Home > Computing > Higher bandwith? Or lower latency

Higher bandwith? Or lower latency

James Gosling linked to an article by the CEO of sonic.net the other day discussing the reasons why bandwidth to the home is so lacking in the United States.

While I agree with the reasons, lets be clear on what we really want in terms of bandwidth.

The last thing I really want is more download bandwidth. Although a bit pricy, my 25mbit/s serves me just fine, in fact, I just checked my bandwidth for last month (Feb 2011), and adjusting for sleep time, my 95 Percentile download bandwidth hit a mere 1.29bmbit/sec. And this is me working from home, and I certainly peak well over that, but a lot of what I do is local.

However, I do want more symmetric bandwidth. That is, my 1.5mbit/s upstream service sucks. There’s a whole bunch of reasons I want faster upstream. Uploading digital pictures for example. Especially now that cameras are supporting greater resolutions. 12 megabit is becoming more and more common. Uploading a moderate gallery of a couple dozen photos is painful.

And on that note, online backup services like backblaze are becoming more popular, and with disk sizes ever increasing it could take months for a backup to complete.

I’d also like to take advantage of logging in remotely to my machines via RDP and VNC when I’m away. Greater upload bandwidth can only enhance the experience.

But probably more desirable for me is lower latency connections to the Internet. It’s well known that TCP performance suffers when latency is high. It can turn a gigabit connection into a snail. And that’s a killer for VOIP and gaming applications, where the more instantaneous it can be, the better. Not to mention, as a web developer, the quicker I can receive the data from a client, the more cycles I can take to process it if I have to, before I give them something back.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of bandwidth, in case you missed it, Engadget ran an article discussing how AT&T will cap DSL and U-Verse internet, impose overage fees. Fortunately I have a way to go before I hit the limits, last month I pulled a mere 11.32 gbits down.

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Categories: Computing
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