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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

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October 1, 2007 10:47 AM

Halo 3 Causing Network Issues, Highlights Positive Side of Traffic Shaping

Last week I wrote about the launch of a videogame called Halo 3 and the perception that demand for players trying to get online and play it could take down the Internet.

Today I came across a related post about a university that's been experiencing network issues between the hours of 8pm and midnight every since September 25th, Halo 3's launch date.

It's important to note that again, the demand for playing this game has not threatened the overall Internet yet, but instead this post relates to the impact of Halo 3 on one entity's network, in this case a university.

Also, be forewarned that the post isn't much of an article but instead a short firsthand recounting of what one student and system admin has been dealing with.

Yet I still found it interesting as in this post he mentions how they were able to solve the problem by instituting a form of packet shaping.

I won't try to explain what the problem was or the specifics of how they fixed it as that's a bit deeper into tech-ese than I'd like to go, but it's important to understand the basics of packet shaping.

The gist of it is that network operators use packet shaping to manage their networks by identifying what's running over their pipes and making decisions as to if that traffic can be sped up or if it needs to be slowed down or rerouted.

In the case of this university, they had to employ traffic shaping in order to maintain the integrity and preserve the capacity of their network to ensure that students who were trying to do real work over the network had the resources they needed.

Packet shaping is often much maligned as network operators overstepping their bounds, but packet shaping can also be a very useful tool, like in this situation where there was an obvious need to manage gaming traffic so that it didn't interfere with someone else on the network who may be researching a cure for cancer or putting together their masters thesis.


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