Cool Ideas VPN Server(s)

TheRoDent

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Aug 6, 2003
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As previously mentioned we've setup a free VPN server for Cool Ideas customers to connect directly to the UK, should there be a need to avoid local peering arrangements and increased LAG/Ping, such as can happen with gameservers hosted on AWS, or Google cloud.

The server has our best path to the UK, and is independently hosted from our network, but with the best route we can get to the VPN server, with the lowest latency. From there, it's up to your gaming provider....


Alright, let's try an experiment.

I've setup a VPN server in our UK Datacentre.

It is a Softether based server that will allow the Softether native protocol, L2TP (without IPSec), and MS-SSTP connections. You will be natted out to a CISP IP in our UK datacentre. The service is available only to CISP clients.

The username is "test" and the password is "test". The host to connect to is "ukvpn.cisp.co.za"

Please give me some feedback as to whether helps at all with game server selections.

The hub to connect to is simply called "DEFAULT", when you configure your Softether VPN client.

Please note that the VPN service is only available to CISP clients.
 
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PhireSide

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Dec 31, 2006
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13,328
I have no horse in this race as I am not a client of CISP (Mweb, mandated by my employer with the WFH agreement we have) but this is super nice to see. If I was able, I'd definitely support CISP - a more community-involved ISP I have yet to come across and it's refreshing to see this level of engagement from an ISP - kudos!
 

ArcBee

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May 3, 2018
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As previously mentioned we've setup a free VPN server for Cool Ideas customers to connect directly to the UK, should there be a need to avoid local peering arrangements and increased LAG/Ping, such as can happen with gameservers hosted on AWS, or Google cloud.



The hub to connect to is simply called "DEFAULT", when you configure your Softether VPN client.

Please note that the VPN service is only available to CISP clients.
Would This VPN work with Middle East ?
 

TheRoDent

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Messages
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I'm assuming these are for gamers on PC ... not ... Xbox?
Well it requires a VPN client, like anything. But if your router can do some of the protocols mentioned, then yes, your XBOX could work just as well.

As stated, it's an experiment, so not all cases like consoles would be covered. We changed our network to accomodate consoles, and we had negative feedback from PC gamers. So it's a tough choice, but we're offering some options.
 

TheRoDent

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As per cenredash is it only for PC gamers as I’m on PS5.
Yeah, unless you're willing to do some config, or route a PS5 through a VPN (which is possible), it's not an easy solution, but the physics of light, and ping are not to be discounted.

The VPN solution is a "workaround" to sort out problems with servers that are hosted with AWS et al, in South Africa, but AWS and the like have issues due to the fact that they use their OWN bandwidth, and international routing, which we cannot control.

They have bad pings (which we cannot control), and we have better pings. So it's a workaround. We cannot entirely "disconnect" them.

But this (the VPN) is obviously not something we can generally support, hence the "experiment". But feedback is always welcome. It's just so hard to try and deal with game server matchmaking on different platforms, when all the game servers are being controlled by someone that Cool Ideas cannot have a relationship with.

Not for lack of trying, and we'd happilly offer free infrastructure to popular games, but we can't beat physics, and we can't force Fortnite to use our (freely) offered servers.

It's just that gaming companies don't generally care about South Africa as a market, and only want to deal with cloud providers such as AWS, Azure etc. And these cloud providers care about cost, and not about ping, and they have a very specific views about infrastructure and routing. We could disconnect AWS/Azure/Google but that would be stupid. We have better paths than they do to the UK, but it's nigh impossible to manipulate it, for one specific IP, or game.

Hence our VPN "experiment".

We invested a lot of money to get the lowest pings to Brazil (70ms) from South Africa on the SACS cable, but then eventually all our gaming clients complained that because of forced matchmaking that they couldn't find games that are enjoyable, at hours that they wanted to play. Because of timezone differences. A fault of the game, but not the ISP.

Clients also complained about the fact that there was a language barrier.

Yet, we invested a lot of money into getting the lowest pings to Brazil, on the newest cable. But people hated it.

So we cancelled it.

The issue is that as soon as we make console clients happy with our routing, then we get complaints from PC gamers. And the issue isn't with us as an ISP. The issue is the gaming companies, and their matchmaking (or lack thereof) and regional lockdowns.

If you want to make a difference, then complain and moan at your gaming server provider to let them take in interest in South Africa, and use local AWS/Azure/Google servers.

Or even better, ask them to allow you to host your OWN server...

But that's a pipe dream probably. I've fought this battle for ~8 years. And I'm a gamer. Gaming companies that want to "control" all their servers are silly, and are reducing their market share for the sake of convenience. Yet, they'll happily take your money.

Which is why I haven't supported a game that doesn't allow for self-hosting, or at least locally hosted cloud servers. It does mean I'm pissing in the wind, but hey....
 
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lambch0p

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Yet, we invested a lot of money into getting the lowest pings to Brazil, on the newest cable. But people hated it.

So we cancelled it.
Wow, just because of the people playing those games?.. What a bummer for the rest..
 

TheRoDent

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Wow, just because of the people playing those games?.. What a bummer for the rest..
Well, it was obviously cost too. We looked at the costs of the SACS cable, and the pings, and thought it was great.

And then we heard the experience wasn't great.... And it was not carrying much of our general traffic.

What would you do ?
 
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TheRoDent

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Is this the type of VPN product that can be used to access the likes of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub etc?
Keke, thanks for that... It "might".... but hey, ok, if it works. Just don't rely on it. As stated it's an "experiment". It's not intended as a general unlocking thing.

We're not going into the business of providing a commercial VPN service. This is for our "power user" customers and gamer to offer them some value add... Hopefully.

It's similar to our twitch/casting relay at http://twitch.cisp.co.za/

If it works, cool. But no warranty given.
 
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The_Librarian

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Well, it was obviously cost too. We looked at the costs of the SACS cable, and the pings, and thought it was great.

And then we heard the experience wasn't great.... And it was not carrying much of our general traffic.

What would you do ?
Good business sense.

Wish most of our SoE's had it. *sigh*
 

PsyWulf

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 22, 2006
Messages
13,671
Few ISPs would experiment or do project work to cater to a niche like gamers so thanks for the initiatives!
It's pretty much YOOTOOB/NETFLOX and email,fuggedaboutit for the plebs gaming
 

s0lar

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
3,281
Damn, Cool Ideas “get it”. Reminds me of the pioneering XS4All did back in the day to the ISP industry.

Glad I’m with them. Going to be using this as well as the twitch relay I was not aware of.
 
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