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Tiscali, online gaming & service problems
Tuesday 05 February 2008 13:07:37 by Andrew Ferguson

Getting traffic management systems right and not blocking applications unintentionally is a difficult task. A number of gaming websites are reporting Tiscali users experiencing severe problems playing online games.

Computer and Video Games is reporting that Tiscali users are having problems playing games such as Call of Duty 4. The developers Infinity Ward suggest the problems are down to slow downs and blocks on peer-to-peer (p2p) services within Tiscali's network. This technology is used to distribute content for a variety of legal and illegal purposes.

Tiscali have categorically denied deliberately blocking games, but with the number of reports it seems likely that gaming has become a casualty of changes to the traffic management systems. Past experience from other service providers shows that when traffic management is turned on, gamers are often one of the first to raise their voices whether it is updates that are being slow, demos are slow to download or games duffer from lag and jitter (which for serious gamers is the difference between winning and losing a game.)

Tiscali is the fourth largest broadband / telecommunications provider in the UK. In a presentation back in October 2007 it was the only large provider to show a decline in market share between 2006 and Q1 2007, a drop from 11.6% to 11.1%, with AOL/CPW and Sky showing the largest growth. At a time when the company is expanding its LLU presence with an aim to meet 1,000 exchanges (65% of UK households) in early 2008 and possible extensions to 1,200, the drop in market share is certainly not a good sign. What may not be apparent to many is Tiscali's increasing rollout of a 'fully unbundled' option allowing them to provide full telecommunications services on its own network in the same way TalkTalk does.

It is not known whether any of the current migration work Tiscali UK is undertaking is simply moving users onto a full LLU solution, but if this is the case, customers with a broadband and phone package may find themselves upset as they find that switching to another operator at a later date becomes difficult and expensive. For those on shared LLU connections, migration should be relatively easy as the MAC migration process works for these lines.


Posted by migrater over 9 years ago
Yet more proof that Tiscali are probably the worst ISP in the UK. It just shows the power of advertising really that so many people have joined them on the basis of their TV ads, only to discover they're paying for a connection which is good for pretty much nothing except browsing websites and using email because it's throttled to the high heaven.

The drop in their market share is good news, but while people are willing to join an ISP without doing any research, their TV advertising will probably still result in people joining them en masse.
Posted by adrinux over 9 years ago
I was on Pipex, then last November I suddenly couldn't play the ancient game Myth 2 at 'peak' periods (I've been playing it online since 1998!). Switched to an ISP without throttling, and instantly it was working again.

I can only assume the problem was the switch (unbeknownst to me) to Tiscali's system after they bought Pipex.

Really, if you're having online gaming problems, change ISP.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
easy way to solve the advertising issue is for the ASA to make it a requirement for speeds to not drop below 512kbit for it to be able to be classed as broadband, tiscali are throttling below this. Requires a regulator with balls tho and care for consumers, something we dont have.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
@Chrysalis:The ASA is not a regulator. It has no legal powers to enforce anything. Only Ofcom has legal power over what ISPs do and look where that's got us.
Posted by sir_sixx over 9 years ago
chrysalis 5 this isn't feasible or fair as BT wholesale their fixed line speed broadband connections with a 40:1 contention ratio (or is it 50:1?). You can't force ISP's to define a minimum speed when the wholesaler doesn't and BT were even smarter when they launched ADSL MAX which they wholesale as an up-to 8Mb, which means anything in between is ok (don’t mention MSR). I'm with Bulldog and because they where rubbish lots of people left and I have more bandwidth than ever ;o) plus no Fair Usage Policy, I'm interested on what Tiscali are going to do about this now they own Bulldog.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote "Tiscali have categorically denied deliberately blocking games"

Im shocked they even know what a computer game is!
Posted by carrot63 over 9 years ago
It would be nice if our so-called regulator would develop some policies to prevent the numerous potentially unpleasant issues that come with full unbundling. It currently works very much to the detriment of the consumer should they wish to move, and at the very least they should prevent any change to line status without explicit consent from the customer.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Sadly the only regulator you can rely on 100% is yourself which means doing research and migrating away from cowboy providers asap.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
The sooner EU regulation muscles Ofcom out of the equation the better. It cant be no worse than what we have now and im pretty sure ive read either on here or another adsl forum based site at some point about how Tiscali, Orange and some other nastys in europe have been punished more than once.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
keith - The only ISP's I'd trust at this point are the small "business" suppliers. Yes, you'll be paying twice the price for a 2MBit connection that others pay for Max. But you'll get a deacent, stable gaming service.

Anyone else is liable to be bought out and crippled.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
4th largest ISP? And soon a few more mergers and buyouts and we have ONE ISP. Lets see how the MAC code works then, or the complaints procedure. There is no conspiracy here its just the way big business works and the people they install in High Office make sure they continue to do so. £££££££££££££ Is what matters. Get it yet?
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
sir_sixx the wholesaler considers speeds below 400kbit a fault on synchs of 2meg and above, but even so thats irrelevant how can someone class a connection thats throttled to dialup speeds as broadband its a scam pure and simple. 40:1 50:1 contention includes offline users etc. so performance in natural congestion scenarios will be way above dialup speeds on 8meg 50:1 contention.
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