Business ISP Trunk Networks has launched a new UK broadband provider called Leetline, which is targeted toward fans of online multiplayer video games and claims to offer a network that “delivers low latency, high bandwidth internet connectivity” to many satisfied gamers. Not unlike many other reputable ISPs.
The provider’s website claims they “block ports, filter, shape or contend your traffic in any way” and will “take the shortest possible path to your gaming server(s).” Apparently they do this by “having extensive peering arrangements with other networks, globally. We are a LINX connection partner and also peer at LONAP, LINX Manchester, France-IX, AMS-IX. We continue to invest heavily in our core infrastructure to make sure that our network is never congested. With Leetline you won’t experience high latency during peak times.”
The ISP appears to offer a mix of ADSL, FTTC, FTTP and G.fast based broadband packages on Openreach’s national UK network, which are all accompanied by unlimited usage allowances, a 12 month contract term, static IP address (IPv4 and v6) and a “free” wireless router (£12 delivery charge) but they don’t say what model (gamers are perhaps more likely to want to know such details).
The prices are roughly average, so neither super cheap nor super expensive when compared with the wider industry. However we should caveat that no ISP can generally promise that you “won’t experience high latency during peak times” because such things can also be caused by elements that are not within the ISPs control (e.g. congested game servers, wider internet faults or issues within your own local network).
Darren Elsom, Director of Trunk Networks, said last month:
“Gamers spend huge amounts of money obtaining the best computers and associated hardware and are often disappointed that the broadband they use is not of equivalent standard. As gamers and parents of children who spend time gaming we understand the importance of a high quality Internet connection, which is why we launched LeetLine.
As one of our customers put it, ‘If you have ever missed a pentakill or chicken dinner due to lag, now you don’t have to!’.”
We’re always a little bit sceptical when an ISP claims to offer a multiplayer optimised service for online video games because there’s a limit to how much you can tweak such connections in order to extract improvements in latency. Some specific tweaks may also result in a negative impact elsewhere, although this varies depending upon the connection technology being used.
In fact most ISPs setup their networks in the same broad way as Leetline does and there are plenty of providers that could make the same sort of claims (AAISP, iDNET, Zen Internet etc.), albeit without specifically advertising themselves as being designed for multiplayer gamers (these days it’s just kind of expected).
At the end of the day your latency (ping times) depends most of all on the capabilities of the physical connection technology itself (e.g. FTTP vs FTTC), remote server performance (e.g. the server for the game you’re connecting to) and your own network setup / configuration. A good ISP routing / peering arrangement does help and so does maintaining an uncongested network but, as above, other ISPs could make similar claims.
However Leetline does pledge to take complaints about poor connectivity to specific game servers seriously. “If there is a problem we won’t simply say “It’s your gaming server”. Send us the trace route of where you’re trying to get to and we will make sure that you’re taking the fastest route,” states their website. We like that.