Mark Claypool, David LaPoint, Josh Winslow
Network games are becoming increasingly popular, but their traffic patterns have received little attention from the academic research community. A better understanding of network game traffic can lead to more effective network architectures and more realistic network simulations. We gathered traffic traces from live Internet games of Counter-strike and Starcraft, representative games from two different gaming genres. In this paper, we analyzed the network traffic patterns and bandwidth consumption to better understand how such games impact the network. Both games were found to have very low bandwidth usage and packets significantly smaller than typical Internet applications. Starcraft games showed consistent traffic behavior across games while the traffic patterns for Counter-strike varied widely, especially for the server. In particular, Counter-strike clients and servers often send bursts of very small packets. Since current Internet routers are typically designed for large transfers with large packets, there may be opportunities to improve network architectures to better manage and support game traffic.
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