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93 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 118989 16-May-2013 09:25
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I'm trying to understand which ISPs consistently offer the best international bandwidth at NZ peak times (6-10pm).  My research so far has led me to the following conclusions:

  • TrueNet doesn't seem to focus on international bandwidth (although they do occasionally report on it).  They do show very interesting info regarding throughput at peak times, however.
  • There are a number of topics here on Geekzone, but they tend to focus on specific events (or specific dates/times) when international bandwidth is an issue for a given ISP
  • There doesn't seem to be any regional basis to the discussions - i.e. Auckland vs Wellington vs Chch, etc
  • ISP policy tends to change.  e.g. Slingshot seem to let things go un-altered until enough people complain about it.
  • Naturally, people don't tend to comment when things are good
  • Right now (May 2013) it seems Snap and Telecom are touted as being the best options for someone in Auckland.  What about Wellington or Christchurch?
  • Is it really true that the big players (Telecom, TCL, Vodafone) consistently have the most international bandwidth per customer?
  • If I switched to a VDSL or Fibre plan, would I get more international bandwidth, at least initially?  i.e. are customers on those plans allocated to a separate, less contested international bandwidth pool?
  • You get what you pay for.  I currently pay ~$100 for capped broadband (250MB) + home line.  From Slingshot (sorry, PeterReader)
  • The services I'm talking about are not technically available in NZ, so obviously NZ ISPs are not content caching or doing other clever things like that.  Unblock-US claim that if your international bandwidth is high enough, however, (6 min, better 8-10 Mbps) then you should be able to get Super HD on Netflix through them (i.e. they lock you in to the "favoured" group of US based ISPs that work well with Netflix.

What I'm really interested in knowing is this: is it worth switching to a specific ISP if I live in Auckland and my main goal is good, reliable, HD quality streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon?  Is there something else I can be doing?

It there even a clear answer?  Or would I have to switch frequently between ISPs depending on who's got the most available bandwidth at a given point in time?  That probably wouldn't work, due to contracts and early termination fees - but that's another topic altogether.


Right now, I get 3, 4 maybe 5 Mbps down from west coast USA (San Francisco, LA, etc) on speedtest.net using unblock-us.  I get the same (maybe a little slower) using HMA VPN.  This means I normally can watch most things without buffering, but at a quality level between average and good SD.  Maybe this is just the best I'm going to get?

Note that my ADSL 2+ connection has been troubleshot, and is fine.  I get 16,000 Kbps down and 1200 up, and my home wiring is a beautiful thing to behold.  I don't have a master splitter as I don't really think I need one.  So go away, PeterReader.


To be honest, I'm fine with what I'm getting now.  I'd just extremely curious to know if I can get any more bank for my buck...







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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 820463 16-May-2013 09:29
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  Reply # 820467 16-May-2013 09:37
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"Right now, I get 3, 4 maybe 5 Mbps down from west coast USA (San Francisco, LA, etc) on speedtest.net using unblock-us. I get the same (maybe a little slower) using HMA VPN"

OP has tried both.

I haven't really checked my Vodafone cable at peak as that's not the time that I watch Netflix. I'll give it a speedtest tonight though as I'm quite interested to know.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 820469 16-May-2013 09:40
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I started off using HMA VPN, but then started using Unblock-US DNS.  I still have my VPN account and I try both whenever I start getting very bad quality, buffering or the like.

Usually, it makes no difference.  HMA seems to have more bandwidth than I do.

When I use VPN, I use it in UDP mode via the Open VPN client (not TCP, which is too slow)

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  Reply # 820472 16-May-2013 09:45
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it will be pretty difficult to find any ISP that offers enough international bandwidth to consistently get super HD on Netflix.

I also find the device makes a difference, as international bandwidth, in my experience, isvery up and down.

So watching Netflix on a browser, say, means you have plenty of memry available for buffering and so you can use better quality streams. On the PS3 or Sony Bravia TV, there is much less buffer and so if your international connections slows temprarily you get huge buffering delays which is a pain. I always use my macbook connected via HDMI now instead of PS3

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  Reply # 820473 16-May-2013 09:46
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Am on Vodafone naked here and unblock US is definitely better than hma. Hma used to buffer lots. Unblock is very smooth. I never have any buffering issues.




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  Reply # 820477 16-May-2013 09:48
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Also I use pc's for watching via the tv's in the house. The Samsung smart is painful. It buffers and stops all the time even using unblock. The pc's don't have any issues.




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  Reply # 820484 16-May-2013 09:59
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I think people have to consider that HD content won't be easily available in the country until such time the content distributors use local CDNs or a Sydney-based CDN.

Having said that, bring more cables to Australia!






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Master Geek
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  Reply # 820498 16-May-2013 10:23
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Yeah, this is what I figured would be the case.  Until the services are legit here (probably never!), it will be a real challenge to get them working as they would in the US.

Sounds like there's no point in changing ISPs, or even going VDSL (which I can get now).

BTW, Netflix only seem to stream HD to certain devices anyway, and a PC isn't one of them (unless it's running Windows 8 and, I assume, using the Netflix app).  Check this note out from Unblock-US...and although it's specific to Super HD, my understanding so far is that it also applies to normal HD too...i.e. a HTPC running Windows 7 just won't get HD ever.  Let me know if I've got this wrong!


I used to watch Netflix on a PS3 (until it YLOD'd on me), and I would occasionally get XHD on that...often HD and rarely got any buffering issues.  This was on Slingshot probably 12-18 months ago.

My next step is to upgrade my HTPC to Windows 8.11 for workgroups and see how that goes.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 820509 16-May-2013 10:27
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Actually, another thing that I'm a little confused about is latency and how that affects streaming services..

I would say my average ping to the west coast servers originally mentioned is 200-250, maybe sometimes closer to 300 ms.  

Are there ISPs who, while they don't provide much more bandwidth, provide lower pings?  Would it make a difference?  I've never really understood that part of it.

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  Reply # 825133 25-May-2013 09:47
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On Unblock-US and Telecom ADSL I can usually get SuperHD on Netflix in the evenings. This is because Unblock-US connects to Netflix's CDN servers. I am watching using both a PS3 and Sony BDP-S390.

On Vudu I can usually 1080P (HDX) with no stuttering on the same devices and also on a Roku.

I can hardly get HD at all on Amazon Instant Video using both Telecom and TCLVF (I currently have both xDSL and cable Internet in the house) and I suppose it's because they don't cater at all for international customers (Netflix does) but doesn't explain why Vudu is so good.




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 825150 25-May-2013 11:02
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Vudu is an interesting one. I think perhaps their streaming is multi threaded?

I don't know but doing their speedtest on any connection seems suspect in comparison to speedtests to dreamhost or internode on speedtest.net





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  Reply # 825156 25-May-2013 11:49
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This is similar to what I get but irrespective of that, I can usually watch HDX with no buffering on Telecom.

This is a screen picture of Netflix at about 9pm tonight on Telecom.



It was fluctuating between 720p and 1080p. Sound was 5,1 DD+ all the time






System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast

 


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 825392 25-May-2013 22:17
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Vudu uses a CDN competitor to Akamai (Limelight Networks) which has Sydney hops. This is why their speedtest results are so good from NZ.

By the way, contrary to the speed tests done on speedtest.net, the Vudu speedtest only uses a single thread because it is more representative of video streaming.

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  Reply # 825401 25-May-2013 22:49
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^That explains the 20k down 4k up on Snap VDSL2 on vudu's speedtest.

If i had a premium subscription to either Hulu or Netflix test for you, but i unfortunately don't have a login.

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  Reply # 826152 27-May-2013 13:19
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Thanks maxzzz, that explains a lot.





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