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High-Bandwidth Users Are Just Early Adopters 162

silverpig writes "Cisco has released a whitepaper on mobile data usage which has some interesting data in it. The top 1% of users consume 20% of the bandwidth, but that share is down from 30% previously. 'Regular' users are catching up as they watch more video. High-bandwidth users of today will be relatively average users by 2015, so network operators should look to those users for insight in designing their future networks."
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High-Bandwidth Users Are Just Early Adopters

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  • But.. But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by francium goes boom ( 1969836 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:48PM (#35361430)

    That means I actually have to spend money on my network!

    • Re:But.. But... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by toastar ( 573882 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:58PM (#35361560)

      That means I actually have to spend money on my network!

      The fact that this is a white paper by a company selling network equipment didn't set off anybody's conflict of interest meter?

      • Re:But.. But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DanTheStone ( 1212500 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:03PM (#35361654)
        Just because there's a conflict of interest doesn't mean the data is a lie. This should be as obvious as the correlation/causation idiom.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 )
          No, but it means that there should be some verification of the results. For example, take every study ever conducted by the RIAA about file sharing. Those studies have been shown repeatedly to be bullshit.

          Of course, everything we've heard seems to support this study about bandwidth, which probably means that it's valid.
          • I didn't know the RIAA has put out studies on file sharing!
            I thought they only did studies on PIRACY PIRACY PIRACY, YARRRR!
        • No, the fact that there's a significant and obvious conflict of interest means that the paper needs to be dismissed. Do some real research and then make decisions. Put it another way, would you expect Cisco to provide data saying otherwise? If a paper exists which, regardless of the true situation, is expected to claim (and support with supposed evidence) one thing, the fact that the paper claims exactly that adds no information at all. What it says is probably right, but that's independent of the paper's e
          • We work in one of these "high bandwidth" fields, and we see Cisco's determination to be pretty much right.

            They might have a conflict of interest to promote new network equipment, but then again it's also their job to know these things. The ultimate question is that is Cisco trustworthy? Yes, they've proven to be, unlike MAFIAA.

            Imho, to determine the validity of this research is the same as suspecting Cisco's reputation and honesty. Certainly they have different perspective on things, but that doesn't make t

      • Re:But.. But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:03PM (#35361656)

        There's a difference between "conflict of interest" and "we know what we're talking about," although the two do sometimes overlap.

        • by neoform ( 551705 )

          This is the line of thinking behind lobbyists entering high positions of government......

          just saying.

          • by Rysc ( 136391 ) *

            Anyone who knows enough to speak authoritatively on a subject probably has an interest in it, financially speaking, one way or another. To ignore the conclusions of such people would be to throw away the best possible advice. The trick is not to ignore information coming from sources with conflicts of interest but to aggregate information on the same subject coming from sources with different conflicts of interests so as to obtain a cross-section of probable-neutral information.

            It's possible that someone wi

      • Re:But.. But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gknoy ( 899301 ) <gknoy.anasazisystems@com> on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:05PM (#35361686)

        On the other hand, look at the infrastructure difference between the US and other countries. Sure, we have rural areas, but in urban areas we aren't getting the level of service that happens in Japan or Korea or even (I think?) some European countries. This is after having "loaned" telecom companies massive amounts of money to build infrastructure, and they (mostly) did not.

        When you consider that everyone and their mom is now using Youtube, and wanting to do video phone calls, Skype, streaming Netflix, etc, it's hard to argue with Cisco's conclusions (at least, as the summary stated them ;)). In five or ten years, demand for streaming video will likely be even higher, and that's just the most obvious one.

        • by skids ( 119237 )

          Actually here we get more www traffic from facebook and other web2.0 than anything streaming these days. That is when llnw isn't saturating the net with m$ and game system updates. Streaming users use a fixed stream of bandwidth as they sit transfixed. Bored users hitting reload rack up huge bandwidth budgets. Were web2.0 to make their HTML leaner, we'd save some serious dollars.

      • The fact that this is a white paper

        What the hell are "white papers" anyway?

        It seems they are merely brochures with the distinction of being way too long.

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        The fact that this is a white paper by a company selling network equipment didn't set off anybody's conflict of interest meter?

        I'm not seeing how that ties into anything.

        They sell their switches and routers mostly to corporate data centers, carriers, and ISPs. When the publish figures about MOBILE users, they aren't telling us anything we don't already know. They aren't' telling us anything the cell carriers haven't already told us.

        Since they do very little DIRECTLY with Mobile devices themselves, all they are tell you is that the big boys are buying stuff to beef up their networks.
        All the carriers are augmenting their back haul

      • by Gilmoure ( 18428 )

        For the truth, check out the white papers put out by Waste Management and Alcoa on network usage.

      • It does, but on the other hand, Cisco has a pretty strong incentive to make accurate predictions here, for its own benefit. It's better for them to know what the actual market trends are so they can plan for them, than it is to make up wishful numbers. If publishing the white paper helps drum up sales, so be it.

    • by tukang ( 1209392 )
      Cisco just so happens to sell the equipment you'll need to upgrade your network. What a coincidence!
      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        Cisco just so happens to sell the equipment you'll need to upgrade your network. What a coincidence!

        And by making that snide remark you throw yourself firmly in the camp suggesting we don't need to upgrade our mobile networks?

        Here's your sign [].

  • Wait a second.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Immostlyharmless ( 1311531 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:48PM (#35361438)
    I thought those heavy users were all supposed to be pirates? they say they are early adopters, does this mean we're all going to turn into pirates? Best get out my peg leg and shine it up....
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Hmm, no piracy here. Enough Netflix, Hulu and ps3 demo downloads(Most are over a GB) and you too can be a heavy user

      • Yup, and playing decent online games, many people who play MMOs of different flavors face GB+ patches once a year, voice comms which is a pretty constant data stream, and the data for the game, which can be quite large.

    • Unfortunately, people like the AC that posted in a thread below [] kind of suggest otherwise.

      I am like h4rr4r. I watch a ton of Netflix, Hulu and download large, legal files (lately, development related ISOs). I'm sure that I am a high bandwidth user, but I am definitely in the minority on Slashdot, and-the-like, because I am not pirating anything.

      • I am happy that my intense pirating of 7gigabytes of material from the 1950's (which should really be out of copyright now anyway but in any case doesn't risk fierce enforcement in any case) will now disappear as noise amid the enormous amount of legal data I get in openoffice updates and netflix.

    • I thought those heavy users were all supposed to be pirates? they say they are early adopters, does this mean we're all going to turn into pirates? Best get out my peg leg and shine it up....

      I means, in the future, we're all going to get throttled.

      Wireless speeds are going up and the bandwidth caps on "unlimited" plans aren't.
      That should tell you all you need to know about wireless telecom's plans for the future.

      • And as long as a lot of people support that sort of piracy it will remain that way. Service plans being advertised as providing "up to" a certain amount of bandwidth with no promise of reliability in the fine print and often times a cap which prevents you from using the maximum amount of bandwidth that they're able to provide. It would be nice to have actual truth in advertising regulations in the US. The ones we have are so toothless that you pretty much have to call the FTC up and tell them you're adverti

    • I thought those heavy users were all supposed to be pirates? they say they are early adopters, does this mean we're all going to turn into pirates?

      Another interpretation: when video over Internet was brand new, there were few legal options because the market was tiny and undeveloped. Now it has become more mainstream because legal options became available.

      For myself, netflix and amazon streaming have reduced the need/desire to look "elsewhere" by quite a bit.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Best get out my peg leg and shine it up....

      Heather Mills-McCartney, I didn't know you posted on Slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    An IT infrastructure company came out with a report stating that operators should beef up their infrastructure.
    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Some wise guy makes a cheap shot, and all of smartphone and tablet users suffering ridiculous bandwidth caps and exorbitant prices are just supposed to nod our head in agreement?

      You sir, are an idiot.

    • Just because it's an IT infrastructure does not automatically mean that they're wrong. It means that we should eye it somewhat cynically, but if you look at the way it's been up until now, I'd be surprised if they weren't right overall. Just look at all the people streaming Netflix with set top boxes and watching youtube. It doesn't take a lot of sophistication at this point to use a lot of bandwidth, whereas previously you were probably downloading torrents or OS discs.

  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:51PM (#35361486) Journal

    I think the network operators and ISP's solution to those high bandwidth users is to cap bandwidth, shape traffic, enforce download/upload caps - pretty much anything short of actually spending money on designing a future network.

    • IPv4 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Piata ( 927858 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:00PM (#35361600)
      You're talking about the same companies that knew IPv4 addresses were rapidly depleting for years and are just now taking steps to implement IPv6. Their main concern is minimizing expenses while maximizing profit. The less your average user uses, the more users they can squeeze onto the same pipe. I'm pretty sure most ISPs would love it if everyone bought an $80 data plan and only used it to check their email. There's no room for long term planning when you have shareholders that expect constant short term growth.
      • Re:IPv4 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by C_amiga_fan ( 1960858 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:09PM (#35361724)

        >>>Their main concern is minimizing expenses while maximizing profit.

        It is a logical choice.
        - The longer you wait, the cheaper upgrading becomes. Upgrade to a 3000 megahertz single core P4 five years ago and spend $1500. Make the same upgrade today and spend $150. The same decreasing cost applies to upgrades in Servers and DSL or cable or fiber lines.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Except, of course, if everyone had waited, that same upgrade (if still available at all) would cost $3000 as a specialty item.

        • No, it's not logical, this isn't equivalent. The cost of implementation goes up a lot just before a critical switch over date appears. Consultants don't become more numerous just because there's a date coming up that requires their services. Ultimately, it costs a lot of money to try and make these sorts of switches overnight, and you do pay a premium for doing so.

      • by Xacid ( 560407 )

        Mind you - Cisco also falls in this same boat. There was a slashdot article not too long ago about how a lot of their gear still being produced doesn't natively support ipv6. Bonkers I tell you.

        • Those were their Home & SOHO linksys gear... Exactly how many ISP support IPv6 to the home or small business user...? Not many at all. So why add a feature that has zero demand?

          ISPs have it a bit differently, they know they demand and just prefer to ignore it until they can't.

    • I don't really think it's about them being too cheap to increase their infrastructure. I imagine they will do that too.

      Maybe I'm paranoid, but I honestly believe that it has more to do with them wanting to effectively put meters on content delivery in order to milk more money out of it. They want to get this in place during the early adopter phase so that it will be perceived as standard practice when it truly becomes mainstream. Sure, the internet is mainstream enough that even your grandmother is watchin

  • I'm wondering if this means the same is true for all broadband. Obviously there will always be heavier users, and I think everyone here knows they need to worry more about upgrading infrastructure and less about how to limit users to make it work as it is, but could they realistically NEED to increase their capacity within the next few years to avoid having their pipes always clogged by what's become regular usage?
  • Network hardware vendor releases report encouraging more spending in network hardware!

    • That's true, but do their conclusions sound wrong to you? Of course more people are learning to use the net to watch movies and download music (legally and illegally), that's normal, isn't it? Eventually, the majority of people will be doing that, I think, unless limits are imposed on the market (e.g. some anti-competitive, fucked up notion of 'net neutrality', metered billing or what have you, that ISPs lobbied for to limit the need for infrastructure investment).
      • Oh their conclusions sound right, it's just disappointing that the only voice of connom sense in the industry is speaking out of commercial interest. They'd be saying the same thing if the internet were a veritable ghost town. If a telco would man up and say "we need more infrastructure", that would be worthy of applause. All I'm hearing from them right now, though, is "we need less customers", and I'd be happy to oblige if we had real alternatives in Australia. There's Telstra, who's coverage is nowher

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:53PM (#35361520) Journal

    In Canada, we are facing a fight over Usage-Based-Billing, and whether the federal government can effectively force it on ISPs. The idea isn't actually terrible per se, but the way they're trying to implement it certainly is.
    One thing that has come up time and time again is that it's to protect the consumer from the excess of the 1% of extreme consumers. They're often implicitly labelled as pirates by the ISPs, but in fact are the vanguard.
    An excellent article in the Globe and Mail [] had this to say on the matter:

    The knowledge that penalties await heavy Internet usage does something quite terrible: discourage desirable behaviour. Most of Bell’s arguments for treating consumers as wrongdoers rely on the villainization of “bandwidth hogs” who use up everyone else’s bandwidth and generally bring misery to the land. But there are better words for big users of the Internet: “pioneers” and “innovators.” A nation that spends its time worrying about bandwidth caps is not a nation that leads.

    • Not to mention the hypocrisy of these same company's selling there wears with promises of super fast downloads, streaming video, movies, fastest network, etc....

      Oh but don't dare actually use it, you're a pirate then!

      They are like some sort of petulant child, that's also crazy...

  • Ahead of the curve (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @04:55PM (#35361538) Homepage Journal

    The cell phone companies are way ahead of the curve on this one. They've been working on ways to screw us over for years now... and the more you know about making the sausage (from sites like HoFo []), the more you know how bad you're getting it. Especially in the US.

    Just a few days ago, I got a text message from T-Mobile saying, "Texas Recovery Fee now included on monthly bill." Oh for crying out loud. Does the grocery store charge me a "Municipal Services Recovery Fee" to get back the cost of their food service license? Even the tire store doesn't charge the "tire disposal fee" if I tell them to load 'em up in the back seat. I'd drop 'em in a minute if it weren't for two things: 1) Everyone else is just as bad or worse, and 2) T-Mo makes it easy and *cheaper* to stay *out* of a contract, which actually makes me *more* likely to stay.

    • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:02PM (#35361646)

      Some states (NY for example) make the tire stores charge the tire disposal fee even if you keep the old tires.

      I make sure I get my money's worth by taking the used tires and leaving them at the side of the freeway.

      • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

        Well, there seems to be obvious logic behind this. If you are getting charged anyway, you won't be tempted to "keep the old tires" and then to dump them in the woods...

        • What's the obvious logic? You may as well take the tires, and do something with them that will probably leave them in some form of litter. After all, you've paid for their disposal. You may as well take them and get some entertainment or other temporary use out of them, too. Instead of just leaving them with the store to be disposed of.

          Thats sorta what not requiring the fee to be paid does.. Yes, if the fee isn't required, you could walk out with the tires and the money and still do the same thing. But that

          • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

            Great idea and you also have a great social mind with no selfish interest in your heart at all. The problem is that your planned behavior might cause the tire disposal charges to raise even higher thus making citizen who do not have such a rebel way of thinking to subsidize your own behavior.



            There is always a way to screw up the system. If most people do, then the system isn't valid. If only a minority do screw up the system th

    • You obviously have not discovered MetroPCS, Cricket, or Boost

  • network operators should look to those users for insight in designing their future networks..

    Network operators developing future netowrks? HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa.

    Oh, wait, you were serious? Wow ... Good luck with that.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @05:16PM (#35361802)

    Just call them "bandwidth hogs," oversell your capacity, and blame your connectivity problems on the people using most of the flow they paid for.

  • network operators should look to those users for insight in designing their future networks. network operators should look to those users for insight in pricing their future networks.

  • The oft repeated rule of thumb is that 80% of a product is bought by 20% of the customers. Here, 80% of the product is bought by 99% of the customers.

    The top 1% of users consume 20% of the bandwidth ...

  • "The early adoptors of today are using what main steam users will be using in a couple of years!" OMG, Stop the presses, I have NEVER heard that before!

  • The problem with the structure of both DSL and cable based residential internet connections in the US is that it is a "star" configuration with a "neighborhood node" or DSLAM at the core. You can connect up many homes to the node before things start to degrade, but the limiting factor is the upper limit on the bandwidth between the Internet at large and the neighborhood node. Once you reach that limit all you can do really is split up the homes onto two nodes with separate feeds to the head end and the In

  • Man they're smart. I'd never figure that out.

  • More people are buying smart phones over time... Crazy.

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