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Netflix Isn't Swamping the Internet

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-for-a-lack-of-effort dept.

The Internet 208

itwbennett writes "Remember the Sandvine report from earlier this week that said Netflix gobbles up 30% of Internet traffic during peak hours? It needs clarification on a couple of important points, says blogger Kevin Fogarty. First, yes, Netflix traffic spikes during prime time, but only across the last mile. Second, ISPs underestimate what a 'normal' level of Internet use really is. 'When AT&T announced its data caps – 150GB per month for DSL users and 250GB for broadband – it called the data levels generous and said limits would only affect 2 percent of its customers. It turns out Netflix users take up an average of 40GB per month just from streaming media, according to a different Sandvine report (PDF).'"

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lol wut (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190618)

Netflix is popular, but almost all its traffic is last mile -- not the backbone ISPs whine about

Series of tubes don't work like that.

Re:lol wut (2)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190632)

They must have many datacenters, and deals with ISP to host , or peer directly.

Re:lol wut (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190650)

With one datacenter per square mile?

Re:lol wut (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190768)

lol, no one per region, lot less traffic on the back bone, google does this, peering directly etc.

Re:lol wut (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190804)

"Last mile" in telecoms reffers to the final connection from communications provider infrastructure to the use. In a big city it may be less than a mile in the countryside it may be significantly more.

Having said that while netflix traffic may not be running accross core internet backbones in signficant quantities I suspect it is going a lot further than the "last mile" connection in many if not most cases.

Re:lol wut (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191190)

I suspect that is goes through exactly the same backbones, just probably is billed separately because of Netflix is paying for some of peering. I am pretty sure that not even Netflix can pay for physical equipment to be installed in enough phone company's COs, or (especially) in whatever Comcast calls their facilities.

Re:lol wut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191038)

That would obviously be overkill when you need one datacenter per circle of r=1mile.

Re:lol wut (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191124)

One datacenter per a hexagon two miles in diameter. Assumong that all providers are wireless, so all connections go in a straight line. Happy now?

Re:lol wut (2)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191366)

You have a three digit slashdot ID and you don't know what "last mile" means?

Did you phish someone's account or something?

Re:lol wut (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191500)

I do know what it means. It means, connection to the phone company's CO or other kind of point of presence, that is performed over the media that reaches the user.

For DSL it's up to 3 miles, so on average it is actually close to a mile.

40 GB? (1, Funny)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190626)

I download that many Linux iso's in a month.

Re:40 GB? (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190648)

Why? I'm not trying to be insulting, I'm just curious.

Re:40 GB? (2)

dsleif (2163084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190698)

Because he partitions his hard drive in 10GB segments and multi-boots every build ever. It's the way of the future.

Re:40 GB? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191086)

I'm thinking your future is rather old school. The "new" future would have him putting each install into a VM. :p

Re:40 GB? (1)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190706)

I collect iso's it's like a stamp collection only cooler. It's probably less than 40 GB every month but some months I get there.

Re:40 GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191098)

A digital hoarder who never uses 90% of the stuff you download. Got it.

Re:40 GB? (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190772)

He hasn't yet learned that he can reuse those iso's.

Re:40 GB? (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190854)

Hey give him a break greybeard, with a number close to 2 million (1972694), he must just be toddler. So, getting on the internet, downloading Linux, going potty for himself ... pretty impressive stuff for his age.

That, or he is another greybeard, who is slipping into early stage dementia and Alzheimer's and forgot his login.

Re:40 GB? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191134)

I never bother storing OS install images. There's probably going to be a new version by the time I want to do a new install, and downloading doesn't take long, so you may as well let someone else pay for the disk space.

That said, I didn't download 40GB a month of Linux isos even back when I was running an FTP mirror for a few distributions. I uploaded a lot more than that (university network), but that was to multiple clients.

Re:40 GB? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191550)

yeah, all my old iso's are less then 800 MB, so when I use 7zip to empty them and fill them with my backup content I am limited in scope. Many of the new ISO's I download are over 2GB, that give me much more room when I empty them w/ 7zip and reuse them to store my own content.

Re:40 GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191132)

Because he has nothing better to do with his time. He "dual boots" which means he uses Linux to waste his time and boots Windows to do real work and/or play games. In his case, he many boots a bunch of Linux because he has an exceptional amount of time to waste.

Re:40 GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190664)

You're doing it wrong.

Re:40 GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190708)

I download that many Linux iso's in a month.

Why? Do you download every new version of every distro that's out there? Do you actually install and use any of them for any appreciable amount of time? Or do you just like writing them to discs and putting them in a binder to show how Linux-hardcore you are?

Re:40 GB? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190896)

See above.

Yes.
No.
Yes.

Lies, damned lies, (3, Insightful)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190638)

And statistics. Even if it would only affect 2%, that won't be for long. They knew they had to put caps in now, because later it would cause too much backlash. Could it be that the "Internet" could be swamped by digital media? Perhaps, but they could always add more bandwidth. Although then that would hurt their earnings having to invest, much less being able to nickel and dime customers.

  I wish companies like All-tel wouldn't have sold out. Though they weren't perfect, they had a lot going on right, and that is why they were successful. On one hand I am glad I am still with them, on the other, the rest of the family was moved to Verizon, eliminating one of the great reasons to join the same network.... But the big boys gobble up anyone that comes close to doing things right, so I don't see any reason to have much hope.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190808)

The huge lie, of course, is visible in the fact that cable-based legacy services and fiber-based "triple play" internet/quasi-cableTV/telephone being rolled out by the telcos generally split the available downsteam bandwidth between the real, user-visible, internet bandwidth used for the internet connection part of things, and the non-user-visible bandwidth dedicated to sending digital media streams down the wire that are sold as "cable" rather than "internet streaming".

For the traditional cable type stuff, at least, there is the argument to be made that, while it consumes massive downstream bandwidth, it imposes fairly limit load on the infrastructure one level up; because it is the same downstream feed for everybody in the service area. For pay-per-view, though, it is basically the same thing as an internet-based stream, except billed differently.

With bittorrent, at least, while most of the ISP whining was disengenuous bullshit aimed at rationalizing the results of profits going to shareholders rather than better infrastructure, it was technically true that upstream bandwidth available to legacy cable-based systems was fairly tightly constrained. With something like Netflix, though, it's just stinginess about upgrading the head ends, and just-plain-anticompetitive desire to slice the available downsteam bandwidth into two artificially distinct types, "internet" which is billed one way(and they really don't want to be used for video) and "Cable" which is billed a different way, doesn't offer arbitrary IP data services; but is bundled with video on which a fat profit margin is made.

Set them all on fire.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (5, Informative)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191008)

fiber-based "triple play" internet/quasi-cableTV/telephone being rolled out by the telcos generally split the available downsteam bandwidth between the real, user-visible, internet bandwidth used for the internet connection part of things, and the non-user-visible bandwidth dedicated to sending digital media streams down the wire that are sold as "cable" rather than "internet streaming".

Actually, the way Verizon FiOS is set up, you have one light carrier dedicated specifically for video broadcasting. It runs through an optical transducer, which outputs a real QAM modulated digital cable signal, directly usable by any TV or PC tuner card that supports QAM.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191092)

That's kind of cool. Is it just the channel you have "tuned" (requested to be sent), or the entire bandwidth of the virtual cable?

Re:Lies, damned lies, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190876)

> Perhaps, but they could always add more bandwidth.

Err, what?

Ignoring your incorrect use of the term "bandwidth", additional network capacity isn't achieved by clicking on a slider button. It involves possession permission, pneumatic drills, back-hoes, moles, cabling, PONs, data centers....

Are you stumping up the cash by doubling your monthly ISP subscription for five years so that the cash is in hand for investment? No, I thought not.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190934)

Of course he isn't stumping up the cash by doubling his monthly ISP subscription.

He's stumping up the cash in tax-based subsidiaries provided by the government to telcos in order to build infrastructure. Just like you (assuming you're in the USA) and me.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (2)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191094)

Exactly. I'm well aware that it takes money and construction to up the "bandwidth". The coward probably doesn't realise that my point is valid, since he is only looking to make excuses. I mean really, who here thinks that it is automagically added using a slider? What a tool. As if we weren't overpaying already, but then again I don't think he read the last part of my post.

Re:Lies, damned lies, (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191106)

I hear this all the time. What are the numbers? I have to think the subsidies pale in comparison to the revenue generated by subscribers.

Advertising is swamping the internet (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190652)

In my humble opinion.

Re:Advertising is swamping the internet (4, Interesting)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191032)

Adblock/Adblock plus is your saviour. (or if you're super uber nerdy, a custom hosts file)

On the one hand I feel bad that I know that I'm not contributing to the continued survival of some of my favorite websites by providing them with adviews impressions (and certainly not with click-throughs), but on the other hand I work in the business of, among many other things, saving PCs that have become corrupted by malware that likely showed up in a drive-by ad-based browser attack. I feel no need to risk it.

On a somewhat related note, the sheer annoyance of today's ads have gone overboard. The days of a static tower jpg on the side of an article seem to be going the way of the dodo, where now everything is animated, full of sound, wants to jump out in front of the damn text I'm reading, or even replace the text itself (and often somehow take up an entire modern cpu core, wtf, I've got more processing power than nasa sent men to the moon with, and a "click-here-to-win-a-ps3!" ad is using all of it?!). When they have a custom "X" button on their ad that I have to click on to close the damn thing, I am ALWAYS wary, because I don't want to click on ANYTHING nonstandard. ever. That's just asking for trouble, even in today's modern sandboxed browsers.

It is sad to say, but I personally am more concerned with keeping my own system safe and secure than I am with "supporting" my favorite websites by letting their ads rape my eyes and ears at the very least, and quite possibly my system as well. They'll have to depend on other people for that, just hopefully not people I personally support.

Re:Advertising is swamping the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191380)

Using a Flash blocker will solve 95% of your problems, while still allowing GIF/JPEG ads to show and generate impressions.

Re:Advertising is swamping the internet (2)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191428)

It's no different than the games industry where DRM requires a phone-home activation, disc in the drive, no daemon tools running, and a CD-key, but the cracked version removes all of this and sometimes even fixes bugs the original developer never fixed.

Or how hour-long TV shows have gone from being ~52 mins long in the 1960's to ~44 mins long today and in the process have alienated so many customers that they now turn to Hulu or pirating, where the profits are less.

I could go on about "CD"s that don't meet Red Book specs or how newspaper's classified prices basically created Craigslist. Unfortunately, content creators always seem to find ways to hurt the ones who want to buy their stuff.

Re:Advertising is swamping the internet (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191164)

Bad programming (sorry, "architecting" or "designification" or whatever the 8 sigma full-spectrum belts are calling it now) is the reason. My company's stupid extranet page pulls down 8k to display 1k of information. See how much data is sucked down by the stupidest of pages and you'll see why the internet sucks.

Re:Advertising is swamping the internet (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191532)

But, to some extent, it's also what makes the internet what it is: many free sites with funny/insightful/useful content. People live from advertisement and provide content in return
Part of the money for /. is generated by advertisement.
(Yes I know there are sites that don't ad any content but have advertisements nonetheless. Those are not the sites I am referring to.)

Last mile (4, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190656)

So the last mile is the tightest, and contended. And we now know the data caps are a joke. So, still a problem.

All this shows... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190672)

Is that bandwidth is being shifted from one medium to another through the same output device.

Instead of me taking up bandwidth for CATV, I'm using HSD instead because I haven't had CATV/SAT in three years. I use Netflix streaming, although I'm not sure how much bandwidth I use except over 3G, because it's better for me than what the other side of the fence offers.

When the cable companies start whining about how much bandwidth Netflix is using what they're really complaining about is their lost revenue on the CATV side.

Re:All this shows... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191100)

Is that bandwidth is being shifted from one medium to another through the same output device.

Afaict the main difference is in where that bandwidth is from and to.

With traditional TV (whether delivered over cable, sattelite or terrestrial) the bandwidth is used in a broadcast manner. So on each network segment it's only used once per channel no matter how many users tune into that channel.

With ondemand provided by the last mile communications provider the communications provider has full control over where the bandwidth is to.

With internet TV they can ask the provider nicely to locate their servers more locally but without getting into nasty blocking practices there is little they can do to make them do so and managing n sets of third party servers in each location you want content to be streamed from is going to be a lot more overhead than maintaining one server that you control.

People must PAY for abusive streaming. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190676)

Why cable companies allow directly competing traffic across their networks is beyond me. I would enact a $10 per month Netflix surcharge for any households where Netflix streaming traffic was detected.

Re:People must PAY for abusive streaming. (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190906)

What the hell is competing traffic? As a subscriber you're paying for the access. You paid to have access to Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Ebay, etc., Now you want people to be billed a second time for something they are already paying for!

Ass-hole.

Re:People must PAY for abusive streaming. (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191042)

More to the point, they do effectively charge more for people who have the internet access but not the cable TV access. It's called bundling. When you don't do it, you pay more for internet.

Re:People must PAY for abusive streaming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191258)

People pay for internet access. They pay to be able to send bits, and get bits back from some remote machine. It's none of the ISPs' concern what these bits mean.

Or at least this would be the case in a perfect world.

DSL vs Broadband? (2)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190690)

'When AT&T announced its data caps – 150GB per month for DSL users and 250GB for broadband"

Sorry, I must be missing something. Here, east of the Atlantic, DSL is considered broadband - what is broadband in the US?

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190746)

Faster than DSL

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (4, Informative)

cornjones (33009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190780)

presumably, in poster's mind, broadband = cable. Maybe it means fiber but i would think cable. Most of the dsl implementations are pretty crappy around the states (based on setups around the east coast mainly, seattle was good). Because of this, most people think dsl is inherently inferior to cable broadband. having used some excellent dsl providers in london, it definitely comes down to the service provider.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190834)

Americans assume that DSL tops out around 2/0.25 Mbps because that's pretty much what they can get.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191254)

Well, actually the AT&T high speed service IS DSL, but it's not marketed as such. It's actually VDSL or ADSL2+, but much of the bandwidth is reserved for TV and Voice.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (2)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190884)

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_Internet [wikipedia.org] :

the United States (US) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as of 2010, defines "Basic Broadband" as data transmission speeds of at least 4 megabits per second (Mbps), or 4,000,000 bits per second, downstream (from the Internet to the userâ(TM)s computer) and 1 Mbit/s upstream (from the userâ(TM)s computer to the Internet)

Personally I think my DSL 1.2Mbps is "broadband", just slow broadband. I don't quite agree with arbitrary raising of the bar but I see it useful for driving progress in speeds. Funny thing about the 150GB cap you mentioned for DSL users, even a slow connection like mine can double that in a month.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191074)

Up here in Canuckland, standard DSL is 6.0Mbps/1.0Mbps, and the super duper ultra high speed DSL is 25.0Mbps/2.0Mbps, so I too was confused by the distinction between DSL and broadband.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191214)

I recall the switch from ISDN to broadband (DSL) in the UK around 10 years ago. It was the difference between using a torch to find your way around a dark house until finding the main light switch. And that was only 512k.

It's almost too difficult to comprehend that my first experience of the internet was at a speed of a basic fax machine. Dark, dark times....

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191030)

they bash dsl on tv ads here and no one corrected them. i've also seen cable internet ads claiming really low broadband speeds.

as always a quick bandwidth test is far more accurate. currently my cable is running @ 16 mpbs. according to the cnet bandwidth test.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191050)

150GB applies to DSL, 250GB to U-Verse, which is DSL bundled with AT&T video services. The extra 100GB is a method for AT&T to use their market position in network connections to leverage their way into the video market.

People don't know what it means (3)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191220)

In the minds of most people, including most geeks, broadband = really fast Internet, and the cutoff for that changes year to year and person to person.

In reality broadband means, well, broadband, as in a service that is not baseband. So Ethernet, even 10G, is not broadband. However DSL, no matter how slow, is broadband.

Unfortunately, this shit is going to keep happening particularly now that the FCC has an official definition for broadband and it includes a minimum speed. People are going to keep misusing the term until the meaning just changes to "fast internet, where fast is whatever I think it is."

Re:People don't know what it means (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191548)

Thank you! I have raised this issue before and mostly gotten flamed for it. Words have meanings or they should. I don't why we can't just call high speed Internet um... high speed Internet, and keep broadband referring to transmission method.

Re:DSL vs Broadband? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191528)

From an engineering perspective, broadband has to be cable. DSL is provided by a digital signal. Cable is provided by a wave(band).

A long time ago, broadband was mistakenly used to define anything faster than dialup, even simple 64k ISDN lines.

For those that are confused (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190696)

This is because Netflix hosts their shit with caching companies. You get people like Akamai that do data hosting. Now they have big data centers that hold lots of data as you'd expect, but they also have cache engines all over the place. They contact ISPs and say "Hey, we'd like to put cache engines in your data center. We'll provide you all the equipment, free of charge, and tell you how to configure it. This will reduce the amount of bandwidth you use."

You can see why ISPs like this and go for it. Of course the other side of it, the reason Akamai does it, is because it reduces their bandwidth usage a lot. Win-win situation.

This happened on campus like 8 years ago. Akamai gave us some cache engines and they got set up on the network. Now anything on them is just stupidly fast. Windows updates just fly down. It also made quite a noticeable dent in off campus bandwidth usage.

I don't think Netflix uses Akamai themselves, but I do know they use a service like it.

Re:For those that are confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190840)

Netflix uses Akamai (and Limelight, and Level 3) as CDNs (you can find articles on this if you STFW for Netflix Akamai Limelight, but I'm posting as anonymous just in case)

Re:For those that are confused (4, Informative)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190858)

I don't think Netflix uses Akamai themselves, but I do know they use a service like it.

They did use Akamai, then switched to Level3. Remember that whole fiasco with Level 3 and Comcast? That was because Akamai paid Comcast for some stupid reason to make it so Comcast had less load on their peering points, and Level 3 didn't pay. Comcast wanted them to pay, and they did in the end.
Very stupid, I would have just let Comcast oversubscribe their peering points & come back when they wanted to get the load off for free.

Re:For those that are confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190878)

If you were really curious, you could run netstat while watching a movie on your computer. I haven't checked recently since I don't have netstat on my Wii, but last few times I watched a Netflix stream on my laptop I was connected to either Akamai or Limelight.

Re:For those that are confused (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190900)

Do they? The depth of Netflix library, despite the apparent lack of quality, would seem to make it hard to cache or at least very inefficient unless the caching entity decided to bulk copy all of Netflix on-demand video library.

How many people are watching episode 20, season 2 of Rockford Files?

While this might make sense from a data storage perspective (even though I'd bet it's not), I could imagine licensees having issues with multiple third-party copies of their intellectual property.

What would make more sense would be Netflix "sponsoring" direct pipes from their storage farm directly to ISPs, bypassing "the internet", possibly even providing their own caching engines (thus keeping Hollywood's IP "in-house") for popular titles.

This takes the load off of a specific ISPs uplinks, the "sponsorship" keeps them on better terms with the ISPs and improves quality to customers and avoids the complexity (legal and technical) with using a generic caching/CDN.

Re:For those that are confused (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191156)

Well, you're just wrong. How many TB do you really think the netflix collection is? It's probably pretty small when you consider how cheap storage is, and how much media most nerds have saved locally on their consumer level hardware. Also, if you are streaming something that doesn't exist on the cache server (because it hasn't been played yet in the area being served by that server), it could, you know, get the data and cache it then. Like a cache would normally work. A direct pipe to all of these ISPs would be a massively expensive undertaking. I'm sure they are allowed to have as many digital copies on their own hardware as they want, it would be stupid for licensees to care that netflix works by storing the data it licensed in multiple data centers instead of one.

Cache engines are intelligent (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191162)

The specifics of how they work vary per company and they don't release the details, but they aren't a "We only cache some stuff no matter what," item. Some things are precached, near as I can tell, like Windows updates. Since they are very popular makes sense. Other things are on-demand cached. Someone accesses it, they stream it from the data center and it also goes on the cache engine for the ISP as that happens so the next person can get it. Some I think are regional, it chooses to get it ready for certain areas because they want it.

So no, you don't have 100% cache hits, but you don't need to for it to be useful. Same deal with CPU cache. It should be obvious that a CPU with 8M of L3 cache and 8G of system RAM will have plenty of cache misses. Doesn't mean that the cache isn't extremely useful in speeding things up (in fact you find you can get overall performance in the realm of 90-95% of what you'd have if it were all as fast as the cache).

Caching for things like Netflix doesn't eliminate the need for bandwidth from the data center, just reduces it a lot and that's all it needs to do.

Re:For those that are confused (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191218)

There was a story on /. a while ago, which had some statistics for this. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the overall idea was that there are, at any given time, some very popular things, and everything else. Most of the traffic comes from people streaming a few titles.

Re:For those that are confused (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191318)

That's why some programs work better than others. But caching algorithms and backhaul management can correct for that. If you set up a cache server with a couple TB of storage, you can probably reduce your downstream bandwidth by a TON. The price of the hard drives probably pay for themselves in the first month of not having to maintain a giant pipe. You have your cache machine pre-load (or flag them to copy on first stream) the titles that are popular, and you might only need a T1 or a burstable T3 to maintain happy customers.

As for the IP issues, I would guess that their licenses account for this, and just using some kind of encryption that keeps the folks in the datacenter from sucking down hard copies of the files would keep them happy.

Re:For those that are confused (2)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191376)

Using custom hardware, they could store about 120TB for ~$8,000.

I base that on this article, assuming that they use 3 GB drives instead of the 1.5 they used a few years ago.
http://blog.backblaze.com/2009/09/01/petabytes-on-a-budget-how-to-build-cheap-cloud-storage/ [backblaze.com]

Lets says they put two of these in an ISP, thats 240TB. Netflix streams at about 2GB/hour. That means they could store 120,000 hours of content for ~$16K per ISP. That's not their whole library by far, but I would be willing to bet that's enough to store the top 95% of requested media at least.

In India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190702)

"When AT&T announced its data caps – 150GB per month for DSL users and 250GB for broadband – it called the data levels generous and said limits would only affect 2 percent of its customers"

Indian ISP's copied AT&T and did the same thing, but the "generous" data limit is 8GB :(

Cherokees maybe, but not the Iroquois (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191130)

You shouldn't lump all Indians together. The Iroquois nation would never do this, but the Cherokees might.

Because, Cherokee People, Cherokee Tribe. So proud to live. So proud to die.

obvious slant (4, Interesting)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190714)

"40 gig just from streaming data" with a lowball 150 gig allowance, with recent slashdot articles saying netflix is a large minority of people's traffic... sounds like the ISPs are correct, that 150 gig is generous.

Re:obvious slant (1)

dsleif (2163084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190774)

Right, this would be a true statement in a 1-2 person household without a techie aboard. Now, tack on steam, other internet browsing, music streaming, and a whole bunch of other stuff. The internet isn't just for TV, you know?

Re:obvious slant (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190870)

You're right. The Internet is for Porn. [youtube.com]

Re:obvious slant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190992)

And news! http://www.nakednews.com/

Mustn't forget the news.

Re:obvious slant (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191036)

I do some minimal bittorent, a lot of Steam and A LOT of Netflix. I've gotten into watching a lot of TV shows where I missed most of eps when they aired the fist time. Per my router (WRT54G running tomato) I've sent/received about 650gb this month, and thats right average per the logs. Thank you FIOS. Even if VZ did implement caps, they wouldn't dare do it for their business class customers. I love my 25/25 w/ static ip.
I cant find the source right this moment, but I saw someone do some basic math. For 720p netflix streaming (most of it is this high now I think) for 6 hours a day (supposed to be TV watching time for a normal family) the monthly bandwidth would be about 750gb from just netflix alone.

We (technically-inclined) know that the caps are utter bullshit, just like our cellphone bills are. Unfortunately my parents and other non-techies see no problem with the caps and services and this is itself the source of the problem

Re:obvious slant (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190950)

Well, if Netflix is 30% of the Internet's traffic, the average user's usage is 133 GB/month. A 17 GB overhead doesn't sound particularly generous to me.

Re:obvious slant (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191122)

No, that doesn't follow at all. If Netflix is 30% of all Internet traffic, then it's obviously a greater than 30% share of the traffic generated by people who subscribe to Netflix, since most people do not subscribe to Netflix.

Re:obvious slant (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191462)

More than you need isn't generous? What's the new definition for generous?

Re:obvious slant (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191076)

The phrase "just from streaming data" is obvious slant in itself, as if any amount of websurfing, gaming, or email would be significant compared to streaming a movie.

The good old days are gone... (1)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190718)

All BS anyways, my speed on Rogers is great, my Bandwidth sucks. Open more than a few concurrent connections and the wife gets a disco on WoW, legit torrent traffic drops to 0 and I'm forced to reset my Modem and router...and we only get 90Gigs/Month. Used to be you could do anything on the net, now it's molasses.

Re:The good old days are gone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190928)

Rogers injects bad packets for torrenting. We did some point-to-point testing with this. torrents in a VPN survive just fine but run them normally and connections will time out for anything on your pipe.

Bait and Switch (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190814)

Seems like ISPs are pulling somewhat of a bait and switch with their business models. It troubles me that they are more than happy to give out "Unlimited Access" as long as there aren't any high bandwidth applications that are used by the masses. Now, it seems, Netflix is more popular than BitTorrent ever was (mostly because it doesn't leverage copyright infringement) and the ISPs are all too happy to tighten their pricing controls to prevent this.

This proves that the ISPs are either incompetent (because they didn't anticipate this) or outright malicious (because they did). My experience so far with streaming Hulu through my PS3 has been generally positive (save for the PSN outtakes) until a few days ago when I started noticing buffering while trying to watch TV after dinner. I really hope this isn't being caused by my ISP overselling their network - though that's the only reasonable explanation.

ISPs Underestimate? (3, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190830)

Full disclosure: I used to work for a group within Comcast that looked at network traffic to the user. Let's just say I have a really strong dislike of all things Comcast.

With that said, not a chance that the ISPs are not estimating correctly. They aren't estimating. At least at Comcast, they have an incredibly good idea of how much network traffic is going through their system. And they build to a given percentile of busiest time in the entire month.

The only way you can say they are miscalculating what is going across the network is if Sandvine is not properly analyzing network traffic and is associating it with an incorrect network protocol.

Why more when streaming from 360/PS3? (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190836)

From the article:
Users that stream data through a device other than a PC – an Xbox or other game console, for example – use twice that amount of bandwidth for the same content.

Why would it take more bandwidth to stream the same content? Do they use a different streaming video format or codec for the consoles? The article and the linked pdf makes that statement but do not explain why.

Re:Why more when streaming from 360/PS3? (1)

thpdg (519053) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191290)

That quote is not from the Sandvine paper.
It doesn't say anything about the same content using more bandwidth. It only implies that users are likely to watch more hours of content when they are using a device connected to their TV, rather than a standalone PC.

ok.. so what. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36190898)

If traffic is "spiking" and causing infrastructure some problems its time to make a better infrastructure. What the traffic actually *is* should be irrelevant.

The original report is about extortion, not about infrastructure. Blame a company flush with cash and charge them for nothing. As long at Netflix is paying their bandwidth provider they need to shut up.

Re:ok.. so what. (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191194)

This. I've noticed that more and more people publish articles simply it seems to get people distracted and overcomplicating the real issues, often when there aren't any, other than someone wanting a piece of someone else's pie.

My take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36190964)

Well, first - I'd say that I'd never go with AT&T.
Second, what's up with the different data caps for DSL and broadband? Look at the difference there, if I was DSL and paying as much for it as broadband, I'd find a way to cancel and switch.

Re:My take (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191442)

DSL is generally quite a bit cheaper than cable/fiber broadband. And the infrastructure may well be more expensive. It seems like it would be- you need a device that physically gloms onto the copper voice pair to inject the data stream, and a crap-load of switches and routers to distribute the data streams to those devices. Where cable/fiber is more easily multiplexed. In theory, all you need to feed a cable system is one fiber from the internet connection to the doodad that feeds the neighborhood. Increasing capacity in one means replacing a fuckload of equipment, in the other, it means getting a higher speed transducer for your fiber to the neighborhood.

Sandvine? where have I heard that before... (5, Informative)

mounthood (993037) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191026)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandvine#Comcast_Controversy [wikipedia.org]

So a company that sells network control and monitoring software, and who has a dodgy past, says the bandwidth caps are OK.

Net neutrality debate (2)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191104)

I strongly suspect that this whole "Netflix uses all the bandwidth" story was started by some ISP lobbyist somewhere, who wants to charge users more for certain services.

And people say I'm crazy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191146)

For suggesting that the backbone of the internet should be considered infrastructure and maintained by the federal government just as they do interstate highways and such... Then they could make a little money as well.

Re:And people say I'm crazy... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191280)

I don't think that is crazy at all. Both the highways and internet are essential for interstate commerce. Maybe the could be more neutral that way and actual "voting by feet" could actually help over reaching ISP policies. The way everything is the market isn't going to solve these problems when so many people can only go to monopolists like Comcast for any sort of modern "broadband".

Normal (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191174)

Second, ISPs underestimate what a 'normal' level of Internet use really is. 'When AT&T announced its data caps – 150GB per month for DSL users and 250GB for broadband – it called the data levels generous and said limits would only affect 2 percent of its customers. It turns out Netflix users take up an average of 40GB per month just from streaming media

Normal, at least in the free market, is a compromise between what retailers are willing to sell and users are willing to pay for. People complain about high gas prices, but it is only recently that, again, users are actually responding to the prices. Likewise, it may seem that $2 for a coke is high, but largely retailers sell quite a bit of product in that way.

In this case, bandwidth retailers are largely setting caps based on price points that are attractive to consumers and still provide them a profitable situation. We can argue whether the profits are excessive, but the situation is what it is. Netflix is a new business model, and some costs may be externalized to third parties that do not directly benefit from the service. I think the point of the report is to illustrate this point, and question Netflix as a viable model. OTOH, 'the internet' like 'the roads' s becoming a public resource in which continuously increasing trafic capacity is considered in the public interest, and the telcos clearly benefit from more consumers buying product in part driven by the desire for high bandwidth streaming media.

Internet is not only US network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191242)

Netflix is not causing me any problems here at Europe.

Re:Internet is not only US network (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191398)

But no one gives a shit about Europe anyway.

end of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36191338)

Well.. if at&t-mobile did it.. it wont be long for everyone else to follow.. soon we will be buying 60$ windows update cds. Chapin at even 500 gb a month would means it will take me 3 months to redownload all my software for my pc if it crashed.. sure youcan say "well why don't you back it up?" But come on.. don't put a cap on a home service.. its a service for gods sake... they arejust getting greedy..

The real problem with Netflix (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191356)

Netflix' real problem is that they are disrupting (or are potentially disruptive to) some very large, well funded, politically active companies. They're screwed.

DSL not boardband? (0)

Sami Lehtinen (1864458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191460)

DSL isn't broadband? Then I assume that in US broadband is at least 100Mbit/s full duplex connection, right? Preferably using FTTH.

DSL G.Bond ADSL2+ 48/6 and happy with it (2)

Sami Lehtinen (1864458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36191526)

I'm happy with my G.Bond ADSL2+ connection which gives me full 48/6 Mbps pretty cheaply. With cable there are always problems with upstream performance and latency. Using DSL I get steady 10 ms round-trip latency (DSLAM).
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