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TalkTalk Block Popular Online Game?
By: MarkJ - 27 April, 2006 (9:30 AM)

Customers of TalkTalk's (Carphone Warehouse) broadband service have complained about a change the ISP may have made to its network last week, which has resulted in their favourite online game (World of Warcraft) now becoming unplayable due to lag (extremely high latency).

Unfortunately World of Warcraft (WoW) is not a game unaccustomed to the odd network problem of its own making, yet in this case the difficulties appear to impact a largely TalkTalk using group of customers.

It's difficult to determine the exact cause, a thread on the WoW Europe forums appears to cover all manor of possible reasons and or excuses - HERE.

The most popular theory is that the ISP may have adjusted its P2P filtering in such a way that impacts the game, which uses a P2P style downloader to update itself. We also note TalkTalk's policy below:

"We restrict P2P activity in peak hours to make sure that other general Internet use takes priority (including surfing, email, shopping, gaming and commercial downloads). Between midnight and 8am we allow a greater proportion of P2P traffic."

Had TalkTalk blocked the downloader’s port then this would also impact the game because they share the same one (3724). The only certainty is that TalkTalk does appear to be aware of the issue, yet nobody has received a completely consistent reply.

World of Warcraft itself is presently one of the most popular MMORPG's (massively multiplayer online role player games) in the world and, like many such games, it is not directly a bandwidth hog (they consume very little data to keep latency low enough to play).

Unfortunately many ISP’s are incredibly naive and do not realise that a growing number of content developers use P2P style technology to deliver updates. Distinguishing between these and the widespread use of open P2P platforms has become somewhat of a grey area.


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