Managing Network Delay for Browser Multiplayer Games

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Title: Managing Network Delay for Browser Multiplayer Games
Author: Lepola, Kimmo
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Tietojenkäsittelytieteen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Computer Science
Magisterprogrammet i datavetenskap
Specialisation: Hajautetut järjestelmät ja tietoliikenne
Networking and Services
Distribuerade system och datakommunikation
Discipline: none
Abstract: Latency is one of the key performance elements affecting the quality of experience (QoE) in computer games. Latency in the context of games can be defined as the time between the user input and the result on the screen. In order for the QoE to be satisfactory the game needs to be able to react fast enough to player input. In networked multiplayer games, latency is composed of network delay and local delays. Some major sources of network delay are queuing delay and head-of-line (HOL) blocking delay. Network delay in the Internet can be even in the order of seconds. In this thesis we discuss what feasible networking solutions exist for browser multiplayer games. We conduct a literature study to analyze the Differentiated Services architecture, some salient Active Queue Management (AQM) algorithms (RED, PIE, CoDel and FQ-CoDel), the Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) concept and network protocols for web browser (WebSocket, QUIC and WebRTC). RED, PIE and CoDel as single-queue implementations would be sub-optimal for providing low latency to game traffic. FQ-CoDel is a multi-queue AQM and provides flow separation that is able to prevent queue-building bulk transfers from notably hampering latency-sensitive flows. WebRTC Data-Channel seems promising for games since it can be used for sending arbitrary application data and it can avoid HOL blocking. None of the network protocols, however, provide completely satisfactory support for the transport needs of multiplayer games: WebRTC is not designed for client-server connections, QUIC is not designed for traffic patterns typical for multiplayer games and WebSocket would require parallel connections to mitigate the effects of HOL blocking.
Subject: multiplayer games
browser games
network delay
network protocols

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