I'm starting to build a multiplayer iOS game using UDP. I want the game to be playable over cellular networks, but I can't really find that much information on it. Many people say that it's dependent on your carrier whether or not it will work.

I tried searching but I can't really find much info on this topic. I know carriers must allow UDP because of things like video streaming, but what about custom game protocols? Will UDP work over a cellular network? If anyone has a definitive answer or can point me to some resources that'd be great

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd tell you a UDP joke, but you might not get it. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo Jul 17 '17 at 19:14

TL;DR: There is no guarantee of performance, latency, or working at all whatsoever.

Video streaming works with either UDP and TCP so a cell phone being able to stream video is no guarantee that UDP is allowed on the cell service provider network.

Even then it is possible only some UDP ports are allowed on the network's firewall, and possibly to only some servers.

The network may also do traffic shaping to give priority to video call services over an unknown video game's UDP/TCP ports.

Cellular networks also have a very high latency compared to WiFi and wired Ethernet. On top of this cell phones will switch towers whenever convenient for them causing a short delay in data transmission.

It may work really well in a large metropolitan center at off-hours on some service providers in some countries and not work at all for practical gaming purposes in any other situations.

Something to consider is that right now (2017) even if it works well were you are located it's likely that the number of situations where cellular data network's high ping and sporadic delays will create lots of frustrated users, complaints, and bad ratings depending on your game's network requirements.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.