Ping Pong pt 2

Network connectivity has been one of the main bugbears in many folks’ SL. Just recently, increased congestion of the transatlantic cables resulted in huge increases in sim ping for users in Europe and beyond. Now Network capacity is something that is easily created but it is expensive hence it is kept to a bare minimum by those corporations that provide the facility.

One of the most prominent of those is ZayoCC, via its Abovenet service. Recently on several occasions this service (which is used by many, if not all, European ISPs and is a major partner of Linden Lab in distributing Second Life on the internet) has run into capacity and hence latency issues. This has manifested itself in much higher time for signals to get from the user to SL and back, resulting in badly degraded functions that require quick racing, flying and Ponyplay activities such as steeplechasing and slaloms. To be honest I had not really noticed it apart for the resultant chat-lag experienced occasionally. Now it seems to be occurring much more frequently and more severely during the European evening hours, when transatlantic traffic from the US business day is at its highest. Some effort to cure this appears to have been made and for me the issue is more of an annoyance than a problem. For others the matter is much worse, resulting in major function failure due to data packet loss. Quite what can be done I do not know and Linden Lab, while acknowledging that the issue exists, seem unwilling or unable to make a difference.

It may be that we are victims of the continual improvement made to SL, which unfortunately results in larger amounts of data being streamed to users with all the concomitant complications. SL is certainly one of the most bandwidth hungry streaming applications that I know, and it shows in its susceptibility to network issues. While the issue is almost certainly not noticed by most casual users of SL, those of us that use SL a great deal and who do quite complex things in SL are finding out that the internet is by no means a flawless system.

~ by Ayesha Askham-Ezvalt on November 17, 2013.

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