At the moment, the Internet is both slow and unreliable for gameplay use. It's slow because most players' connections are still made with modems over ordinary telephone lines, which can't transmit much data per second. It's unreliable because the Internet doesn't provide a continuous guaranteed amount of bandwidth to each user. Instead, packets of data on the Internet compete for transmission priority, and there is no way to be certain what route they will take or how long it will take to get there. This means that gamers can't play equally; those with longer “ping times” are at a disadvantage.
The arrival of asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL), cable modems, and, above all, fiber-optic links (all collectively called ...
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