Not exactly something that you want to be known for, and it’s definitely a telltale sign when Blizzard doesn’t see anything wrong with the players’ accounts and all of them just happen to be on Time Warner Cable.
You really have to wonder, don’t you. I mean, regardless of what Time Warner says they’re not doing or whatever (and let’s be frank, public relations is out there to tell you whatever they want people to think), if there’s anything I’ve learned from my days in testing field applications, that would be the experience that comes from troubleshooting problems:
- Usually in a network, if only a certain group of people are reporting a problem, then you must find the common element between that group.
- If the problem occurs randomly, usually it’s a hardware issue when it comes to computing.
- If the problem occurs while following a pattern, then it could be a software issue.
- If the problem itself has to do with the network (latency, etc) then check network connections.
Hmm. So you really have to wonder here. Is it what the TWC executives “say” or are they really running some sort of filter or network shaping type tool that is re-prioritizing that WoW traffic? Not being a WoW player, I can’t really test this out but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the above was true from what I’ve read about TWC in the past.
Photo Credit: (tbridge)
Update: It looks like Time Warner’s Director of Digital Communications, Jeff Simmermon, responds to Consumerist.
Strangely enough, I found two things wrong with the answer from the Director. First, he dismisses issues with the network due to traceroutes. I’ll admit that traceroute is actually a flaky way of testing where you’re connecting to depending on routing loads and such, but even so, there’s two problems with this picture.
- If you use packet shaping? Traceroute udp packets can be set to be let through a network. Don’t believe me? Go buy any broadband optimizer that shapes voip and gaming traffic on a local network and tell me you can’t set certain types of traffic to be prioritized. Obviously this is assuming they even are doing this at the routing level. All I’m saying is that it IS possible. And if they did? They wouldn’t be telling you. Or me. Heck, I wouldn’t be telling me.
- Based on this traceroute, there is something to be learned.
5 12 ms 8 ms 9 ms srp0-0.bnghnyplz-rtr02.nyroc.rr.com [188.8.131.52]
6 18 ms 15 ms 18 ms so-1-2-1.syrcnycsr-rtr03.nyroc.rr.com [184.108.40.206]
7 150 ms 197 ms 207 ms te-3-2.car2.Cleveland1.Level3.net [220.127.116.11]
8 75 ms 24 ms 28 ms ae-2-6.bar2.Cleveland1.Level3.net [18.104.22.168]
Basic network troubleshooting here. I’ll put it into easier terms. When you run your own home network, there’s never a speed issue within the home. In fact, what’s your usual connection issue that technical support asks you do? Connect to the cable modem/DSL modem. Why? Because that’s the first point of routing between your 10.x.x.x/192.168.x.x.x network to the outside. Thus your latency will jump. In this particular example, you see that the latency jumps on the hop afterwards outside the initial network. While this could be a backbone (Level3) routing issue or the traceroute caught the backbone during a load shift (doubtful considering all three return times), my initial thoughts would actually fall upon the routing from hop 6 to hop 7. It’s a pipe flowing to a river scenario. Chance of a pipe clogging is more likely than river overflowing and clogging the pipe. Packet shedding perhaps?
I’ll admit that TWC did point out correctly with the first traceroute that it had nothing to do with them. That’s for sure, as long as the first point above doesn’t apply. And obviously they should get benefit of the doubt here until something funky happens where more people are coming forward with better proof.
On the otherhand? While traceroute is a pretty neat feature and it’s a very basic but extremely useful tool, it doesn’t tell the entire story either. In just the above scenario (#2) it can be seen that there could be a packet shedding issue between TWC routing at Syracuse and Level3 in Cleveland. And as some other have deduced in the comments on Consumerist, there’s more than meets the eye here. Stay tuned for more updates if this even does get anywhere.