October 7, 2019 by Teresa McGaughey

The Launch of Google’s Stadia: Is Your Network Ready for its Impact?


Soon computer gaming will be changed forever, and it could have an unexpected impact on your network. On November 1, Google will launch its subscription-based cloud gaming platform Stadia. Gone are the days of downloading games and making sure your device or PC can support that game. With Google’s Stadia, the gamers will not download any software, they will use their mobile phone, tablet, computer, Chromecast, and a broadband connection to play the games of their choice. 

So, at this point, you’re thinking that you’re going to need a faster network. Well, maybe. But maybe not, as Stadia only requires 35 Mbps of bandwidth. This means most subscribers on a fiber broadband connection will be able to play the games without a service upgrade. So, don’t run out and enable 10G PON to all your subscribers just yet. 

However, there are a few aspects of your network that you do need to think about. First, if many of your subscribers increase their bandwidth usage by 35 Mbps, the points in your network that aggregate that bandwidth are going to be strained and likely require an upgrade.  

In addition, if you read the fine print, you’ll also note that Stadia will only be available in certain regions. This is because there is also a latency requirement. This is being solved by moving the real-time computation closer to the subscriber to ensure the latency requirements are met. The reliance on edge compute means that until the network supports it close enough to your subscribers, they won’t have access to Stadia.

Google isn’t the only one launching a cloud gaming platform. Microsoft is expected to launch one in the same time frame. Cloud gaming is the beginning of a more mainstream requirement to move intelligence closer to the subscriber. This trend is going to require new network architectures that enable capabilities like caching and edge compute to be moved closer to the subscriber than ever before. Join myself and Alan DiCicco in our upcoming webinar, Take Your Smarts to the Edge, where we’ll dig further into network architectures and how bringing intelligence all the to the service edge can ensure you have a network ready for the next new application.