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UK ISP To Prioritize Gaming Traffic

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the facilitated-fragging dept.

Networking 196

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

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woot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328102)

woot?

Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33328112)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33328136)

LOL wut? Net neutrality would prevent this, yes, but it would also prevent ISPs from holding you hostage for not paying up. I get that you're a Libertarian and it's all ZOMG gubment doin' stuff, but give me a break. The suggestion that what we have now works is as laughable as it is wrong. At bare minimum there needs to be rules to ensure that things are conducted in an above the board fashion.

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328292)

While you're working on impossible things, you should try and convince the people in Australia who have to pay for lower ping vpn tunnels to WoW servers in the US that it's also cheating.
Seeing as the alternative is 500ms latency vs USA players sub 200ms. :-(

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#33328512)

Seeing as the alternative is 500ms latency vs USA players sub 200ms. :-(

Or, you know, an Aussie server.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (3, Informative)

grainofsand (548591) | about 4 years ago | (#33328946)

Hmmm - chance would be a fine thing. There are no Australian WoW servers. From the official WoW FAQ:

Can players select what realm they play on?

Yes. However, you must choose a realm that is located within your geographical region. For example, North American players must select a North American realm, and European players must select European realms. Some exceptions will exist. Australian and New Zealand players, for example, connect to realms on the U.S. West Coast.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33328322)

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

Citation Needed (1)

XanC (644172) | about 4 years ago | (#33328374)

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

Re:Citation Needed (3, Insightful)

P0ltergeist333 (1473899) | about 4 years ago | (#33328562)

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

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

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

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

My personal answers are:

1. Not necessarily.
2. Yes

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

Re:Citation Needed (1, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#33328792)

Well, where are the rules for net Neutrality and what are the official definitions of Net Neutrality?

I mean from my stand point, all that needs to be done is ensure that the consumers whether it's the average joe enjoying online gaming, the average sally chatting with her friends, or the average company they want to talk to, gets what they paid for. If they offer this service in a way that doesn't degrade or hamper the services sold to others, then there is no reason for NN to get involved is there?

Re:Citation Needed (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33328840)

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

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33328474)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 4 years ago | (#33328656)

Realtime games all use UDP. What they run over UDP is indeed different, but an ISP could just prioritize all UDP packets and gaming performance would improve without violating net neutrality.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | about 4 years ago | (#33328858)

Except they wouldn't be prioritizing all UDP packets. Just the ones from the people who pay extra.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328870)

but an ISP could just prioritize all UDP packets

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

smellotron (1039250) | about 4 years ago | (#33329648)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328670)

You have a bizarre definition of "neutrality". Personally, I consider looking at the payload (anything which isn't part of the IP header; hint: TCP/UDP ports aren't part of the IP header) to violate neutrality. OTOH, differences in throughput or latency depending upon destination are a technical inevitability.

FWIW, I don't have a problem with ISPs billing their customers differently for different levels of service. What I do have a problem with is ISPs giving different packets (from the same customer) different treatment depending upon their payload.

The "internet" only has one protocol: IP. The only higher-layer protocol it needs to understand is ICMP. TCP, UDP, and anything else are for the endpoints alone. Those "ports" in the TCP header? They're not ports, just payload, along with the rest of the TCP header.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

bjartur (1705192) | about 4 years ago | (#33329326)

I take you're perfectly fine with ISPs prioritizing traffic to/from certain IP addresses (e.g. throttling access to popular TOR gateways and widening logical pipes to Fox), then?

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Matt_R (23461) | about 4 years ago | (#33328766)

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

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33328794)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328380)

With your logic, paying for the best CPU and GPU "is in a sense a method of cheating".

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33328600)

...not to mention all the schools that can afford nice training facilities. I guess they are cheating because the competition doesn't necessarily have access to the same thing.

Bottom line, if you can afford something better than someone else, you're a cheater.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33329284)

People who think like that are just communists...or European.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

The Lesser Powered O (20857) | about 4 years ago | (#33329310)

I don't want a neutral network.

I want an ISP that prioritizes traffic in accordance to my desires.

Remember dial-up? If you didn't like the way your ISP treated you, you hung up the phone and called another.
I want that back. Let's make the access lines neutral, not the ISP.

If you had a choice of 24 ISPs on DSL, 13 more via cable, 25 via fiber, and another 16 via wireless, you would likely find an ISP that treated your traffic the way you wanted. And they'd be in a serious state of competition.

That's the "neutral" networking I want in the future. I want to see Demon get all of the gamers, and some other
ISP get all the day-traders. I want Yagoo! subsidizing ISP access for people that chose to use them as their exclusive search engine.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328156)

Generalize QoS, you idiot. If the packet is marked to reduce latency, respect that, out to some cap per month or so. That way, it doesn't matter if it's a game or SSH.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#33328302)

Generalize QoS, you idiot. If the packet is marked to reduce latency, respect that, out to some cap per month or so. That way, it doesn't matter if it's a game or SSH.

Exactly. If we let ISPs decide for us which packets are more important than others, what's to stop them from favoring popular games while ignoring the rest? It's not as if all games use the same protocol, so instead of optimizing the network for particular applications or protocols, why not optimize it based on particular needs?

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 years ago | (#33328456)

If we let ISPs decide for us which packets are more important than others, what's to stop them from favoring popular games while ignoring the rest?

Hey, that's a nice little MMPORPG you've got there. It'd be too bad if it weren't playable because the players of other games have soaked up all the bandwidth. Y'know, for a small monthly gratuity, we could make sure that didn't happen to your game. Whaddaya say?

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 4 years ago | (#33328490)

My name is Adrian Lopez. I like tacos y burritos.

tacos! tacos! tacos! burrrrrrritos!!!

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | about 4 years ago | (#33328160)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328300)

i agree. if they're going to dedicate lanes to bikes, hybrids, and buses, then i don't see why the people who pay for all of these roads should have to sit with everyone else.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33328610)

I also agree. It seems unfair for people that pay for something to be subject to the same rules as people who didn't pay for it.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | about 4 years ago | (#33328420)

In other news, the used car market for Mercedes, Lexuses, and BMW's is suddenly booming!

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about 4 years ago | (#33328520)

Can my Saab get in on that?

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#33328820)

You mean like HOV lanes and allowing them to open up to Hybrids?

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33329008)

We already do that it most places in the US. The fines for driving slow in the fast lane are higher than a moderate speeding violation in a lot of areas now. We also have toll roads all over the place, even a modest toll causes alot of lower income people to take the side streets.

Personally, as far as the toll roads go, I'm all for it, as long as the roads are not clogged with traffic and are in well kept condition. They need to add a congestion fee for rush hour. When traffic drops below say 40mph then the price needs to start going up until it gets back above 60mph.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 4 years ago | (#33328164)

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

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

Assuming good faith here (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33328182)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 4 years ago | (#33328922)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

ksandom (718283) | about 4 years ago | (#33328998)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

smellotron (1039250) | about 4 years ago | (#33329654)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

squidfood (149212) | about 4 years ago | (#33328168)

Um, despite the "worry over net neutrality" cited in the article, the actual service just looks like they're repackaging a higher speed/business connection as a "gamer" package. Nothing there actually says that your connection will be slower by packet category.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

smellotron (1039250) | about 4 years ago | (#33329662)

I know another ISP that did this sort of thing years ago, but I don't know the ISPs in TFA. Business packages probably don't include QoS for common game packets. Gaming packages probably doesn't include static IPs or multicast routing agreements. VoiP prioritization is common across the two, but I wouldn't expect much more.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33328176)

I see it as more of a QOS feature than as a neutrality violation for two reasons:
  • The service is between the ISP and its customer, not a bribe paid by a customer to someone else's ISP.
  • It's sensitive to protocol (e.g. gaming vs. HTTP/HTTPS/etc), not to the identity of the party on the other end (e.g. MSNBC vs. Fox News or YouTube vs. Dailymotion).

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328226)

Exactly, it's moreso ensuring the customer doesn't flood their connection with downloads and wonder why games don't work properly.. or if they do ensuring that the gaming traffic still gets first class service.
As opposed to prioritising just gaming traffic out to certain peers.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

AaronMK (1375465) | about 4 years ago | (#33328548)

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

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

The service is between the ISP and its customer, not a bribe paid by a customer to someone else's ISP.

I could be "someone else" on the same ISP. So yes, that is "bribing" for priority on "someone else's ISP". Besides, Net Neutrality rules don't distinguish between who is paying, or whether that other network happens to be an ISP, a corporate network, or even someone's home network.

It's sensitive to protocol (e.g. gaming vs. HTTP/HTTPS/etc), not to the identity of the party on the other end (e.g. MSNBC vs. Fox News or YouTube vs. Dailymotion).

Comcast degrading BitTorrent traffic (that's protocol based, not "identity" based) was a Net Neutrality violation. Favoring specific applications IS a Net Neutrality violation, unless it falls under "reasonable network management". As I said before, if they are not overselling their network, they should not need to prioritize. Reasonable network management would be limited to times of unusually high spikes in traffic, and would be a fail-safe for time sensitive or safety critical services, not for people who have paid for some special prioritization.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33329230)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328556)

True, as long as the customer asked for this service and it doesn't affect anybody else in any way, no problem.

However to prioritize a protocol IS against net neutrality since it would allow ISPs to force it's consumers to use the protocol they want. For example, they could slow down secure connections so they can filter the trafic more easily etc.

This articles makes me worry about a greater problem. In France, the HADOPI law will introduce softwares to install on customers' computers that monitors which protocols are used to prove that they aren't downloading copyrighted content. Soon in the future, they could ask ISPs to provide services prioritizing "legal" trafic and it will have the same effect. Such services could become standards in countries like France.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33329224)

However to prioritize a protocol IS against net neutrality since it would allow ISPs to force it's consumers to use the protocol they want.

Unless the end user has the power to choose which protocol will use the QoS.

For example, they could slow down secure connections

If cable does this in such a heavy-handed manner that it makes online shopping and banking slower than DSL, people might switch to DSL over this.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

3vi1 (544505) | about 4 years ago | (#33328578)

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

2. QoS does often involve identifying the other end of a conversation. Sometimes apps will negotiate a random port, or just tunnel traffic over port 80, and there are no PDLM's for most game protocols. Classifying the traffic based on the server endpoint is sometimes the only option.

3. How is an ISP supposed to know about every online game? They may have a list of thousands, but it won't be complete. Games they know about are going to get prioritized over the ones they don't - effectively punishing users of PC games in favor of XBox Live and PSN customers . Again, that's not neutral.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33329218)

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

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

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

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

How is an ISP supposed to know about every online game?

Ideally, the end user chooses the ports on which packets are routed with QoS. If it's the VoIP port, so be it. If it's every UDP port used several times in the past ten seconds, so be it. As long as you don't go over your QoS allowance, the packets you want treated fast will be fast.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 years ago | (#33328228)

If net neutrality laws were in place they'd still be allowed to prioritise gaming traffic for everyone.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

smellotron (1039250) | about 4 years ago | (#33329688)

If net neutrality laws were in place they'd still be allowed to prioritise gaming traffic for everyone.

Define "everyone". Every single game may require different mechanisms of packet detection in order to even apply QoS in the first place. Most are port-based, but some may be protocol-based (i.e. deep packet inspection). Are port-based games "more equal" than the others, then? Also, please point me to the nearest lawmaker that knows enough about network infrastructure and software design to manage to craft a law that allows the good (protocol-based QoS) while still denying bad (anti-competitive tactics by middle-tier ISPs that also act as content providers). On this topic, I am as afraid of incompetent lawmakers as I am malicious businesses.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#33328276)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | about 4 years ago | (#33329068)

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | about 4 years ago | (#33329082)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#33329502)

Because some protocols require low latency.

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

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

Then come up with an application-agnostic QoS scheme that lets the application itself decide whether it needs low latency, and further limit each customer's connection to prevent any one user from hogging the entire pipe. If you can't do that then stop advertising bandwidth you're obviously not equipped to provide.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328280)

Man, I wish all ISPs would throttle you to 1kb/s. A cunt like you deserves no more than that. I hope they do so for a price that would make an assraping seem agreeable.

I am also glad that a lack of net neutrality law means that it would be perfectly fine to do so.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about 4 years ago | (#33328338)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (5, Interesting)

netchipguy (1010647) | about 4 years ago | (#33328568)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 4 years ago | (#33328604)

Is that an issue for the big pipes in the core though? I may be misremembering, but I thought the buffers stayed pretty much empty up to a very high % utilisation, as the aggregation of a huge number of independent flows smooths out the fluctuations and jitter associated with any one flow. As long as the capacity in the shared section is much larger than any individual's pipe, this should remain the case.

I guess in a LAN there's still the potential for an individual machine to use up all the capacity, so this could still be an issue.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (4, Informative)

netchipguy (1010647) | about 4 years ago | (#33328738)

It's an issue anywhere there is congestion. Which happens anywhere people don't like wasting money.

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

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

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

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

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

-netchipguy

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328918)

Exactly. The only QoS that ISP's should be running is something like SFQ but based on end-customer only. Additional QoS should be 100% user configurable from a web interface or even as a paid service by the ISP and it goes on top of the SFQ.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 years ago | (#33329118)

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

The problem with that statement is that you are assuming that these "other" customers were guaranteed something to begin with. They most likely were not. Terms of service vary of course, but every non-commercial account I have ever had uses wording like "up to XX mbps" when describing the service. In other words, there is an upper limit but no lower limit. The ISP could likely get away with actually giving them as low as 128 kbps and still be within the legal bounds of the contract.
If you want guaranteed bandwidth you usually have to step up to business class accounts, often to at least a fractional T1. There is a corresponding leap in price, but that is the cost that comes with the contractual obligation to deliver bandwidth to you.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33329342)

What if, for eg, the increased costs of this package go towards funding direct links to datacentres hosting gaming servers with the priority given to people who've paid for the package?

Links that didn't exist before the release of this package.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

suburbanmediocrity (810207) | about 4 years ago | (#33329490)

Bandwidth is not the same as latency. If I push though 1Mb in 1ms and the other 999ms nothing, it can be quite different than 1kb every 1ms. Both users see data throughput of 1Mb/s, the former would experience unacceptable details for gaming.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328388)

this sort of activity wouldn't be a violation of net neutrality.
a violation would be the ISP doing a deal with youtube to prioritize their traffic to the end user whilst slowing down veoh traffic.
prioritizing ALL traffic of the same type, ie gaming, web surfing etc would be fine, in fact that sort of activity is already common among isp's over here.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 years ago | (#33328436)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33328450)

Do you really want to have a gaming fee and a voip fee and a youtube fee and whatever "extra charges" tacked onto your bill for each service you want to work well? The way technology is evolving, you can effectively make gaming worse but not upgrading the normal connections and only upgrade those that pay extra, pretty soon it's almost a requirement. Yes, this is part of delivering an "Internet service", if access to one part of the Internet - in this case game servers - is too poor you must upgrade everyone. You can't charge people extra for getting decent rates to EU or Japan or Australia or the WoW server. They can't say "Well if you want good access to THESE servers you must pay extra."

There should be some room within Net Neutrality legislation to prioritize classes of traffic, I'd say three is sufficient:
1. Realtime (VoIP, gaming etc.)
2. Interactive (Web etc.)
3. Bulk (P2P, FTP etc.)

They should not be able to collect additional fees, but they should be allowed, but not required to prioritize up the first and prioritize down the last. What I am concerned about is that this won't be simply a "gaming" fee, next up it'll be by what game it is. Suddenly you have a "World of Warcraft" fee or "Warhammer online" fee or "Age of Conan" fee. All priced to fit supply and demand so they can profit as much as possible. Would you like that? I wouldn't.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 4 years ago | (#33328684)

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

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 years ago | (#33328698)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#33328958)

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

Having read an online post where the owner of an ISP bragged about slowing down P2P connections and laughed about customers thinking the problem was on the peer's end rather than on the ISPs end, I tend to take a more expansive view of the concept of net neutrality. Call me a nitwit, if you will, but I think the concept of neutrality should also prohibit those kinds of shady behaviors. Go ahead and use QoS to ensure equitable access to bandwidth for all your customers, but don't cripple certain protocols under the guise of improving quality of service for others.

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 years ago | (#33328776)

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

Re:Illegal under Net Neutrality (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 4 years ago | (#33329314)

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

If anything, this "service" is exactly why we need neutrality laws. We're just turning the internet into cable tv. Various packages with premium prices for different types of users. The marketers love this. Why just provide good service at a good cost, when they can constantly upsell us?

Prioritize? (4, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | about 4 years ago | (#33328150)

Prolly more like "Not intentionally slowing down"

Re:Prioritize? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33328574)

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

  • Ski Resorts offer priority to various customers. Some people pay for a regular lift ticket and get to ride a fast chairlift to the top of the mountain. Those who don't buy a lift ticket have to hike. How come the people with money get to buy their way to a faster trip up a mountain that is on public land? Not to mention the people who buy the "fast pass" version of a lift ticket that get to skip the line at the lift altogether.
  • Airports now have a similar "fast pass" thing where they can skip the security check lines and get through faster. There is also priority boarding for people who pay for it.
  • Toll roads that bypass busy urban corridors allow those willing to pay to avoid heavy traffic and get to work/home faster.
  • And then there are those darn people with medical insurance. Hospitals admit them because they can afford to pay their insurance premium, while people without insurance or with incompatible insurance are told to take a hike and find another hospital (happened to me once)
  • And what about those snazzy clubs that don't let in the greasy fat guy, but allow sexy women to come and go as they please?
  • Retail businesses that deal with regular customers provide better customer service to people who spend more money.
  • Web sites that offer members faster shipping for purchases.

What makes NN different than so many other industries? Is it because the vocal proponents of NN fear the ISP is out to get them and will pick on the people who are using the most traffic?

Re:Prioritize? (1)

ensignyu (417022) | about 4 years ago | (#33328686)

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

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

The reason why we want to apply this to the Internet in particular is because it's an essential service with not many ways to get access -- mostly controlled by monopolies.

Driving analogy:

  • Buying faster access, e.g. letting drivers bypass traffic by using toll roads is OK. The customer is paying for a better driving experience.
  • Charging providers is like there's a Costco next to a highway, but the highway administrator won't let people drive into Costco from the road just off the highway exit -- they have to take a detour instead unless Costco pays them a bunch of money to open a gate. However, Sam's Club does pay up so their highway entrance is open for speedy access.
  • The even sillier thing is that on the net, the highway is more or less open to everyone at low cost, and Costco paid money to make sure they're next to a highway. But as soon as you leave your house, someone looks at where you're going and speeds you up or slows you down depending on where you're going.

So while it's true that businesses sometimes make agreements with other businesses that ultimately screw over both the competition and their customers, it's a lot worse when you can't even avoid using their services without living in a cave.

Re:Prioritize? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33329058)

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

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

And yes, there are perfectly legitimate uses for bittorrent. But why should Comcast be regulated so that the minority legitimate users of bittorrent are saved from being unfairly throttled? It seems to me there are better solutions than to blanket regulate everything.

If my ISP is throttling traffic from something I want to use, then I will likely switch service to another. Oh, but everyone says that ISPs are a monopoly, but are they? I have a handful of ISP choices where I live. I know not everyone does, but this isn't because they are monopolies necessarily, it's because it is very expensive to operate an ISP on a scale that is adequate. However, I see that as a short-term problem. Look at how far we have come in just the last 15 years. At one time your choices were limited to AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy, and all you had was dial-up for access (reasonably speaking). Look at us today. ISPs are all over at a wide variety of speeds. In another 15 years the issue will probably be moot.

Re:Prioritize? (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#33328906)

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

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

Oh wait.
That sort of thing is generally already illegal.

Ski Resort? equivalent to getting a T1 rather than dialup. nothing to do with NN. If the tour bus driver who brought the customers there insisted that the ski resort pay him or he'd take them elsewhere that would be a better analogy.

Airports? Again T1 rather than dialup. nothing to do with NN. Perhaps if the Airlines expected the hotels near the airports you were going to to pay extra or else they'd take you elsewhere.

Toll roads? Again T1 rather than dialup. nothing to do with NN.

medical insurance? makes not even a little sense.

snazzy clubs? can actually be illegal in some countries already, discrimination based on sex.

Retail businesses? Again T1 rather than dialup. nothing to do with NN.

Web sites? Again T1 rather than dialup. nothing to do with NN.

Other ISP's do this too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328158)

We've been doing this for over a year now on our networks.

We service only Uni students, so it makes sense that there's a huge gaming culture there (when they're not studying).
It's almost a full time job just to keep track of all the new online games coming out and writing layer7 filters for them.

I'd expect most all ISP's would have some form of prioritisation, maybe not just for games.. but QoS is all about ensuring that certain traffic types get the correct priority.

See: http://blog.accessplus.com.au/?p=63 for some basic info about our implementation and levels of service.

Actually I remember there's another ISP doing something similar to this too: http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/traffic_prioritisation.shtml

I am saddened! (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 4 years ago | (#33328162)

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

Re:I am saddened! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33328424)

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

So Slashdot is a game to you? Why, that's just... well... um...

OK, you win.

Re:I am saddened! (1)

TyIzaeL (1203354) | about 4 years ago | (#33328438)

Alas, gaming slashdot is not actually a game.

Fair enough I guess (5, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | about 4 years ago | (#33328198)

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

Re:Fair enough I guess (1)

Anaerin (905998) | about 4 years ago | (#33328390)

IIRC, Demon were typically one of the "Good guys", giving so many value-adds to their service, like a dedicated static IP, with a real, customisable subdomain pointed to it properly (So it can be reverse lookup'd), hosting ISP-Local download servers (with massive pipes) for most of the large-bandwidth services (Fileplanet, SunSite, AmiNET, Steam, pretty much every Linux distro out there...) to ensure you got the best transfer performance without contending over the "wild" internet. They had a reputation for not oversubscribing their lines. I personally see this as them giving an option to adjust the QoS on some packet types so they jump the queue, and talking with other hosting companies (especially ones that require low-latency connections, typically gaming sites, but potentially also VoIP services) about how best to route packets to them (so tailoring their connections, rather than relying on BGP explicitly, which sometimes gets it wrong as it assumes "up is best", failing to take into account hops and latency).

Obviously these adjustments won't be needed (or wanted) by everyone, so they offer these changes with a nominal fee (3 quid isn't all that much, after all) which will go towards improving their service even further, and will dissuade customers from blindly opting-in to it ("It's free! Why wouldn't I want it?"), so they can get an idea as to demand for these types of improvements.

Of course, the very best way would be to allow IP-provided QoS settings to determine how the traffic is prioritised, but given the huge potential for abuse of this tactic (Set torrents to "Express", watch everyone else's speed slow) and the current difficulty in defining QoS in operating systems (And the high probability that most systems will be badly/incorrectly configured), doing it this way gives a better customer experience, and higher satisfaction. Those that want it, get it. Those that don't, don't, and are no more worse off because of it.

Ya I'd be worried too (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33328400)

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

Just observing my own connection and pings, there isn't a lot of room for improvement. The latency I get to servers is pretty much as good as it is going to get given all the hops involved. Also it isn't like a few ms improvement would be noticeable at all.

Re:Fair enough I guess (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 years ago | (#33328402)

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

What you have just said is you wouldn't mind paying £3 for the privilege of being a customer who uses less of what typically costs an ISP, bandwidth! Only yesterday with the 2.7TB downloads / month article we were talking about a tiered system where you pay to use more data, now we're proposing making users who don't use more data pay?

Re:Fair enough I guess (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | about 4 years ago | (#33328804)

That's the whole point -- without net neutrality (in its theoretical, "untainted" form, at least) the ISPs can manually mess with QoS based on how much you are willing to pay. If a bunch of other users are getting the low latency package and you are getting the normal package, then their traffic will always get priority over yours. Put enough of them in the game and your Skype may start stuttering, while they don't even get a reduction in video quality; in other words you get worse service just because you are not paying more than you are now.

Once everyone has bought the low latency package, everyone will get the same QoS as they did before the ISP started prioritising traffic like this, except the ISP is making more money off everyone: win-win for the ISP, lose-lose for the users.

Not sure what your last paragraph is trying to say, but I envision the future will offer a multi-dimensional tiered system, where users will be able to buy "extra" latency and extra speed and extra quota by paying more. It's a pretty shitty future, tbh, because we'll get a bigger gap between "privileged" internet users who pay a fortune every month to get decent service and "bottom feeders" who pay what we pay now and get what's left. I hope I'm wrong and hope to see ISPs invest in better infrastructure, but I'm afraid this whole net neutrality discussion is getting so much attention simply because they don't want to do that.

Re:Fair enough I guess (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 4 years ago | (#33329044)

I certainly don't miss the overpriced service provided by ISPs in the UK. Unless you were within a few blocks of the highstreet, the bandwidth and latency were horrible (in the several towns and villages I lived in).

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

Re:Fair enough I guess (1)

khchung (462899) | about 4 years ago | (#33329504)

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

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

Demon is not what it used to be (1)

ed (79221) | about 4 years ago | (#33328256)

I was with Demon from 1996, hen I connected to Newsnet and email on my Amiga 1200, until three years ago when I got 75,000 + emails in a morning in a Joe Job attack

Their response is why I am no longer with Demon, I would not now touch them with a barge pole

Re:Demon is not what it used to be (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33328328)

I left them around 2001. The service was good back then - static IP for modem users, backup MX for your domain so you could run a incoming SMTP server on your dial-up connection and have mail delivered directly to your workstation, decent speeds, and competent technical support. They never quite seemed to work out what they were going to do when they stopped being a dial-up provider.

Back in the day, they used to run their own dedicated servers for a lot of games. You got very low pings (by modem standards) connecting to the Demon-hosted ones. They were usually only one or two hops away from the machine that you were dialing in to.

Google? (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | about 4 years ago | (#33328382)

I've often wondered after hearing about all the dark fiber google is laying why they don't act like a ISP for gamers? Net neutrality only applies if you're intentionally throttling traffic or messing with it, but what happens if that's all the network is used for? Of course this is extremely niche, but game traffic doesn't take up a lot of bandwidth and you'll never truly get really low latencies with all the crap flying around the normal net. However, if Google just offered a 'gamer package' which would only allow for gaming network traffic, it would hardly even register, and they could charge a modest fee for it all the while profiting off of what they already have laid without really having it interrupted plus creating a new untouched market.

I do think what this ISP is doing is BS unless they have spare lines they're using specifically for it though, which I highly doubt.

Last-mile prioritization (1)

Uncle Dazza (51170) | about 4 years ago | (#33328414)

I think this could be the sort of thing that we see a lot more of in the future. But in a more advanced form.

For most people, the bottleneck is the pipe between their premises and their ISP. Anyone can implement QoS for their outbound traffic, and can use any classification and prioritization technique they want. At my office we prioritize VoIP RTP packets and iChat video conferencing streams over (for example) ftp and http transfers. In fact we have 5 separate queues that outbound packets are filtered in to.

But inbound QoS is by and large outside the control of the individual customer. You can do a few crude things by dropping TCP packets, but that's about it. What is really needed is the ability to classify and prioritize packets at the ISP end, before they enter that slow last-mile pipe to the customer premises. Then I can select the prioritization that is right for me. To do this the customer needs their own router at the ISP, or at least the ability to define their own queues and priorities. I have not found an ISP implements such a feature at this time.

I think if the prioritization policy is under control of the paying customer, then ISP's could have an argument for metered billing - where the highest priority packets cost more than the lowest priority ones (which would be very cheap or even free of charge).

Of course QoS setup is technically too advanced for most home customers, but it doesn't really matter - they could be given the option of a few profiles to choose from or just start with a default which is no prioritization at all.

Wait, What (1)

simondm (901892) | about 4 years ago | (#33328468)

I am with a significantly cheaper isp (BE) and on UK servers i get a ping generally between 15-30. I though ping was pretty much a non issue (with server based games at least) since the proliferation of broadband. I don't even have a bandwidth limit that i'm aware of (i'm sure there probably is but i download my large geeky share and i've never heard anything) What is it exactly they're offering for the extra money? I'm confused.

Lame (1)

JxcelDolghmQ (1827432) | about 4 years ago | (#33328648)

Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!

Seriously, people. This is the WORST. IDEA. EVER.

Stay away (1)

JSombra (1849858) | about 4 years ago | (#33328770)

As a current customer of Demon all i can say is...stay the hell away.

As others have said years ago they used to be one of the best, these days they are one of the worst and charging a premium rate for "the privilege"

Forget customer support, 1st line and 2nd line are outsourced to India (and only work standard "office hours" aka when you, the customer, are likely to be at work) and there is no UK tech staff left (at least ones that will talk to customers) and no matter what their response is always "it must be your equipment/pc/router"

Cannot wait until i move at start of next year so i can dump them

The need for speed (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 4 years ago | (#33328774)

Hold one a moment, if Demon are going to offer high speeds for gamers traffic, that means that when they need tech support, it will take even longer to get help? ;)

Already done in Israel by Bezeq International (1)

eladts (1712916) | about 4 years ago | (#33328806)

This is already done in Israel by Bezeq International, the largest ISP in Israel which is owned by the national phone company. It works exactly like people expected here... You pay more, the use KY so it hurts less.

I can kinda see this (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 4 years ago | (#33329010)

Prioritization/deprioritization if it's clear what the facts are before, during and after people sign up. the transparency does seem to help.

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

Quality Of Service is a good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33329694)

It definitely makes sense to apply some QOS.
Some years ago I've been living in a living community, where we shared our rather slow internet connection and online gaming would have almost been impossible and teamspeak usage probably also, if I hadn't priorized the traffic. Used a linux router and IPTABLES for that.

It had almost no influence on downloads, where throughput is the main requirement, since game traffic didn't cost much bandwith. But it lowered the latency under heavy load from like 1 or 2 seconds, which makes gaming impossible, to something like 75ms, which was good enough.

Services have different requirements and QOS allows you to suit the needs.

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