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Shaped vs Unshaped

Before gaming became the global powerhouse that it is today, internet gaming traffic has always had a nasty habit of being treated as “unwanted’ or given very low assurance levels by stingy network admins all over the world. The reason for this is that normally games use “high ports” for communicating and this is often identified as peer to peer file swopping and or illegal downloads.

Browsing webpages, downloading email, file transfer protocol and of late VOIP has in the past been given priority over all other traffic making poor gamers struggle to get a decent experience when playing games online. Having an unshaped internet connection where all of your traffic is not treated or shaped at all was always the way to go, however this came at a premium rate.

Here at MWEB, we recognise the importance of gaming traffic and want to be able to deliver the very best gaming experience possible to our entire customer base. Since becoming a tier 1 ISP giving us greater control of the network traffic priority, we bump up gaming traffic with the very highest assurance levels giving it priority over all other traffic. As a gamer, you can now enjoy the benefits previously only seen on unshaped connections without having to pay a higher price.

Capped vs Uncapped

If the only traffic that crosses your router is gaming related traffic and you never open a browser or spend hours watching cats on youtube. If you do not download via torrents or newsgroups. Regardless of how many hours a month you spend playing your favourite game, you should never reach even the smallest cap.

Having said that, as we move into an online world filled with richer web 2.0 content, and taking things like digital delivery, the size of gaming patches, DLC offerings and the fact that YOU DO spend a lot of time on youtube, you really do want to have an uncapped connection!

Almost any gamer can tell you that online gaming is reliant not on bandwidth as much as it does on latency. The reason that your download rate was not the biggest contributing factor is twofold:

  1. While you may be able to download at 1200Kb/s, your performance in games like Call of Duty on a server that is located thousands of miles away may leave a lot to be desired, because it takes too long for the data to be processed back and forth between server and client.
  2. The size of the “packets” in gaming traffic has always been pretty small in comparison to almost every other kind of traffic. It is much more reliant on sending multiple tiny packets in a constant two way steam as opposed to delivering 1 large file.

But now I am going to throw a spanner into the works and tell you that your bandwidth is becoming more and more important that just pure latency. As gaming is getting more complex and detailed, hard-core games such Call of Duty black ops and World of Warcraft need more and more bandwidth to deliver all the features that combine into the perfect gaming experience.

Stats and friend tracking, logging theatre modes, in-game and 3rd party voice over IP services, Digital delivery services with community friends lists, IM clients and all other applications that the modern day gamer utilizes to maximise his or her gameplay have an effect on the in-game experience. While each of these on their own require very little bandwidth and can operate at full functionality & capacity on a limited connection, when combined on a “not-so-broad” broadband connection, congestion & bottlenecking starts to become a really big problem.

So with this in mind, here are my recommendations on the minimum type of ADSL connections that you will need depending on what kind of games you want to play.

Social Games

Farmville, Mafia Wars, Scrabulous or any other title that you play from within Facebook or other social media websites

  • Minimum 384kbs
  • Recommended 1Mbs

Casual Games

Ogames, Popcap, Pogo or any other title that you play within a standard webpage that does not require any 3rd party download

  • Minimum 384kbs
  • Recommended 1Mbs

Strategy & older 1st person shooters

Starcraft, Counter-Strike, Quake, Unreal tournament, Battlefield 2

  • Minimum 512kbs
  • Recommended 1Mbs Uncapped

MMO & Current 1st person shooters

Call of Duty Black Ops, World of Warcraft, Battlefied 3

  • Minimum 1Mbs
  • Recommended 4Mbs Uncapped


So in conclusion, taking everything that I have scribbled above, you want to have the fastest and biggest internet connection that you can afford for the best gaming experience possible. But I know that we don’t live in a perfect world where gamers are earning more money that everybody else just because of their pure awesomeness and there are always budget constraints, I highly highly and a 3rd time just for effect HIGHLY recommend that if you would like to be able to blow stuff up without getting frustrated, don’t go with anything smaller that a 1Mb uncapped connection!

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