Darren Waters

Speed Diary: Your blog posts

  • Darren Waters
  • 25 Feb 09, 10:45 GMT

A few bloggers have picked up on my speed tests of the 50Mbps connection I have been carrying out and have carried on the debate.

At Net Strategics Stuart Newstead said:

The blog shows that the advertised headline speed is fairly irrelevant to the actual experience of an average customer, even when the provider can actually deliver such speeds reliably within the confines of their own network.

I agree. While many of the benchmark tests and real world tests I carried out reached close to the advertised maximum speed, the most important aspect of all was the sense of speed and the appreciation that tasks which once took an age were now happening must faster.

At Fibre to the Home blog Cybersavvy noted:

His very first sentence is wrong. He is only one of the broadband elite in the UK!! Far too many other countries' consumers would think 50Mbps/1.5Mbps is not a particularly great connection in 2009....

That may be true of countries like South Korea but as Professor Leonard Waverman's Connectivity Scorecard recently showed the UK "is one of the
few countries in which a mainstream incumbent operator offers 50 Mbps services. "

Over at Fibre Revolution Fibre Guy remarks,

Does the quality of the link degrade over time? It's a sad reality of network that they're super cool when they're (comparatively) empty and get really bad when new customers join.

I'll certainly be keeping a regular eye on the connection speed.

And finally, ISP Review gave a welcome nod to the tests on the site. Thanks for the link.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    #1 - Little off topic i'd say.

  • Comment number 3.

    Like physical highways, network connections are only capable of offering close to their potential maximum when there are few users.

    Popularity will inevitably lead to gridlock unless the capacity is increased at something like the same rate as the usage rate.

    Economically, however, providers will want to wait until usage approaches 100% of capacity (and beyond!) before investing in additional capacity.

  • Comment number 4.

    The issue of congestion/contention is an interesting one, and one providers are very coy when they talk about it.

    Contention has to exist that is what makes broadband cheap, i.e. big expensive connection shared between many people.

    In a utopia providers would be made to publish the bit rate they allocate to each user when doing bandwidth calculations, which was firmly 20Kilo bits per second, but around 25 to 30Kilo bits per second now. In other words if a provider has 10,000 users on a link, this is the speed you would get if the system split the speed equally between users.

    Splitting the speed fairly is the difficult one, net neutrality advocates generally don't like systems that manage traffic, but in this case only way to avoid congestion (rising latency is one of early signs) is to only ever fill a pipe to 80 or 90% capacity. The various methods used can be seen in the UK market, though with some providers its not obvious.

    No idea what the bit rate Virgin Media has designed the network around, for now it looks to be a lets build it and see how it runs.

    Overall the blog has been good to read, and interesting to see the issues as they happen and what others suggest in response.

    Question is, does Darren miss the connection after the taster period?


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