this service, but not because of lag. I always make the assumption that they somehow solved the lag issue. My concern is the games themselves. When OnLive was first announced many people seemed to predict that this would be the end of game consoles. Why? What kind of games will be available on this service? PC games? I know that there are plenty of console/PC ports, but there are some games that are on consoles that are not on PCs. Most of the are on the Wii, and most of them have the name Mario somewhere in the title.

WTFBT (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205006)

They throttle their connections all day on weekdays and weekends. Torrents are throttled 24/7. Video streaming is also now throttled in my area.

At 6pm when I get back from work I get about 0.2Mb/s. 9pm.. 0.4. If they start giving onlive packets priority I am going to get really, really pissed off. (I live in a shared house with no say on the net connection). If they can't actually offer the service they are selling now, how the hell can they start bundling more shit without fucking over more of their customer base?

Their service is shakey and has a horrible proprietary router. Most ISP's in the UK buy their wholesale service off them so you actually don't really have a choice since they own all the lines and exchanges.

Re:WTFBT (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205014)

Umm.. presumably the servers would be running at the switch.. so this is all local traffic we're talking about.

Re:WTFBT (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205906)

If you mean the exchange, I don't believe there's space spare. If you mean above the exchange, keep in mind there's a 50:1 sharing of bandwidth up from the exchange....

Re:WTFBT (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206914)

it depends on your ISP what your contention ratio is.

very low cost of craptastic ISP's do indeed have a 50:1 ratio

there are also other contention ratios you can have, usually 30:1 or 20:1 and bethere offer a 1:1 contention ratio on the Be Pro service.

i am with bethere and that was stated to me when i called to enquire about what the score was with their connection.

in fact i have just phoned Bethere [bethere.co.uk] to confirm this and the answer from tech support was a resounding YES

while it doesn't state about contention ratios on the website feel free to call their support free on 08081019430, you can get hold of the sales folks there too.

i DO NOT WORK for Bethere however i am a customer and a VERY happy one at that.

Re:WTFBT (1)

DrogMan (708650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207246)

The 50:1 (and 20:1) contentions were dropped some years back. BT Wholesale now give speed guarantees over the wholesale network at 2 service levels (standard and elevated) IIRC Elevated is 3Mb/sec or higher for 90% of the time (assuming you can get 3Mb/sec)

The real contention starts when BT wholesale pass feed it into the retail ISPs - such as BT retail who have a grossly overloaded network.

But you get what you pay for. I pay for a business service and get 8Mb in and 800Kb out 24/7.

Re:WTFBT (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205058)

That would seem to depend on where you are. I'm with BT and have not noticed any throttling on torrents or video streaming. It possibly helps that I live in a large village, so possibly not that many folks hitting the broadband (village = mainly silver surfers, in my case). I can usually get over 4Mbps and I'm around 600m from the local green box.

I used to be with Shitscali, but they really throttled hard - couldn't even watch YouTube most of the time. Switched to BT and noticed a huge jump in QoS

Can't say as I'll be bothered to sign up for this, though

Re:WTFBT (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205090)

I know you're in a shared house so your choice of ISP might be limited (your house might have that TV On Demand package I've seen advertised) but there are (is?) a wealth of much better ISPs out there.

http://www.dslzoneuk.net/isp_ratings.php [dslzoneuk.net]

This list is very useful so it be worth your while having a look. I was with Virgin ADSL at one point, it was even worse than what you're experiencing...

Re:WTFBT (1)

PandyBear (1586677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205176)

I know that feeling, out here in Nottinghamshire the fastest we can get is 5.5mb/s but we all know no one actually ever gets that fast a connection. I mean at its best, its maybe 1.2mb/s. And god help you if you go over the "fair use policy" they'll throttle you to the point where you can't open Facebook or even Google. And yes, the Router is by the worst thing imaginable, with its nazi style NAT settings and just general dislike to having more then 3 people using it at once.

Re:WTFBT (1)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205388)

I'm in Nottinghamshire, my mum is out rural and gets 5.5Mb/s with Be - and consistently 5.5Mb/s too. If you can, I'd swap to them in a heartbeat.

If you don't mind paying a *little* extra, Andrews and Arnold do a fantastic service too, and will run your service down a Be line instead of BT.

Re:WTFBT (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205326)

I live in a shared house with no say on the net connection

I live in a shared house, but after pointing out to the others that BT was costing us £38/month but TalkTalk would cost £20/month for the same service (and proper customer service!) we switched. Now we don't give any money to BT (TalkTalk presumably do so on our behalf).

We even sold the "horrible proprietary router" for £20 on eBay.

Re:WTFBT (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205328)

how the hell can they start bundling more shit without fucking over more of their customer base?

Who said they weren't going to do that?

Re:WTFBT (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205482)

Although BT are upping their max speeds, it's limited in most places, they're only just rolling out fibre lines and hitting 20Mbps. Virgin have been offering 50Mbps for the past three years, and THAT is going up soon too. If I had to switch to BT to play OnLive it's not worth it (not that it'd be worth it on any other ISP imo)

Re:WTFBT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205810)

Get a 3G data connection. You can get mobile contracts that are fairly cheap now, "3G broadband" etc. and you'll get a faster connection than what you're on now. And because you're usually paying for bandwidth, not speed, you'll pay for what you use.

Since it's 3G, thus mobile, it's nothing to do with your flatmates, and even if you've got shitty 3G reception in your area, from the sounds of things, even Edge would be faster...

Re:WTFBT (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205870)

Err... if you're getting 0.2Mb/s, call them and tell them to get their act together. That's an overloaded exchange, or faulty equipment, and certainly not normal for ADSL in the UK (I get my 2Mb/s most of the time, personally).

Also, consider moving to Be (https://www.bethere.co.uk/web/beportal/homepage ). They do a LLU based service, which may be significantly better. I can't get it because our exchange has physically run out of space (apparently), and if you're remote it may not be enabled for your exchange, but good luck.

Re:WTFBT (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205956)

Occurs, do you actually mean 0.2Mb/s (which would be... about 25KB/s) or do you mean 250KB/s. The capitalisation of the 'b' is important (one is bits, the other bytes, there's a 8-times difference).

Re:WTFBT (2, Informative)

DrogMan (708650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207216)

There's a lof of mis-conceptions about the way BT works and it's looks like you've been misled by the BT propoganda...

BT are many companies - BT retail - the ISP in this case is just one of over 100 ISPs who use the BT Wholesale network.

The BT wholesale network is actually relatively good - it's when BTW hand the data over to the retail ISP that things go wrong. BT retail in this case are a very large ISP, therefore have a lot of clout. They also have a grossly overloaded network.

So just pick another ISP that uses the BT wholesale network and you'll get an almost instantly better service.

5Mb/sec? (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205064)

That rules me out and I live in London and I'm less than a mile from my local exchange.

3776kbps is the best I get on a good day.

Funny thing is, my daughter lives just 3 doors down the street and she gets 8Mb/sec.

Re:5Mb/sec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205154)

You've probably already checked but it could be that your bell wire is still connected. Also you might have some old wiring in or around your house.

Re:5Mb/sec? (1)

moozaad (1811428) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205216)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Pull any phones out and reconnect. If that helps then check your filters and replace. If it doesn't help then disconnect your bell wire.

Re:5Mb/sec? (3, Informative)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205232)

Make sure that there is no phone plugged in without a filter.

Change/swap your filters round to see if one of them is faulty

Try with your daughters router/hub and see if that helps.

Try connecting with a lan cable (not wireless)

Try turning off noisy devices like fridges and freezers and washing machines and see if that helps

Try turning off circuits on your fuse boxes and see if that helps.

Re:5Mb/sec? (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206092)

Your router may also be able to tell you what it's view of the upstream/downstream speeds are (my Netgear does, so does a Linksys I have). If you don't have this, then any speed checks you do (for your broadband speed) should be with a wired connection.

If that speed is less than the speed your ISP claims you could get, then the advice you've already had is well worth checking. Additionally, the generally recommended advice is to unscrew the small panel from the front of your master phone socket. This will disconnect all of your house wiring, and will expose another socket (which should be directly connected to the phone line). Plug your microfilter into that, and your router into the filter, then see what speed you get (you should leave the router connected like that for a few hours, even as much as a day for it to properly 'tune in' with the exchange). Then it's time to try other microfilters, other routers, etc.

If after all that the speed is still much less than you're supposed to be getting, then you absolutely can call BT to investigate - their responsibility extends as far as the master socket (and no further), so if that master socket isn't working properly, they should fix it for you. They'll argue with you, and blame anyone they can think of, so be persistent.

I doubt gloating on my part helps you at all, but in Brixton, I get 14Mbps comfortably from a 20Mbps service. I use Freedom2Surf mind you, who utterly wiped the floor with BT and another ISP I have used. Since they've been sold they're still fine, although their future may be less certain than it once was.

Re:5Mb/sec? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207048)

very much what coofercat said PLUS try this

Quiet Line Test

Unplug any extention phones, extention cables, answer machines or fax (anything except the phone you will use to do the test!).

Plug a normal touch tone phone directly into the BT master socket.

Dial 17070, press option 2 (quiet line test)

You should hear 'Quiet Line Test' and then silence, there should be no pops, clicks, whistles, buzzing etc. If there is noise on the line, make sure it's not your phones connection to the socket (wiggle it about a bit) and that you are using the master socket. If you are sure its the line making the noise then dial BT (or WorldOnline) and report the fault, they should be able to sort it out. Remember that 'mis-reporting' a fault (e.g. if it turns out to be your phone, extention cord etc.) may be charged a call-out fee by BT (/WOL).

Re:5Mb/sec? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205300)

I live in Elm Park, which is out in Zone 6 in London (still inside the M25!) and I used to get truly horrible ADSL service. My line would peak at about 2Mbps, but real-world I'd regularly only get about 1. It would also drop out frequently, and sometimes was throttled back to 300Kpbs or less due to the equipment at the exchange detecting problems on my line.

I'm lucky enough to live in a cabled street, and switched to Virgin cable; the difference is night and day. Rock solid, and I actually get the 10Mbps advertised - obviously it depends on the source, but I've seen downloads running at 1.2MBps (i.e. ~9.6Mbps).

Unless you're lucky enough to be close to the exchange, have good wiring in your house and have good wiring between your house and the exchange, you can pretty-much forget ADSL in my experience. (That said, my daughter's mum lived in a couple of newly-built flats in Colchester over a couple of years, and got excellent ADSL service - the hint is in the "newly-built" and therefore newly-connected)

Re:5Mb/sec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205340)

Would you even WANT this service? I mean, your DSL goes down and you have NO games whatsoever.

I am with Virgin and am on their 50MB/2MB service and I wouldn't want this if it was offered to me.

Re:5Mb/sec? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206996)

try Bethere bud.... as i said in a previous post they kick ass with a 1:1 contention ratio for be pro customers. they support is 24/7 and FREE to call
i am 600 meters from my echange and get 24 down and 2.5 up with a little tweaking of the SNR on my DG834N using DG Team firmware

BT infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205076)

I'm pretty sure BT could go some of the way towards addressing some of the existing onlive issues by simply planning the network behind this quite well.
If BT and onlive go further than just signing paper by arranging the onlive servers to sit well inside BT's infrastructure say located in BT facilities tapped directly onto BT core at a well planned point, the BT customers should enjoy a much better service than a random ISP customer connection to onlive via the interpipes.

However if it's just a paper deal then all the disparaging comments in this whole thread below will apply.

2.4 kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205132)

2.4 kids and the parents watch streaming TV or also play games, that's an awful lot of bandwidth that BT will have to automagically make.

It's not as if they've been slowly ramping up their speeds. Most people are stuck with the average or there about of 4.6mbits. What's that 800x600 or 560p gaming? no thanks. I guess it'd work for wii but not PC and probably not PS360.

Well (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205138)

I really hope this service succeeds. I'm just concerned that the abuse of communications markets around the world done by telecom incumbents will render this service defunct by "ahead of its time" default.

Informative sentence (1)

tomcrick (687765) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205202)

Speaking to Thinq, BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming. This will effectively rule out the use of the HD service in areas of the country that can only get a 2Mb/sec connection.

Errrr...2 is indeed strictly less than 5!

Shame (1)

iDuck (1435169) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205310)

Having used BT broadband for a number of years, I was having increasing problems. Their ridiculous profiling system led to a maximum real world connection speed of about 2 Mb/s, despite being on the 8Mb/s service and living a few hundred metres from the exchange. BT tried to fix it - sending out several engineers, performing I don't know how many line tests, port shifts etc. None of which made the slightest difference. Don't even get me started on throttling problems... Switched to Be a few months ago, and it's been running at 20Mb/s flawlessly ever since. It's a shame that a service such as OnLive, which needs high-speed, low-latency connections decides to partner with an ISP hindered by a less than stellar track record, when there are clearly better options.

Net neutrality... (0, Troll)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205390)

... Rest In Peace.

Re:Net neutrality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205706)

This isn't net neutrality. That's like saying AT&T having iPhone exclusivity is QoS-ing out competing carriers.

That said, the actions that are very likely to go along with it will affect neutrality assuming BT do the obvious and have preferential treatment of the traffic as they do with video streaming, torrents and other traffic they don't have a secondary revenue coming from.

If stuff like this is exclusive, then great. I can't stand this cloud nonsense anyway, especially with this cloud gaming bullshit - I'd bet a house on there never being a Mortal Kombat, DOA or Street Figher available with OnLive considering the control latency.

"UK telecoms firm..." (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205394)

To describe BT as a "UK telecoms firm..." hardly does BT justice. BT, previously known as British Telecom has a near monopoly over telephone exchanges in the UK. BT was originally a technical arm of the General Post Office until it was split into a separate company in 1981 and privatised in 1982. Despite claims by various governments over the years, that the BT monopoly was being broken down to encourage competition, they still have a near monopoly on cable network infrastructure.

There are many ISPs in the UK, but what the public do not generally know or understand, is that the vast majority of them have to pay wholesale to use BT cabling. Choose any ISP you like, some of your money is still likely to go to BT.

Re:"UK telecoms firm..." (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206912)

They have a near-monopoly on phone network infrastructure. While they continue to dog the roll-out of ADSL, parts of the country serviced by the cable TV providers that got accumulated into Virgin Media can and do bypass BT entirely. As far as fibre goes, they don't have nearly the same control.

Re:"UK telecoms firm..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32207986)

IMO they should rename themselves back to "British Telecom", that way their firm wouldn't need to be "described".

Standard Definition (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205532)

"Standard Definition Gaming" appears to be a stupid invented term with - pun intended - no certain definition.

I'd call a PC game running in 1680x1050 "standard" or even "low" definition.

But a TV is apparently "high" even at a pathetic Wx768.

So when they offer - as they no doubt will in glowing, flash-animated virtual-mile-high letters on their websites - "High Definition Gaming!" - are they talking about a pitiful 768 pixel high display or just an almost-good-enough 1050?

Re:Standard Definition (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206328)

No, this is using an industry specific term.

SD refers to something that would fit on an NTSC/PAL television set with minimal to no problems. A resolution of 640x480 or something like 704×480 would be SD resolutions. HD would refer to resolutions that are comparable to 720i/720p/1080i/1080p.

What's hilarious is that even the next spin from Nintendo's going HD and they're regressing on something with a service that can't hope to provide more than a couple thousand at any major metropolitan area (An OC-192 will provide 6000 players peak with the service. OC-192's don't grow on trees and saying the ISP will provide it is...heh...entertaining.). And yet the industry that considers 250k units sold being mediocre is falling over themselves with this stupid service. As a tech demo it's nifty, no doubt about it. As a product, it can't scale, can't HOPE to, for it to be anything other than a nifty toy to show off to people to bilk them out of investment dollars, etc.

I bet it'll be really good. (1)

DeanLearner (1639959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205684)

Between 2am and 4am and if you're lucky 10am and 12am weekdays.

I had BT Broadband in Canterbury and jesus christ was it awful the rest of the time. I've used Sky broadband not 200 metres away in another house and it's pretty damn good all of the time, that or maybe my expectations of ADSL have been lowered so much it just seems damn good.

Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205690)

I am on an 8Mb BT ADSL right now, and even get most of it (best connection seems to be to Microsoft's download servers, that always goes fast). Also get about 30ms to the London internet exchange, so should be good to go for OnLive.

Hopeful for even faster broadband soon as someone has gone around the local area and spraypainted rectangles labelled 'FTTC' on every street corner.

I am in their beta (2, Interesting)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205718)

The service has been pretty flawless for me. I have been in the beta for almost a month now and the performance is unreal. I have no idea how it works, but it does. I have a 12Mb connection with Comcast outside of Philadelphia.

Re:I am in their beta (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206346)

Heh... That's because you're one of the few using it. They can only really properly service 6000 subscribers with an OC-192. Do the numbers there.

Re:I am in their beta (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207090)

Stick 0. in front of your bandwidth, and you've a good idea what a lot of BT subscribers are going to have to run this on. That's where the problems are going to lie.

I'm with Virgin Media cable broadband and get a rock-solid 10Mb/s, but the exclusivity agreement means I'm not allowed to use it.

BT are a bunch of thieving cunts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32205854)

BT are a bunch of thieving cunts.

God I hate "HD" (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205898)

"BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming."

Um what the hell is "standard resolution gaming" if not HD? I'm going to vent here...

I hate it when people think that HD is somehow awesome. It's not. HD is what gamers have been using for the last 10 damn years on a standard computer monitor, and then all these TV companies invented the retarded buzzword high definition and everyone's raving over it. HD is completely underwhelming. What this chump is saying basically, is that to play your games at 75% of their original resolution you need to be running a 5mb/sec connection.

HD my arse.

Re:God I hate "HD" (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206418)

"BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming."

I hate it when people think that HD is somehow awesome. It's not. HD is what gamers have been using for the last 10 damn years on a standard computer monitor

That is bullshit, and you should shut the fuck up before you say anything else this stupid. Ten years ago XGA was the standard, and that's less than 720p, let alone 1080p. Most gamers do not have a 1080p display ("Full HD") on their PC; I'd say the average "high resolution" display is 1680x1050, which you will note is less than 1920x1080. Note that the very quote you copied and pasted (and lazily surrounded in quotes instead of using quote tags) tells you specifically 5Mb/sec for full 1080p... which most gamers' monitors won't do, yet you complain that people have been doing it for a decade? Are you really this stupid, or just fishing for modpoints from the stupid?

Re:God I hate "HD" (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32206640)

Um what the hell is "standard resolution gaming" if not HD?

A lot of people consider "SD" gaming to be the last generation or few of console games: 640*480 or there abouts (maybe up to maximum DVD frame-buffer size of 720*576 (PAL) or 720*480 (NTSC)).

For TV/video "HD" is usually considered (by people in general I'm not talking about technical definitions here, or marketing definitions where something that can receive a signal at that resolution but downscales it to 320*240 can still be called "HD capable") to cover everything from 1280*720 upwards, so I'm guessing the same for games. At that rate you are part way right: most people probably play PC games on screens at resolutions 1280*1024 or higher, but you may well find a lot of them, particularly those who have a cheap GFX card or nothing more than a simple on-board 3D chipset) have the games set to 800*600 and have their monitor up-scale the output because their hardware won't play at higher resolutions without the frame rate dropping too low.

5Mb/sec for 1080p? What are they encoding with? (1)

tehtest (995812) | more than 3 years ago | (#32205968)

Technology exists to do full 1080p at way lower bandwidths. H.264/AVC/MPEG-4 Part 10 allows 720p@30fps @512kbps, 720p@60fps@768kbs, 1080p@30fps@1024kbps. Of course there is going to be overhead, but it shouldn't be nearly as much as the video. Seems like they need to upgrade the service before rolling it out on a crap network.

Re:5Mb/sec for 1080p? What are they encoding with? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#32207996)

Latency is critical to Onlive. No doubt they sacrificed compression efficiency in exchange for speed. The video has to be encoded as close to real-time as possible.
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