Broadband News

Traffic management hardware supplier publishes stats

How people use their broadband connections will have changed immensely in the seven years broadband has been available in the UK. To this end, Ellacoya who manufacture a range of traffic management hardware has published some data they have collated, which can be read over on ISP-Planet.

It appears that just 5% of broadband users generate 45.3% of traffic, and a further 40% of users account for only 3.8% of traffic. Unfortunately the ISP-Planet item seems to label the heavier users as hogs, which is perhaps not the best phrase. While in the past it was probably clear that a lot of traffic was from sharing of copyrighted material via peer to peer (P2P) networks, things are rapidly changing as the Ellacoya research seems to show. VoIP traffic is on the increase, and online gaming, if the data is correct, has seen a massive explosion in use. Once you add the emerging audio/video streaming/download services like Sky Anytime, MSN Music and a host of other services, it is easy to see how usage patterns are moving away from just a little bit of bursty web browsing.

What is interesting for UK broadband users is the final paragraph which talks about US broadband providers cracking down on the heaviest users, with a search on showing a number of stealth usage caps. Love them or hate them, caps in the form of easily visible usage allowances or more stealthy fair use policies (FUP) have been part of the UK broadband landscape for a couple of years. One advantage to the majority of consumers is that these policies have helped to drive prices down over a period of three years when wholesale prices have been relatively stable.


Actually, that's called "overselling". But hey.

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 14 years ago

Once ISPs are REQUIRED BY LAW to offer what they state in the contract, just as suppliers of beer, cheese, petrol, etc. etc. have to do, I'd like to see a situation where (H)Ellacoya have no sales of this type of equipment in this country.

To say you get "up to" 8 bit, and then get throttled to less than dial up speed (on Usenet or P2P for example) is often just a complete con.

  • shaunhw
  • over 14 years ago

No worse than signing up to a fair usage policy and then totally ignoring it.

Hmmm... don't remember ever signing a contract when I last bought a beer!

  • wirelesspacman
  • over 14 years ago

So if you bought a pint, and were only given two thirds of a pint, you'd be happy would you ? Yes I suppose you would.

"Fair usage" policies

How can one ignore something which usually isn't even specifued ? Also some companies "fair usage" has been ridiculously low. Often advertised as "unlimited" but then they come down hard, if you use more than a gig a week in one particular case...

When one buys a pint of beer, that is what what expects to be given.

  • shaunhw
  • over 14 years ago

Beer isn't sold as a contended product - you don't expect to share it with everyone else at the bar. That's the difference.

Broadband is a shared / contended medium where the total capacity is a few % of the total end user connection capacity so moderation in use (voluntary or otherwise) is a prerequisite.

  • herdwick
  • over 14 years ago

If I was given two thirds of a pint, I will be delighted!!! What about receiving only a couple of teaspoon full only?
From a reliable 2Mb service that was never below 1.7Mb I went UP TO 8MB (wow man!!!). But the truth is that the speed is more often than not below the upload speed, 125Kbps for instance. Where is the fairness in this? I am not using more bandwitdth than before even if I were to try it would be practically impossible. OfCom had to look into this matter soon. IPs are overselling themselves, they are selling a service they cannot provide!!!!

  • elmonxo
  • over 14 years ago

I think the pint.. er.. point is, the term Unlimited is being totally abused, advertising unlimited then in small writing *FUP Applies* so they can cap it to hell without being dragged over hot coals by the ASA as it was stated limited DO apply hence cancelling the word Unlimited.

IMHO this is total bullsh1t and should be illegal.

  • _TRIaXOR_
  • over 14 years ago

If ISP in the UK can't even offer a 24 hour full use 1mpbs line (8 GB a day), then there is no chance in the ISP's coping with Hi-Def video on demand (1920 x 1080 progressive )where shows are around 3 gigabytes per half hour. Unless they expect people to watch just two show's per day.

Compared to Japan and Germany Britain is going to fall well behind.

  • Dryheat
  • over 14 years ago

The comparisons made here are emotive but flawed. It would be fairer to say "If you have a bar with a fixed number of barrels, and you say 'free beer'.. Would it be unfair if a small minority (say 1 out of 20 people there) drank half of the beer?"

  • seb
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 14 years ago

Continuing the bar analogy, it would be fairer to say that "unlimited" ISPs with FUPs are saying "All you can drink for £21.99", then a) not putting enough staff on the taps to supply the number of drinkers they've taken £21.99 from, and b) throwing out anyone who manages to get more than two pints.

  • davidhh77
  • over 14 years ago

the contention battle, downloading 24/7 is hogging bandwidth, downloading within a specified cap isnt hogging. A big part of the problem is users thinking because they are light users and only using http think they deserve leased line performance 1:1 speeds on a contended service and plusnet treating http as time sensitive traffic.

  • chrysalis
  • over 14 years ago

"downloading within a specified cap isnt hogging."

But such customers still get throttled anyway.

What we need is honestly, a FULL AND ACCURATE specification of EXACTLY what you get for your money, the minimum speed under normal conditions etc. Then INFORMED choices can be made.

Also a "Gig" should be fully specified. The difference between 1000*1000*1000 and 1024*1024*1024 is quite a lot, when talking about 50 gig quantities...

  • shaunhw
  • over 14 years ago

makes sense to me that http is time sensitive, it is an interactive protocol with a user sat looking at it. Getting the next page after a 30 second wait wouldn't make a lot of sense.

  • herdwick
  • over 14 years ago

"makes sense to me that http is time sensitive"

It does. But not at the expense of slowing everything else down to a crawl, and making a complete mockery of "up to" 8 mbits...

  • shaunhw
  • over 14 years ago

"Up to 8Mb" refers to the connection speed you might get. It's only like saying that the M25 offers speeds up to 70mph which it does.

24/7 bandwidth isn't the problem. The problem is that most demand occurs during limited times of the day.

Again:Think of the M25. You /can/ drive all the way round at 3am..but few people would consider that very useful.

And forget beer:An ISP provides a service and beer is a good. There's a big difference legally.

  • AndrueC
  • over 14 years ago

Post a comment

Login Register