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Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

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  • 1.  Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Jan 24, 2020 07:33 AM

    Hello everyone,


    We are dealing with a unique situation in our res halls. They are wireless only, and we have PC and console (Xbox, PS3s and 4s) gamers that have various problems on wireless, specifically with latency, jitter, packet loss, etc.


    What I'm looking for is some input, ideas, thought processes from other higher eds that deal with gamers in the res halls.


    Any settings, SSIDs, traffic separation, policies, etc that people have tried to alleviate the basic gaming issues students experience on wireless.



  • 2.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Jan 24, 2020 08:30 AM

    We have the same problem and as yet to find a resolution. The first thing you have to find out is if what they are actually complaining abut is NAT type. At home using a “home” router/fw they generally turn UPnP on which allows in-bound traffic that has not been initiated internally. This is required for co-op play. Commercial class fw’s do not support UPnP.


    The other issue is latency, a lot of on-line games come with a meter and if it starts to get around 20ms to 30ms the game will warn them of poor Internet connection. We are combating this with smaller cell size and more APs, but you can stuff so many APs in a building before interference becomes problematic.


    I have played around with virtual wire (fw interface type) with 1 to 1 NAT on a test game network and had good results. But pushing this out to campus would be a security and management nightmare.


    Luckily for us we have wired dorms and if a student is a serious gamer we recommend they move to a wired dorm. We have an eSports team and their practice arena is wired for a reason.

  • 3.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Aug 27, 2020 09:01 AM

    The NAT type issue has been going on for awhile in dorms.  Google "dorm NAT" and you will get thousands of posts from angry gamers.  


    I've been toying around with an idea I got from another school that uses IPv6 to map gaming consoles/machines so they can have a public IP but still behind a FW.  


    Of course that doesn't solve the gaming over wireless problems - which is another reason I still pull drops in new dorm buildings.  

  • 4.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Aug 27, 2020 11:14 AM

    We tested the 1 to 1 NAT and the gaming device would report it was happy with the NAT type but the FW will not allow traffic in that wasn't initiated from the inside. So when the gamers would join a party hosted somewhere else they could not hear everyone, enterprise class FW's do not support upnp the way a FW does for you house.


    And as you said, there is still the latency issue

  • 5.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Nov 04, 2020 06:20 PM
    Thanks for sharing your experience. 

    Do you have all your dorms with wire ethernet ports available? All our dorms are wireless at the moment.

    Nils Lau

  • 6.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 03, 2020 10:58 AM
    Our res halls are also all wireless and we've been fighting the gaming problem for years. Matter of fact, I had another case opened with TAC recently, but unfortunately had to abandon it because the student left for winter break, but I did see some promising progress with dedicated 5Ghz SSIDs, as well as manipulating gaming specific roles, prioritizing gaming traffic, etc.

    Still haven't entirely solved the problem, but we're getting closer. I am curious how much AirSlice can help once we get to 8.7.x.x

    Brian Simpson

  • 7.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 03, 2020 06:29 PM
    Gaming and wireless is always a bad combination in my opinion because games needs very low latency and IEEE802.11 is a shared half-duplex medium. Also a lot of game consoles have known issues with WLAN in the driver chipset they use, the PS4 for example.

    Favorite slogan from the WiFi Experts: "If you can cable it, cable it!"

    But if your depended on Wi-Fi and need to optimize it you have to play with the RF maths. Locations like a Dorm have many clients. Keep the cell-size low as possible, for example place an AP in every room, not in the hallways, below the ceiling, with very low tx-power. Avoid co-channel interference, keep SNR high and use 5GHz only if you can (gaming on 2.4GHz would be a mess because the spectrum is full and have a lot of non-wifi interference sources).

    In the end, you need an RF expert todo a very good design and accept there would be high costs. Also respect that IEEE802.3 Ethernet is not the same as IEEE802.11Wi-Fi.

    Marcel Koedijk | MVP Expert 2020 | ACMP | ACCP | Ekahau ECSE

  • 8.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 04, 2020 02:23 PM
    We are experiencing issues with PS4 especially the entry-level version because only supports 2.4ghz. In our 7 story dorms with AP in every room, the band 2.4ghz is crowded and we had to turn off some 2.4ghz in rooms we know all the devices support 5ghz. It will be ideal to get rid of the 2.4ghz in the dorms and add at least 1 data jack for game consoles. However, the cost is always a constraint.

    Nils Lau
    Nova Southeastern University

  • 9.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 03, 2021 12:54 PM
    We have hospitality model APs in our dorms (103H and 205H, moving to all 205H so that we can update to 8.6). My predecessor took the attitude that you put the boxes up and threaten the students with dire consequences if they so much as look at them. We are trying to work towards a model where the students get some education so that they can be "stewards" of the wireless AP for themselves and the students in the adjacent rooms, figuring that the social pressure from the other students is far stronger than any threats we can make! (We are using the language that it's like sitting in the emergency exit row on an airplane.)

    We have wires in all rooms (at least 2 ports, because they were done in the era when dorm rooms all had phones) and we go by the rule that anyone can get their port wired up if they ask, and most don't so that conserves on switch space. But part of the plan for "having the AP is a privilege with perks" is that we enable the wired ports on the bottoms of the hospitality APs so that those students will have wired access without asking.

    Anyway, that's a long way around to the notion that if gamers are in the room with an H-version AP, then if you turn on the wired ports on all the APs then at least those students are wired.

    Cathy Fasano

  • 10.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 04, 2020 02:24 PM
    I like your favorite slogan from the WiFi Experts: "If you can cable it, cable it!"

    Nils Lau
    Nova Southeastern University

  • 11.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 04, 2020 06:37 PM
    Cost is always an issue, more AP's per square feet, changing building cabling, right equipment and antenna's, RF design architect, etc. Gaming on 2.4GHz will always run into issues because the spectrum is easily and fast crowded and there are to many non-wifi interference sources, on 5GHz it should be possible because there is less interference and much more frequenty spectrum to use, but even then it could be hard to design. Rule of thumb for gaming, keep the game consoles close as possible to the AP's what means your need a lot of small cell sized AP's.

    Another favorite slogan (a less funny one): "if you pay peanuts you will attract monkeys"

    But the slogan is a hard fact, there are to less WiFi folks with in depth knowledge about WiFi. And the right people like ACMX/CWNA/CWNE certified people are less and not cheap, but required for a good design.

    Were you say every room have it's own 2.4GHz AP, what is de EIRP tx-power? The goal is that a every room has it's own channel 1,6,11 and the next room with the same channel will see the other one with -85dBm to avoid co-channel interference. 

    See attached the "What you want, what you don't want, don't care slide"...

    Hope this give you some idea!

    Marcel Koedijk | MVP Expert 2020 | ACMP | ACCP | Ekahau ECSE

  • 12.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 07, 2020 02:25 PM
    We are an every other room deployment for the majority of our res halls, and we're letting ARM dictate Tx power and channel plans. I'm wondering if some buildings might need to be configured manually, and hard set channels? This would be a management nightmare, but at this point I'll try anything if it helps quiet the gaming complaints. 

    We are charged with giving students the "home experience", so we can strongly suggest what they bring to campus (5GHz only devices, etc.),  but so far we haven't outright not supported anything yet, save for 11b devices, so no Wiis.

    Brian Simpson

  • 13.  RE: Higher Ed Wireless Gaming

    Posted Dec 02, 2021 12:35 PM
    I agree. We do the same deployment. 0 Ethernet jacks in dorm rooms. We are considering moving dorms to a dmz. The students do most classroom work on the cloud and can use vpn for other needed connections.

    Scott Kirkland