BANDWIDTH CAPACITY AND SPEED STATS COMPARISONS
High speed cable broadband (on a coaxial) has about 52 Mbps bandwidth (capacity). Actual speed per household is more likely around 6 Mbps, maxing out at 10 Mbps. Below is a table comparing the different speed and download speed for various applications.
|WAN (Wide Area Network – 10Base-T)||10 Mbps|
|Wireless G (802.11g)||54 Mbps|
|LAN (Fast Ethernet – 100Base-T)||100 Mbps|
|Cable broadband||52 Mbps (Coaxial)|
|OC-3||155 Mbps (Optical fiber)|
|T4||274 Mbps (Optical fiber)|
|OC-12||600 Mbps (Optical fiber)|
|OC-24||1.244 Gbps (Internet backbone)|
|OC-48||2.488 Gbps (Internet backbone)|
|OC-192||10 Gbps (Backbone)|
|OC-256||13.271 Gbps (Backbone)|
|Applications Transfer Rate|
|Web page or E-mails||very minimal|
|Apple iTunes||128 Kbps|
|Music Streaming or Download||192 Kbps to 256 Kbps|
|Webcam video 352×288 at 15 fps||298 Kbps|
|Skype high quality video chat||400 Kbps|
|Netflix Standard Video||1,500 Kbps|
|Netflix HD video||3,800 Kbps|
|World’s Ave. Download Speed|
|South Korea (World’s Top)||37.62 Mbps|
|Singapore, Singapore (30th World City Rank)||18.47 Mbps|
|North America||8.51 Mbps|
|Canada (38th Country’s ranking)||9.79 Mbps|
Source: Net Index as of March 3/11
Bandwidth Capacity and Reasonable Caps
Canada’s internet backbone consist of at least multiple OC-192 with ever increasing number of channels on each. A heavy users that could affect the bandwidth will be one who download at maximum transfer rate of 10 Mbps for 24 hours a day. That’s 100 GB per day. Average user would only use the internet for about 4 to 5 hours a day (less if they watch cable or normal TV also). And is not likely to be anywhere near the 6 Mbps to 10 Mbps of sustained transfer rate. Web browsing and e-mail usage have negligible effect on bandwidth usage. Netflix at HD is at the higher end of usage for average user, who would only watch 3 or 4 hours at that transfer rate in a day. That is less than half of the per household bandwidth capacity. If heavy users hogging the bandwidth is the real concern, then a minimum of 250 GB monthly cap would be a good starting point for low end users. A real bandwidth hog (which make up only a very small percentage of users) will quickly reach that cap in couple of days. Otherwise, users who only reaches 250GB in a month poses no real threat to the bandwidth capacity.
From a casual survey of people’s surfing habit, there is indication that there were more people downloading larger movie files before Netflix was introduced. And back then you don’t hear the ISP’s crying about reaching bandwidth capacity. Now that Canada have multiple of the faster OC-192 backbone, and people are turning to the lower bandwidth Netflix videos, there is suddenly an outcry about reaching capacity and the need to crackdown on “bandwidth hog”.
Study and Data Contradicts CRTC’s Assertion
The fiber optic backbone is continuously being developed to allow even higher capacity. As with everything to do with computers and technology, the prices also continue to come down. Meanwhile, the fiber transmission capacity have grown by a factor of 200 in the last decade, far outpacing the rise in internet demand by a wide margin. Graph below shows increasing bandwidth along with increasing # of channels.
In fact, data transmission capacity is growing faster than data storage and computational power, leading some to predict that the transmission limitation, in the optical data delivery backbone system, will become obsolete.
Furthermore, a study conducted by University of Minnesota at the end of 2009 have shown that internet growth in the U.S. have slowed from the normal 50-60% down to 40-50%. A study by North American Network Operating Group (NANOG) agree with MINTS and CISCO’s study, which shows a manageable growth of 50% and dispelling the false notion of “Exaflood” bogging down the network.
South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China are on track to implementing Fiber-to-home network that would significantly boost the bandwidth in each household, providing 100 Mbps at an affordable price. Meanwhile, CRTC’s planned UBB would create an artificial limit on bandwidth capacity. This would eliminate the need for major ISP to spend money to improve the network. Canadians will be left behind with 20th century network technology while other country advances.
CRTC needs to be reformed and staffed with experts of the new information technology. It needs to shift away from a board totally dominated by ex-executives of the telecommunication firm they are supposed to be regulating.
Bell is promoting their high speed HSPA network as 4G. 4G is 4th generation cellular wireless standard with peak download speed of 1 Gbit/sec (stationary) to 100 Mbits/sec (on cars or train). Bell and other companies current speed is HSPA with speed of up to 7.2 Mbits/sec only. HSPA+ maximum speed is 21 Mbits/sec and is a 3.5G NOT 4G. Bell points to the U.N. body, ITU (International Telecommunications Union), redefining of faster 3G as 4G as a license for them to now market the same HSPA network as 4G. ITU’s re-definition of 3G as 4G is creating confusion and could lead to people being mislead into thinking they now have the next generation high speed wireless network when they do not.
ABI Research analyst Philip Solis points out that the true next generation will come with ODFMA and not HSPA. For the average consumer who is not too concern nor need such a speed, they probably won’t mind the relabeling. But it is causing unnecessary confusion in the technology standardization sector.