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Netflix Compares ISP Streaming Performance

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the real-streaming-match dept.

Networking 209

boustrophedon writes "The Netflix blog compared streaming performance among 20 top ISPs for the past three months. A Netflix HD stream can provide up to 4800 kbps, but the fastest American ISP, Charter, could sustain only 2667 kbps on average. Most Canadian ISPs beat that, with champ Rogers providing an average of 3020 kbps. Clearwire, Frontier, and CenturyTel were in the doghouse with under 1600 kbps."

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Wrong. (0)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030326)

I've got Verizon FiOS, and though I know it's not that common, but I can get steady 3.7 MB/s streams.

Re:Wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030336)

I guess you don't understand the meaning of "average".

Re:Wrong. (2)

Morty (32057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030378)

Is there a value to looking at "averages" over large areas?

I'm in Howard County, MD. On Comcast, I get about 8Mbps sustained after an initial 20Mbps. This is typical in my area. My neighbors using Verizon FiOS will typically see even higher throughput. However, this graph, presumably containing large parts of the US, has Verizon as slower than Comcast, and both are much lower than what I see. A person trying to make a decision on ISP service in my area would be misled.

Re:Wrong. (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030706)

I guess you don't understand the meaning of "average".

It has 3 common meanings and the one they are using in TFA is not mentioned above.

Re:Wrong. (4, Insightful)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030358)

I've got Verizon FiOS, and though I know it's not that common, but I can get steady 3.7 MB/s streams.

I'm not going to suggest that you are incorrect, but I am going to suggest that your single piece anecdotal evidence is not nearly enough to discredit the report Netflix put together.

Re:Wrong. (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030432)

The article uses Mbps (megabits per second) and not MB/s (megabytes per second).
3.7MB/s is a LOT of bandwidth, it's 30Mbps. Not even FULL HD video uses that much bandwidth.
You probably meant 3.7 Mbps.

Re:Wrong. (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030494)

With Fios, he probably meant what he wrote.

Re:Wrong. (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030666)

Full HD streams using H264 run around 10Mbps for poorly compressed video (small publishers without a video engineer doing the work).
Look at wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_video [wikipedia.org]
It says that the heaviest video streams from Netflix use 5Mbps.
I just played a few of the 1080 Full HD streams I have. The highest bandwidth they use is 10Mbps.
30Mbps for a video stream is completely crazy, even if your ISP service is that fast, you won't be able to sustain that speed, there will be serious drops.
Only Blue Ray uses that kind of bandwidth. Not even DVD.
Maybe he's talking about video content accessed directly from Verizon. Then it's not internet streaming video, it's VOD content coming directly from your ISP.

Re:Wrong. (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030878)

Which is, of course, part of the reason BluRay is superior to Netflix (or just about any other) streaming :). And DVD wouldn't use that much because DVD isn't HD.

Re:Wrong. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031666)

Yes BluRay is superior... However streaming is good enough for most cases. As a lot of us wants to watch a movie and not count the pours on the main characters skin. So the value of BluRay over a lower bandwidth connection isn't much of an issue. Once people get an average of 100mbs for their network then we may seen BluRay quality streaming media. But by then there will be something else that will top that.

Re:Wrong. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030952)

Why is 30 Mbps sustained transfer rate "completely crazy"? I have a 100/100 Mbps connection and I routinely have higher sustained download speeds when downloading things from servers that have the bandwidth for it. And when it comes to p2p the main problem I have seems to be that I'm using ZFS with RAIDZ and doing 100 Mbps worth of random writes while simultaneously seeding various things at 10-20 Mbps generally makes it pretty slow (I noticed after doing some cleanup of the filesystem that as long as I keep utilization under 75-80% this isn't really a problem, it's when the filesystem is beginning to fill up that performance starts to suffer which makes all other processes that rely on disk I/O sluggish too).

Re:Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030702)

> 3.7MB/s is a LOT of bandwidth

Err, that's a data-rate. Bandwidth is a measure within the frequency domain.

It's like saying that your car has 250 tyres when you mean horsepower. No-one would be that daft.

Re:Wrong. (1)

technomom (444378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030510)

Yes, I'd like to know if they were putting both DSL and Fios numbers together for this.

They have to be lumping DSL and Fios together (1)

wernox1987 (1362105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030594)

There is a huge difference between the two, it kind of invalidates the who study.

Re:Wrong. (2)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031108)

Exactly what I was thinking for Verizon and maybe some others... A lot of Verizon's DSL connections are either 3.0 or 1.5 capped which would destroy their throughput...

that said probably 80+% of Verizon's service IS DSL not Fios, so its actually probably lifting their numbers higher then they should be, not the other way around. Last I heard Verizon had stopped rolling out Fios (this may just be internet rumor mill crap)

Re:Verizon (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031318)

Yeah, I have a Verizon 3.0 DSL line.

Recently, with the exact same plan, Hulu suddenly seems a lot slower. I just recently had to start buffering the show again starting about a month ago, but all I can tell is my line is the same it has been. I don't know if there's advanced throttling going on to support the whole Hulu Plus push.

Re:Wrong. (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030522)

Time Warner is listed at 2400kbps; that's 300KB/s. I regularly grab large files at 2-3MB/s (big B). I'd like to know more about their testing methods because these seem a bit suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if it were throttling of the netflix content by said providers, though.

Re:Wrong. (1)

uolamer (957159) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030674)

I agree.. Time Warner in my area, their lowest package I think will go above 300KB/s. I have their 2nd lowest package and I get at the very least 1.5MB/s, usually it is 1.7-1.8MB/s

Re:Wrong. (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030766)

Time Warner is listed at 2400kbps; that's 300KB/s. I regularly grab large files at 2-3MB/s (big B). I'd like to know more about their testing methods because these seem a bit suspect.

Well, I suspect that they tested it by streaming from their servers, not downloading files from other unnamed servers. There are so many varying factors that you can't just assume that it is throttling if you don't get full speed access to Netflix. If you try tracerouting to different sites you can find wildly different network topology resulting in vastly different download speeds. Perhaps the pipe going to the popular site Netflix has much higher usage that the one going to the site from which you download your files.

Re:Wrong. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030750)

No, but I can toss in another piece of anecdotal evidence -- I rarely can sustain streams to Netflix that fast, but I can easily pull data from other sources *much* faster than that.

Now, its possible my ISP is trottling Netflix, but I don't believe they are that sophisticated.

The problem with any of Netflix' information is that we can't tell if the problem is at the ISP or at peering points, or at Netflix itself. We also can't tell what speeds the customers in question actually are paying for. (Thus making the statistics basically useless beyond Netflix playing politics...)

Re:Wrong. (1)

r_naked (150044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031032)

I've got Verizon FiOS, and though I know it's not that common, but I can get steady 3.7 MB/s streams.

I'm not going to suggest that you are incorrect, but I am going to suggest that your single piece anecdotal evidence is not nearly enough to discredit the report Netflix put together.

Well here is some more for you...

I have Brighthouse cable in the Tampa, FL area, and I get ~4.8MB/sec (yes that is a big M for mega and a big B for bytes).

On a different note, I would suggest anyone that has Netflix streaming to check out VuDu. I don't know if it is available for anything other than the PS3, but they offer 9Mb (that would be a little b for bit) streams that look great. There is still the occasional pixelation on real high speed scenes, but I have to guess they are using h264.

Bottom line, there are plenty of providers out there that can stream HD (well what Netflix / VuDu call HD) in real time. AND there are some that could stream *real* HD in real time.

Re:Wrong. (2)

papasui (567265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030856)

It's not ranking YOU. It's ranking them as a company, which includes all tiers of their service.

Re:Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030964)

I've got FIOS and I'm just outside Manhattan, I can sustain the full 4800kbps with room to spare. I've use Netflix on my PS3, which actually supports 1080p with 5.1 surround sound on a few titles. I've played a movie while browsing the web without any issue on many occasions. They only list "Verizon" on the chart, I suspect it's Verizon DSL and not FIOS.

Please say it ain't true ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030364)

We are talking about AMERICA, yeah, the GREAT AMERICA, beaten down by the canajians???

Please say it ain't true, AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Please say it ain't true ! (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030426)

Well, that's not too hard, a sizable portion of the rest of the world is faster than America [worldpoliticsreview.com] .

Re:Please say it ain't true ! (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031174)

And with the exception of Canada, the US is bigger then all those countries above it combined...

Re:Please say it ain't true ! (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030644)

Wouldn't be the first time. *coughs* 1812 *coughs*

Re:Please say it ain't true ! (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031028)

We are talking about AMERICA, yeah, the GREAT AMERICA, beaten down by the canajians???

Please say it ain't true, AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I once had a meeting with a software partner from a Canadian telecomms company when I worked in that industry who said: "Most of our country is below freezing for half the year. We're good at technologies that mean we don't have to go outside."

Wow Verizon is around 2k? (1)

BradyB (52090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030370)

This is FiOS, this is SLOW...

Re:Wow Verizon is around 2k? (4, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030430)

There's Verizon FiOS and Verizon DSL. Is the measurement for FiOS, DSL, or both?

.

Re:Wow Verizon is around 2k? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030988)

There's Verizon FiOS and Verizon DSL. Is the measurement for FiOS, DSL, or both? .

I'm wondering that too. I have a hard time believing that Fios is lower than *some* of those up there considering the speed offerings they have.

I'm on a 50 megabit Fios connection right now, and from my regular download speeds it looks like I'm getting that speed for the sites that can support it.

A few years ago I was on 3 megabit DSL, though I hear their DSL can hit 15 or 20 megabit with their residential versions.

Granted, it's possible streaming is throttled or can otherwise not take advantage of the full (or near-full) stream.

Re:Wow Verizon is around 2k? (1)

AlphaBit (1244464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031682)

This is definitely not the FiOS that I have. I can stream Netflix and Hulu and be running 2 games and using voip without any noticeable slowdown. I could probably add a couple more HD streams and still have some headroom. And in practice, I get almost that same bandwidth upstream (35Mb/s)

AND WHAT OF ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030384)

AOL? Aren't most people using this service? Those in the know know that AOL has the most direct access to the internet possible.

Reverse the tables (4, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030390)

Very nice. Rather impressive to pre-empt the ISP's.
"well, your competitor is able to provide better speeds to more customers, why are you whining? Oh? AND You charge more for lower service? Interesting. Well, lets let your customers decide for themselves with more facts who they want"

It'd make sense at this point for an ISP with a bit of sense to make a nice deal with Netflix to improve things here, then everyone wins.

Re:Reverse the tables (2)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030502)

Very nice. Rather impressive to pre-empt the ISP's. "well, your competitor is able to provide better speeds to more customers, why are you whining? Oh? AND You charge more for lower service? Interesting. Well, lets let your customers decide for themselves with more facts who they want"

It'd make sense at this point for an ISP with a bit of sense to make a nice deal with Netflix to improve things here, then everyone wins.

Not very nice. Remember the two-tier thing in UK [slashdot.org] ? Perhaps Netflix is trying to reverse that in its favor by hinting for 'arrangements'? Shady deals like that won't really work in favor of the consumers.

Re:Reverse the tables (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030570)

If you've got the choice, and the figures to back things up? Perhaps.
"ok, this company is offering internet for 40 bucks a month, and I get the option for an extra 5 bucks to get Netflix bundled in" (which a smart ISP here, if traffic IS that popular, might be worth getting in on.
"or I can spend 30 bucks a month, and Netflix works, just not in HD, but I've the choice"

Ok, ok, it's more likely the ISP's will charge extar for netflix, AND you'd need a seperate netflix account AND if you don't pay, they'll slow things down.

Re:Reverse the tables (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030600)

The only problem with that is the non-compete agreements in the US. Where I live, I can only get Suddenlink (which involves paying for cable), or Centurytel (which is expensive, but still cheaper than the other option). I can't get anybody else out here. I know I've tried.

Re:Reverse the tables (5, Interesting)

Mousit (646085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030608)

...Well, lets let your customers decide for themselves with more facts who they want"

Though unfortunately for many customers (the majority I'm sure), "who they want" is a choice between that ISP or nothing, so it doesn't help them too much to simply tell them hey, they're getting screwed.

However, I would like to see this broken down into smaller areas. By region, or even by city, rather than just the ISP as an overall average. I'd be very, VERY curious to see if the very same ISP performs significantly better in areas where there's some actual competition going on.

That would be nice to wave around "look here, here's measured evidence of what they're doing in areas they don't have to compete".

As an aside, I already kind of see this in my area. I have Time Warner broadband. In my personal location, they're the only choice; even DSL is not available to me. The highest service available is 15Mbps and I average 5-8 most of the time. However, in the sections where Verizon FiOS is also available and competing? Why, suddenly Time Warner's got a 50Mbps service available which averages 35-40! Imagine that..

Re:Reverse the tables (1)

uolamer (957159) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030724)

Exactly. for me it is either Time Warner or DSL. A few blocks south or east the only option is Time Warner. A few miles in some direction there is no DSL or Cable, people have to use Dial up, Satellite, or 3G. While I do I have pretty good service, I would have much faster, better and possibly cheaper if there was competition.

Pertinent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030410)

Do these charts represent the speed from the ISP to the consumer? Is it possible that an ISP could make it appear to Netflix that the speed is higher, while slowing down the transfer to the actual user?

Ah Rogers (4, Informative)

Kris Warkentin (15136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030412)

Yeah, my cable modem is stupid fast....only problem is, running full tilt I can go through my monthly bandwidth cap in eleven and a half hours.

Fortunately, for the moment, the overage cap is $50 so if you download a bunch some month you just say, "Woohoo, unlimited bandwidth." For example, in January I downloaded 750MB which put me 625MB over my cap and would have cost an extra $780. Ridiculous no? And now the CRTC (equivalent of FTC) has ruled that the major ISPs are allowed to pass usage based billing fees onto third party providers which means there will be no more unlimited plans and the billing cap will likely go away.

Basically, Rogers and Bell want you to watch their channels, not use Netflix, AppleTV, etc. And the wretched hive of scum and villany known as the CRTC is letting them do it.

Not much point in fast internet if you can't use it.

Re:Ah Rogers (1)

Kris Warkentin (15136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030450)

Oops...meant FCC, not FTC.

Re:Ah Rogers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030452)

my cable modem

-snip-

For example, in January I downloaded 750MB which put me 625MB over my cap and would have cost an extra $780.

I hope you meant GB and not MB. If it was over 3G then a 125mb cap seems possible but restrictive, but you said cable modem.

Re:Ah Rogers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030744)

And eleven and a half hours to go over 125MB hardly qualifies as a "stupid fast" cable modem...

Re:Ah Rogers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030772)

I so dread if they start having caps where I live. Some months I exceeded 1TB in traffic, last month I was about 1.5TB.. Damn pirates using all the bandwidth..

Re:Ah Rogers (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031142)

For example, in January I downloaded 750MB which put me 625MB over my cap and would have cost an extra $780

Was this on your phone (sounds a bit cheap for Rogers Wireless :P), or did you mean GB?

please use real speeds (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031248)

only problem is, running full tilt I can go through my monthly bandwidth cap in eleven and a half hours.

We badly need a "truth in advertising" law that would make it illegal to label a "100Mbps connection" with a 5GB monthly cap as anything above the 16331bps it really is (yes, less than 16kbps, this is not an error). Providing a bigger burst is ok but only if that's clearly marked as such.

Toss in something about the scam that lets ISPs call 100Mbps down/128kbps up by the bigger number. If you want to use just one number, you'd need to print the lower one. Anything else is deceiving the customer.

Faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030438)

Why aren't we getting 10x this? For heaven sake we have had terabit optical data transmission technology for over a decade now. Isn't it about time to start getting REAL high speed to door steps?

I'm not exactly color blind... (5, Informative)

astern (1823792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030478)

...but how in the hell is anyone supposed to pick the colors out of those graphs, at least three of them are the same shade of sky blue.

I'd like to see this redone as the graph is certainly compelling, just a little bit more readable.

Re:I'm not exactly color blind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030562)

I am colorblind and I had to have my wife come over. She still had difficulty!

Re:I'm not exactly color blind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031146)

Not being a troll here, but you might really, actually be in some stage of color blindness. To me the three shades of blue are all quite distinct.

The two green lines are the most similar to my eyes, but still not something I'd whine about.

Re:I'm not exactly color blind... (1)

Eclectic Engineer (830396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031372)

You're not the only one. I wish more authors would put some thought into their graphs. In particular, I find it helpful when the legend is in some sort of order that corresponds to the graph. At least then I can correlate labels by position.

Re:I'm not exactly color blind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031420)

I am colorblind, so I'm lucky they colored mind black.

Re:I'm not exactly color blind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031566)

Top to bottom: Comcast, CenturyTel, Cable One.
(you may be color blind)

Where is this leading... (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030486)

Dear Netflix,

Subtle suggestion noted. Perhaps we can discuss the details of our offering you a superior service sooner rather than later. We would like to propose that in exchange for offering you a faster connection to our consumers, by prioritizing your traffic over others, you openly endorse us as your ISP of choice in the regions we serve. I think you'll agree that we can both come out ahead in this particular arrangement. You of course, will be free to make similar agreements with other ISP in regions that we do not service, and we will not consider this to be an issue.

Yours Truly, [Insert ISP Here]

Great to live in the US... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030488)

Fantastic. The worst ISP in Canada is still faster than the best ISP in the US.

Also, while interesting, this is basically useless to the average US consumer. It's not like you get a chance to choose between those 16 US ISPs. In the US, you're lucky if you get to choose between 2 of them.

Re:Great to live in the US... (2)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030966)

Fantastic. The worst ISP in Canada is still faster than the best ISP in the US.

Yes, but if you try to watch Netflix on a Rogers account you'll blow through the download cap by the second act of the first movie. You'll also be paying more for the privilege, and Ted Rogers will personally come to your house at night to empty the coins out of all your pockets and leave your milk out on the counter.

Re:Great to live in the US... (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031052)

You know, Ted Rogers is dead right? I'm pretty sure it's ok to shoot dead things (zombies) though...

ridiculously low?? (1)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030496)

Uh what?? I do always get sustainable 12 Mbit out of my DSL line here in Germany (which is advertised as 16MBit, but due to bad lines only goes to 12). I get 7Mbit out of my prepaid cheapo 10 €/Mo unlimited (but slows down to GPRS after 1 GB of usage) mobile plan (vodafone) and am soon switching to 32Mbit cable at home (which i've been told is sustainable as well).

What exactly is the big deal with getting customers rates exceeding 4 Mbit??? Gotta be kidding me...

Re:ridiculously low?? (1)

servies (301423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030598)

It's always the same with the US, they think they're way ahead but in reality they're lagging ages behind ;-)
Within half a year I'll have the possibility of a 100/100 Mbit/s connection (actually I picked the 50/50 solution, don't need more at the moment). Within a year it will be possible to get a 200/200 connection. All unlimited...
And the Netherlands are not even leading the bandwidth race...

Re:ridiculously low?? (2)

paintballer1087 (910920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031224)

The biggest problem with this isn't the ISPs, but the customers. I was working for a nationwide cable ISP for about 3 years, and we offered speeds of 1.5Mbps, 3Mbps, 12Mbps, and 25Mbps. Which do you think the majority of people chose? The 1.5Mbps for $15-$20/Month. Most people didn't want to spend the extra $15/month for the 12Mbps connection, and then complained about the problems when they tried watching 3 streams from Netflix and online games at the same time. There's no way they would up their speed though, it's the ISP's fault that the speeds were so slow. There's just no winning when everyone goes for the cheapest product available. It's the same reason Walmart is doing so well... Most Americans go for low price over quality.

Re:ridiculously low?? (1)

servies (301423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031564)

You can get 20Mbps ADSL2 (unlimited) for somewhere around €20 in the Netherlands, cable goes for a minimum of something like €50 (including (digital) TV and telephone, internet speed will be somewhere in the same region in that case) so the problem is still (partially) the ISP.

Re:ridiculously low?? (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031166)

Internet access in the US sucks terribly, that's what. I pay $50 / month for 6 MBit cable, and most of the time I'm lucky if I can sustain a connection at 3 or 4 MBit. I have two alternatives in my area, which are either slower (but cheaper) or much more expensive (and only slightly faster).

Re:ridiculously low?? (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031674)

As has been noted elsewhere, this graph lumps all sorts of tiered speeds in together, and also lumps every geographic location together. I think from netflix's end, this is trying to show that ISPs are providing subpar service.

And while I can't say for sure, I think there's a lot of traffic throttling happening behind the scenes with US ISPs. I have a 15mb Time Warner line that will usually see 1.5MB/s or more file transfers (HTTP, Bittorrent and however Steam transfers data), but has a lot of trouble sustaining an HD stream from Netflix. Heck, even the pseudo-HD stream from Comedy Central's Quantserve hosting hiccups regularly. So take these graphs for what they are: indicative of average sustained link speed between customers and Netflix.

Boo Hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030534)

It's better than what I get from Netflix.
A big fact 0 kbps because of region restrictions.

Honorable mention (1)

eedlee (1448129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030542)

Interesting to see Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast all in the top five. It seemed certain there would be at least one throttling between those three. We've had our Netflix on the first two and never had a problem (yet).

ISPs are doing dumb penny pinching (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030558)

Fiber optical very high speed equipment (used behind the xDSL/Cable copper network and behind the wireless towers) has never been as cheap as its now.
Long range gigabit ethernet stuff is dirt cheap.
10 Gigabit ethernet, which allows 2 thousand 4.8Mbps streams is already very affordable for carriers.
A pair of fiber strands can carry 16 10 Gigabit links easily, that's enough for 32000 top speed streams.
Long distance fiber optical cables typically have at least 36 strands. Some reach as high as 144 strands. Do the math and you'll see fiber capacity is almost never the issue.

But then there's a very interesting FACT. If you exclude p2p and video streaming, 10Gbps link can provide bandwidth for one million users. That's right, typical users that don't run P2P or use video streaming/download services require just 10kbps bandwidth.

That's the conundrum. Heavy users (p2p and video streamers) are responsible for such a disproportional share of bandwidth consumption that most providers just don't care about the quality of service they deliver for such users.
They might actually prefer you go elsewhere given the tight margins.

You should be glad if you can pay US$ 10 more to have higher quality service. At least that way you ISP can't complain that your piggybacking on the average light user. Honestly asking for a discount if you use little bandwidth isn't very reasonable either. A very large portion of the ISPs cost is last mile stuff that doesn't change if you're using zero bandwidth or maxed out in the xDSL case. Copper / coaxial cable stuff requires most maintenance, as they are most subject to ice storms, lighting, traffic accidents, ... Fiber can have redundancy.

ADSL is the best option for video, as long as you're close enough to your ADSL provider DSLAM that you can get fast enough speed. Cable is only better if you're far from the nearest ADSL DSLAM. DSLAM is the counterpart to the ADSL modem. Your ISP should be able to estimate your max link speed with your address and tell you when you're too far for your selected speed.

Just trying to demystify some facts. Most large ISPs / carriers won't discuss this stuff openly. They prefer you don't know the real facts. I'm not trying to judge what is right or wrong from either side.

Re:ISPs are doing dumb penny pinching (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030692)

Obviously fiber is better....
GEPON can reach crazy speeds.
But most users are still years away from that kind of service.

Re:ISPs are doing dumb penny pinching (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030820)

"ADSL is the best option for video, as long as you're close enough to your ADSL provider DSLAM that you can get fast enough speed. Cable is only better if you're far from the nearest ADSL DSLAM. DSLAM is the counterpart to the ADSL modem. Your ISP should be able to estimate your max link speed with your address and tell you when you're too far for your selected speed."

My mom has fiber to the house, she lives about 2 blocks from her ISP's wiring building, she gets a 40ms ping to her first hop which has a DNS name from her town, her town only has about 200 people. xDSL doesn't auto-magically make things better. Over subscription is an issue on every network. The question is, where's the bottle-neck?

"They might actually prefer you go elsewhere given the tight margins"

Recent article was talking about how High Speed Internet brings in several times more profit than TV. To bring this into perspective, I use Charter Comm. I paid $35 for extended cable. I was trying to cut corner for bills, so I was planning on dropping extended cable for just basic cable. They cut my bill by $15 AND added Showtime/HBO. I now pay $20/month for 100 digital channels plus Showtime/HBO. I still only watch the same 2 channels and only when I go to bed, but they're still making a profit on me.

If they're making a profit from $20/month plus ST/HBO, then how much profit were they making from $35 and just extended cable? I pay $46/month on top of that for internet. and they make several times that profit from HSI.

Different Services need to be split (4, Insightful)

cwtrex (912286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030566)

The different connections need to be split.

For example, Verizon needs to have:

Verizon DSL 768kbps - 1Mbps
Verizon DSL 1.5Mbps - 3Mbps
Verizon DSL 4Mbps - 7Mbps
Verizon DSL 10Mbps - 15Mbps
Verizon FIOS 15Mbps
Verizon FIOS 25Mbps
Verizon FIOS 50Mbps

Obviously a low end DSL connection is not going to be the same as those who can order the 10-15Mbps DSL connection. And it is likely that the DSL 10-15Mbps connection is going to be different from the FIOS 15Mbps.

To group all of those connections into one Verizon line is completely misleading. And if they didn't take measurements from all of those connections, then then that makes the results even more suspect as the graph doesn't specify what type of connection they chose to test with.

Re:Different Services need to be split (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031098)

All the service providers have multiple tiers of service, not as misleading as you seem to think it is.

Re:Different Services need to be split (1)

cwtrex (912286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031288)

My point is that those different services need to be split or similar services for each tested and stated with specifics mentioned for each. Verizon was simply an example.

Re:Different Services need to be split (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031310)

This is the collected stats from the real world. Picking out what tier of connection they have would be nearly impossible unless it's encoded in the reverse DNS. Associating an IP address with a particular carrier is easy anything past that is near impossible to determine.

Re:Different Services need to be split (2)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031332)

The different connections need to be split.

Not really, especially as each of those ISPs has lots of complexity in their service portfolio so doing the split would be exceptionally tricky (and make the whole graph impossible to read, instead of just plain difficult). What I find more interesting is that the average level of service of the worst performing Canadian ISP would put it in the middle of the top performing group of US ISPs. Maybe it's because the US has a much lower population density than Canada? Or maybe it's because US ISPs prefer giving their customers the shaft to actually providing a decent and value-for-money service...

Re:Different Services need to be split (2)

Gates82 (706573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031562)

Mod parent WAY up.

The first thing I thought when I looked at the graphs, what service plan are these people on. Most I know have the cheapest package they can find with connection speed upper bound at 1.5-5mbs. At those speeds the throughput Netflix is reporting look pretty good. I have a 20mbs connection (from an ISP not listed in the report) and over the summer I routinely streamed MLB.com (@ 8mbs), the wife would have a Netflix movie on her laptop, and the kids watching some show from Netflix as well. Aggregate bandwidth requirements were roughly 15mbs.

It fits: you get what you pay for, though I don't defend the prices or lack of sustained rate one typically finds with ISP's. I just found that good hardware, a decent home network configuration, and staying away from the cheapest bottom rung plan tend to go a long way.>/p>

--
So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

So where is Netflix hosted again? (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030590)

The problem here is that you have the difference between the speeds the ISPs can run at and the speeds from the customer to Netflix. I am using the normal Cablevision 15Mbps service, and I DO see speeds up at around 11Mbps. Now, if I have to go through 5 other ISPs to get from Cablevision to the Netflix servers, the problem is the connections between ISPs is where the limits are, not Cablevision itself. The same may apply to the other ISPs out there, where you get the speeds, and you can get to many web sites at the high speeds, but getting to Netflix is where there could be problems.

Back in April, it seems that Netflix moved to the Amazon hosting....could it POSSIBLY be that they are not seeing great speeds due to Amazon?

Re:So where is Netflix hosted again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030716)

Not really. From TFA:

"As we use a number of CDNs, and our clients can adapt to changing network conditions by selecting the network path that’s currently giving them the best throughput, Netflix streaming performance ends up being an interesting way to measure sustained throughput available from a given ISP over time, and therefore the quality of Netflix streaming that ISP is providing to our subscribers. Obviously, this can vary by network technology (e.g. DSL, Cable), region, etc., but it's a great high-level view of Netflix performance across a large number of individual streaming sessions."

to how many people? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030618)

"A Netflix HD stream can provide up to 4800 kbps"

To how many people simultaneously? Somewhere must be an evidence (assumption) that Netflix servers work at less than 100% capacity. I am completely unfamiliar of these. Saying "A Netflix HD stream can provide up to 4800 kbps" and missing the total number of users trying to connect is not saying much about that.

Not Much Difference (1)

hazzey (679052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030658)

All that this shows is that there isn't much difference between the ISPs. They had to scale the chart (it doesn't start at 0) just to show the differences. As Netflix commented in the linked post, their HD streams are much higher (4.8kb) than these graphs. Of course the graph is just an average, so it doesn't speak to how HD users are affected.

Wut? (1)

Flambergius (55153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030684)

I'm I reading this wrong? That's the limit that the ISP can reliably provide, right? Or are those numbers lower than ISP's max because many clients have low-end broadband connection (2M xDSL or something). My ISP can supply sustainably about 5 times that much. I'm on the other side of the Atlantic, but USA can't be that far behind?

Re:Wut? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030808)

We are indeed that far behind

great! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030690)

This is exactly what we need. They should run this test daily and have a website dedicated to it.

Better yet, the FCC should be running the test.

Re:great! (2)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030984)

Better yet, the FCC should be running the test.

"The Consumer Broadband Test, currently in beta, is the FCC’s first attempt at providing consumers real-time information about the quality of their broadband connections."

http://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/about/ [broadband.gov]

ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030762)

This is ridiculous. Amost no consumer internet connection will have a "sustained" speed of 4.5Mbps. That's the reason video streaming sites use buffering. There is always going to be dips and peaks in the bandwidth.
They also may not have tested with the highest-tier service offerings, but only the average consumer level.

yep (1)

4d3fect (1023141) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030800)

there's my isp waaay at the bottom, no surprises there.

Comcast at #2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35030884)

How surprising is that? Comcast is routinely bashed for performance - maybe Netflix paid them off?

the least worst of... (1)

TheTrollToll (1545539) | more than 3 years ago | (#35030904)

Well lucky me i have the least worst ISP for netflix in america.

These numbers are averages, so they're bullshit (3, Insightful)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031024)

The larger the ISP, the more they’re penalized by the more rural regions which are limited to DS3 45 Mbps circuits feeding a whole town.

Re:These numbers are averages, so they're bullshit (4, Informative)

papasui (567265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031184)

I'm gonna toss this out there. I've been designing isp networks for the last 10 years, including some of the ones in the list. I haven't seen an area that only has a DS3 as it's backbone in about 5 years, and even then it was 3 of them. And yes, I have worked in some extremely rural areas where the entire subscriber base has been less than 100.

Re:These numbers are averages, so they're bullshit (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031482)

Your point is? Larger ISPs should not be penalized because they screw over there rural subscribers? If the DS3 is the choke point put something bigger in. US ISP's are claiming all sorts of things to avoid upgrading there networks and often being shortsighted when doing those upgrades by putting the cheapest thing in right now but not the cheapest in the long run. In your own example there is no reason to have a DS3 in a ISP network, a single pair of dark fiber can get you what you need today and with one time costs get you to 1.6tbit/s (160 10ge links) today. Telco's are free to put in all the fiber they care to and cable companies can often do the same. The drive to keep this quarters profits high leads to bad decision making.

AT&T: Uverse, DSL, etc. (2)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031078)

The AT&T numbers will suffer somewhat due to Uverse (VDSL) and regular DSL being sold at varying speeds. While I like the idea of 18-24Mbps, I can't reasonably afford it at this time.

-l

works great on Fios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031102)

I have been streaming Netflix HD over the minimum service level of Fios (5Mbps) for 3 years now with nary a hickup. We use it in place of cable (Fios does not provide TV in our area).

Rogers has Brutal CAPS & Throttling. (1)

Analog-X64 (1268056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031226)

What this article forgets to mention is Rogers has Brutal bandwidth caps and speed throttling, and is very very expensive.

Re:Rogers has Brutal CAPS & Throttling. (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031340)

That's why I use TekSavvy's cable service instead of Rogers. Rogers has bandwidth caps so ridiculously low that there's literally no point to having a connection that fast. It's obscene how broken Internet service is in North America across the board. Both the FCC and the CRTC seem disinclined to do anything about it, however the whole usage-based billing thing is gaining quite a bit of attention in Canada right now. I'm glad to see people actually getting upset about it. Maybe it will have some impact after all.

Well, I am sure one of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031352)

I am sure one of the ISPs will consider it harassment and sue.

Maybe.

What is the minimum bit rate for non-HD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35031386)

I've been able to get an acceptable non-HD stream from Netflix using Clear.

Yadda, yadda anecdote, of course.

I see all the big ones but... (1)

SamuraiHoedown (1769404) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031396)

Where is Xfinity? I don't see it on this list.

Hm. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35031614)

Yet another reason Canada is better than the US, I miss being able to make fun of them.
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