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FiOS Tops Netflix Stream Quality Rankings
DSL Providers and Clearwire Bring up the Rear
by Karl Bode 02:37PM Friday Oct 14 2011
Earlier this year Netflix began ranking the quality of video streaming performance for each of the nation's largest ISPs. HD streams have variable bitrate but can potentially top out at around 4800 kilobits per second, and the data provides a bird's eye view by ISP of sustained throughput available from a given ISP over time. Netflix's latest rankings have been released with a few new wrinkles.

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Previous rankings grouped DSL and FTTN/FTTH customers into one group for both AT&T and Verizon, and slower DSL customers dragged faster services down in the rankings. Netflix has now separated these users by delivery technology, and the change dislodges Charter and puts Verizon FiOS in the top spot among all ISPs for streaming quality.

The data, which ranks ISPs over a sixty day span, found that Verizon FiOS consistently delivered streams around 2,500 kbps. Charter still tops all cable operators with streams exceeding 2,400 kbps, though most cable operators remain clumped together in the rankings. Splitting AT&T U-Verse and traditional DSL customers was less beneficial for AT&T, though U-Verse ranked close to most cable competitors.

Companies that performed poorly last time performed poorly once again in the rankings, last place taken by capped and throttled Clearwire services for obvious reasons. Traditional DSL providers like Frontier Communications, Verizon, AT&T, Windstream Communications and CenturyLink all fell on the lower end of the scale due to DSL architecture, though CenturyLink managed the best performance with Frontier and Verizon vying for last place.

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en103

join:2011-05-02

VZ top and bottom

VZ FiOS at the top, while VZ DSL is 2nd from the bottom below Frontier.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: VZ top and bottom

I wonder what the median DSL speed for Verizon actually is? Where I live I don't know anybody who gets less than 3.0/768 unless they willingly pay for less. This chart suggests that 1.5mbit/s is the average though.

Sucks for people with an HD set; I've seen some HD movies average nearly 5mbit/s when run through Netflix on my TiVo.

Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:23

Re: VZ top and bottom

In a lot of areas 3Mbps IS the Max for Verizon's DSL. Some people wind up getting 1.5Mbps on a 3Mbps connection due to some known issues and some simply get stuck at a lower speed. Then there's those homes who have everyone using the connection...
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
They provision entry as 3.) mbit and I know a lot of people get 1.3-1.7mbit. The next tier around here is 1.0 which with PPPOE overhead is worse for Netflix than 768K RR lite.

Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:23

Re: VZ top and bottom

I find that interesting. Is Netflix trying to play at exactly 1Mbps or is it playing at the same rate of Roadrunner Lite? Overhead from PPPoE/ATM shouldn't be reducing the throughput that much...

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: VZ top and bottom

Netflix users can set their account to stream at
Good quality (up to 0.3 GB per hour) (ok for celphone/small screens)

Better quality (up to 0.7 GB per hour) ok for small tablets small tvs and laptop, or people with low caps or speeds

Best quality (up to 1 GB per hour, or up to 2.3 GB per hour for HD)
HD (720) looks pretty good on medium large screens (40-50") if you have the consistant bandwidth.
if you've got the 70"+ jumbotron or MUST HAVE full HD best quality at all times get the blu-ray shipping or find a diffenrt stream provider, netflix doesn't meet your streaming needs

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by en103:

... below Frontier.

I didn't know such a place existed.
Truely the depths of hell.


oh wait we call that wireless

HaloFans

join:2006-12-18
If Clearwire weren't on the list as it should have not been in the first place as a wireless operator, Verizon DSL is the WORST Internet provider in the USA.

There you have it folks.

unknvoip
RIP goose
Premium
join:2006-07-25
Rochester, NY
kudos:1

You're Fired

All of this might matter if a million of us hadn't said 'You're Fired' to 'Quit-flix'.

On a related note, my monthly network usage numbers for my ISP are down.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: You're Fired

said by unknvoip:

All of this might matter if a million of us hadn't said 'You're Fired' to 'Quit-flix'.

It still matters to those millions of us who thought "What's all the fuss? $8/mo. for streaming is still a good deal."

Happy to see my ISP, Comcast, is at #3.

Jim

wings10
I Am Legend
Premium
join:2004-06-09
South Elgin, IL
I enjoy Netflix. Can't beat $8 a month unlimited streaming.

I never seen great shows like,

Dexter
Weeds
Sons of Anarchy
And now I starting watching Breaking Bad.

$8 bucks a month is well worth it.
Fire your Cable provider.
--
"Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul."
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: You're Fired

Dexter isn't on Netflix streaming any longer. Nor do they make their show available on any internet VOD service that I'm aware of. I've paid $2.99/episode for Amazon VOD to stay current on Breaking Bad. By contrast, Showtime hasn't gotten any of my money because they refuse to make Dexter available through any mechanism other than overpriced cable or illegal P2P.

JasonOD

@comcast.net
said by wings10:

......$8 bucks a month is well worth it.
Fire your Cable provider.

I guess you didn't get the memo that the content owners have and will continue to pull shows off Netflix until or unless they price on-par with the broadcast model.

wings10
I Am Legend
Premium
join:2004-06-09
South Elgin, IL

Re: You're Fired

And until they do I will stick with Netflix for $8 a month. Not Cable for channels like HBO for $16 a month for the same 5 movies repeated every month.

Hey but to each his own if it works for you.


--
"Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul."

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
A price increase is never welcome, but when you compare netflix prices vs other home entertainment services, cable, VOD, video store rentals, they are still a very good deal.
a million may have left, but the vast majority stayed, I'm happy that they didn't go ahead with separating the services into quickster and netflix, that was a dumb ass idea.

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Not surprised.

I'm on FiOS, and the HD streams from Netflix look as good as any OTA shows in HD.
AndyDufresne
Premium
join:2010-10-30

1 recommendation

Have Windstream

They suck, not surprised.

Michail
Premium
join:2000-08-02
Boynton Beach, FL
kudos:1

U-Verse

It is interesting that U-verse is at the bottom end of the Cable/Fiber list. For the relatively low bitrate needed for Netflix there shouldn't be too much of a difference.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

Re: U-Verse

said by Michail:

It is interesting that U-verse is at the bottom end of the Cable/Fiber list. For the relatively low bitrate needed for Netflix there shouldn't be too much of a difference.

I've watched Netflix when I had U-Verse and now with WOW. The WOW stream does look a bit better. But Netflix still looks better than my sisters U-Verse HD channels!

Michail
Premium
join:2000-08-02
Boynton Beach, FL
kudos:1

Re: U-Verse

said by mogamer:

said by Michail:

It is interesting that U-verse is at the bottom end of the Cable/Fiber list. For the relatively low bitrate needed for Netflix there shouldn't be too much of a difference.

I've watched Netflix when I had U-Verse and now with WOW. The WOW stream does look a bit better. But Netflix still looks better than my sisters U-Verse HD channels!

Sad but true. And Netflix does it with less bandwidth.

rchandra
Stargate Universe fan
Premium
join:2000-11-09
14225-2105

decades of traffic management experience shows

The phone companies, or at least divisions of them, have been doing traffic management for a long, long time. To me, it's not particularly surprising T with their U-Verse and VZ with their FiOS do well in this sort of metric. Even when I was a VZ DSL subscriber in south Buffalo, at least when I tried to measure it, it seemed to me that the speeds were really stable (no noticeable dips). I know that's much less than scientific, with only a few samples. But I think knowing nothing else, this is through decades of traffic engineering experience.
--
English is a difficult enough language to interpret correctly when its rules are followed, let alone when a writer chooses not to follow those rules.

Jeopardy! replies and randomcaps REALLY suck!
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: decades of traffic management experience shows

The Verizon DSL forum here is littered with people who experience peak hour slowdowns. I was one of them until I raised a stink in the direct forum and had my line re-provisioned. On one hand I can't complain real loudly because they DID fix it; one wonders how many people who aren't knowledgeable enough to complain are paying for service they aren't receiving though?

Incidentally, Verizon stopped offering anything higher than 3.0mbit/s out of my CO. It seems I ordered my 10mbit/s service right in the nick of time because it's no longer offered. The tech who came out to hook up my POTS service a few weeks ago confirmed that they did this because of bandwidth limitations.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by rchandra:

The phone companies, or at least divisions of them, have been doing traffic management for a long, long time. To me, it's not particularly surprising T with their U-Verse ... [does well]...

"AT&T," U-Verse comes in 8th, behind six cable companies.

Jim

rchandra
Stargate Universe fan
Premium
join:2000-11-09
14225-2105

Re: decades of traffic management experience shows

I guess I'm interpreting "does well" a little differently. In terms of overall throughput, yes, they're just above Clearwire, and below (on most days) under everyone else. But four of those lines are in the same general neighborhood (roughly 2200-2400) with similar variability (all curves rise and fall approximately equal amounts relative to a baseline). Two of those six have higher variability in the data, most prominently Cablevision, along with Cable One. Again, I'm talking about the variability of the connection (which I think would cause the most problems in viewing a stream), not the throughput absolute value. After all, the Y axis is "kbps," not some quality number. I would think individual subscriber preferences (what the access speed is for the service they choose) could account for at least some of the relative speed differences...although U-Verse is supposed to be zippy like FiOS. Hmmm....
--
English is a difficult enough language to interpret correctly when its rules are followed, let alone when a writer chooses not to follow those rules.

Jeopardy! replies and randomcaps REALLY suck!

Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:23
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
·Frontier Communi..

1 recommendation

Well, that may be the issue, but the real problem is that the DSL companies are all stuck with people seeing congestion at night in some areas, speed limitations due to distance or equipment (Remotes!), and in the case of a bunch of Verizon lines, speed issues due to equipment setup/configuration. Now look at FiOS where none of that really exists. Don't think the Telcos are traffic shaping if FiOS is really kicking the cable companies off to the side like that...
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Are you making a statement about variance or throughput or both?

If I look at the chart, some cable providers, who by implication have not been doing traffic management as long as Ma Bell, do have a higher variance than ATT U-Verse and VZ FIOS. However, the variance seem the same for Charter, Comcast and ATT/VZ.

Charter has 5.2 million customers (cannot find Internet breakout), VZ FIOS has ~4million Internet customers and Comcast has 16.7m Internet customers. If anything I would have to surmise that Comcast is tops in traffic management since they server 4 times more customers and yet their variance isn't any greater than VZ.

In terms of FIOS, their higher throughput is likely due to their minimum speed being similar to cable's mid to upper tiers.

rchandra
Stargate Universe fan
Premium
join:2000-11-09
14225-2105

Re: decades of traffic management experience shows

variance between providers...the telcos' curves seem overall flatter (less variance from day to day) than the others. And the other statement I was trying to make could probably be better made with an example: if the throughput on any given day (X axis) goes up for Charter, it goes up approximately (but not absolutely) as much for AT&T (and Comcast, and Verizon, and...)

But that's a great point about subscriber base. I hadn't thought about that.
I stand corrected.
--
English is a difficult enough language to interpret correctly when its rules are followed, let alone when a writer chooses not to follow those rules.

Jeopardy! replies and randomcaps REALLY suck!
chgo_man99

join:2010-01-01
San Jose, CA

Mediacom six too

And should be somewhere on the bottom rankings. Sometimes impossible to stream even SD YouTube 5 min clips.

wesm
Premium
join:1999-07-29
Redmond, WA

Frontier FiOS...

I wonder if they're still including Frontier users in the FiOS numbers, if we're in the DSL graph, or neither. My suspicion is that it's the second possibility...

MonkeyLick78

join:2002-01-27
Hixson, TN

.

The problem is that Netflix tends to choke on it's own during busy nights regardless of your bandwidth.

vzw emp

@144.191.148.x

Re: .

If the do then I've never experienced it.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:1

Re: .

I don't know if it is related to Netflix's connection but I have had issues ever since they switched to Silverlight... what a piece of CRAP! Netflix tech support points their finger at Microsoft and Microsoft says it's your hardware. Strange, I never had a problem when the player was WMP based nor do I have problems playing 1080P in VLC.

Got rid of Netflix, use P2P now... better selection anyway.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: .

amazon uses flash. no problems there

MonkeyLick78

join:2002-01-27
Hixson, TN

1 edit
quote:
If the do then I've never experienced it.
Look around online and you'll see plenty of complaints. Considering how often they have outages it's not surprising.
djrobsd

join:2002-01-24
San Diego, CA
This graph is VERY deceptive. First of all, due to hard economic times, not every customer on each provider's network is going to opt for a higher speed package. For example, on Cox, their default when you go for the triple play $75 a month special that they have (cable-phone-internet) is 3mbps.... So naturally, if most Cox customers are on that 3mbps tier, it's going to skew the results of this graph.

Same goes for AT&T U-Verse, or any other provider... Verizon's numbers are higher because the minimum package they offer on their FIOS is 15mbps.

BTW, speaking of that "minimum" package of 15mbps, when I was in New York City visiting a friend who had FIOS, download speeds never came any where near close to that, and netflix had buffering issues... So Verizon is better? Maybe in some markets, but definitely not in Manhattan. LOL

runzero

join:2005-09-16
DC

Re: Deceptive graph

So? Netflix streams at low bitrates anyway, so the people using 3 Mbps are not going to affect the results too differently than those running FiOS 15 Mbps.

And another note about FiOS: While their customer service absolutely sucks, the service itself is fantastic. They over-provision you by about 20%, so 15 is actually 18, 25 is 30, and 35 is 42. I don't know what's wrong with your friend's connection, but Verizon should be pretty damn good in NYC everywhere even during rush hour. I'm surprised you haven't talked smack about U-verse considering you live in San Diego; AT&T truly is garbage.

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA
that I had for 2 years was absolutely fantastic

Great speeds, consistent speeds, and zero issues.