Question Routing and how it works? (Me vs ISP)

Sep 9, 2019
Hi All,

I was hoping that someone that knows more than me regarding how routing works could clarify and teach me how does it actually work.

So I have been playing Warface (online game) for many years and I always had 120 - 140ms ping to the servers.
About a month ago I realised my ping is 220ms and just left it thinking it will fix itself, but a week later it is 330ms.
It has been 330ms for the last month and nothing has changed. So I contact Warface customer support with the Diagnostics files and we realise with the traceroute that at hop 10 the ping goes up and does not have anything to do with Warface and the problem lies with my ISP.

Naturally, I contact my ISP with the same traceroute files and the explanation from Warface customer support, 3-hour phone call and multiple tests later my ISP said they are sorry the problem is not in their hands.

I live in New Zealand and the game server is in Singapore.
This is the traceroute results (excluding the addresses as I don't know if I can post it):

Tracing route to
1 <1ms 1ms * <--- Me in NZ
2 * * * Request timed out.
3 * * * Request timed out.
4 * * * Request timed out.
5 * * * Request timed out.
6 * * * Request timed out.
7 * * * Request timed out.
8 141ms 141ms 144ms <--- In the US
9 162ms 162ms 162ms <--- In the US
10 * * * Request timed out.
11 360ms 360ms 360ms
12 331ms 331ms 340ms
13 331ms 332ms 331ms
14 332ms 332ms 333ms
15 331ms 331ms 331ms <--- Game in SG

Where everything goes wrong is it is routing from NZ, all the way to the US, and then all the way back to Singapore.
I am not sure if it did rout all the way to the US in the past when I had 140ms ping as I did not test it back then.

*Note: the first server in the US (line 8) has a DNS name related to my ISP

My Tests:
So if it is not my ISP causing the problem, then surely all other ISP's should have the same results.
So I did the same traceroute with other ISP's and they did not route all the way to the US and the ping was 140ms.

So how can my ISP tell me that it is not them and the problem is elsewhere?
Who decides what route my connection should take?
Why would it be 140ms one moment and then it is 330ms if nothing has changed?

I just don't understand why does it not route to Australia, then over to Singapore as that is the most direct line.
And who decides the route, the ISP, the Backbone Providers?

My System Info:
  • Windows 10 Home
  • MSI GE72 2QF Apache Pro
  • Intel Core i7-5700HQ
  • 16GB RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 5600
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
  • Killer E2200 Network Card
  • Cat6 Ethernet Cable
  • NetComm Wireless Dual Band AC1600
  • Gigabit Fiber Line
My ISP is TrustPower and we have a Gigabit Fiber Line with Speed tests normal at 3ms, 600 down and 500 up.

The following has been done within this month of trying to fix and test things:
  • I have done a fresh windows re-install
  • All drivers are up to date
  • The router has been factory reset and set up from scratch
  • ISP has given me a new Public IP
Your knowledge on how routing actually works and how this is not in my ISP's hands would be greatly appreciated as I truly don't know how this works. If you need any other information (that I can provide), please feel free to ask.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

Kind Regards,
The only IP that has an risk would be your own ip and that would only be if some idiot happen to be reading this forum and decided to mess with some random unkown person. The IP you see in traceroute are just IP of ISP router. Maybe someone could guess the city you live in.

Routing is actually a very complex subject but to over simplify it. Let say you want to go someplace in your car. At every intersection there are signs that list which road has the BEST path to your destination. Each intersection you look at the signs and pick your path.

Note I did not say shortest or fastest I said BEST. A bunch of road construction companies (ie ISP) got together and decided how they wanted to interconnect their roads and it the "best" connection when take into account the agreements.

So even though there might be a super highway (ie fiber) directly near your house if your ISP does not connect to a ISP that has access you will not be able to use it.

To make thing even more confusing the "best" path to a location maybe different than the path coming back. So if you ran tracert from the server side you would get a different list of routers.

It is mostly a academic discussion. You have little choice your only path to any remote sever is to send your data out to your ISP. Your ISP likely does not directly connect to every other ISP and they likely have very limited or maybe no ability to directly send data on undersea fiber. They can only send data to the partner ISP they have and it depends what partner ISP have partnership with the ISP the game company is using.

In many cases the "best" path is influenced by the bandwidth and costs a ISP has to other ISP. They may use a path via a partner ISP that is cheaper rather than has the most potential performance.

SO what can you do. Get a different ISP really is your only choice. You would want one that has better connectivity to other ISP undersea fiber paths to the locations you feel are most important to you. Maybe your ISP has good paths to say world of warcraft servers or netflix but not your game.

Unless you have huge money it is not likely you have much choice in ISP. What might work is a "virtual" ISP. There are special VPN companies that are intentionally designed to buy services from ISP that have good paths to gaming servers. They can create special connections between ISP that is for their private use (and yours if you subscribe).

This is very much a do it yourself project. You just have to trial some of these services and see if you get lucky. Your goal is to get a VPN company that you can get very good connection times from your ISP and that has a very good connection time to the game server. Although you might get lists of gaming VPN only you can test which works the best.

The gaming vpn services are mostly beneficial to people like you and those that live in asia. The connectivity in the USA and the EU is so good because the cost of land fiber is cheap compared to undersea so gaming VPN many times are actually slower because of the overhead.
Sep 9, 2019
Thank you all for your explanation and advace.

Currently, I do don't think we can move ISP without incurring a penalty as it is a 12month contract (with electricity and gas as well).

I can clearly see that with other ISP's it does take way more efficient routs straight to from NZ to SG, so it will work if I change ISP.

I can also have a look at something like wtfast as I have tried it back then when I had 120ms and it did not change my ping at all meaning my ISP did provide the pest route in the past.

I just can't understand why that would randomly change, and getting worse.
As mentioned, in the past it was 120ms, then 220ms, then330ms and now today it is 365ms.

I will have a look at something like wtfast but it just feels like unnecessary expenses where my ISP use to be what I needed.

The big thing that I don't understand is WHY the change?
And WHO changed it to route differently?

I mean if it did work something must have changed, right?

But thank you all for the knowledge and feedback, I will have a look at wtfast as in this case it should route me directly like all the other ISP's automatically do.

And yes you can choose a different game server as your primary choice, but it puts you in the lobby with whatever server has a lobby with players in it. So it bounces between all 3 servers when searching for games. But the worst part is it is not just the Singapore server that has a higher ping, all of them do.

This is how it use to look:
Asmterdam: 200ms
Hong Kong: 160ms
Singapore: 140ms

This is how it looks now:
Amsterdam: 280ms
Hong Kong: 330ms
Singapore: 365ms

So something that has changed or broke on my ISP side is affecting all routing to any servers, and that is why I am saying it should be in their control or at least contact whoever provides their backbone routing (or however it works) to find out what's going on. As on any other ISP all the above ping is normal, and I surely cant be the only one affected by this change, even non gamers should be affected.
The ability to change is why they use a routing protocol like BGP in the first place. It has the ability to choose a different path if the primary one fails. In simple cases a router could fail and it will switch to a backup one in the same building and you will not see it. If for example a ship would damage a undersea fiber the routing protocol will likely find another path that has higher latency but it can take a extremely long time for them to fix the actual problem.

The problem can also be contractual. You ISP may have decided that they can not make a profit if they buy service from the company that owns the most direct undersea fiber. Maybe you would be willing to pay more for your internet connection so you could use a faster path but many of your neighbors only care if they can get on facebook or watch stupid youtube videos want it as cheap as they can get it.

Bottom line will be if customers can actually have any effect on your ISP. If you do not actually have the option of changing ISP they can charge whatever they want and deliver poor service. There are still many many people in the USA that can get only very basic DSL like 1mbps or in some cases nothing other than cellular or maybe satellite internet.
Sep 9, 2019
Thank you all for the comments as it does make much more sense now.

I will leave it to see if it does get fixed (what ever the change was) and then stay with current ISP.
If not then I will just wait for the contract to stop and change ISP's (and not take a contract again).

And @bill001g , it is true what you say that there are a lot of places that don't even get our speed or internet at all.
And we are truely lucky to have the option to have a gigabit fibre package and I am thankful for that.
I just wish that when you test a service before taking a contract and you are happy with the results, that they will keep on providing the same results you signed up for.

But once again, thank you all as it makes more sense now who controls what and why the might cause the change.
I just wish that when you test a service before taking a contract and you are happy with the results, that they will keep on providing the same results you signed up for.
Here in the U.S, by law ISPs give 30 days trial period in which we can cancel, contract or not.

Trash them over any forum u can get your keyboards on, has a section on ISP. Vendors only pay attention when there are lots of negative press.