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Netflix Releases Latest ISP Streaming Rankings
by Karl Bode 09:31AM Friday Oct 18 2013
Netflix has released the company's latest ISP Speed Index, which ranks ISPs based on the average streaming speed seen by the company's customers. Little has changed from last month, barring a slight pole position shift between Bright House Communications and Mediacom. Google Fiber remains in the top spot, followed by Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink, Verizon FiOS and Charter Communications.

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The latest rankings come after Netflix took significant criticism from Sandvine in early September for the rather unscientific way that companies who used Netflix's Open Connect Content Delivery Network magically do much better in the rankings.

Netflix used to force ISPs to sign up for their CDN if they wanted to offer customers Super HD and 3D streams. Late last month Netflix changed their policy, and began offering Super HD and 3D streams to all ISPs, whether they partnered for Netflix's CDN or not.

"We don't expect the broader availability to substantially change the rankings," Netflix states. "ISPs with a direct Netflix connection will continue to deliver the best Netflix experience."

You can find Netflix's full rankings by country here. Canadians remain annoyed that they're still not having their ISPs ranked despite Netflix first offering streaming services there in late 2010.

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Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Bah

Netflix, we really don't need a monthly update on shaming ISPs. I'm all for decent Internet access and I love my $8 Netflix, but holy crap batman, what's going to change in a months time and the "benchmark" has a decent amount of bias. It's fun to look at, but overall not the best for ranking much more than how good Netflix is on an ISP.

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Bah

better someone in private profit motivated industry does it, then us taxpayers;

»techcrunch.com/2011/08/02/fcc-an ··· -losers/

maybe netflix would be less annoying to you if it were quarterly instead of monthly.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Bah

Except Netflix's measurements don't mirror real usage. The only thing they measure is Netflix usage which is affected by Netflix's servers, peering agreements and other things.

Unless you believe the the average broadband speed for the U.S. is 2 Mbps.

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1

Re: Bah

i think they mean 2 MB/s which is around 15 mbps, or the national average wired speed.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Bah

The chart specifically says "Mbps" plus Netflix streams max out at 5 Mbps so I'm pretty sure they really meant mbps, not MB/s.
cmarslett

join:2006-11-22
Pflugerville, TX
You don't?

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
Actually, that sounds fairly realistic, actually.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Bah

And Google Fiber and FIOS are both 3.4 Mbps and 2.2 Mbps respectively? I don't think so.

spewak
R.I.P Dadkins
Premium
join:2001-08-07
Elk Grove, CA
kudos:1
Amen!
To add, Netflix needs to maybe make it a once a year update. NOBODY cares Netflix!

lordfly

join:2000-10-12
Homestead, FL
Reviews:
·SkyNet360

But I am not on a major ISP

So how do I find the rankings from my local provider? These still seem biased. Also as I have said many times before, if you are using a Sony blu-ray player to access Netflix, it first has to go through Sony's servers before going to Netflix. This needs to be addressed. It was a big issue last night when Sony's servers went down and I had to resort to using PlayOn to watch Netflix on the big screen.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:44

Re: But I am not on a major ISP

Yes they've promised to offer insight on smaller ISPs and specific regions, but that's been a no show so far.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: But I am not on a major ISP

How exactly can they consider Google Fiber a national ISP?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:44

Re: But I am not on a major ISP

Good question. I imagine including Google Fiber is largely a PR boon for them. There's countless ISPs with larger subscriber counts that are omitted.

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

Re: But I am not on a major ISP

If they are truely calling Google a national ISP then I would have to disagree but I can see why they would include Google in the rankings. Googles ISP project was started with the sole purpose of shaming today's ISPs with their pathetic service. Too little bandwidth for too high a cost. Including Google in the rankings helps visualize how pathetic those other ISPs services are.

abitbent

join:2004-04-23
Brantford, ON

Canada

Taking a back seat to the rest of the world once again.

Yet the monopolistic ISPs in Canada will have you believe everything in our country is fine from a broadband perspective.

Bell and Rogers just keep counting the money we hand over to them because we have no other choice.

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1

Verizon FiOS Fail

from a purely technical standpoint, I don't understand how it can be in the middle
of the coax last mile CableTV pack, instead of right up there with Google Fiber

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:44

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

They're among the ISPs refusing to partner with Netflix's CDN.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

CDN doesn't matter now, everyone can get SuperHD as of last month.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:44

1 edit

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

Yes, it does. Netflix has stated that ISPs who partner with their CDN do better in the rankings. Everyone can get the SuperHD and 3D streams, but overall performance and ranking is still impacted depending on whether an ISP has signed up for Open Connect.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

Unless they're supplying different bitrates depending on your OpenConnect status, which they could be, your bitrate will be the same no matter what. If you're watching a 2GB movie, by the time you're done, you will have transferred 2GB, no matter if OpenConnect or not.

The only way that could be affected is if your connection can't handle the speeds and downgrades the stream or different sized versions of the same video are provided depending on OpenConnect status.

My ISP doesn't do OpenConnect and it only takes about 1 second for a HD video to buffer to start playing.

My tracert to the IP addresses in use when streaming Netflix are through Level 3 to Cogent, which are both Netflix CDN providers. My ISP uses Level 3, so it takes the exact same route as all other traffic. But prior to Netflix opening up SuperHD, I could not get it because my ISP is not OpenConnect.
gabmasterjcc

join:2003-09-08
Fairfax, VA

1 recommendation

CDN does still matter as it is the difference between having a direct connection to Netflix and going through several peering points (which can be choke points).
However, in these rankings, it still very much matters as there were only a few days where everyone could get the better streams.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

The data is transferred over TCP, so you eventually get the data. If the video is 2gb and plays for 1.5 hours, in 1.5 hours you will have transferred 2gb. Assuming a fixed amount of time and a fixed amount of data transferred, you will get a fixed average bitrate, no matter the jitter in bandwidth, so long as the jitter isn't bad enough to downgrade your stream or pause your stream to buffer.

If the peering is so bad that a stable stream can not be managed for a given video size, Netflix will downgrade your bitrate, which reduces the effective movie size. That's about the only way less data will be transferred. Unless Netflix serves up different video sizes depending on how you access them, but that would reduce cache hits and increase storage costs, as now they need to store more versions of the same content.

I see the same argument about YouTube all the time, but I get 40mb/s up and down to YouTube during all hours of the day and my ISP does NOT peer with YouTube nor use caching.

Netflix and YouTube can handle the load, the question is can your ISP or does your ISP mess with strange peering setups or traffic shape.

setUfree

@verizon.net

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

said by Bengie25:

Netflix and YouTube can handle the load, the question is can your ISP or does your ISP mess with strange peering setups or traffic shape.

So Netflix and YouTube can handle the load, and all the SpeedTests, Akamai (another CDN) and FCC reports say the ISP can handle the load..... IN FACT, the average US broadband should be able to run 4 simultaneous SuperHD feeds (»www.netindex.com/download/2,1/Un ··· -States/)...

... Then the issue is the peering path that NETFLIX CHOOSES to reach each ISP.

How to fix this = Netflix chooses better paths to reach each ISP vs the worse ones designed to drive them to free peering with Netflix (aka OpenConnect).
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

3 edits

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

Netflix doesn't use bad peering, they use Level 3. It's the ISPs that have bad peering paths.

When I was on Charter, they peered with Comcast, who peered with Cogent, which is how I got Netflix. Now I just go strait to Level 3 who makes sure their paths and peers are not congested.

There's a lot of ways to get fast Netflix. Peer with them at an IX, connect directly to Level 3 who hosts Netflix, get a CDN in network to cache, connect to another tier 1 as they all have fast connections to Level 3, connect to a Tier 2 that has direct or indirect access to Netflix.

Your best bet is to use a Tier 1, as Level 3 peers with all Tier 1s and Level 3 does not let peer links get above 50%. It is the job of Tier 1s to not have congestion.

One of the common issues I see with Netflix congestion is when an ISP peers with another Tier 2, who peers with a Tier 2, who peers with a Tier 2, to get Netflix. So many chances to have congestion because Tier 2s don't always keep all of their links non-congested like tier 1s are supposed to.

In the end, the ISP is responsible. If they're peering, they should keep the links upgraded. If they're paying for a connection, they should raise their voice and complain that they're not getting the service they're paying for.

edit: It's not the job of any Internet company to reach out and connect to everyone else, it is only their job to connect to someone who will do all of that for them. Naturally, the cheapest and most efficient way is typically directly.

Netflix pays their bill to have no congestion access to the Internet at large. ISPs are supposed to do that same. That's why we have a notion of Tier 1 2 and 3 ISPs. If you are not large enough to be a tier 1, then you need to find someone who will do that job for you and do a GOOD job of doing it for you.

It is the job of a Tier 1 to not let any of their links get congestion, it is the job of Tier 2s to connect to Tier 1s and not let that connection get congested. Tier 3 ISPs are typically small and can only get what they can afford as they don't have much money or sizable network to leverage with.

If a Tier 2 wants to peer with another Tier 2 to save transit costs from their Tier 1, then it is still the ISP's responsibility to make sure that other Tier 2 can maintain a decent connection to Netflix. If the ISP is peering with a non-tier1 to save money and knowingly accepts reduced Netflix performance, that is not Netflix's fault, that is an ISP not delivering.

setUfree

@verizon.net

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

I won't go point, by point, but this has many incorrect assumptions, 5-10 year old opinions around Tier1 and Tier2s, and hopes and dreams around how massive traffic actually flows on the Internet. Today's facts are:

•The sender of massive traffic (Netflix) decides what path to send their traffic. If the performance to that path is bad due to recent congestion (most likely caused by massive traffic shifting), THEY can choose from many other options to address the issue.

•Netflix volumes are so massive, they can't use just Level 3 or Cogent and expect magic things to happen down stream from them. Flooding of these paths is irresponsible and impacts far more than Netflix traffic. Just ask the people playing multi-player games.

•Most large CDNs (and Netflix is one of the largest) connect to most of the large destinations, almost all Tier 1 telco/cable and most Tier 2s. And they don't get the OpenConnect entitlements of free hosting, space, power, network, etc, etc,. If you have ever run a CDN you know this.

If you can deliver 5Mbps and on average, and ISPs can receive 20Mbps in the US, then any performance problems are capacity at a few peering locations/ISPs.

To help you make a better decision (like any good large CDN), here are your choices of paths between the largest ISPs that do agree with OpenConnect entitlements ("protection money")

Verizon - at least 18 different options »bgp.he.net/AS701#_graph4
Comcast - at least 16 different options »bgp.he.net/AS7922#_graph4
AT&T - at least 18 different options »bgp.he.net/AS7018#_graph4
Charter - also many options »bgp.he.net/AS20115#_graph4

The largest CDNs know that they play a major role in properly managing the ecosystem of "firehoses" and it is not everyone else's responsibility to fix their service while they wildly swing massive traffic around.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

I may not fully understand peering politics, but I do understand the routing protcols.

Netflix can't just go shoving data around where ever they choose, it's based off of routing announcements.

Netflix can announce routes to receive data and place weights on those, but when it comes to sending data, Netflix has really no say outside of best effort by their upstream provider, who is responsible to negotiate with others to meet the SLA they sold to Netflix.

If your ISP announces to receive data on a certain route, then Netflix sends on that route.

End points announce how to receive data, not how to send it.

Netflix may have multiple routes to choose from to the receiver as the receiver may announce multiple routes, but I don't think Netflix has to honor the weights of those connections.

I assume constant abuse of ignoring announced weights could result in removing the announcement on that path, forcing Netflix to chose from the remaining.

Most of the issues I've read with Netflix is companies like Verizon announcing to Netflix, only congested paths. These paths are cheaper for Netflix, so they put up with it, but if Netflix wanted, they could remove their announcements over those links and switch to announcing over Level 3. L3 transit costs more than Cogent CDN, and Verizon is huge, so the bandwidth difference and cost would be a lot, but Netflix could technically fix the issue of bad Verizon performance by announcing a more expensive path.

This would also cost Verizon more as they would be doing more long distance routing instead of using more local caches.

It comes down to, is Verizon at fault for attempting to charge Cogent too much for paid peering, or is Netflix/Cogent at fault for being too stingy.

Netflix wants to save money by not using L3 for transit, so that puts the ball in their hands, but then Verizon knows this and could easily be attempting to price gouge Netflix on bandwidth costs.

Overall I say it's Netflix's problem. Suck it up and pay for the Tier 1 transit and possibly use that huge trunk bandwidth as leverage against Verizon to get them to play ball with Cogent's CDN.

What I just said flies in the face of your summary, as I'm suggesting Netflix just brute-force the issue by using the Internet backbone instead of a caching CDN. But hhey, they paid for that bandwidth, it's their's to do with what they want. They aren't sending anything that isn't being requested.

setUfree

@verizon.net

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

You actually have all your facts in reverse. It is the sender of traffic that dictates the first mile ISP (via BGP Localpref or selecting specific servers via DNS LB), not the receiver.

Netflix may chose Cogent to deliver to Verizon (even when capacity does not exist), and VZ in no way forces this decision. I expect Verizon would rather Netflix spread across better performing ISPs (see my link to the 18+ different paths) or establish a direct relationship.

Again, you have your facts backwards. Tier 1's announce all their routes equally to all peers and have no control on the inbound path selection used by senders of traffic.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

The sender dictates which path to take, but the receiver dictates which paths are available.

It is not up to Netflix to choose which path to take, it is up to Level 3 and Level 3 is the one responsible to meet Netflix's SLAs. Netflix can choose which CDN service to use, but that's about it. In this case, they chose Cogent.

Level 3 in this case is not acting as a normal Tier 1, but more like a CDN. It makes it a bit fuzzy. I assume that L3 would do cold-potato routing for CDN style data, like they offered Comcast.

The larger benefit one gets to peering with L3 for Netflix data, is that same link can be used for upstream bandwidth. L3 wants to dump huge amounts of Netflix, then they can maintain a ratio.

You yourself said that tier 1 advertise on all ports, so if they're advertising all of their routes and they bring the connection right to your doorstep, why not take the free bandwidth?

If that's not the case, then obviously they don't advertise all routes on all ports.

setUfree

@verizon.net

Re: Verizon FiOS Fail

Few key missing pieces to your analysis:

• No ISP offers an SLA off-net. If off-net performance is not meeting your expectations your content management systems should move the traffic to other ISPs (multi-homing) or CDNs. If you leave it, you are making a conscious decision around negative performance. (choosing congested paths)

• Some CDNs may offer SLAs, but they also offer cheapest delivery (customer performance less important to Netflix unless you subscribe to OpenConnect. They will just shame you)

• Netflix has their own CDN which they own performance choices 100%.

In other words, Netflix has all the performance choices

1 - Which CDN is best performing to customers (Akamai, Limelight, Level 3, OpenConnect)
2 - Which ISP is best performing for OpenConnect (dozens to choose from)

ISPs get the traffic where entities in #1 or #2 decide to send it to them

Again, all these CDN performance choices, congestion avoidance, optimal customer experience, etc is entirely in the hands of Netflix.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Netflix

As long as Google Fiber continues to be ranked on this chart, despite being one of the smaller ISPs in the country, then it continues to be a chart of nothing but hot air. Google Probably doesn't even have enough subscribers to give an accurate result of their average Netflix bitrate. There are probably dozens of ISPs with more subscribers than Google Fiber has that do not make this chart. There certainly were when they started started making this chart.

MonkeyLick78

join:2002-01-27
Hixson, TN

Re: Netflix

said by silbaco:

As long as Google Fiber continues to be ranked on this chart, despite being one of the smaller ISPs in the country, then it continues to be a chart of nothing but hot air. Google Probably doesn't even have enough subscribers to give an accurate result of their average Netflix bitrate. There are probably dozens of ISPs with more subscribers than Google Fiber has that do not make this chart. There certainly were when they started started making this chart.

Agreed.
EPB Fiber for example has tens of thousands of customers, has been a CDN partner since day 1, and has a minimum speed tier of 100/100. Somehow it along with other far more deserving ISP's are ignored while Google's small footprint is applauded and held up as the ISP to use for Netflix.
Squire James

join:2013-08-21
Orlando, FL

1 recommendation

What's the Problem?

Netflix is ranking the ISP's generally by how fast they run Netflix. Those with a CDN agreement will of course do better. It's a ranking from Netflix's perspective. It never pretends to be anything else! I mean, if this were Santa's List of Nice People I could see a sense of unfairness here. A List According to Netflix? Not so much.

FiOS custome

@144.160.226.x

rankings

This is dumb. It's like testing how fast a Corvette can go while driving through a school zone.
engage16

join:2013-08-26

Verizon DSL

I have Verizon DSL and can stream the "Super HD" content no problem. I'm guessing the 1.41mbps average is due to them overselling their DSLAM capacity and underselling the actual bandwidth available. I had to fight with them for an hour to get the 7mbps package that the field tech told me to try and get.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

netflix is a joke

they can only manage 3mbps on a gigabit connection.
--
Despises any post with strings.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC

Question????

How does this all work when people use let say a Wii that won't show HD or something like a 3DS or some other device that can't play in HD. Seems like the numbers would be lower because the devices can't use the high bandwidth feeds????


Kasoah

join:2013-08-20
Merced, CA

Re: Question????

I don't get the point of this. They seem to be limiting streams to around 3 megabits so what's the point of comparing isps if it's not uncapped?