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Sunday Evening, the New Web Rush Hour 88

Posted by timothy
from the not-a-creature-was-stirring-except-that-darn-mouse dept.
Barence writes "For anyone who assumes weekday evenings are the worst time to enter the online scrum, it may be a surprise to learn that the peak internet rush hour, when average web speeds slow to a crawl, is in fact Sunday between 5pm and 6pm. This surprise fact came out of Ofcom's recent research that also told us the blindingly obvious news that actual broadband speeds are less than half of those advertised by the ISPs."
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Sunday Evening, the New Web Rush Hour

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  • body they can complain to?

    Just curious.

    • they can drink a couple pints of scrumpy.
    • We have several: Ofcom for communication complaints (TV and telcos), Office of fair trading for general consumer protection and competition law, ASA for advertising complaints.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:00PM (#26375183) Journal
    I have 3 MB/sec DSL, and I get about 50 kbs downloading. Maybe up to 100 on a really good day. They really need to regulate what they can claim as far as speed with real world random sampling, or let you pay according to whatever speed you can actually get in your area, or something.
    • I have 3 MB/sec DSL, and I get about 50 kbs downloading. Maybe up to 100 on a really good day. They really need to regulate what they can claim as far as speed with real world random sampling, or let you pay according to whatever speed you can actually get in your area, or something.

      It's based off of your areal, however I would bring it up with them if you haven't already.

      I technically should get 20mbit, but I only actually download at 12mbit. It's all based off of your neighbors downloading if you're on shared lines, like I am, or if they start shaping your traffic, like Comcast does.

      • Area, not areal.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I's from Brizle and I's tells you, it's areal.
      • The only thing my aerial receives is TV and FM. I never tried internet. ;-)

        I have Verizon DSL which advertises 750 kbit/s, and that's exactly what I get (100 kilobyte/second downloads). I don't know if I'm sharing my line with anyone else or not, but I've always been satisfied with the service I get. It's a great bargain at just $15 a month.

        I also have Netscape Dialup for $7 a month.
        That too provides the full 6 kilobyte/second bandwidth.
        Good service to have when traveling.

    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:08PM (#26375319)

      Back when I had Verizon's 3mbit DSL my speeds would be relatively close to the promise. Sure, some websites could max out quickly, but overall I was close to my limit. The same would go for if I downloaded multiple files simultaneously, their combined speed would be close to 3 mbit.

      Now with Verizon Fios, I am once again hitting my speed (or very close to it) more most of my downloading.

      • by IronChef (164482)

        I never thought it would be possible, but I am really happy with my Comcast business-class cable connection. It's advertised as 16Mbps/2Mbps. In reality, it is usually faster. Obviously, YMMV...

        NATURALLY, the week after I got Comcast, Verizon flyered my street announcing FIOS was coming. But that was 6 months ago and they haven't even started trenching.

        • Are you sure they have to trench?

          For some neighborhoods (like mine) they just use the existing telephone phone poles, so maybe they did yours already.

          They did my entire street in a day or 2, and you wouldn't have known unless you drove by them or saw them doing the length in front of your house. Personally I'd rather they went the trench route, but oh well.

          In any case, it's always refreshing to hear a happy Comcast customer. It's such a rarity (or at least was back when they were my cable company).

          • by IronChef (164482)

            There are no overhead telephone wires in my area, and I know that they have trenched some nearby streets. I don't think it's in yet, but I guess I can't be sure. I figured I'd get some junk mail announcing it, but I am on a Comcast contract for a while yet anyway.

            BTW Comcast business-class internet has a steep cancellation fee. You owe them 75% of the fees for the remaining contract period! Ouch. Now here's hoping it doesn't get flaky.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It sounds like there is a problem with your line. Call them up and bitch. If it's a problem, they might be able to fix it and get you the full 3Mbps. If the line is fine, that's all they can deliver you. You might as well switch to a lower tier. No point paying for 3Mbps, when you're only getting about 1.

    • by Phroggy (441) <{moc.yggorhp} {ta} {3todhsals}> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:22PM (#26375523) Homepage

      Unlike cable, with DSL the bandwidth between your house and the CO is not shared with your neighbors. If that's where the problem is, the phone company may be able to fix it.

      If the problem is between the CO and your ISP's POP, well, that shouldn't happen - it means the LEC screwed up pretty badly somewhere.

      If the problem is between your ISP and the Internet, then your ISP sucks ass and you should find a better one. Your phone company probably doesn't advertise this fact, but most likely, it is possible to choose from many local ISPs. Again, this is unique to DSL.

      • by Yetihehe (971185) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:06PM (#26376165)

        If the problem is between the CO and your ISP's POP, well, that shouldn't happen - it means the LEC screwed up pretty badly somewhere.

        Or a very bad case of too much acronyms.

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Don't forget that with DSL the quality of *your* wiring is important. In the UK, British Telecom are responsible for all cabling up to the "master socket" inside your house. You're responsible for the rest of it, which is fair enough.
        I'm on Sky Broadband's "up to" 8 meg package, and until last month was getting around 1.5 meg. When I could be bothered to troubleshoot this I realised it was down to my crappy wiring - had a new master socket fitted with an ADSL direct socket on it, phoned up Sky and got t
        • by Phroggy (441)

          Don't forget that with DSL the quality of *your* wiring is important. In the UK, British Telecom are responsible for all cabling up to the "master socket" inside your house. You're responsible for the rest of it, which is fair enough.

          Good call! The concept is the same here in the US; there's usually a gray plastic box installed by the phone company called the NID (Network Interface Device), MPOE or DMARC (see demarcation point [wikipedia.org]). Anything on your side, you're responsible for; anything on their side, they're responsible for.

          I highly recommend installing a DSL splitter [ebay.com] at the NID, and running a dedicated cat5 line from the DSL side of the splitter to the DSL modem. Then connect the rest of your house wiring to the telephone side of the

    • by fo0bar (261207) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:39PM (#26375745)

      I have 3 MB/sec DSL, and I get about 50 kbs downloading. Maybe up to 100 on a really good day.

      Are you getting that number from your web browser? Both IE and Firefox express speeds in KiB/s (bytes, and in base 2), whereas network line speeds are expressed as bits per second, in base 10. 3Mb/s is 3,000,000 bits per second, 375,000 bytes per second, 366.2KiB/s.

      That's still a far ways between your numbers, but it does explain some of the difference. There is some protocol overhead at various levels to deal with, but those are relatively minor. Your best option is to use something like SPeakeasy's speed test [speakeasy.net], which will test your speeds, and report back in Kb/s (bits, base 10), and take protocol overhead into account, to see if you're actually getting close to advertised speeds. That way you're not comparing apples to oranges.

      (If you are actually getting 50 kilobits per second, I am sorry, both for making assumptions, and for your sub-56k modem-ish speeds.)

      • by jrumney (197329)

        There is some protocol overhead at various levels to deal with

        To take that into account, I divide by 10 rather than 8 to convert bits to bytes. It is both easier to do in your head, and gives you a more realistic expectation of the throughput to expect. In the old days it was actually accurate, as you had stop and start bits as overhead on every byte.

    • Have you tried contacting your DSL provider to see if there's a problem with your line?

      I've had DSL in 4 locations over the past 13 years (tested it for Bell Atlantic in 1996) and Cable in 2 locations. The only times I didn't get advertised speeds was at certain times of day with the cable accounts (not surprisingly). Otherwise, they could hit peak most of the time, and I've always been able to hit peak with my DSL lines.
    • by afidel (530433)
      I'm on 8Mbps and have peaked at 1MB/s downloads so almost 125% of rated bandwidth. This after a free upgrade from 6Mbps, and upload went from 300Kbps to 1Mbps which is great for torrents and VoIP. I like my ISP when my AP department sprung the requirement on me to get a detailed bill to pay for my internet service they overnighted me the detailed billing report after I explained to someone at the head office the situation, Wide Open West (WOW) rocks. The only knock I have on them is their default DNS servic
    • Well. The problem is the little "up to" before the bandwidth number. So in fact, they could give you one bit a month, and be ok with it.
      What they really should sell is a minimum guaranteed bandwidth. And as soon as someone comes with an ad, saying that they are the only ones, guaranteeing a minimum bandwidth above 0 kb/s (hinting, that with the others, you could end up with nothing for your money), this will change. It only needs a little company with a good marketing department.

      So if you know such a compan

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I have 3 MB/sec DSL, and I get about 50 kbs downloading. Maybe up to 100 on a really good day. They really need to regulate what they can claim as far as speed with real world random sampling, or let you pay according to whatever speed you can actually get in your area, or something.

      With DSL, the speed is affected by two main factors, 1 your distance from the DSLAM (normally at your local telephone exchange) and 2 the quality of the copper between the DSLAM and you. The further out from the DSLAM you get

  • Kids (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:02PM (#26375233) Journal
    It's probably kids doing their homework before school the next day.

    From TFA:

    On weekdays, there is a sharp decline in speeds between 3pm and 4pm (school finishing time) followed by a levelling-off between 6pm and 7pm, which can perhaps be attributed to people leaving their computers for dinner (a similar resurgence in speed is seen on Sunday evening at the same time).

    • not a lot of homework requires a ton of bandwidth. Just loading a few webpages for research doesn't do much. 1 person watching youtube videos could probably outdo 25 people surfing around for school.
      • Re:Kids (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:21PM (#26375495) Journal

        1 person watching youtube videos could probably outdo 25 people surfing around for school.

        Mom: Tommy, go do your homework!
        Tommy: Okay Mom!
        Tommy then sits down on the computer and watches Youtube.

      • by sjames (1099)

        not a lot of homework requires a ton of bandwidth. Just loading a few webpages for research doesn't do much. 1 person watching youtube videos could probably outdo 25 people surfing around for school.

        So more like kids "doing their homework".

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:22PM (#26375525) Journal

      Nope, not just the kids. The whole family.

      "Primetime is Sunday between 5pm and 6pm" is not news to Ebay sellers or people who watch TV ratings. The reason why virtually every network or cable channel schedules their best shows on Sunday night is because almost everyone is at home that evening. Take Sci-Fi Channel for example. Or FOX. They moved Battlestar Galactica and X-Files from Fridays to Sundays, because they knew they'd get more eyeballs.

      And Ebay sellers have known for a long time that Sundays net the most auction views. I schedule my auctions to end 9 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific because I know I'll get the highest number of bidders during that time, and therefore higher sale prices.

      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        Or FOX. They moved Battlestar Galactica and X-Files from Fridays to Sundays, because they knew they'd get more eyeballs.

        I hated it when X-Files was on Friday, I was never home to watch it.

        • Oh I loved FOX's Friday nights. They had X-Files of course, plus Sliders, Brisco County Junior, Millenium, Firefly, and other fantasy-type shows.

          One theory on why X-Files succeeded on Friday was because the college kids and 20-somethings would watch X-Files at 9, and then go out drinking at 10. X-Files became a kind of pre-drinking ritual. I suspect that's why Sci-Fi Channel invented "Friday Prime", because they were thinking along the same lines.

      • by wurble (1430179)
        I didn't know eBay let you have it end an hour early for another time zone.
      • by Jay L (74152) *

        It hasn't been this way forever, though. As AOL grew, peaks were our nightmare, and I'm pretty sure they happened during the week - I think 8-9pm Wednesdays (the West Coast was getting home from work, and the East Coast was still online).

        More interesting was the big dip on Thursdays from 8pm-11pm. That'd be NBC's Must-See Thursdays: Friends, Seinfeld, ER, etc. I bet that doesn't happen anymore.

  • "For anyone who assumes weekday evenings are the worst time to enter the online scrum, it may be a surprise to learn that the peak internet rush hour, when average web speeds slow to a crawl, is in fact Sunday between 5pm and 6pm. "

    Naturally. For most people the weekend is their time away from work. Sunday is also a slower day than Saturday. Plus since Monday's around the corner one has to get in their last bit of relaxation in before the weekly grind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)

      The Asian economy is the powerhouse of the globe. Anyone who is involved in finance is going to be paying attention to it.

      What time is it in Asia when it's Sunday evening in the UK? Monday morning.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        At 6pm UK time it is 3am Monday morning in Japan, and 2am in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. None of the Asian markets are open yet. Probably its just that nothing is on TV at that time: BBC1 - Songs of Praise (church in your living room), BBC2 - World Darts Championship (pub in your living room, without the beer), ITV1 - You've been framed (long in the tooth Candid Camera clone), C4 - Time Team (reality TV for archaeologists), Five - 80's (or sometimes 70's) family movie.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:11PM (#26375353)

    "I knew that nobody would watch " + $show_aired_between_5_and_6.

    But seriously, maybe just the TV program sucks around that hour? It seems like that perfect little area between afternoon anime ending and pre-primetime sitcoms, when kids are already at the computer and adults are still.

  • I call bullshit. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by harl (84412)

    Less than half? Get a new ISP. I'm able to max out my cable modem consistently regardless of time of day, day of week, or direction.

    Most high bandwidth usage friends are able to do the same.

    I won't give them a penny for TV but the cable company in my area has the best net connectivity by far.

    • I have Time Warner in Dallas and live in a older poorer neighborhood (so probably oversubscription is limited), but the rich neighborhood is only a couple blocks away. I pay $50/mo for 10 mbps service with the 16 mbps temporary speed boost. I actually see 3.5-4.5 mbps consistently or 35%-45% of the advertised nominal bandwidth, and I never see the speed boost.

      This is the fastest advertised residential internet option in my neighborhood. There are 2 other options. AT&T fastest offering is 6 mbps f
      • by harl (84412)

        That sucks.

        This raises the obviously question of why are you paying for 10 mbps with a 16 mbps gimmick upsale if you never see that much speed?

        Why don't you downgrade to a lower speed and you get the same thing for less money.

        • by colinnwn (677715)
          Like an idiot I didn't test my cable connection speed for a while before upgrading. It's possible the download speed is a little faster than I had at their next to top tier. I've only had the top tier since Christmas. I figure I'll give it a month, contact them once if no improvement, and after another month downgrade to my old package if it is not better.
  • I find this story confusing as it contradicts another study that the best time to post a new blog post is Thursday - http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/new_study_shows_best_and_worst.php [readwriteweb.com]

    While the worst time is on the weekends.
  • When I used to play WoW, the login queue for my server would always appear on Sundays between 5pm and 11pm, server time.
  • Bloody British! I think CST is what, 6 hours behind GMT? I think not so much in the US.
  • That would be all day and all night Sunday, since it's between 5 and 6 somewhere.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:28PM (#26375603)

    I would have said Sunday evening was the heaviest time of use, just based on my experience selling items on eBay - it was always best to end an auction sometime Sunday night.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Haoie (1277294)

      Well that's a little different. Plenty of workplaces block access to auction websites during the working week.

      And people are likely to be out during Sat evening. On Sun however, work tomorrow morning, you know? Easily explainable.

  • by heroine (1220) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:44PM (#26375827) Homepage

    Even with all the digitization & virtualization, the physical world is king. People get home from whatever they were doing at 5pm on Sunday. People have to physically be commuting in another few hours. Packages are not physically shipped on weekends, so people wait until the last time they can place an order before the next shipment.

    • by mmcm888 (1448621)
      I work for a VPN service provider and the 'real world' effect we see is a spike in usage (across all time zones) on Sunday evenings as people login to see what lies ahead for them on Monday morning at work. m.
  • Yeah obvious that we get LESS than the speed we pay for. I've asked the ISP about that once. They guarantee "UP TO" whatever speed I'm paying for, so if I get less, it falls within the guarantee. I should become an ISP and guarantee speeds UP TO ten googolplexes of yottabytes per Planck unit of time. In the fine print it would explain the guarantee as follows: "We promise your speed will never be greater than the above mentioned speed, or your money back. In other words, the guarantee is NOT that you'll get
    • Replying to my own post: ten googolplexes of yottabytes per Planck unit of time??? What the hell is that, 10^4840^100 bytes per second? (Did I do my math right?)
  • by SlashDev (627697)
    now is that 5-6pm PST, CST or GMT?
  • When I was in college and using dial-up (mid to late 90s) in L.A., CA, USA, I noticed higher pings and slower speeds on Sunday night on Netcom and EarthLink.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:26PM (#26376457) Homepage

    That second article is for the British Telecoms not telecoms in general. While I might be tempted to believe this for American or Canadian Telecoms, the article makes no such claims. So, as usual, the summary is inflammatory and deceptive.

    It's nice to know reporters on the other side of the pond make the same arrogant mistakes Americans do when they assume everyone has the same experiences as they do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tygerstripes (832644)

      Fully concur with your first paragraph - the summary doesn't mention that key fact; the article is about British telecomms only.

      How that leads into your second paragraph, though, is quite beyond me. Whoever posted (or edited) the summary was stupidly vague, but the article itself - and the reporter - is quite clear about the location of the services in question, even though it's a UK tech-site to begin with.

      I'm not suggesting reporters on this side of the pond never make the arrogant mistakes to which you

  • Monday through Friday are obviously for working. Friday and Saturday night are for partying or Chuck E Cheese with the kids, depending on fate, a little quality time with the significant other on Sunday morning (or church I suppose), the big game on Sunday afternoon and there you are: a hour of internet before preparing for another work week.

    Aren't there plenty of movies that put the American rut in perspective?

  • I could believe this.

    The AmericaFree.TV traffic almost always peaks for the week Sunday evening. But, that is because we are a video service and most people watch from home (6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, local time, is the general peak audience for any time zone).

    I would assume that that is true for most video services, so, if video dominates bandwidth usage, then it would be reasonable to assume that Internet bandwidth usage does peak on Sunday.

  • "Sorry, your request cannot be processed at the moment."

    Appropriate.

    Using the Internet these days frequently reminds me of working on a green screen terminal attached to a mainframe over a slow modem twenty five years ago. Hurry up and wait...Between mislabeled bandwidth, simply inadequate bandwidth, overloaded servers and badly built Web sites with huge front pages loaded with images and connections to even slower ad servers, it's a wonder we connect at all.

  • Home from church, straight to the pr0n!
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Home from church, straight to the pr0n!

      You spend all day until evening in the church?

  • In ecommerce, it's Sunday and Monday that have the heaviest traffic days. Friday and Saturday are the lightest. Oddly enough, it seems although Sunday may be a heavy traffic day, it's not a day people like to buy on - they'd rather buy on Monday, which is why you'll see most of your spam marketing on Monday. This is unlike other non-ecommerce web sites I've worked with, when it's more of a browsing web site for information or entertainment it seems like Thursdays are better... don't take my experiences as s
  • the long dark ping time of the soul

  • When I download a huge file, I always, always do it on sunday, because my ISP caps the bandwidth at something like 10 gigs a week, they reset the amount used at midnight on sunday, when a new week starts and bandwidth goes to 0 no matter how much you use.
  • Sorry If I need my Top Gear/Final Gear fix.

  • This doesn't explain why my Comcast connection goes down for 20 minutes, every single day, at 10:30am. Without fail. You can set your watch by it. Modem doesn't lose sync, but I get 100% packet loss from 10:30-10:50, every morning. My assumption is that somebody on my cable segment is running a scheduled transfer or something...

  • I try to browse all my pr0n before confession. I guess I could start going to midnight mass.

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