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Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 1823–1856 | Cite as

Online FPS games: effect of router buffer and multiplexing techniques on subjective quality estimators

  • Jose Saldana
  • Julián Fernández-Navajas
  • José Ruiz-Mas
  • Eduardo Viruete-Navarro
  • Luis Casadesus
Article

Abstract

First Person Shooters are a genre of online games in which users demand a high interactivity, because the actions and the movements are very fast. They usually generate high rates of small packets which have to be delivered to the server within a deadline. When the traffic of a number of players shares the same link, these flows can be aggregated in order to save bandwidth. Certain multiplexing techniques are able to merge a number of packets, in a similar way to voice trunking, creating a bundle which is transmitted using a tunnel. In addition, the headers of the original packets can be compressed by means of standard algorithms. The characteristics of the buffers of the routers which deliver these bundled packets may have a strong influence on the network impairments (mainly delay, jitter and packet loss) which determine the quality of the game. A subjective quality estimator has been used in order to study the mutual influence of the buffer and multiplexing techniques. Taking into account that there exist buffers which size is measured in terms of bytes, and others measured in packets, both kinds of buffers have been tested, using different sizes. Traces from real game parties have been merged in order to obtain the traffic of 20 simultaneous players sharing the same Internet access. The delay and jitter produced by the buffer of the access router have been obtained using simulations. In general, the quality is expected to be reduced as the background traffic grows, but the results show an anomalous region in which the quality rises with the background traffic amount. Small buffers present better subjective quality results than bigger ones. When the total traffic amount gets above the available bandwidth, the buffers measured in bytes add to the packets a fixed delay, which grows with buffer size. They present a jitter peak when the offered traffic is roughly the link capacity. On the other hand, buffers which size is measured in packets add a smaller delay, but they increase packet loss for gaming traffic. The obtained results illustrate the need of knowing the characteristics of the buffer in order to make the correct decision about traffic multiplexing. As a conclusion, it would be interesting for game developers to identify the behaviour of the router buffer so as to adapt the traffic to it.

Keywords

Gaming Delay Multiplexing Compressing Measurement Network games Quality of Experience First Person Shooter 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose Saldana
    • 1
  • Julián Fernández-Navajas
    • 1
  • José Ruiz-Mas
    • 1
  • Eduardo Viruete-Navarro
    • 1
  • Luis Casadesus
    • 1
  1. 1.Communication Technologies Group (GTC) – Aragon Inst. of Engineering Research (I3A) Dpt. IEC. Ada Byron Building. EINA University of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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