Jarate Chop!

Australian & NZ TF2 Hosting

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Being a network & datacentre nerd I wondered who hosts the multitude of game server providers in Australia.

I took the most recent 72 hours of Australian & NZ TF2 data and mapped the server addresses to ASNs using Team Cymru's IP-to-ASN service which gives us a rough idea of who the underlying network providers are. Keep in mind that "networks" in this post refers to the underlying IP networks, not the game networks (e.g. 3FL, GamersUN, games.on.net) that most players are most familiar with.

It's important to note that as this table aggregates servers based only on their IP-to-ASN mapping it hides a lot of the relationships. For example an end user might rent a server from provider X, provider X may in turn be renting the servers "wholesale" from provider Y, who in turn may be leasing datacentre space & bandwidth from provider Z. We're viewing things here mostly from the viewpoint of the Z providers.

The main purpose in generating this table was to get a broad picture of network diversity as it's clear from the length of the Whirlpool list that not every provider could be large enough to justify running their own datacentre and/or routing.

CCNetwork NameServers

By far the largest network in this context is Servers Australia. If you expand their row you'll see that GamersUN is the bulk of the servers hosted there (117 of 167). My understanding is that GamersUN uses Hypernia, and Hypernia hosts with Servers Australia.

One interesting quirk about Servers Australia is that they apparently run a gaming specific network separate to their regular network on which their mostly business customers reside. This seems to be about isolating their business customers from DDoS attacks targeted at their gaming customers.

Back in 2009 iiNet and Hypernia announced a partnership but sometime in 2012 Hypernia migrated many of their customers to Servers Australia. This Whirlpool thread suggests at least some are still at iiNet though as you see from the servers at iiNet today the vast majority are 3FL and games.on.net. However, note that Hypernia and iiNet host many game types, and we're only looking at TF2 data here.

As you go down the list there aren't too many surprises - Telstra hosts mostly GameArena servers, Internode mostly hosts the games.on.net servers, Primus hosts iPGN. These are all game networks owned by the respective parent ISP. However the handful of servers that don't belong to one of these game networks are all customer run servers - presumably either on a DSL or Cable connection.

Who's noticeably missing from this list of ISPs? Optus. They show up as Microplex being the name on the ASN. They killed their games network in 2005 so the handful of servers on their network are presumably run by customers.

Outside of Hypernia and the ISP networks DEDICATEDGAMING.com.au has a nice chunk of the independent community servers.

I couldn't find much out about the mysterious "2 Grantham St". It belongs to Yatcko Data Solutions whose customers include CLOUDCUBE.com.au.

One question that crossed my mind is how big the TF2 server rental market is in AU & NZ. If we take away the ISP run servers: 3FL (32), games.on.net (46), GameArena (31), iPGN (10), Orcon (7) you're left with about 350 servers.

Most providers charge in the realm of $35-50/month for a 24 slot server making the monthly value between $12,250 and $17,500, and the annual value between $140,000 and $210,000. Of course someone like GamersUN would not be paying such prices given that they have 117 servers so this is an overestimate.