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Gaming Bandwidth Usage

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Over the weekend I decided to do some online gaming while monitoring my bandwidth usage at the same time. I’ve been interested in doing so for a long time now due to the recent trend of Internet service providers (ISP) capping their bandwidth. I started keeping an eye on my bandwidth needs several months ago in case my own ISP eventually decides to implement its own cap, which has been the rumor now for nearly six months.

After playing approximately five hours online, I noticed that my upstream bandwidth was well over 500MB (the rough estimate was measured using DD-WRT V24-sp1 on my Linksys WRT54G router). I ended up playing a few hours of “NHL 07” on the PlayStation Portable, which was followed with a few sessions of “NHL 09” and “Gears of War 2” on Xbox Live.

Without going into exact analysis, a hardcore gamer playing about two hours of daily online gameplay would end up using about 6GB a month (this is without taking into account the patches and add-ons that are being released on a regular basis). Considering that a 720p movie rental through the Xbox Live Marketplace is roughly 6GB, online gaming isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things. But the bandwidth can quickly add up on one’s ISP account over time.

Now that we are living in a digital world that has HD downloads/streaming, podcasting and online gaming, among others, bandwidth caps don’t make any sense. With the amount of legal HD content on the web, an average user could easily go through their allocated bandwidth before the end of the month, which would lead to additional charges or interruption of service depending on the ISP.

Hopefully one of these major ISPs will eventually wake up and realize that we are currently living in a GB world that’s headed towards an HD revolution, which will eventually hit the half a terabyte range within the next few years.

Expect a follow-up in April as I will be making a full analysis of this month’s usage.

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