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A traffic characterization of popular on-line games

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4 Author(s)
Wu-chang Feng ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Portland State Univ., OR, USA ; Chang, F. ; Wu-chi Feng ; Walpole, J.

This paper describes the results of the first comprehensive analysis of a range of popular on-line, multiplayer, game servers. The results show that the traffic behavior of these servers is highly predictable and can be attributed to the fact that current game designs target the saturation of the narrowest, last-mile link. Specifically, in order to maximize the interactivity of the game itself and to provide relatively uniform experiences between players playing over different network speeds, on-line games typically fix their usage requirements in such a way as to saturate the network link of their lowest speed players. While the traffic observed is highly predictable, the traces also indicate that these on-line games provide significant challenges to current network infrastructure. As a result of synchronous game logic requiring an extreme amount of interactivity, a close look at the trace reveals the presence of large, highly periodic, bursts of small packets. With such stringent demands on interactivity, routers must be designed with enough capacity to quickly route such bursts without delay.

Published in:

Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 3 )