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Author Topic: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming  (Read 772 times)

BodOps

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Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« on: September 03, 2020, 04:52:09 PM »

Hi all,

I was wondering if it'd be possible for anyone to provide a list of steps (and where appropriate, links to sites that help find the information) to go through when deciding which is the best ISP for a new household.

I'm likely to be moving in a few months, so once I've got the postcode - my current guesswork is that it'd be good to find out the following for a few different ISPs (ie. Zen, BT, Virgin, EE etc.):

- Where the local ISP exchange is for each service
- Where the nearest cabinet is for each service

... and go for the one which has the nearest stuff and the best overall reviews etc.

I could be wrong on the above, so if anyone can shed any light or give any advice on what I should be looking at etc. please do :)

Thanks a lot!

Bod
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digitalnemesis

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2020, 05:29:27 PM »

Huh? Don't all ISPs who use xDSL BT go through the same cabinet/exchange for your telephone line?  :P


Virgin Media, cable, would be different of course.


[Moderator edited to remove the unnecessary verbatim quote of the preceding post.]
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 06:35:02 PM by burakkucat »
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meritez

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2020, 05:29:58 PM »

Welcome BodOps,

I would start with IDNet and work from there: https://gaming.idnet.uk/
IDNet FTTC is subject to a 1 month contract, and if you can get G.Fast, it's a 1 year contract.

What is your price range?
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BodOps

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2020, 07:32:21 PM »

Huh? Don't all ISPs who use xDSL BT go through the same cabinet/exchange for your telephone line?  :P

Virgin Media, cable, would be different of course.


Ah ok. I looked at https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm and saw the xDSL cabinet was 1260 metres away which is not great right?! (if virgin isnt available, does anyone know how to mitigate for long distances?)

Does anyone know how to find nearest virgin cabinet?
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foxtrot_yankee

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2020, 08:10:41 PM »

Ah ok. I looked at https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm and saw the xDSL cabinet was 1260 metres away which is not great right?! (if virgin isnt available, does anyone know how to mitigate for long distances?)

Does anyone know how to find nearest virgin cabinet?

The distances on that website are not accurate. Don't take it at face value.
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siofjofj

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2020, 08:13:57 PM »

Ah ok. I looked at https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm and saw the xDSL cabinet was 1260 metres away which is not great right?! (if virgin isnt available, does anyone know how to mitigate for long distances?)
The (potentially) good news is that this distance is likely to be inaccurate, as the telecom tariffs site doesn't actually know the locations of the cabinets, it just picks some location central to all the postcodes the cabinet is known to serve. If you want to actually find the cabinet location you have to have an explore around the area, either physically or on streetview. Once you have this you could perhaps estimate the distance by guessing the most likely route of the phone line. However, this isn't a particularly useful exercise as the speeds you get are dependent on other factors which you can't see, e.g. the presence of absence of aluminium phone wiring. If you have the address of the property you are moving to, enter it into the address checker (link near the bottom) here https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/#/ADSL.

Does anyone know how to find nearest virgin cabinet?
DOCSIS (the technology virgin media use to deliver internet access over cable TV infrastructure) is not distance sensitive, so you don't need to worry about this. If there is virgin infrastructure in the area they will offer you the exact same packages and speeds they offer to everyone else in the area, you just need to look on their website for this. The potential issue with virgin is congestion, since the bandwidth on the coaxial cable is shared between everyone on the same headend (contrasted with xDSL technologies where your phone line is only used by you). This can also cause variable latency if this is important to you for gaming. The only way to find out about local congestion issues on virgin is to ask people with it on the surrounding streets.

As for the choice of ISPs aside from Virgin, as has been stated by digitalnemesis, the distance to the cabinet and exchange (and indeed the physical copper pair used) will be identical for all ISPs, so there will be no major differences in speed between them. It is essentially a choice for you to make based on factors such as the features you need (e.g. IPv6, static IP etc), the standard of customer service you expect and the price you are willing to pay. I will add there are some small technical differences between ISPs that can lead to slightly different speeds, such as the DLM profile used in the case of VDSL and the exchange equipment chipsets in the case of ADSL, but this is a very minor difference.

Of course, if it turns out you will be moving somewhere with FTTP, either by Openreach or some alt-net, then this may all be irrelevant. Best to look at what is available (which the link I gave above will do for Openreach based products, you can use the Ofcom checker at https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/ to give you a hint if there are any alt-nets in the area)!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 08:22:37 PM by siofjofj »
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CarlT

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 12:00:07 AM »

The Codelook distances are from exchange not cabinet.
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CarlT

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 12:03:09 AM »

Regarding the original question I imagine if someone had those steps many of us would follow them.

Depends on what's available, budget, usage needs, etc. Until it's clear exactly what's available there isn't much that can be done.

As far as gaming goes that's a piece of string, however on the whole Virgin Media is a poor choice.
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Weaver

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2020, 12:56:56 AM »

BodOps you can’t go wrong with Andrews and Arnold aa.net.uk especially for gaming; because they actually understand what gaming is and what the requirements are.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2020, 10:44:52 AM »

BodOps you can’t go wrong with Andrews and Arnold aa.net.uk especially for gaming; because they actually understand what gaming is and what the requirements are.

They are the nuclear option though, as you really pay for priveledge.  (which is honestly fair enough)
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N0STIE

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2020, 11:18:58 AM »

They are the nuclear option though, as you really pay for priveledge.  (which is honestly fair enough)

From my experience (well my friend's) who is on 80/20 with them and on fast path, at least here in North West AAISP give him 10ms higher latency on average to the same hosts comparing to Zen and he most likely is on the same exchange as he is living around 2 miles away from me. I do not judge them but worth considering if it is that good option for gaming. He showed me his trace routes, looks like AAISP use different peering partners between London - Europe thus higher latency.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2020, 04:10:14 PM »

That's the thing, there is always a balance between a smaller ISP having a more personal and customer focused experience, but also their infrastructure not necessarily being as diverse as a slightly bigger ISP.

For me, Zen is that perfect middle ground as they are quite big by small ISP standards, but not big enough to be subject to the annoying government/court mandated snooping/filtering BS.

But honestly, there is no perfect ISP for gaming as if a given ISPs peering is better/worse than another could totally depend on WHAT game you are playing.
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Weaver

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Re: Checklist for finding the best ISP for gaming
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2020, 05:07:01 AM »

Would be worth talking to AA about that, to see what they think. They do indeed give a damn about such things. I used Zen and AA together for a while, and Zen was great; I really like them. AA won out in the end because at that time they had a much richer, more feature packed range of services.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 05:09:13 AM by Weaver »
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