In the modern era of online multiplayer gaming, players need a fast and stable Internet connection for an enjoyable gaming experience. This appears to have been validated in Unity’s 2022 Multiplayer Gaming Report, where 29% of respondents included having “a lag free experience” as one of their top three most important features when choosing a new game.
However, low latency gaming is not simply dependent on the player’s personal networking devices. It is rooted in their Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) ability to efficiently manage internet traffic in a way that seamlessly services all users, regardless of how demanding applications are. This is particularly relevant for popular activities such as gaming and video streaming, as well as emerging applications like cloud gaming and virtual reality, which use a significant amount of bandwidth.
Optimizing the traffic of packets (units of transmitted data) requires ISPs to deeply understand the flow of traffic on their networks. By knowing what apps are in high demand in specific locations, ISPs are able to more effectively calibrate their capacity and tune their routing paths. For example, an email can be delayed by a couple of seconds without the user noticing, but registering an action in an FPS or RTS title requires near instantaneous feedback. The end goal is creating the best user experience for all online activity, which is ultimately what ISPs care about in order to boost retention and eliminate costly service requests resulting from poor performance.
Historically, ISPs have monitored their internet traffic through a practice called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), which effectively enables network owners to examine packet contents to determine application usage. While this provides valuable information for ISPs, this approach is becoming obsolete for two key reasons:
- International privacy policies (particularly GDPR in the European Union) are becoming increasingly stringent against inspection of traffic content that may violate users’ online privacy.
- As network encryption improves and data rates grow to Terabits-per-second, DPI is unable to keep up with the sheer volume of information flowing over networks.
Canopus Networks has built a creative AI-based solution that restores network visibility for ISPs while simultaneously respecting user privacy. Traffic streams from applications such as Netflix, Twitch, and Call of Duty all have their unique characteristics (connection establishment methods, packet sizes and frequency, etc), which are captured by programmable switches that are embedded into ISPs’ physical network infrastructure, and analyzed by Canopus’ patented AI engines trained on stochastic behavioral models.
Through evaluating the “flow” of data (versus opening up individual packets), Canopus is able to understand the application that packets are being sent from along with the corresponding network quality (lag spikes, video freezing, etc). This culminates into a Terabit-speed platform that gives accurate sub-second real-time visibility into encrypted traffic streams. Most importantly, this visibility enables ISPs to optimize performance and provide a superior internet experience to their customers.
Our entire team is thrilled to be backing Vijay, Himal, and the entire team at Canopus as they seek to innovate the way we understand how data flows online. Both Vijay and Himal have strong academic and technical backgrounds in software defined networking, artificial intelligence, and internet infrastructure.
Through our investment, we have completed a $15.7m AUD ($10.6m USD) Series A financing that we believe positions the company to continue adding value to a global customer base of leading ISPs. Other investors we are happy to be joining include Pentanet and IP Group. We could not be more excited to be a part of this team’s mission to improve network operations around the world.