There has been an ongoing problem in rural America and its one that is close to my heart. Out in the country, there is little no access to quality high-speed internet. This is an issue that has been hard for me to deal with ever since I moved out to the country. Sure it’s beautiful and there is plenty of fresh are and room for my goats but the internet is nothing short of rough. Just to put everything in perspective I am currently using a DSL line and when that doesn’t work I have to use my cell phone as a hot spot. That’s currently the best I can get and according to the Pew Research Center, I am not alone in thinking this is a huge problem.
According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, about 24 percent of rural Americans think high-speed internet is a major problem. In addition, another 34 percent think it’s a minor problem. That’s a lot more than their suburban and urban counterparts.
This can be a huge problem for people that are working from home, starting a business, or wanting to compete in online gaming. Video games these days can be very demanding on internet use. Not just for playing the games themselves but for downloading updates and data packages for new seasons of gameplay. Rural players are most likely falling behind because of this problem.
A possible solution
Finding a solution to this problem can be difficult. Rural internet users are struggling to find the best connection they can. Satellite internet provides high bandwidth but poor latency, cellular-based connections have better latency but they have disconnection and lower bandwidth. Some locations are able to provide DSL connections but I feel like that’s a little outdated. Finding the right answer can be tricky at best.
A gaming company call iRacing has teamed up with another company called Limelight to provide their fans with better service regardless of the type of connection they use. The games provided by iRacing require seasonal updates that can be several gigabytes in size. This can be a problem for rural players and can keep them out of high-level competitions like iRacing’s series of six different world championship competitions. However, it turns out that Limelight might be able to come to the rescue.
Limelight provides a content delivery network or CDN to its clients. They do this by providing a series of caches in key locations to help with latency reduction. What that means is rather than a user downloading content directly from iRacing’s main server, which is probably far away, users will access a nearby cache-server that has an updated copy of the desired files. Having these cache is key locations can help rural uses access these downloads faster. In addition, Limelight has ongoing relationships with service providers, private global networks, and more, that help the caches to be updated with files and information much faster than any user’s direct connection to the iRacing server.
That can be a lot of information to take in all at once. To put it all in more simple terms using Limelight will be like driving to a local bar for a beer versus driving all the way to the brewery.
What kind of impact will this have on the iRacing fan base? Well, I am not sure yet. But right now it seems like they are in good hands.