With pandemic-related lockdowns resulting in South Africans keeping to their homes, a growing number are turning to gaming as a form of entertainment, or even a livelihood, as can be seen with professional gamers. To give them an advantage, integrated ICT and infrastructure provider Vox has launched Gaming Essentials, a Quality of Service feature that ensures a superior connectivity experience for local gamers.
“Today’s homes now have multiple devices connected to the internet as different family members engage in working online using cloud-based services, surf the web and watch YouTube videos, and stream series or movies off Netflix - all at the same time. This can have a negative impact on gaming traffic and ultimately the gaming experience,” says Andrew King, head of product: Voice, Visual Comms and Gaming at Vox.
According to King, Gaming Essentials - only available to Vox FTTH customers - includes proprietary gaming-specific configurations added to a service-provider grade Mikrotik router on the customer’s premises, that minimises jitter and eliminates latency spikes due to buffering under high load. By prioritising UDP traffic - the traffic type used by most modern games, this Quality of Service (QoS) feature shields gaming traffic from other internet traffic on the household’s network, reducing latency for gamers.
“This is critical when playing online or multiplayer first-person shooter games”. Enabling the optimisation of gaming traffic on your local network can be key, as the slightest bit of latency can be the difference between you placing first or your opponent winning the game. The lower your ping and latency, the smoother, more responsive and lag-free your gameplay is. Gaming traffic isolation also means that you won't experience latency spikes when someone in the house starts watching a YouTube video, for example.” says King.
Enjoy hassle free internet usage
For the configuration to work properly, you will need to forego a small portion of your line speed (1Mbps on links less than 50Mbps, and 2Mbps on 50Mbps or faster links). Your gaming traffic will flow over a dedicated portion of your link, unaffected by other internet traffic flowing over the same link. Furthermore, with the router being controlled by a centralised management server, Vox can remotely configure the device so that you always get to enjoy the best experience possible on your specified device, regardless of you upgrading or downgrading your link over time.
“Vox’s Gaming Essential QoS can give local gamers the edge over the competition with improved real-time gaming, particularly on lower speed links - all while the rest of the family gets to enjoy hassle free internet usage, without their streaming or your gaming being affected,” says King.
Taking gaming to more South Africans
King says Vox is looking to make quality gaming more accessible and affordable to South Africans with multiple offerings, including latency optimised internet connectivity (with fibre the primary choice for gamers), affordable access to the latest generation of gaming consoles from Microsoft, and now Gaming Essentials.
“We have also introduced a streaming relay service for PC users who have a Vox FTTH subscription. Traditionally, local gamers had to stream at low resolution - often at 480p. By using the Vox service, they are able to stream in high definition, increasing the possibility for more views and gaining more subscribers and followers. This is made possible by streaming to the local Vox edge server, which then relays the stream - at much higher resolution - to the relevant global platform be it Twitch, Vimeo or YouTube.
“All of these offerings together are aimed at ensuring a superior gaming experience.”