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How gamers operated the superfast internet abroad

Dragos Sas, a The software developer, based in the historic Romanian city of Cluj, recalls childhood days when he transported PCs and powerful CRT monitors for game sessions to and from his friends’ homes. Back then, dialing in was the only way to go online. But when cable internet came to Romania, Sas and his friends no longer had to lug heavy computers between buildings. “We started building private LANs between apartment blocks and pulling cables through balconies,” he says, referring to local area networks, a common practice that spread to post-communist Romania in the 1990s. They didn’t know it at the time, but they laid the foundation for one of the best broadband networks in the world.

Today Romania has one of the highest broadband speeds in a country and the lowest latency. This is a critical factor for players playing networked games that require a reliable online connection with low ping. This is the time it takes one computer to send a signal to another on the same network. Low latency and low ping are crucial for multiplayer games such as first-person shooters and massively multiplayer online role-playing games for fast communication and response times. For competitive players, the slightest moment of delay can make the difference between winning or losing.

On average, the countries with the fastest Internet ̵

1; Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Romania – share a similar DNA, including strategic government planning for fiber optic or national broadband networks. However, Singapore and Romania have another historical similarity: a passionate population of gamers who wanted better connectivity and whose combined efforts have helped improve the Internet infrastructure for the general public.

“I remember connecting to the internet every night after going to bed when I was sure that nobody would use the phone line,” said Tudor Ciuleanu, CEO of software company Rebel Dot, about his old dial-up connection at 1997. As networked gaming grew in Romania, Ciuleanu and his childhood friend, George Carstocea, got creative despite living in different blocks of flats separated by a street and a parking lot. “We connected our apartments to BNC plugs using a coaxial cable,” he says.

Soon friends in neighboring apartments wanted to join the private network. “After we made our connection, we expanded it to a third block,” says Ciuleanu. “We were all connected in series, and the network had a terminator at each end. It was very unstable because of a cable fault or a missing terminating resistor [would take] across the network. As soon as we had access to the cable internet, we started to share a subscription across our entire network. “

Ciuleanu was not alone. He was one of countless Romanians who connected to complex cable networks. “That was the real deal,” said Szilveszster Pap, technical director at Quantic Lab. “People, not just children … connected their systems directly with 20, 30, 50 meters of cable to share music, films and games.” The government didn’t care about these homemade LANs – a minor problem after the fall of communism in 1989 – and most people were curious and excited about new technologies. “I don’t remember if the authorities did anything about it,” Sas recalls. “Only my mother grounded me because I put a hole in the window.”

Ciuleanu says enterprising teenagers have turned their own networks into small ISPs over time, leading to fierce local competition. “In the end, big companies came and started to combine all of these small networks to create our initial city-level infrastructure,” he says. “When this infrastructure had to be replaced, fiber was the standard, and now all are operating. We have gigabit internet subscriptions for $ 10 a month. “

“As soon as we had access to the cable internet, we started to share a subscription across our entire network.”

Tudor Ciuleanu, rebel point

Romania is ranked today Fourth in the world of Speedtest for average broadband speed – a sore point for traveling Romanians who are dealing with slow internet in other countries. The United States is eleventh, despite having the top speed in America. The world’s fastest internet hotspots, including Sweden, Taiwan and Britain’s dependence on Jersey, have made headway thanks to their respective governments’ intelligent FTTP (Fiber to the Premises) initiatives. However, Singapore is at the top of the global speed test index, home to MyRepublic, one of the few gamer-oriented ISPs in the world.

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