Gaming Consoles and IPv4

Matt, that ship sailed long before you or I thought about building networks. You can’t change it at this point. Just embrace it.

I’m outside of Tampa (18th largest MSA in the US). The two providers here, Spectrum (former Brighthouse area) and Frontier (bought out Verizon’s FIOS offering) are both IPv4 only (including on their SOHO/SMB offerings).

Every time I’ve called in, I’ve asked if they are offering IPv6 yet. Most of the time I’ve had to follow that up with explaining what IPv6 is, even to the technical support people.

So I’m stuck with doing an HE tunnel still for my IPv6 access. If anybody has a petition to change this with these providers, let me know, happy to sign it.


I empathize. My home provider, Suddenlink, is one of the laggards. Spectrum here in the Austin area, though, is fully IPv6 enabled. Last year I did a fair amount of testing at my younger son’s apartment. It’s frustrating.

I don’t have any sort of detailed breakdown because that’s not our primary focus, but my very large organization has been supporting a daily average of between 50k-60k VPN remote workers from around the country in all sorts of locations. Because of COVD-19, it’s been a significant percentage increase, though our normal levels are quite large. We see about a quarter of those incoming connections over IPv6. Most of our remote workers are non-technical so that’s an indication of not just ISP deployment but penetration into their home networks. Again, we don’t have any breakdown since that’s not our primary focus, but it does provide a high level perspective.


Why stray away from how PC games were 20 years ago where there was a dedicated server and clients just spoke to servers?

Much cheaper to just let all the game clients talk peer to peer than it is to maintain regional dedicated server infrastructure.

Being employed by one of these elusive game hosting companies, I can tell you that the dedicated server model is very much alive. And rather than the version of 20 years ago where there was one central server in the world, they are now deployed in a globally distributed manner.

Games ought to work just fine with NAT, but I have seen some cases where developers incorrectly assumed it was OK to have a fixed source-port & destination-port combination to initiate a session. This works fine for the first player to connect from behind that NAT, and for the second one it requires NAT + PAT which may still work without a hitch. Where it gets interesting is when $NAT-box also picks a fixed source-port if it had to apply PAT, for example by always translating $originalPort to UDP/1024. You could probably imagine that the third player attempting to connect from behind a $NAT-box like that will be having a hard time initiating the connection, maybe also disrupting the second player that was already connected.

TLDR, good netcode has no problems with NAT.

Best regards,

For sure it isn’t everywhere, but most of this is about critical mass. In North America, is IPv6 available to the critical mass of end-users?

Yet (apparently) worse?

The Playstation 4's OS actually does support IPV6. I've been told that the big
hold-up is that the kits sent to developers had libraries that didn't include
the IPv6 sockets support, so no getaddrinfo() and friends, so developers
couldn't code the support.

Does anybody have info from Microsoft or Sony on what their new consoles
are doing regarding IPv6? My informant has moved on and is out of the loop
regarding the PS5's software innards.

The number of times when a decision is both
cheaper and better is miniscule compared to
when the decision is being made to optimize
one axis relative to the other. And in an industry
with narrow margins, most often that decision will
run squarely along the “cheaper” axis, at the expense
of the “better” axis.

I’m sure you’ve faced that same decision in your
business, the same as the rest of us over the years…


For certain styles of games or for games with crappy netcode, it can be.

For most others performance is perfectly acceptable in a peer to peer in the vast majority of cases.

Once upon a time, Valdis Klētnieks <> said:

Does anybody have info from Microsoft or Sony on what their new consoles
are doing regarding IPv6? My informant has moved on and is out of the loop
regarding the PS5's software innards.

The Xbox One supports IPv6, and I believe it did so at launch 7 years
ago. I expect that back-compat Xbox 360 games don't get the IPv6
support, but I've never checked myself. I'd assume that since the
7-year-old console supports IPv6, the launching-in-6-weeks console will

Xbox Live does support IPv6, and on my Xbox One X it does say it's successfully using IPv6. I haven't sniffed the traffic to see what it's actually doing though.

PSN does not support IPv6.

Delay, or “lag” in gamer parlance is everything. Have too much lag and you are dead without realizing you are dead. Lag frustrates gamers enormously and is probably one of the main drivers of NOC calls.

It seems to me that a purely client/server model will inherently have more lag issues than a peer-to-peer game.

Not to mention cost… if you are the game publisher suddenly you’re faced with maintaining a global footprint of servers with all that implies.


not just how it handles IPv4 - these things don't even do proper WiFi
- meaning no happy joy for lots of students on campus where 802.1X
wifi is provisioned


Delay, or “lag” in gamer parlance is everything. Have too much lag and you are dead without realizing you are dead. Lag frustrates gamers enormously and is probably one of the main drivers of NOC calls.

Lag is frequently abused by gamers as a crutch excuse for why they aren’t as successful as their favorite Twitch streamer or their friends. Often times that extra 15ms of extra latency that their kid is screaming about because they got fragged means nothing when their monitor is only refreshing frames at 100ms. It has however given rise to generally useless products like the old Killer NICs, which only provided benefits to network performance if you were running a potato of a machine that was being run over by the game, in which case any other core component upgrade was a better choice. But they made a lot of money eventually being bought, so good for them.

Peer to peer games absolutely do suffer from latency issues, often either artificially induced on one side to abuse poor netcode, or essentially DoSing a target such that they cannot properly play. A quick example that comes to mind is the Destiny series that has suffered from this problem since day 1, but still made Bungie a lot of money while doing so.

Correct - but with a server based model you can look at the lag to the worst clients and add lag to the other clients so everyone has a level playing field.

…I’m guessing someone didn’t read “Harrison Bergeron” in middle school,

Crippling everyone down to the lowest common denominator is a wonderful
recipe for creating a service or platform that nobody wants to use.

If I connect through an AOL dialup account to an FPS gaming platform,
you really, really shouldn’t be adding 300ms of latency to everybody
else on that server, just to be fair to me.

I mean, sure, it’s fair–but it also makes the game far less playable
for everyone else, and they’d be completely right to stop paying for
the service and move over to a different platform that doesn’t hobble
their game playing any time someone on a slow connection joins
the game. ^_^;;


Most games do implement a “minimum latency” where no matter how low your latency is, you’ll always have at least 30ms or so (from what I’ve seen) to keep things fair for MOST broadband internet connections.

So no, you cannot bring your laptop into the data center, [proverbially] plug directly into an IX, and expect to wipe the floor with your competition; you’ll be artificially placed at the same level as someone with high speed cable service in the surrounding area.


Your VoIP and Video systems are all getting paid rather well to provide Rendezvous hosts that are capable of forwarding ALL traffic and are not all that sensitive to the additional latency involved in doing so. From some perspectives, this is even considered desirable as it simplifies the process of so-called lawful intercept.

Games want to go peer-to-peer. The real question IMHO is why are game console companies so stupid about IPv6? Why don’t they push harder for IPv6 rollout and take full advantage of the lack of NAT and the ease with which peer-to-peer networking can be accomplished in IPv6 without hopping through a rendezvous host. Build the games to run native v6 speaking to capable consoles and use rendezvous hosts only where an IPv4 console needs to be reached.


Games want to go peer-to-peer.

That was true up until about 2012.

As Martijn Schmidt noted, Activison contracts out to multiple managed
hosting companies to provide servers across the globe. If you launch
any recent call of duty game and hit "multiplayer" , your system will
be looking for a managed server host to connect to.

From 2013 and on, all the call of duty games are

managed-server-host-only for general multiplayer. You have to go well
out of your way to do P2P FPS gaming recently -- at least with CoD.
not sure about other games.

The real question IMHO is why are game console companies so stupid about IPv6?

Just a guess, but I imagine since they can't count on users having v6,
their hosts have to support v4 and they don't bother making them