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Hi all. For those who are interested:

 

from: http://forum.lol.garena.ph/showthread.php?50649

 

 ISPs in Philippines - the real facts and why you should care
tl;dr version: (not in order) Ping is not reliable, PLDT sucks, Garena needs to spend more on connectivity, use WinMTR instead of tracert, government needs public IX.

Hi all, I'm a foreigner living in Manila that has spent the last 15 years building large scale networks in Europe, with a heavy focus on northern Europe. I apologize in advance that I do not speak Tagalog (yet) so I'm only able to write this in English.

I've read a lot of posts here on the forums, and although they are mostly well meant, most are factually wrong. I contribute this to lack of knowledge in terms of carrier grade networking so it's completely understandable so let's start by defining what lag (latency) is. Also this is focused at our specific situation - playing LoL in Philippines.

For a game such as LoL you have 4 layers of possible latency:

1) Consumer end (PC/Router/Bandwidth)
2) ISP
3) Interconnect/Transit
4) Server end (Servers, load balancers etc.)

To measure latency end-to-end ICMP echo (PING) packets are not a reliable tool. There are many reasons for this but for us the main reason is that ICMP is a down prioritized packet type. Historically the ping tool was meant to see if a host was alive, not to measure connectivity - the reason it does have response times were to identify possible routing errors or DNS IP mixups. Remember this tool is older than most people playing LoL.

On Windows 'tracert' uses ICMP echo requests to probe the route of the connection to your destination. If you do want to trace the route using ICMP echo I can recommend WinMTR as a replacement for tracert that is a lot faster and more accurate. WinMTR can be found here. The UNIX version has an option to do UDP based packets which is more relevant for us as UDP is usually used in online gaming because of reduced latency and overhead as compared to TCP.

In Europe the infrastructure and government laws are usually very good and the laws enforced. This means that the most common causes of latency is on the consumer end. People mostly have ADSL connections and forget they have something running in the background (seeding is the main culprit in most cases) as with ADSL when you saturate your uplink you obliterate your downlink. But here in Philippines there are a lot of other causes for latency for us gamers - the worst being PLDT - yes you read that right, PLDT is intentionally disrupting online gaming in the Philippines. I will explain in greater detail below.

PLDT (and SMART) are actively fighting interconnect laws here in the Philippines. This is done mostly because of the mobile market but internet (and thus gaming) suffers as a result. Because SMART (and with the purchase of Sun) has the dominant market share, they are not interested in interconnecting with other Telcos, but specifically they do not want Globe subscribers to be satisfied with Globe so they will switch to SMART - this is why they are limiting the interconnect between PLDT and Globe, they are essentially throttling the data exchange between the companies. This is against the law here in Philippines but as with a lot of other things here, money talks - morale walks. I assume you've experienced long delays on texting between Globe/SMART? smile.png

Here is a recent article on the problem.

Keep in mind that that interconnection is standard in other markets and I've never come across any other Telco being as manipulative towards their customers as PLDT/SMART.

So what does SMS delays have to do with LoL latency you ask? Well the biggest problem here is that by default PLDT routes all domestic traffic via an IX in HK. This means if you send data between a PLDT DSL subscriber and any other major ISP here it goes via a Hong Kong Internet eXchange. There is a law passed in Philippines that all ISPs have to interconnect freely via an Internet eXchange so data can flow freely between the customers of the ISPs. Mind you this does not mean that a Globe/Sky/Bayan/Eastern customer can access data/servers outside PLDTs network, through PLDTs network - this is entirely between customers of the ISPs. This is common practice all over the world, even in dictatorships - except in Philippines.

ISPs buy transit traffic through backbone providers like PACNET, Level3, UUNet etc. - these are the services that connect your ISP to the world, it's too expensive for all ISPs to run their own international backbone fibers.

Because of PLDTs enormous power they have been able to defy the laws of interconnection and because of this keep prices up and bandwidth down as a whole in Philippines. I'm not saying that the other Telcos here are angels but at least their obey the law of interconnection. Doesn't it seem odd that Philippines is so far behind in terms of bandwidth/price for internet? It's literally 10 year behind Europe in it's current state.

It's worth noting that Globe has a stake in the worlds most powerful sea fiber. This is why PLDT is scared that if they loose their stranglehold on the consumers here that they will realize that the competitor offers a superior product. Unfortunately Globe has some of the least educated support staff/customer service in Philippines so it's not all roses on the 'other side'.

I can give you a concrete example of how full PLDT is of themselves - I was involved in a project in Philippines (which is when I fell in love with the country and moved here afterwards) that also involved PACNET. I was dumbfounded why the routing in Philippines was all over the place, I was trying to understand whom or what was the cause of this terrible infrastructure so I could fix it, eventually I narrowed it down to PLDT being incompetent. As I met with the senior technicians from PACNET regarding a multi-gigabit transit setup here in Manila I asked them why PLDTs routing was all over the place, as they are the major operator it was important for us to have good connectivity with PLDT. The PACNET technician and the senior sales manager explained to me that of all the countries they do business in, Philippines was the only place where a Telco willing and carelessly broke conventional international norms. PACNET had been dumbfounded when PLDT asked PACNET to pay PLDT when PLDT wanted to buy backbone capacity from PACNET. Their reasoning was that without PLDT you could not service the general public in Philippines properly so that's why PLDT should get money for allowing their customers direct access to PACNET. I'll let that sink in a little.

PACNET is a company who's main business is SELLING backbone capacity across South East Asia and PLDT wanted PACNET to pay so PLDT could get backbone capacity from PACNET. It is so stupid that it completely blows my mind.

Everything else they explain perfectly matched what I had seen examining the Philippines' internet infrastructure. Unfortunately to remedy this situation you need non-corrupt representatives that also understands technology or the need for improving the infrastructure as a whole in Philippines - not being able to vote here was a relief as I doubt there are any.

To summarize:

Garena needs to supply us with an IP where we can do UDP based pings to have reliable connectivity diagnostics.

If Garena is relying solely on the standard connectivity at VITRO (ePLDT), then they need to invest in their own connectivity to Globe and Bayan/Sky.

The Filipino government needs to create a unified IX, that mandates you have to interconnect a certain bandwidth pr. subscriber with a minimum bandwidth of 1 Gigabit. Make it so that you loose the right to do Telco services if you are not connected to the public IX. (this would solve all connectivity issues for someone like Garena at zero cost to Garena and all other companies doing online services in Philippines).

Feel free to ask any questions - I have a lot of knowledge in this field, and I've skipped some parts of it here as my post would end up too lengthy, if it isn't already too long - in fact I'll put a tl;dr in the top 

 

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Irenicus

He lost me at tl;dr.

 

Soooooo, I guess I don't need an answer on the VPN service question I posted.  Internet is simply too broke.

 

Goodbye fair Netflix...........

 

 

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He lost me at tl;dr.

 

Soooooo, I guess I don't need an answer on the VPN service question I posted.  Internet is simply too broke.

 

Goodbye fair Netflix...........

 

Actually, you shouldn't be put off by tl;dr. It means, "Too Long; Didn't Read", and is used to denote the web version of an executive summary. In other words, that first paragraph is the short version.

 

You can (in some if not most areas) get high speed internet for video streaming, still. You do have to pay a lot for it. I suggest you wait until you get here before planning this one. It will depend in what locale you settle for which company to use. 

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Actually, you shouldn't be put off by tl;dr. It means, "Too Long; Didn't Read", and is used to denote the web version of an executive summary. In other words, that first paragraph is the short version.

 

You can (in some if not most areas) get high speed internet for video streaming, still. You do have to pay a lot for it. I suggest you wait until you get here before planning this one. It will depend in what locale you settle for which company to use. 

 

I find my 2Mbs connection with PLDT adequate for sports streaming.  It's not perfect since there are occasional freeze frames.  I mainly use Coolsportz but if the service is underperforming then I resort to exploring Wiziwig.  However Sunday is always bad.  Either PLDT does maintenance and/or every man jack in the PH is on-line - so I never get to satisfactorily watch F1 races.  I live in the NCR.

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I find my 2Mbs connection with PLDT adequate for sports streaming.  It's not perfect since there are occasional freeze frames.  I mainly use Coolsportz but if the service is underperforming then I resort to exploring Wiziwig.  However Sunday is always bad.  Either PLDT does maintenance and/or every man jack in the PH is on-line - so I never get to satisfactorily watch F1 races.  I live in the NCR.

 

So just the 999 a month plan?

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I find my 2Mbs connection with PLDT adequate for sports streaming.  It's not perfect since there are occasional freeze frames.  I mainly use Coolsportz but if the service is underperforming then I resort to exploring Wiziwig.  However Sunday is always bad.  Either PLDT does maintenance and/or every man jack in the PH is on-line - so I never get to satisfactorily watch F1 races.  I live in the NCR.

Hi I am impressed if you are getting 2mb...How I just so wish. Am still subscribed for the 3mb service since August and I might as well take a trip to the moon than hold out for anything better than .4/.5mb for far too often since upgrading. prior to upgrading from the 999 plan to the 1299 plan I was getting 1.2mb which is adequate for streaming sports as well.

 

thanks for the heads up on coolsports I usually pick that one up if it is being shown under VIpbox office or LS hunter , i never considered it as a standalone. Wiziwig is still not as stable as it needs to be, Veetle now has ads all over the place, so not so good anymore for live sports.

 

Test matches are up soon so out with ouija board to get a decent connection

Edited by spooks
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So just the 999 a month plan?

 

I had a straightforward plan when I contracted for 1 Mbs but upgraded to 2 Mbs to convert to WiFi and Telpad for a monthly cost of 1874.10 PHP.  (PLDT prices seem to be all over the place with people paying different amounts for the same service.  Agreed my cost seems on the high side but it works and I don't want to rock the boat.)

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Hi I am impressed if you are getting 2mb...How I just so wish. Am still subscribed for the 3mb service since August and I might as well take a trip to the moon than hold out for anything better than .4/.5mb for far too often since upgrading. prior to upgrading from the 999 plan to the 1299 plan I was getting 1.2mb which is adequate for streaming sports as well.

 

thanks for the heads up on coolsports I usually pick that one up if it is being shown under VIpbox office or LS hunter , i never considered it as a standalone. Wiziwig is still not as stable as it needs to be, Veetle now has ads all over the place, so not so good anymore for live sports.

 

Test matches are up soon so out with ouija board to get a decent connection

 

Yup! I regularly get a measured bandwidth of better than 1.8 Mbs.  This is a copper connection (landline) in Las Pinas.  I think the switch is only three kilometres away (and hence server?) but on Sundays I find that I'm connected to the Makati server.

 

Make sure you have the latest version of Flash player.  Sometimes it takes three or four attempts to get a proper stable stream.

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senseless

I wonder why my rants about PLDT never go viral. I posted on page 7 of that thread awhile back.

 

If you're trying to connect to the US, PLDT is the best option due to their being a partial owner of the lowest latency cable between PH and US. Everyone else usually ends up routing to HK or JP before hopping over to seattle.

 

The problems with PLDT are due to their outbound routing. Every company in the world uses something called BGP or "Border Gateway Protocol" to determine the best routes for traffic by one of several factors (least number of hops, lowest latency, etc). PLDT on the other hand manually routes all of their traffic to avoid anyone being able to get a low latency from one ISP to another ISP here in the philippines. They do this to prevent globe and pldt users from being able to share traffic between each other, or communicate effectively. In order for a PLDT user to connect to a Globe user they'd first have to route to the USA to do so.

 

Their inbound routing is fine though as remote networks are using BGP to determine the best connectivity to those ip blocks / ASN (autonomous system number). An example of this is, currently if i want to play a game in singapore I'd have a ping of 200ms (due to outbound routing), but if someone in singapore wants to connect and play on my server their ping is 50ms.

 

This is what happens when you get rid of net neutrality, ISPs start fighting one another like little children to try to prevent ample communications. The only people who suffer as a result are the consumers.

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http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3066637174

 

This is the best i have had in a long while, not the 3mb i pay for but still far better. Just hope i do not get bowled a googly come the first test. I am also on the Las pinas server it cacked itself on saturday just in time for the England Australia opener of the rugby League world cup....total pants!! ping over 900 and download at .27kbs upload at a respectable .54kps :killself:

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JamesMusslewhite

I have PLDT (2m) internet and landline package and uploads at 600kbs. It goes out for short times regularly but I believe it is due to the brownouts and a road widening projects relocating and upgrading poles between us and the mainframes. I also have the globe wireless broadband system as a secondary and backup which uploads at 240kbs. These are my own performance numbers through consistent use of two PCs or laptops running 24/7 over years. Our speeds are not great but they are better than in many areas and they are supposedly running fiber. If so that I hope we catch a piggy onto that backbone. 

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Monsoon

He lost me at tl;dr.

 

Soooooo, I guess I don't need an answer on the VPN service question I posted.  Internet is simply too broke.

 

Goodbye fair Netflix...........

 

You will probably find that downloading torrents is a more efficient way to watch things than stream them on Netflix. You don't get cease and desist letters over there either. 

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SomeRandomGuy

ha hate to take it off topic but a mate of mine asked me what i do so I do not get the emails about stealing. I laughed and said well I think you should either use peerblock or move to the philippines. 6 years not one nasty email

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For anyone who didn't follow the link in original post to the article with more information, it's very interesting in that it says PLDT is in defiance of the Supreme Court in not providing connectivity to Globe customers with its network.

 

Globe’s interconnection woes

By Alvin Capino | Posted on February 22, 2013 at 12:01am | 4,621 views
 

 

Alvin-Capino.gifOne of the most common complaints one hears in the past few months from subscribers of Globe is the alleged poor service of the Zobel-Singapore Telecom controlled telecom company.

But if you listen closely to what the Globe subscribers are griping about, you would find that their principal problem is the fact that text messages they send are received hours and sometimes even a day later or not at all. They also grumble about difficulties in making calls.

If you point out to disgruntled Globe subscriber that their problem is only with calls and text messages sent to the subscribers of the PLDT-controlled network–Smart and Sun – they begin to realize that the problem is not with Globe Telecom.  Rather, the problem is rooted in the long-running interconnection problem of Globe with the former telecom monopoly.

The fact is that Globe Telecom service has been improving immensely as it nears completion of its massive $800-million network modernization program. The improved service, however, as far as the public is concerned, is negated by the continuing problem of delayed transmission of text messages and the difficulty of connecting to non-Globe networks.

The government agency that regulates the telecom industry, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), has given both Smart and Globe passing marks in its latest mobile network benchmarking for the parameters set by the commission.

The two major telecom networks were given passing marks in five parameters: blocked calls, dropped call rate, signal strength, signal quality and call set-up time.

So it would appear that the source of the problem of disgruntled Globe subscribers is not so much the services of Globe but rather the interconnection between Globe and the PLDT-controlled networks.

The issue came to a head when Globe Telecom, in a related issue, cited the long history of the refusal of PLDT to fully interconnect with it despite numerous orders from the NTC and court decisions ordering them to do so.

Globe head of National Carrier Relations Division Melvin Santos has in fact written a letter to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba asking NTC to compel PLDT to fulfill interconnection commitments to Globe, particularly in the provinces.

In his letter, Santos said: “Local interconnection with PLDT has been pending for years now despite orders from the NTC and public inconvenience.” He stressed in his letter that only 11 out of the 32 candidate areas for interconnection have been accommodated by PLDT for activation.

The interconnection issue has been long the subject of legal dispute between Globe and PLDT as well as PLDT and other telecommunications companies.

Globe legal counsel Rogelio Salalima cited the Supreme Court cases Republic of the Philippines vs. Republic Telephone Co. in 1996 and Republic of the Philippines vs. Express Telecom Co. in 2002 as examples of PLDT either refusing interconnectivity agreements outright or connecting with them but using outlying linkages to block calls.

Salalima pointed out that in the Extelcom case, despite NTC’s order that PLDT interconnect with Extelcom, PLDT opposed the issuance of Extelcom’s license and claimed that the NTC abused its authority in mandating interconnection.  Even after the Supreme Court ruled against and affirmed the NTC’s jurisdiction and mandate, the interconnection between PLDT and Extelcom did not happen.

PLDT/Smart Communications of course denies that there is a serious interconnection problem with Globe. PLDT/Smart Public Affairs head Mon Isberto cited the January 16, 2013 incident where Sun’s engineers detected a sudden rise of text messages that were being delayed or failing to arrive. The Sun engineers found no problem in the Sun-Globe interconnection and they alerted their Globe counterparts who said they will look into the problem which, instead of improving, worsened.

Isberto said that Smart and Sun have separate interconnection links with Globe and neither was having technical problems at that time. He also pointed out that SMS traffic within Sun and Smart and between the two PLDT controlled networks had no interruption at that time.

Of course, Globe spokesmen could have also pointed out that there is no problem in transmission of text messages within the Globe network and the fact is it is the Globe interconnection with Smart and Sun that was and continues to be problematic.

Interconnection problem is not unique in the Philippines. This is a problem in many countries which have made a fundamental shift from monopolistic to a multi-operator environment,

The monopoly, or in the Philippine case the telecom oligopoly, will do anything and everything to stunt the growth of its competitors and one way that this can be done is to make interconnection difficult.

Much depends on NTC to make sure that the dominant telecom company does not suffocate its emerging rival.

 

Edited to quote source: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/02/22/globes-interconnection-woes/

Edited by spydoo
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