Here's Why 5G Alone Doesn't Solve Network Latency

Mar 02, 2021By Subspace Team

TL;DR

We love 5G. But on their own, 5G networks are unable to provide an end-to-end, low latency experience since the technology is designed for last-mile efficiency only. When 5G is paired with a natively designed, carrier agnostic, platform like Subspace to account for middle-mile latency, an end-to-end low latency experience is achievable.

Estimated read time: 6 minutes


There is no one-mile-fits-all solution for eliminating network latency.

The 5G network rollout has drastically reduced latency at the last mile. This network is focused on scaling up bandwidth to support high traffic — it is not directly intended to improve latency. However, high-frequency mm-wave technology does lead to a latency reduction in the last mile.

5G is a network targeted at the last mile, not designed to cover the long haul. That leaves the middle mile just as susceptible to and affected by high latency as it always has been. This is where the Subspace platform can step in and work with 5G networks to offer an end-to-end, real-time, low latency solution.

Subspace’s groundbreaking multiplayer network infrastructure and services platform provides a fully controllable experience with the lowest latency and most reliable real-time performance for the world’s biggest games. Subspace provides a solution for long-affected multiplayer online games struggling with lag-related issues leading to gameplay dissatisfaction and abandonment by covering the middle mile.

5G Solves Last-Mile Latency

The 5G network will increase bandwidth, but that’s nothing new — it’s an expected enhancement of the 4G network. 5G’s new technology is its faster mm-wave radio frequency, which provides higher data rates and lower latency from cell towers to end-users.

Subspace’s founder and CEO, Bryan Towfiq, says it best in an interview with RCR Wireless News, “It [5G] solves the last few hundred yards and makes it a lot better, but the internet is still the internet, and it was never built for real-time applications.”

5G operators can take advantage of physical locations by using edge technology to bring processing and storage closer to the user. With a focus on bandwidth, larger amounts of data can reach servers at higher speeds due to limited congestion and faster radio frequencies. Once data has to leave the 5G network, though, traffic runs into trouble.

Latency is incurred on traditional ISP networks. These networks take cost-effective but inefficient pathways, suffer from congestion, struggle to connect with other networks, and often off-route traffic to do so, culminating in latency problems for multiplayer games.

Acting as an internet exchange point and working alongside ISPs, Subspace’s platform carries game traffic through direct paths uninhibited by traditional internet congestion to the last mile.

Edge and Cloud Providers’ Patchwork Solution

Current solutions to long-haul game traffic are delivered in the form of patchwork solutions offered by cloud providers. Cloud providers require infrastructure deployment within walled gardens as they work to provide a closer proximity solution. In this case, providers invite competition into their walled gardens, effectively limiting their ability to expand and control the network area. Subspace’s platform doesn’t do this.

Instead of focusing on physical infrastructure, it partners with multiple ISPs and telcos to bridge the gap between network locations using waves from all providers. As it stands now, carriers don’t allow interconnection between edge devices. This forces networks to incur additional latency when traversing from the user access point to their 5G edge back to the core, where they can access another carrier’s core from a peering point.

Subspace’s platform maximizes the benefits of the 5G edge processing technology by connecting alternative carriers at the edge level or, if desired, at the core level. This decreases the distance data has to travel and significantly reduces latency without interfering or preventing infrastructure expansion.

Latency Addressed with an IXP Style Platform

The Subspace network works as an IXP, not a cloud-edge computing service provider or an ISP. It is carrier-agnostic, creating a symbiotic rather than a parasitic relationship. By partnering with ISPs from multiple carriers in multiple countries across multiple regions, Subspace’s platform bypasses walled gardens. It carries game traffic exclusively at the lowest latency possible, providing increased stability and reliability.

Subspace's platform works alongside network providers to carry data round trip from user to server, utilizing built-in latency-free DDoS protection and weather mapping to move traffic through the most efficient routes. Subspace’s platform is vertically integrated to lock down every ms of game traffic and avoid incurring latency from external providers.

Built with similar infrastructure to the 5G core’s, Subspace’s platform is essentially 5G native, creating seamless transitions. With 160 PoPs already developed and more in the pipeline, Subspace’s platform is already established and has access to multiple locations worldwide. By using the PoPs to meet and exchange game traffic, Subspace’s network infrastructure locks down latency and jitter, especially when travelling across long distances.

Subspace’s network infrastructure also has the greatest tolerance outside of high-frequency trading because it uses high-frequency trading methodologies and concepts taken to the extreme. Making high-frequency trades last three, four, or five hours at a time rather than the typical ms occurrence.

Making Multiplayer Global Gameplay Possible

Subspace’s solution is essential for multiplayer gaming when traffic is being transferred nationally and internationally. Latency has to be accounted for in online games. It has to be reduced to the lowest possible level to ensure viable gameplay for every gamer, no matter their physical location, local carriers, or infrastructure rules.

When it comes to global gaming, Subspace’s platform is targeted and tailored to each location, down to the city and town. Subspace was created to meet exactly these challenges, serving as an off-the-shelf gaming network solution (it’s like a gaming Autobahn for everyone). Subspace PacketAccelerator reduces latency and accelerates packets for all your real-time applications, including video games. Subspace GlobalTURN allows you to run TURN globally, without deploying or managing servers of your own.

Network Slicing for Gamer Traffic

Another benefit of the 5G network is the development of network slicing, which allows 5G operators to define the required experience of the function, ensure a defined service level, and guarantee the service requirements will be met.

Slices help to move services to telcos and wireless providers without jeopardizing the integrity of an experience. Unique to Subspace, the platform only carries game traffic, taking full advantage of network slicing benefits and creating seamless transfers between the 5G network and Subspace’s platform.

A gamer on a 5G fixed wireless network, standalone or non-standalone, accesses a slice designed to carry all functions of the game traffic that integrates smoothly onto Subspace’s platform since it is provisioned on similar traits. On top of this, Subspace’s tailored edge supports standalone 5G network capabilities and steps in for non-standalone 5G networks.

Once in Subspace’s system, traffic takes the most direct and fastest path possible before returning to the user through a “gaming” slice. The result? An A-Z low latency experience.

Achievable Round-Trip Low Latency

The Subspace network is carrier agnostic; it can bypass events that have overwhelmed certain servers and run on multiple carrier waves to create unbeatable low latency times. This symbiotic relationship creates viable user experiences for individuals faced with unviable situations.

Subspace is here for the long haul, with uncontended high speed, low latency connections, and minimal jitter occurrences. It works hand-in-hand with 5G networks’ last-mile latency solution to provide an end-to-end low latency connection. When your game traffic is on Subspace, our PacketAccelerator reduces latency and accelerates packets, while Subspace GlobalTURN allows you to run TURN globally, without having to deploy or manage servers of your own.

Want to learn more about how Subspace can help your real-time application squash latency? Get in touch. We would love to chat with you.


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