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The Internet Canada Networking

Broadband Users 'Need' At Least 10Mbps To Be Satisfied 280

Mickeycaskill writes: A new report says broadband users need at least 10Mbps speeds to be satisfied with their connection — especially with regards to online video which is now seen as a staple Internet application. Researchers at Ovum measured both objective data such as speed and coverage alongside customer data to give 30 countries a scorecard. Sweden was deemed to have the best broadband, ahead of Romania and Canada, while the UK and US finished joint-eight with Russia. "Ever since broadband services were launched, there has been discussion on what is the definition of broadband and how much speed do consumers really need?" said co-author Michael Philpott. "In 2015, the answer is at least 10Mbps if you wish to receive a good-quality broadband experience, and a significant number of households, even in well-developed broadband countries, are well shy of this mark."
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Broadband Users 'Need' At Least 10Mbps To Be Satisfied

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  • Speed doesn't matter as much, at least to me, as a connection that works. Between throttling, DPI, traffic "management", lack of ability to connect to peers, and such the problems I experience with my connection have nothing to do with raw speed. As to raw speed... 10Mbps is acceptable for websites but nowhere near enough for game downloads/P2P/etc.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:18PM (#50522917) Journal

    You can't stream decent video with 10 Mbits while someone else in your house is trying to play an online game or even web browsing these days.

    Worse, I have a 50 Mbit connection with Comcast and you can't stream their Xfinity stuff without buffers and pixelated/blocks showing up. Which I find amusing, that Comcast can't even stream their own shit on their own networks.

    I'd say 25Mbits is the least people can use with a mostly usable internet.

    And I"m saying Mbits instead of Mbps so people understand we are talking bits, not bytes.

    • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:26PM (#50522965)

      If you can't stream over 50Mb/s, you're not getting 50Mb/s. BluRay video is between 16 and 32Mb/s.

      As always, the cable company is screwing you with "up to" 50Mb/s, rather than the actual advertised speed.

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        ISPs care not. They will say 1 bit/sec will be fine. :P

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        If you can't stream over 50Mb/s, you're not getting 50Mb/s. BluRay video is between 16 and 32Mb/s.

        As always, the cable company is screwing you with "up to" 50Mb/s, rather than the actual advertised speed.

        Well, if you want the advertised speed, pay for it. You'll soon find out how cable companies are able to get the rates they do - $100/month for 50Mbps is stupid cheap. Because a business that wants to get guaranteed 50Mbps will easily pay $1000/month or more.

        Consumer broadband works by splitting that among

        • I'm satisfied with my cable company giving me 50. I'm averaging 66 any time of day when I check it. Apparently nobody else near me is using cable for internet. The one time this year when it went down was because of a fiber miles from me being cut.

          I'm sure as time goes by they will go up and up and up with the speed. They always have, even without me asking.
    • by Sable Drakon ( 831800 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:32PM (#50522979)
      If someone doesn't know the difference between Mbps and MBps, they need to find a new geek news site.
      • by reikae ( 80981 )

        I guess most people here know the difference. Many here also know that not everyone is careful with their shift key usage. You've probably seen quite a few people talk of millibits per second.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:33PM (#50522989) Homepage Journal

      If a streaming provider glitches that badly, it means that they don't know how to do video streaming. It isn't rocket science. You ensure that you buffer enough to keep playback going, starting at a bit rate that is lower than your connection's average speed initially so that you can buffer ahead. You then transparently switch to a higher quality stream (if available) after you've built up at least half a minute of buffer. And if you detect that the buffer is shrinking, you begin buffering progressively lower-quality streams until it stops shrinking. If the network performance problem goes away, you can always switch back to the high-quality stream and (if the performance is dramatically better than expected) opportunistically replace chunks of the lower-quality buffered data with higher-quality versions, beginning with the oldest content, in an attempt to avoid the user ever seeing the lower-quality version.

      The problem is not the speed of the connection. The problem is pencil pushers at the content providers who try to micromanage the amount of data that they provide, giving you the bare minimum amount of cached data necessary, so that when you stop watching, they won't have wasted any data sending you content that you didn't watch. This approach is ineffective, and results in constant glitches if the network connection speed is variable. Unfortunately, that approach is all too common.

      • Never ascribe to the sins of MBAs what is just rotten network quality. Crappy cable, overused segments, ugly routing, aperiodic surges, home network congestion, ugly routers, all these things have a bearing on overall throughput. In DSL, the sins are only slightly different. Fiber means nothing if you're sharing the same backhaul with two dozen Netflix instances.

        Don't take this to say I'm defending telcos and cable providers in any way. I'm saying that it's not necessarily the pencil pushers. They don't ove

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Never ascribe to the sins of MBAs what is just rotten network quality. Crappy cable, overused segments, ugly routing, aperiodic surges, home network congestion, ugly routers, all these things have a bearing on overall throughput. In DSL, the sins are only slightly different. Fiber means nothing if you're sharing the same backhaul with two dozen Netflix instances.

          The thing is, the network quality might be terrible, but with few exceptions, it usually isn't "the network just went down for half a minute or lon

          • You trade buffer for startup time. Or you start at low video bitrates, which creates the macroblocks he described. Its not that simple, or youtube and netflix would have fixed it by now.
      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        So if you're stuck with streaming not only are you most likely to be watching it at peak times, when congestion is most likely to occur but you could end up seeing an inferior quality version to what you wanted?

        That's why i download, my connection is too congested during the day and i don't want to watch tv after midnight, but i can happily download torrents after midnight and watch them in full quality the following day.

      • If a streaming provider glitches that badly, it means that they don't know how to do video streaming. It isn't rocket science. You ensure that you buffer enough to keep playback going, starting at a bit rate that is lower than your connection's average speed initially so that you can buffer ahead.

        Yes, that is why seeing that bullshit blue bar under the youtube video display makes me livid... but only at google, not at my ISP. They used to buffer whole videos. Now they only bugger them.

    • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:36PM (#50523005) Journal

      If you have 50Mbs you will not have any problems with decent video while playing a game. If you do, the problems must be somewhere else. Your hardware or network congestion/configuration, or many of you family members is watching porn in 4k 3D without your knowledge.

      Netflix bitrate for 4k video is 15.6Mbps. Games are mostly under 0.5Mbps. If you run a game server, you may need more than 0.5Mbps.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Netflix bitrate for 4k video is 15.6Mbps. Games are mostly under 0.5Mbps. If you run a game server, you may need more than 0.5Mbps.

        Yes, I would rather say it's the other way around. If there's heavy downloads/streaming you might see lag in the game, but no ordinary game uses any significant bandwidth.

        • Yes, I would rather say it's the other way around. If there's heavy downloads/streaming you might see lag in the game, but no ordinary game uses any significant bandwidth.

          Lots of games will chew up a megabit now. But the real problem with gaming while streaming is that a stream doesn't use the same bitrate all the time, and neither does gaming. So if you're at a full-fat part of the stream (lots of motion and whatnot, perhaps, which the codec decided should be preserved) and a lot is happening in the game, then a congested connection can lead to an unsatisfactory experience for all.

          I have 6 Mbps peak, but in the evenings I don't even get that reliably, and at that point I ca

    • That's not the speed though. I have 12mbps and I stream just fine. So with 50mbps it should survive web browsing just fine if the only factor was bandwidth. There are other factors though. Some streaming services are adaptive, they'll expand to fill the pipe if they can. You may also end up having some IP stream prioritized over another one, since the internet isn't trying very hard to interleave all your packets in a manner that fits your preferences. If you've got a cable company as ISP your line is

    • 10 Mbps is more than enough for video. Xfinity tv is built on a technology called HLS. Apple, Google, and Netflix also all use this. The top bitrate offered by xfinity.tv is exposed in the HLS manifest. Take an example HLS manifest for mr robot [comcast.net]. Here we see:

      #EXT-X-STREAM-INF:PROGRAM-ID=1,BANDWIDTH=205437,CODECS="mp4a.40.5,avc1.4d401f",RESOLUTION=320x180 518139459916_1441222758515_1850000_4/format-hls-track-muxed-bandwidth-205437-repid-200000.m3u8 #EXT-X-STREAM-INF:PROGRAM-ID=1,BANDWIDTH=349312,CODECS="mp4a

    • 15/2 wasn't enough for Netflix + one online game at the same time
      30/5 is doing it fine

      I'd like to have something more symmetrical like 30/15 or 50/25 or any sort of fiber to the home that starts at 100/100.

    • We don't need to stream BD quality. Netflix has this sample video that lets you see the quality and the bitrate. I believe when they reach 1080p, the bitrate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000bps.

      However, I agree with you that 10Mbit is no longer enough. While my household has three TVs, streaming video from uverse and netflix is also popular, and two streams can easily clash. As I mentioned in that example, you effectively need 10Mbps for a single 1080p stream. But besides the stream, people my my ho

  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:18PM (#50522919) Homepage
    Um, why would Canada be anywhere near the top? I mean, big cities will have okay coverage and bandwidth, but we still have absolutely egregious pricing compared with the rest of the developed world. That 10Mbit is going to cost you far more in even the most populous downtown areas than it would in a backwater village in Sweden or France. I guess if you completely ignore prices, we'd have relatively good coverage, but a lot of people won't want to pay for it at the prices we have it at.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:24PM (#50522951) Homepage Journal

    Most users don't need more than 10 Mbits/s averaged over a week, but most users will swear at their ISP at least once a year unless their connection is nearly an order of magnitude higher than that. I just did a full iCloud backup of a 64 GB iPhone 5 for the first time in a year. Had I used a 10 Mbit/s connection, given how much slower upload usually is, I'd expect to have only around 3 Mbit/s upload speed, which would mean the backup would have taken more than half a weekend. That's barely even usable. Forget being satisfied.

  • First post! (Score:5, Funny)

    by therufus ( 677843 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:35PM (#50523003)

    Sorry, I live in Australia. :(

  • by JThundley ( 631154 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @10:43PM (#50523021) Homepage

    Streaming is overrated. I live with 3mps down by choice, mostly because I'm cheap. I download videos from streaming sites and watch them all at once. It's great! No ads, no buffering, no proprietary plugins, I can freely skip around without said buffering, and I can save the video if I like it DRM-free. It doesn't go away when I stop paying for a service. I'm also a heavy gamer, but I get good pings, so 3mbps is good enough. I do my bulk downloads and uploads while I sleep and make sure the internet isn't being hogged while I game. Honestly, I don't have a lot of complaints. My friends and coworkers all think I'm weird. They're right, but I think they're weird for putting up with all this other shit that I don't.

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      Indeed, 3Mbps can be enough -- if you live alone and manage things carefully.

      Last year I was at a house with 3Mbps, at least one (and often multiple) teenagers. It wasn't enough. Streaming, downloads, and web browsing would trash the connection and make it unusable for anything else. There were often bizarre arguments about whose "turn" it was to use the Internet.

      I put together a router with Shibby's Tomato-USB, with some careful ingress QoS rules. Streaming still sucked, and downloads were a last prior

    • I guess if you have lots of patience, 3Mbps is fine. However, I don't have patience when a 10GB file is downloading with that sort of speed. I think the 20-22Mbps I am getting is a more of a sweet spot. I can stream an HD video from netflix, and somebody else can run a network video game or torrent without us slowing down each other.

  • On my ADSL2+ connection I usually somewhere around 8-9mbits downstream depending on exactly what my router last synced at (currently getting 9.1mbits) and that is plenty fine for me even when watching YouTube or other video sites. The biggest problem is the poor quality of my copper line to the exchange (blame that on Telstra here in Australia who own the wires)

  • 10Mbit or 100Mbit to your broadband provider doesn't mean anything if what is overloaded are the interconnects between the broadband provider and the service providers. Starting with Comcast the large broadband providers engaged in deliberate interconnect congestion tactics that eventually forced Netflix and others to make direct payments to restore acceptable service to their customers, The new net neutrality rules are supposed to put an end to this practice but between net neutrality being tied up in cour
  • Government regulations and deals with municipalities have resulted in carriers offering "basic" Internet for under $30 per month. These are supposed to provide "broadband" connections for people with low incomes. But the carriers aren't stupid. They cap the speed of these services at about 4 Mbps, knowing that customers won't be satisfied, and will fork over even more of their small incomes for better speeds.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @11:47PM (#50523191)

    Cable companies have an inherent conflict of interest when it comes to Internet access. Making Netflix work well only erodes their main source of revenue. When there are competing providers dedicated only to Internet, they will provide both a good maximum speed and peering/caching infrastructure to ensure this speed is what users experience in practice.

  • by aegl ( 1041528 ) on Monday September 14, 2015 @11:56PM (#50523205)

    10 Mbit/s (if it is a real 10, and not an "up to 10") is plenty to stream one video from NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon etc. (unless you are trying for one of the rare 4K streams). But if you have multiple users in the house, you will need to allow for times when they all want something different at the same time.

    I'd be happy 99.99% of the time with 40 Mbit/s. If Google fiber ever gets here - I don't think I'd notice whether it was 100Mbit/s or 1Gbit/s more than a couple of times a year.

    • 10 Mbit/s (if it is a real 10, and not an "up to 10") is plenty to stream one video from NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon etc. (unless you are trying for one of the rare 4K streams). But if you have multiple users in the house, you will need to allow for times when they all want something different at the same time.

      I'd be happy 99.99% of the time with 40 Mbit/s. If Google fiber ever gets here - I don't think I'd notice whether it was 100Mbit/s or 1Gbit/s more than a couple of times a year.

      Indeed. I have a 1 Gb connection at work and 20 Mb at home. I don't notice any difference between two except when I'm pulling in large quantities of work-related data or, weirdly, when I'm making an SSH connection to Goddady. Probably my fault for placing myself in a position where I need to do the latter.

  • But I agree that 10Mbps is enough to fit the 'needs' for most people because most general people just go on facebook, checking email, and youtube videos. Plus it's enough for someone to find a job to get better income so that they can afford a better connection if they want. 10Mbps will give you what you need. It's really when you do high-end streaming, playing online, or torrents/backing up online when the bigger is better. To be honest, I grew up downloading gigs of data off of AOL 'cerver' chat rooms
  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @01:00AM (#50523325)
    You're all geeking out abut the wrong part. The fact that the US, UK and Russia are in a dead heat for eighth place is pathetic.

    So what do these three countries have in common? How about the fact that they are all politically corrupt oligarchies run for the power and profit of the economic/political elite. The proof: the wealth gap (ever expanding) between the rich and everyone else.

    Meanwhile, socialist Sweden ranks number one. You know, evil socialism where everyone is enslaved and reduced to pathetic dependency on the state and nothing works because government! Of course Sweden also outranks the US, UK and Russian in health, longevity, education, low poverty, pretty much any measure of quality of life.

    Just sayin'.

    • It's indeed very interesting, specially to compare USA and Russia. People argued that relatively poor average adoption of broadband has to do with the fact that USA is a huge country with most population centers in the coastal areas, while the middle states are rural with low population density and very high population dispersion. Well, guess what, Russia is in the same boat, only worse. Only 110 million Russians are living in the European Russia, resulting in population density below 30 people per sq km, w

  • Due to a long-illegal "exclusivity contract" my apartments had many years ago, I am stuck at the "max" of 2.4. Sometimes it will get up to 2.8 (not sure how that's possible) but it's total suckage. Three hours to download XCom from Steam, and had to tell my gf "your netflix may time out over the next few hours". What's even more annoying is that the ONLY fiber broadband in all of Oklahoma is just right across the street! But it's a private teleco for a specific suburb, so they can't run a connection acr
  • What excuse does the US government have for not having the fastest broadband in the world? I mean here we are with the streets paved with gold and gold can conduct electricity and therefore data at great speeds. So maybe we are not really number one and by the way the streets in front of my home are not made of gold. They are old, decaying asphalt with pot holes.
  • You need somewhere between 20-50Mbps of dedicated bandwidth for a smooth decent quality compressed stream. Netflix requires UltraHD streamers to have 100Mbps broadband.

  • The vast majority of users are never satisfied with any amount of bandwidth for long.

    Give them 10 today and they'll be complaining that they don't have 100 as soon as they see someone else that does.

  • To be honest I've lost track of who said what due to our stupid revolving door leadership, but I seem to recall a little while ago that the choice was '25Mbit in 5 years' or '100Mbit in 8 years for a lot more cost'.
    I was hoping for the 25Mbit choice because it would be fast enough to move the bottleneck elsewhere, but people were scathing and condescending about being so 'backwards' and 'outdated'.
    Looks like I was right.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @07:37AM (#50524157)

    All this head-scratching about what users "need" bothers me. It's focusing on the minimum. Which seems to imply that broadband providers can focus on some minimal level of service and then stop investing in infrastructure or really get away with throttling and caps under the guise of limiting you to "what you need".

    IMHO, providers should be focusing on some (ultimately arbitrary, yes) number that better represents the growth curve of usage and speeds. Infrastructure investment in networks should be continual until actual consumption trends show a flat line and throttling and capping looks like a wasted investment because it doesn't return any value because the network has the headspace to accommodate what everyone wants to do.

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