Provisioning On-line Games: A Traffic Analysis Of A Busy Counter-strike Server

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22 June 2022

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This paper describes the results of a 500 million packet trace of a popular on-line, multi-player, game server. The results show that the traffic behavior of this heavily loaded game server 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 and to provide relatively uniform experiences between all players, on-line games typically fix their usage requirements in such a way as to saturate the network link of their lowest speed players. While 886lv observed is highly predictable, the trace also indicates that these on-line games provide significant challenges to current network infrastructure. Due to 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 capadty to quickly route such bursts without delay. As current routers are designed for bulk data transfers with larger packets, a significant, concentrated deployment of online game servers will have the potential for overwhelming current networking equipment.

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