If you have home network problems such as a slow connection, it could be World of Warcraft making the Internet slow. Previously we wrote about Skype slowing down your internet but now we are on the WOW wagon. Here are a few ways to find out if World of Warcraft is a problem and a few ways to reduce the load it puts on your network.
World Of Warcraft Making The Internet Slow All By Itself
In the middle of a raid, World of Warcraft can use dozens of megabytes an hour of download speed and about half a much of upload speed. Most Internet connections are asymmetrical, so you don’t have as much upload bandwidth as you have download bandwidth, and this is where World of Warcraft making the Internet slow becomes a problem.
When you exhaust either your upload or download bandwidth, you also prevent the Internet from working correctly on your computer. That’s because every time you receive a packet on your computer, you need to send an acknowledgment to the computer that sent it. If you run out of upload bandwidth, you can’t send that acknowledgment and the other computer will stop sending you packets.
When World of Warcraft uses all of the upload bandwidth, other computers on your network will be unable to download even small files like email. Although this problem doesn’t often happen on fast Internet connections, people who share slower ADSL links may complain about World of Warcraft making the Internet slow.
World Of Warcraft Making The Internet Slow With Add-ons
Even faster Internet connections can start running slow when you add some add-ons to World of Warcraft. The main problem occurs when you add voice chat to World of Warcraft. Although this can significantly increase your ability to communicate with your teammates, it can also significantly increase the amount of bandwidth World of Warcraft uses.
Another problem that sometimes occurs with World of Warcraft is downloading updates. Blizzard, makers of World of Warcraft, use the BitTorrent protocol to distribute their patches. That means that you download updates not from Blizzard directly but from other players—and that other players download their updates from you.
BitTorrent saves Blizzard a lot of money, but it can eat up any spare bandwidth you have. Two things make downloading World of Warcraft updates not so bad: first, you can always turn off BitTorrent uploads in your configuration and, second, even if you don’t, the upload stops after you upload a certain amount, so any problems that occur because of the upload will quickly go away on their own.
World Of Warcraft Making The Internet Slow By Abusing QoS
Some players try to boost their World of Warcraft speeds using Quality of Service (QoS) flags, a special part of the TCP/IP protocol that powers the Internet. Unfortunately, QoS can easily backfire and have World of Warcraft making the Internet slow.
Quality of service packets contain a special flag that says, “this packet is important, please send it before processing any other packets.” On a busy Internet connection, QoS can be quite useful—it’s mostly used to help Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone call packets get through so nobody’s phone call gets interrupted. But by taking priority, QoS can prevent other users from getting their fair share of the Internet connection.
Worse, when a backlog develops at the router of a busy Internet connection, World of Warcraft can send so many QoS packets that other program’s packets get dropped, causing problems in other user’s programs.
How To Deal With World of Warcraft Making The Internet Slow
The best way to deal with World of Warcraft making the Internet slow is by listening to the complaints of all the users on your network. If you don’t listen, you’ll find that the other users can retaliate quite easily. Any user on the same network can use the “Armageddon” option that uses a flood of packets to bring down the network, making World of Warcraft (and every other Internet program) unusable.
For some people, the easiest solution is for everyone on a network to chip in for faster Internet service. Four people living together may only need to each chip in $10 a month to double or triple the Internet speed.
For other people who can’t or won’t increase their Internet speed, another easy solution is to make a schedule. During some hours of the day, you may need to limit your use of World of Warcraft. That doesn’t mean you don’t get to use it at all—it just means that you stick to solo questing and avoid pile ups and voice chat.
The final solution is to buy an advanced router that lets you prioritize traffic by source or destination. That will let other users on your network restrict your World of Warcraft account to a specific amount of bandwidth, ensuring they get good Internet service even while you’re playing. In some cases, this might mean that you can’t participate in parts of the game, but it will ensure that nobody else has problems with World of Warcraft making the Internet slow.
David A. Harding began using Linux in 2001 and quickly became a Linux Professional Institute certified system administrator. His articles have appeared in over a dozen publications and he has given over 50 presentations about Linux—including two Software Freedom Day keynotes. Dave always loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s had problems before with World of Warcraft making the Internet slow, but he got past it with a creative sleep schedule.