A while back we announced plans to extend our Riot Direct backbone network to Central/Eastern Europe. We kicked off this project of setting up two new fully operational Points of Presence in Warsaw, Poland and Sofia, Bulgaria in Q2 2016 and included two closely linked sub-tasks:
Build physical infrastructure for new regions (data center presence, connectivity, security, redundancy, hardware configuration, etc). We call them “PoPs” and they are built for network connectivity, not for hosting game servers.
Directly exchange traffic with relevant regional ISP’s and Internet Exchanges (negotiate agreements, solve legal aspects, discuss pricing, sign contracts, etc)
We completed our physical presence (1) in November 2016, but it was too early to announce any major milestones, as we were still in the process of negotiating our relationship with multiple ISPs (2). This will be an ongoing project, as we must constantly pay attention to changes in partners’ infrastructure as well as our own, build connections with new providers, listen to players’ feedback and fix connections that aren’t yet optimal. However, after three months of tweaks and adjustments we’re pleased to be able to announce some visible improvements ;)
* Created new EU Riot Direct backbone entry points. This is how our European network looks as of Q1 2017:
* Riot Games presence in Poland via:
1. Direct peering with Orange Poland, the largest ISP in Central Europe to [fight their super high packetloss](http://eune.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/features/riot-direct-tour-polands-vanishing-data-packets).
2. Presence at PLIX, the largest Internet Exchange in Poland, where we peer with [250+ providers](http://www.plix.pl/en/member).
3. Presence at TPIX, a major Internet Exchange with [130+ participants](http://www.tpix.pl/en/uczestnicy_en.html).
* Riot Games presence in Bulgaria via:
1. Presence at Bulgarian-IX, major Internet Exchange in the region with [~100 participants](http://www.bix.bg/en/members/public_peers.html).
2. Presence at Balkan-IX, international Internet Exchange that also accumulates traffic from nearby countries, like Ukraine, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9ms-eU6fPPSSXdVc0xXRFpHYjA/view. View the [list of participants](http://www.b-ix.net/members/peers/).
* Completing RiotDirect in Central/Eastern Europe now makes it possible to finally support South (Greece, Turkey or even North Africa!), as well as East (Ukraine and Russia).
* Established peering with most of the Top-30 ISPs in Central/Eastern Europe and made sure the connections are stable (packetloss below 2% and average latency below 60ms). As you can see in the table below, we’re still working on reaching out to the providers in Greece. Read on for more details regarding Greece roll-out.
1. We’re working on establishing presence at [Greek Internet Exchange](https://www.gr-ix.gr) in order to directly exchange traffic in Athens with most of Greek ISPs. If you noticed the red “NO”s beside Greek providers in the table above, don’t worry. We want to make them all “YES” and this is currently our most important task.
2. We’re working on further tweaks with regional ISPs in order to improve connection quality. If you feel that your ISP needs improvement please check the “What can I do to improve my network efficiency?” section toward the end of this article.
**Signs of improvement:**
* The main reason for our presence in Poland was to deal with the serious packetloss that affected Polish players on Orange Poland (ASN:5617). We’re happy to announce that we were able to greatly reduce packetloss spikes and the connection with OPL is now smooth and below a 2% level at peak. We’re seeing improvement on both monthly and quarterly trends:
* Latency reductions for players in Central Europe. Reference the graph below for the latency changes regarding companies present at Bulgarian-IX. ASNs (Autonomous systems) [can be “decoded” to ISP names](http://ipinfo.io), eg. http://ipinfo.io/AS1241. As you can see, the latencies have been improved in most cases (column 3 shows the Latency before, green/red lines show the changes), although sometimes the changes are not obvious to players. Most importantly, the lower latency usually comes together with lower/unchanged packetloss, which ensures higher connection stability.
* Latency improvement to multiple ISPs with playerbase larger than 10000 summoners. Here are some examples of providers that were positively affected by recent changes. There are many more, but we present just three random ones with visible effects. The red lines indicate the average maximum latency before and after peering:
1. Playmobile.pl (ASN:39603):
1. Telekom Srbija a.d. (ASN:8400):
1. Vivacom Bulgaria (ASN:8866):
**What can I do to improve my network efficiency?**
You can help us by getting in touch with your ISP if the quality of your internet connection is less than optimal. Please show your ISP Customer Support this post and ask them to contact Riot Games’ peering team. We’re always looking for new ISP partners to exchange traffic with, so as long as we share physical presence in any of the data centers, we’d be more than happy to take it further.
Let us know in comments below if your ISP performance is lower than before. We will analyze our stats and make a recommendation for what else can be done. Sometimes the direct peering can cause a negative experience but in most cases it’s easily fixable by de-peering with a certain ISP.
Leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks for reading!