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Posts with tag isp

Rogers Communications violates Canadian net neutrality rules over WoW bandwidth throttling

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission recently ruled that Rogers Communications, one of the largest internet service providers in Canada, has violated federal net neutrality rules. Last year, I wrote a few Lawbringers about the subject, which discussed what Rogers had to actually do to escape violation of certain internet traffic throttling complaints. Basically, Rogers was making WoW players' internet access slower because WoW looked like peer-to-peer traffic on their network.

Rogers is finally going to have to answer for the throttling issues, even after all of the requests and demands to change their packet inspection protocols. The communications company has until Feb. 3 at noon to respond to the complaints about internet throttling or face a hearing with the CRTC board.

Hopefully, the same type of rules can make their way to America, where internet service is abysmally slow and throttled like crazy. Prior to the Cataclysm launch, Blizzard released the new WoW client, which used a peer-to-peer system to upload and download information, patches, data, and all that jazz. This data accidentally triggered internet service providers' bandwidth alerts for torrent traffic and was subsequently throttled to lower speeds. After realizing that many users were experiencing lag issues with the new launcher and their ISPs, Blizzard began its outreach to ISPs in order to work together to fix the problem. A year later, people are still having problems, and Rogers in Canada has admitted to throttling WoW bandwidth.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard renews TeliaSonera agreement

Blizzard has renewed their agreement with a company called TeliaSonera to provide bandwidth for them in Europe. They just made a very similar deal with AT&T for the US -- it's the bandwidth that connects their servers to the millions of connections that lead back to your computer as you play World of Warcraft. Paul Sams, Blizzard COO, says they've been pleased with the service, and that the contract renewal was for two years.

It's interesting that we've seen Blizzard keep both of these agreements intact, but we already know that they'll cancel relationships they don't see as working (with the notable example of Netease's takeover in China). Of course, there are tons of factors that go into players' connections (including this server connection as well as your own ISP, your router and computer, and a number of other facilities and stops in between), but it would seem that Blizzard is happy with the way things are going in both the EU and the US with these providers. Of course everyone's personal experiences are different, and we've certainly seen our share of connection issues, but in general, the infrastructure on the networks is in a pretty good place.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard: We're working on the Comcast problem

Snowman Eyonix posted an update to the ongoing Comcast issues on the forums today: he says that Blizzard is talking to Comcast about the problem, and that they may have identified the problem in a third-party network between the affected folks and Comcast themselves. He says work on the issue is ongoing, and that while they don't have an ETA, he'll let us know when there is more to know.

We don't know if the "third-party network" includes those Los Angeles datacenters that were being blamed earlier, and to be honest, we don't even know how widespread the problem actually is. A few of our writers are on Comcast -- most of us haven't had any problems at all, though one of our writers in LA is experiencing lag and the occasional disconnect.

We'll keep an eye on Eyonix's thread and let you know if anything changes. At this point, it seems the problems are known and Blizzard is doing what they can to solve things.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Hardware

BBC: WoW's patches may push some over the bandwidth limit

We've posted a few times already on the bandwidth limits recently introduced by some ISPs, and in general we've decided that WoW doesn't use nearly enough bandwidth to get you in trouble with your Internet Service Provider. That's likely still true, but as this columnist at the BBC found out, if you're close to the limit, this month's 2gb patch might have been enough to put you over the top. Generally, while the WoW connection does require a strong bandwidth hookup, it won't use too much bandwidth sending data back and forth. But patches and other downloads definitely add to the total, and on a patch like 3.0.2, you're looking at a lot of data flying back and forth.

I'll still maintain it won't get you near the limit -- if this columnist really did have a 25gb limit, the 2gb download was still just a fraction (he's been downloading a lot of other stuff, seems to me). So it's not time to start worrying yet -- if your ISP does send you a letter, then you can look at your internet usage, and see, if like this columnist, it's time to switch ISPs.

But he's got another point, and that is that gaming is clearly having a large effect on computers and technology in general. Would we be fulfilling Moore's Law every two years if we didn't have 3D graphics that needed upgrading? Would high bandwidth connections be as prevalent today around the world if it wasn't for games like WoW that required a high bandwith hookup? Gaming is affecting the basic technologies and economies of the Internet these days, for better or worse.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

On WoW's bandwidth consumption

Some of you may have heard about the ISP Comcast's new 250 GB per month bandwidth caps. We've even gotten a few emails asking how this is going to affect WoW players. You can set your minds at ease: this will not affect us in any significant way.

The highest bandwidth I've ever heard of WoW using at a time is 30 KBps; this is in situations like raid fights or zoning into a city when there's a lot of data flying around. So if WoW was always running at peak bandwidth, 24x7, you'd be looking at around 70 GB per month, a sizable chunk of your cap. However, I rarely if ever see it go as high as 30 KBps; typical usage is more like 5 or below, often even in the sub-1 KBps range. And nobody plays WoW 24x7 all month, I hope.

Let's say your average WoW bandwidth is 2 KBps, which I believe to be a reasonable estimate. That comes out to about 7 MB per hour. So to estimate your monthly usage from WoW, multiply that 7 MB by how many hours you play a day (on average), then by 30. The average WoW player is on for something like 20 hours a week, which comes out to 600 MB per month - about 0.2% of 250 GB. Even if you were on 24x7 all month, you'd still only be looking at 4.8 GB, less than 2% of the cap. [Edited to fix numerical mistakes]

In short, you won't have to cut back on WoW to stay under a 750 GB per month cap.

Filed under: Tips, Odds and ends

WoW Radio fighting claims of malware

A few readers (thanks!) have sent us news that visiting the website of our good friends at WoW Radio has caused their Firefox browser to flag that there's malware present over there. I visited the site last Sunday, and my browser tossed up error messages aplenty at me. But after talking with Totalbiscuit and Duncor, I'll repeat their message here, so just so everyone knows: there is no malware problem with WoW Radio.

Totalbiscuit has posted a notice on their front page explaining what happened -- sometime last week, a hacker attempted to post some kind of malware nonsense on their forums, and was headed off at the pass. Unfortunately, Google just happened to catch one look at a possibly negative piece of code, and thus the site was flagged (strange that just one flag would cause the kinds of alerts that Firefox is spitting out, but that's a discussion for another day). But at this point, we know for certain that there is no malicious code on WoW Radio, and even Google admits that the one piece of code it saw was the fault of a third party, not the WoW Radio folks.

Both Totalbiscuit and Duncor tell me they're working with their ISP and Google as much as they can to get the warnings removed. But in the meantime, you've got nothing to worry about -- you can listen to our podcast (or any of the other podcasts over there) without worry.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, News items, Forums, WoW Insider Show, Account Security

WotLK Wiki is back in action

Don't count the WotLK Wiki out yet -- after going down late last week due to a suspected cease-and-desist order from Blizzard's lawyers (now confirmed), they have returned with a completely different host and all the information from the leaked Alpha they were originally hosting. They say that their original wiki hosts, Wikidot, were extremely supportive on both the traffic and legal fronts, as they upgraded their servers just to keep the site up, and originally did help with legal troubles. When Vivendi Universal took legal action against their ISP, however, Wikidot had to fold, and the wiki has now moved hosts to wotlkwiki.info.

Last week, there was also mention that the C&D didn't ask them to remove all information, only "over-the-line" info, such as screenshots or video. But apparently that clause doesn't apply to the new host -- there are still screenshots all over the site, and though Vivendi has pulled video from YouTube before, it's still there as well.

Of course, any C&D sent to the old site would still apply to the new one -- it's just a question now of whether the wiki's new host will comply with Vivendi's demands (the wiki's creators sound very sure that they won't). And after that, it'll be up to Vivendi to determine how far they want to take this -- if they really feel that having this leaked information on that site has hurt them in a justifable way, there is a possibility that an actual lawsuit could be issued, and if this escalates even further, the two parties could eventually end up in court. As always, we'll be watching to see what happenes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Virgin Media CEO threatens to put UK net traffic in the "bus lane"

We've heard before about lots of trouble with WoW players in the UK experiencing lags, disconnects, and high latency (though the problem seems to be all over lately), and reader Hugh sent us this possible reason: Virgin Media, which is a large internet service provider in the UK, has had their CEO spouting off about net neutrality lately, calling it a "load of bollocks," and claiming that if content providers (like Blizzard) don't pay up, he'll be happy to stick them in the "bus lane."

Not quite cool. The latest tactic of ISPs everywhere to make more money is to charge not customers, but content providers for their traffic -- i.e. if YouTube wants their site to work fast on your ISP, they need to pay the ISP a certain amount, and then everyone on that network will experience the site quickly. So in this case, Virgin would be asking Blizzard, responsible for all the World of Warcraft traffic, to pay a premium price for customers to receive it quickly. And anyone who knows Blizzard knows they probably aren't too excited about paying such a price -- they'd likely call Virgin Media out for slowing the connection down before paying protection money for their data.

At any rate, it seems like there's a battle coming, and your character's information may be caught in the middle of it. As always, you've got to fight with your wallet -- if Virgin or any other ISP threatens to hold data hostage like this, it's time to find a different ISP to pay your money to every month.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Free WoW, courtesy of AT&T


It looks like WoW gametime is the new iPod shuffle, in that it's something companies give out to try to entice you to switch away from your current providers. Now AT&T is offering three free months of game time to anyone who is willing to switch from cable internet to "high speed Internet from AT&T," which I assume means DSL. Normally I wouldn't recommend DSL over cable, since it tends to be (much) slower, but if you use your connection mostly for WoW, email, and web type stuff anyway, it doesn't really matter. DSL does tend to be a bit cheaper.

There are a few caveats, of course. You need to be a new customer, and as far as I can tell, you need to keep your account open at least a month to get the reward, and there was something about a $75 modem charge, but there was also something about $125 cash back (the fine print is a little confusing). The offer is open until January 31, 2008, so you have a little while to make up your mind. If you've got cable but don't like it, free WoW is never a bad thing. Did anyone take advantage of the DirecTV offer from a few months ago? If so, how did it go?

Filed under: Tips, News items

Slightly Extended US Maintenance Tomorrow

Tomorrow's regularly scheduled maintenance has been extended to open up a window for some required ISP maintenance. Nothing else exciting to expect, and patch 1.12 is still a ways out, considering the test servers are still online. However, tomorrow all US realms will be offline between 2:45AM and 11:00AM PDT. I know a lot of people play at that time, especially those in Oceanic time zones, so now's the time to make new plans. (Though fishing isn't really an option for those playing in North America...)

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

Select US Server Outages Tonight

Emergency maintenance by AT&T will cause the following realms to be unavailable from 2:00 to 4:00 AM PDT (while Drysc's post dated this 4/20, it only makes sense for it to be on 4/21 - otherwise he's posted warning rather late).  Aggramar, Argent Dawn, Arthas, Azgalor, Bleeding Hollow, Bloodhoof, Burning Blade, Burning Legion, Durotan, Earthen Ring, Elune, Eonar, Eredar, Gilneas, Gorefiend, Kargath, Laughing Skull, Lightning's Blade, Llane, Lothar, Magtheridon, Malygos, Mannoroth, Medivh, Shadow Moon, Shattered Hand, Skullcrusher, Stormrage, Thunderhorn, Thunderlord, Warsong, and Zul'jin.  Hopefully this is at a sufficiently odd hour that it will be mostly unnoticed, though there are always players somewhere...

Connection Woes

[SERVER]
Shutdown in 15:00In addition to authentication difficulties and emergency maintenance on several servers, there are also, apparently, ISP issues that are causing players to become disconnected.  Maybe this is some sort of message suggesting that we should spend more quality time watching television.  Hopefully some of you are having better luck tonight than I am!

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, News items

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