bandwith vs. caps
I tried to read between the lines with this summary and I think it captures the debate pretty well. Nice reporting. It does raise a question I would like to pose based on a conversation I had with my wife in the car.
Bandwidth, while available isn't able to be conserved liked say the allowed minutes on a rollover phone plan. At any given time, a network has a certain amount of available bandwidth and the capability to serve a certain number of users.
I'll assume Sprint for a second here and go with my theory. I am Sprint. I want more customers and i know my total instant bandwidth available, and number of users I can support. The technology for 4G is pretty much limited to 8Mbps, so if I am running my network and I want good return on my equipment, I want to my customers to have all the available bandwidth I have, since it's lost if not used. So if Joe user 1 wants to stream whatever, he can have it and as much as he wants so long as i can support my user base. I want a 10-20% overhead of spare bandwidth for other reasons of backup, safety, etc... As more users get on, they all get the highest speed I can supply until my available bandwidth is consumed at that instant. I dynamically manage it to maintain the highest speeds for the users. As the system fills with my happy paying customers, I must slow down the network speed for each to allow the 200,001st user to also join in the fun.
I wouldn't cap anyone, and as long as I can keep it up, and utilized at 90% rate, my customers get my best effort and when congested the whole group balances to a steady if slower pace.
By using all my capability to provide bandwidth, I attract more customers which allows me to profit and add more equipment to add capacity.
Did I just sum up Sprint's plan?
If I use 1TB of data a month, but it's during the least congested time, say when available bandwidth is >50% of total capacity, why wouldn't my ISP want to let me have it to keep me a happy customer?
We all know why, to get ever larger profits. If only we could have a corporate structure that balanced profit and customer service to make everyone happy, life would be good. Now, the system is tilted toward the corporate profits and pissing on the customer. Only 1 guy doesn't do this yet, and Sprint quickly walling that ideal garden off to only allow smartphone unlimited. hmmm...
I think they can keep making money this way. Customer service plus large user base= large profits. I hope Sprint can do both and humble the other guys a little.
Note I am talking about Sprint and it sounds like I advocate throttling. Only as much as is need to keep giving all users access at the highest speeds possible. It sounds alot like the tiered speed plans you get with cable internet. Pay more for more guaranteed speed.
Great analogy. Networks are scarce in resources, but in peak usage utilization (bandwidth), not aggregate (consumption). By vendors offering different tiers, they actually exacerbate the situation (do I really need 35 Mb/sec) due to this burstiness.
However if they use QoS, they inherently need to do DPI to classify tiers so realtime doesnt get killed (say VOIP) versus BT which is a consumption factor. We dont want them throttling or looking at our stuff, so the network engineers need to figure out proper oversubscription ratios and link management, just like in any network design.
Consequently in datacenters, there are real resource constraints (QoS in storage/server is still infantile), so you are seeing VM's per se starting to get dials to control (QoS). Of course when you start doing that, you complicate the design because now you are making scarcity decisions in a point in time (QoS Policy) when peak demands may require adaptive bandwidth handling. Ouch. You can see how Rogers messes that up regularly. My inlaws cable experience (rogers no Bhell) is like 1979.
So I see innovative companies coming up that manage bandwidth at the app/stream (like Netflix) and over time there may be some conversation between the stream (application) and transit to "agree" on what is best effort.
In any case the announcement by Verizon that one can stream 20+ channels via IP through an xbox is good, because they would have a harder time justifying realtime IP and congestion, when in fact multicast streaming is going on. So maybe Fios gets a pass for now.
With docsis 3, these cablecos are up to snuff, so they are just maximizing profit, plain and simple. I took a look @ TWC Q3 numbers and it came out to approximately $20/month/user was going to stock repurchases and dividend payouts. Now if that isn't waste, I dont know what is. I also looked at TW (parent) and their quarterly boldly states that revenue and profits for media are through the roof, the highest ever. Hmmm, piracy killing them. I won't even talk about Comcast and their Universal/NBC profits, and they are crying poor me.
No corporate blame here, if people pay $200/month for triple play, then they are going to keep charging more. Enough said. If I were in their shoes, I would do the same. They could have better cu service tho, and that doessn't cost much. At the same time people snap up iphones and dole out term fees. The signal to corporations is, line up the shots and warm up the LearJet.