Sunday, 24 July 2016

Blizzard withdrawing support for IPv6?

SEE UPDATE AT END

It seems that once again Blizzard have their IPv6 connectivity for World of Warcraft not working properly. I opened a ticket and explained the issue in detail. The connectivity issue is entirely in their network. My guess is, as they seem to be using SLAAC addresses, they have simply failed to update addresses when they changed hardware and MAC. That is only a guess though.

The impact - I could not log in to play the game for several days. I assumed they had a fault or were busy and to be honest, given that I use IPv6 for almost everything I do (google, Facebook, all A&A web sites and internal systems) and have done for about 14 years, it did not even occur to me to check if turning off IPv6 would fix it for a while. These days I rarely play, but have been off ill for a few days and though I may have a game or two.

It seems the game is not falling back, trying IPv6 first, which is sensible, and failing totally without trying IPv4.

Now, anyone can make a mistake, and I am sure they can fix it easily, but it seems they are not interested in making it work with the current Internet Protocol. Basically, it seems to me from this response that Blizzard have withdrawn support for the current version of IP protocol, IPv6. It is simple, either you support it, in which case you take a fault report seriously, or you don't.

Heya Adrian,

Thanks for the ticket. I had a look over your history of issues with IPv6. We take a soft approach to support of this as many places haven't fully transitioned over. Normally IPv4 works perfectly and is what the majority of places use despite the other being the upcoming industry standard. Whilst we do appreciate your tests with regards to Tcpdumps and your suggestions about hardware upgrades on our server's end being the cause, since IPv6 is relatively new when it comes to large scale servers it's not something that's 100% works all the time as you're evidently aware yourself.

At this point we've expended our scope of support regarding it's use solely over IPv4 and would suggest that, if able, for the time being you connect using IPv4 whilst we're working on improving how our hardware works with this. 


Just a few comments on this.
  • "Many areas have not fully transitioned over"? Well no, you don't "transition", i.e. use IPv6 instead of IPv4, for a very long time, but IPv6 does work along side IPv4 on many ISPs, and many services work on IPv6 (like google, and Facebook to name just two). Only when people are all taking IPv6 seriously can any sort of "transition" start.
  • IPv6 does work 100%, well, as well as IPv4, when people actually make sure it works, like ensuring that the machines they have are on the right addresses and have connectivity. This is no different to the way IPv4 works. The only reason IPv6 might be not 100% is if some company stupidly decides to not make things work, or worse, decides to ignore support tickets raised when things are broken. Suggesting IPv6 is unreliable is not valid.
  • Also IPv6 is not "relatively new", it is all grown up with RFC2460 being 18 years old now. A&A have been offering IPv6 since 2002. How many decades must IPv6 in place before Blizzard consider it is not "new"?
  • As for improving how your hardware works - as far as I know it works - you have connectivity for IPv6 to your network (I get 4ms pings) - you have IPv6 in the game client and the servers work with it - you just need to fix whatever config that you broke a few days ago. Not hard!
Now, if they have "expended their support scope", that sounds a lot like "not going to fix it" and basically taking the massively backwards step of dropping support for the current version of IP, being IPv6.

That is a bold step Blizzard, not many companies would take such a backwards step. I think it is time for me to cancel my subscription, as I cannot really work with such a backward looking company. I wonder what our thousands of IPv6 connected customers will think.

P.S. Obviously if Blizzard have any official comment on this, I'll be happy to add that here, or they can simply comment below.

Update: After posting and adding it to their ticket I had a slightly more encouraging update:-

Hello Adrian,

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch with us and I'm sorry that I couldn't get back to you any sooner.

I was able to get in touch with our net engineers regarding the issue you brought up and it seems that are already working on the issue. Sadly, I do not have any ETA as when we will have a solution or any further information at this time.

Thank you for your understanding I hope that we have this resolved shortly.

50 comments:

  1. Does seem the current approach is the worst of all possible options.

    If they don't want to support v6, then disable v6 entirely (or at least, don't announce v6 addresses via - presumably - DNS). If they do want to support v6, then support it properly.

    The current scenario - as I understand it from your post - is that they claim (presumably via DNS) to support it, but actually don't, or at least it's sufficiently unreliable as to be 'not supported'. So the only option you have is to disable v6 at *your* end.

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  2. I believe that Sky users now have IPv6 by default. I wonder how many of them are having problems.

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  3. Hmm, this is a bit pot calling kettle black in my opinion. AAISP's current default router, the Zyxel, has broken IPv6 in that it works for a few hours and then stops working until next power cycle. So effectively it's IPv6 doesn't work. Until AAISP sell an IPv6 service that works "out of the box" with no special action from normal users, you might want to not throw stones.

    And don't say you have 6to4 gateways or people can use other routers, that's not the point. I'm talking about the standard Home::1 service out of the box set up by a normal user who has no interest in fiddling about, and will be completely unaware they're using IPv4 most of the time due to the Zyxel's problem.

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    1. Seriously Owen, do we have a ticket open on that. The zyxel should work and stay working and whilst I know it is not perfect I did not know IPv6 stops and needs manual intervention. The "service" is fully IPv6 and we'll try and find another router to stock if it is as you say.

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    2. Yeah, I can attest to this, the ZyXEL is garbage with IPv6, it's very fragile and breaks when it chooses to break and doesn't recover itself, sometimes it takes a factory reset to get it working again.

      I reported some issues with it over a year ago under ticket P6157W and neither of the updates ZyXEL have provided you with have fixed any of the issues.

      However, the IPv6 service itself is spot on with a decent router, but I suspect it's time for you guys to find a decent router as it doesn't look like ZyXEL will fix the IPv6 issues with the 1312.

      It's not even any good as a vDSL modem, as it syncs at a lower speed than either an ECI or Huawei Openreach modem, and the last time I used it before I moved out of my last place interleaving was applied to the line after a few days which had never been applied previously. Not a coincidence, just a useless router.

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    3. Thanks for the feedback - I know we have been looking on and off for a while, but sounds like it is getting more urgent. We'll see what we can find.

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    4. I probably have a ticket on it somewhere, I reported the IPv6 problems as soon as I got the Zyxel router some time in the autumn last year. I chased it a couple of times but support just said they're waiting for Zyxel to fix bugs. I gave up after that.

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    5. You mean like the list of outstanding bugs here:

      http://support.aa.net.uk/VMG1312:_Bugs

      A&A do know about many bugs but still ship those dodgy routers.

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    6. OK, if you know a better router to ship at a sensible price, please tell us and we will. We have no special allegiance to ZyXEL. They are perhaps "the best of a bad bunch", and we sadly do not have a router we make ourselves in that price bracket.

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    7. That's the problem, most of the routers in that kind of price bracket are fairly crap, and I've wasted too much money on them in the past.

      I guess it depends what you mean when you say 'sensible price' - I'm sure there's something out there that is half decent which is around where you want to be.

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    8. Basically, customers want a relatively inexpensive single box router for their broadband. At the moment the ZyXEL seems best of a bad bunch, but I'd love to sell a better one. If there is one more expensive we can easily offer a choice.

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    9. What about the FrtizBox
      https://en.avm.de/products/fritzbox/fritzbox-7360/

      I've used a couple of earlier models before (Still use it for VOIP & DECT) and really liked the product.

      I read somewhere AVM were putting devices forward for testing. My old 7390 has been solid when I've used it.

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    10. I am sure we have tried them before, but worth looking again. I am not sure BT approval matters under latest EU rules though as end users have to be able to choose CPE, so any that meets the standards (VDSL) is allowed, AFAIK.

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    11. It's a pity that Openreach copped out of providing modems, because you would have a lot more choice if you could just provide a router with an eWAN port.

      However, that isn't where we are now unfortunately, seeing as Openreach have washed their hands of providing CPE.

      I've had mixed experience with routers - the most positive I've had is with ASUS, although I'm not sure if their firmware is remotely configurable, but the hardware is good.

      I had good success with Billion devices too, and they do the 8800NL which is a vDSL router which would be a better router than the 1312 in my opinion and is probably around the same price bracket (not sure how much you guys pay for the ZyXEL though). Other than that, TP-LINK seems to flood the market at the low end, but most of that is junk.

      Maybe you should consider developing or customising your own router? Or at least your own firmware that can be put on a commodity router so it turns it into something useful rather than a buggy bag of crap. If you pick a decent base model all the source will be available anyway.

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    12. Isn't there some public domain replacement software for some routers? DGTeam seems to be one but there were others I believe.

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  4. It's a classic example when people work very hard to avoid implementing the correct solutions.

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  5. I doubt they support IP6 at all, but if you're looking for an alternative to WoW you should give RIFT a try. It's the same genre (fantasy third-person MMO), but almost entirely free to play, with better graphics and a unique and very flexible character enhancement system.

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    1. They have always claimed to in the past. http://ipv6.blizzard.com

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    2. I meant the developers of RIFT (Trion Worlds). I have never examined the network traffic to confirm, but since they've only just implemented multi-core rendering in the RIFT client and are now working on 64-bit support, I would guess IP6 is a long way off.

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    3. Ah I see, but puzzles me that IPv6 would be something to do as an after thought! Surely a network game should start with a network and IPv6 is the current IP protocol. Given the operating systems all handle IPv6 it is surely harder to make a system that is IPv4 only thank just code normal DNS and networking.

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    4. The software I used to look after assumed I etc (and had done since inception). Sadly, there was no business case to commit my time to enable IPv6 or test it, especially given that we had no working IPv6 connectivity.

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    5. A friend of mine has been working on the Elite Dangerous network code for a few years. He mentioned all the problems with NAT and CGNAT and I suggested adding IPv6 support. He looked into it and came back and told me IPv6 was utterly irrelevant because so few systems supported it, including the cloud computing they run their servers on. That was a couple of years ago. He now tells me IPv6 has finally started to matter in the last few months, because the large US Telcos have gone live with it. But their cloud computing provider still doesn't support it, which makes it rather hard to use.

      The fact that IPv6 is the current protocol is utterly irrelevant to commercial companies. What matters is how much use there is of it, and until recently that was virtually zero unfortunately. Investment costs vs. the fact that NAT seemed to work most of the time delayed things massively, and is still doing so.

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    6. IPv6 is still absent on the majority of UK ISPs, it is still not offered on many leased lines and other expensive business grade connections, and it is not available at quite a few co-lo facilities where you used shared connectivity.

      IPv6 might not be new, but adoption rate is still low.

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    7. That attitude will mean IPv6 never gets deployed. It is new, nobody is using it, so we won't do it... Means nobody does it. Blizzard took part in World IPv6 Launch in 2012 - that is FOUR YEARS AGO. So it is not even "new" to Blizzard.

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  6. They've have their issues in the past (previously poor OS release cycle without a true stable version), but, I find the Mikrotik hardware great as a router with solid IPv6 and even better now that they support PPPoE 1500 MTU RFC 4638. Grabbing late model ECI & Huawei FTTC modems off eBay to go with them. 6 - 9+ months uptime, only rebooting for firmware/os updates.

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    1. Really needs to be single box with wifi.

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    2. Will be interesting to see what kit you consider as a possible upgrade to your current zyxel box. Hopefully more kit has been given the OR FTTC stamp of approval since I last looked.
      Might be worth another topic on here with feedback from others who've already managed to test some of the alternatives.

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    3. Why does it need to be a single box? It used to be two boxes, why can't it still be? Surely a two box solution which works is better than a one box solution which doesn't?

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    4. Wel, depends what customers want to buy.

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    5. I bought an FB2700 several months ago to replace my Zyxel router (and I already have a second Zyxel in use as a PPPOE modem). Unfortunately I've run into a different problem there, the FB2700 is so complicated to configure and setup that I simply haven't had time to do it. I've spent about 6 hours on it, which ought to be more than enough to replicate a fairly simple home setup. But I suspect the firebrick design assumes you know what you're doing and assumes you have complex needs, which probably means simply configs are harder to organise than in a router with less flexibility.

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    6. RevK is correct, most customers want a single broadband box that does everything (modem, router, wifi).

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    7. Now that surprises me! Basically PPPoE config works out of the box with no set up, or possible setting a username and password. Very easy to add some basic things from there. If you need, we can probably help you.

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    8. Well I've been using the Technicolor TG582n that you supplied for free on joining in March 2014. It seems to have no issues coping with IPv6 nor has it caused me any other problems. Why not revert to the TG582n if the ZyXEL is not working properly, or at least offer as an alternative? I know some people think it's crap but those people tend to have more technically complex needs.

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    9. The TG582n is in fact incredibly capable. I believe it can connect to and possibly host VPNs, it can certainly have static routes. It can, as far as I remember, have two different networks on the WAN and route one to X number of LAN ports and the other to X other LAN ports.
      Sadly - all of this is in pretty badly documented CLI and config script.

      I expect if you had complicated needs you could manage it with a Technicolor but would need to either have their documentation or spend a lot of time experimenting.

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    10. I do like the elegance of a one box solution for simple setups. For more elaborate tinkerers, soho and business solutions I prefer a twin box solution with a modem maintaining high uptimes on the xDSL connection, leaving the router free to change config, upgrade or reboot as needed. It's not for every one though and does have its cost and complexity considerations to account for.

      I've never been a fan of the technicolour boxes, I've seen a few run quite hot and also grind to a halt or lock up under heavy load.

      Even if not a fritzbox, adding another device to your range with built in VoIP might be a nice option for some with the knowledge that you could help support it.

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    11. I agree - I would go for bridging modem and a FireBrick and unify APs personally, but customers do like one box solutions. They are not as good or as flexible but for like 90% of even our customers they do well enough. But out customers can use what they like, that is the point.

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    12. What is it that you like or prefer about the firebrick compared to alternatives. I always find other peoples choices on technical matters an insightful and informative perspective

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    13. Ah, mainly that I wrote ever line of networking code in the FireBrick from scratch. That gives me some bias, sorry.

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    14. Can't argue with that sort of synergy. Works well to create solutions presented by your enterprise clients.

      Would it be hard to add ADSL modem and Wi-Fi into a basic/mini firebrick model to compete with the zyxel.

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    15. Technically there are ways but nothing like commercially, sadly.

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    16. I had a couple of TG582n from aaisp before the Zyxel. They were awful. I was on a really long ADSL line with lots of noise, and speed was awful. I switched to an ADSL bridge modem (older Zyxel model) with the TG582n running as a PPPOE router and this nearly doubled my ADSL speed. Then I had to put in a mains timeswitch to power cycle the TG582n once a day because it kept locking up under heavy load (I run a server). The one thing I can say for the TG582n is the IPv6 worked as reliably as any other part of it. Eventually I'd had enough of lockups and got a Zyxel 1312 PPPOE router as a replacement, which is bliss reliability wise except for the IPv6.

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    17. With regard to my FB2700 I can't configure, my setup isn't entirely vanilla domestic user. I have a dozen devices all with fixed IPs in the DHCP, which seems to need a separate DHCP server entity for each device on firebrick. I can only get one ethernet port to work, I seem to need to duplicate all the setup for the network on the other two LAN ports. I have my own DNS server (Raspberry Pi running dnsmasq) but I can't get the firebrick to use it. I haven't even got as far as looking into the NAT port mappings and IPv6 firewall entries for my server. Oh yes and none of my systems (Windows and iOS) like the IPv6 router advertisements the firebrick is sending, so IPv6 wasn't working for anything. The list of things that weren't working just made me give up frankly. It was much easier setting all this up on the Zyxel 1312, and I managed it on the TG582n though that did require use of the CLI. The web gui on the firebrick seems designed to confuse people, there are so many options it takes ages to work out which one you want. The manual is no help, because it's a reference manual which I'm sure will be great if I ever get to grips with it but is little use as a beginners introduction. So there my firebrick sits, taunting me. I'm struggling to summon the enthusiasm to try again and the benefit at the moment is very small (everything works on the Zyxel except IPv6).

      My other Zyxel 1312 as a VDSL bridge modem is working fine for me. I'm on FTTC 80/20 now, and I'm getting 79.6/19.9 so basically hitting the line cap. Others claim it's a bad VDSL modem, I might be able to tell if the 80/20 caps were lifted. I'm about 110m from the cabinet. It would be nice to have some FTTC stats though, neither the Zyxel as a bridge modem nor the BT line aaisp control pages tell me anything. I don't know my SNRs, or whether interleaving is on or off, what the error rate is, nothing. It's a real step backwards compared to how much I could find out about my TT ADSL line (it was rubbish, but I knew exactly how rubbish and in what way).

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    18. Sounds like you may need a bit of help - the ports can be grouped as a switch in the port grouping section under interfaces. The DNS servers can be manually configured under setup/system services, and picking up external DNS by DHCP or PPP can be disabled in the interface and PPPoE config. You can see DNS servers in use under status menu. Have you considered reading the manual at all, that may help with some of these basic things.

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    19. @owen - if you've got a FB2700 sitting around doing nothing, I'll have it, as my loaned firebrick was sent back recently. :(

      I agree though, configuration of the Firebrick is highly complex, even for a geek and it takes a lot of meddling before you get it working properly. IPv4 port forwarding stumped me for a while.

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    20. I tried reading the firebick manual. There's an awful lot of it, and it dives straight in at quite a technical level. If I ever have a spare fortnight I might sit down and try to read the manual again. The fact that it does everything in xml config doesn't help, I write software in C for a living but I have developed an allergy to xml it's so excessively uncessarily complicated for most purposes.

      But I shouldn't need the manual for most of what I am trying to do surely? (maybe for the port mappings). On the Zyxel 1312 I managed to set up and test everying I want without once looking at the documentation, because the user interfac is sufficiently intuitive.

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    21. To be honest, I think this is the first time I have had someone struggling this badly. We have a web config to save you from the XML, obviously. We do courses, but they should not be necessary for some basic things. Feel free to email specific questions on what you need to set up the support email.

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  7. "since IPv6 is relatively new"

    IPv6 design and development started in 1994, early implementations were around 2000.

    World of Warcraft origins also started in 1994 with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and WOW itself in 2004.

    Perhaps you could point out to them that the Warcraft series is also "relatively new"!

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  8. I'd second the recommendation of the Mikrotik products. For less than the retail price of the existing Zyxel box, you could supply a DLink ADSL modem and a Mikrotik 5-port+WiFi. The firmware within them is on a totally different planet from any domestic ADSL router. Just a pity that (AFAICS) they don't have a version which can do ADSL.

    Of course, for a FTTC installation, it would need just the one Mikrotik box to go with the BT modem.

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    1. Quite, at present the box works ADSL and VDSL so upgrades are easy, but BT modems are hard to come by!

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    2. For FTTP Mikrotik now do a gpon sfp transceiver that can go in their new dual band 5 port routers for a single box ish solution

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