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325 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Chorus NZ

# 140568 13-Feb-2014 08:38
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Chorus's next Gigatown competition is out of the gates and we're keen to give a bit of background on the themes of speed and capacity. The Instagram Giga-Speed Test asks our Gigatown communities to "sign in or register for Instagram and create a video that creatively demonstrates the speed and capacity difference between gig fibre and today’s broadband". But what exactly does this mean?


Fibre is not just about faster speeds, it is also about additional capacity. This means a better internet experience.

Starting with speed, fibre will be faster but what does that really mean?
If I just want to download a simple email with no attachments then I won’t notice the change from copper to fibre broadband.
An analogy would be if I want to travel from one floor in my building to another, I can take the stairs or I can take the lift. Not too much difference either way if I am only traveling one floor.

    If I am trying to get to the top of the Sky Tower, all 220 metres (that’s a lot like trying to download an HD movie rather than a simple email), then there is a huge difference.
I can take the stairwell (Copper). There are 1,267 steps from the base of Sky Tower to the Sky Deck. It would take me 29 minutes to reach the Sky Deck walking at 4 kph.

I can train like a firefighter and go a lot faster – current record is 8 min 37 sec (Use VDSL instead of ADSL to get more speed from my copper connection).

Or, I can take the elevator (Fibre).

An elevator at the Sky Tower travels at 18km per hour (speed) and the ride to the Sky Deck takes only 40 seconds (due to the much faster speed). My HD movie downloads faster on fibre just like getting to the top of Sky Tower is faster if I take the elevator.

Capacity is different to speed, more capacity means more data can travel at once.

Only one person can go up the stairwell at a time as it is too narrow for two-abreast (limited capacity). On a copper service you can usually get a reasonable speed for your download, but you can’t do anything else at the same time without slowing down your file download (due to the limited capacity).

In my Sky Tower analogy, more than one person can travel in the lift at the same time (due to the greater capacity).

In a broadband sense, while waiting for my HD movie to download on my fibre connection I can also watch catch-up TV on my tablet (without experiencing buffering), or play an on-line game on my Xbox or PlayStation, without affecting the movie download.

And once the lift is full (capacity) and another passenger arrives in the lobby they simply call the next lift (more capacity). The three glass-fronted elevators at the Sky Tower can take 225 people to the Sky Deck levels every 15 minutes !!!

A gigabit connection is like having many lifts in your building (and nobody ever uses the stairs again!).

A gigabit fibre connection delivers faster SPEED and more CAPACITY than we have previously experienced.

In the age of the desktop computer the Internet was a destination and we logged on to the internet to do a specific task. In the age of smartphones & tablets in the home and workplace, the Internet is everywhere you go and supports most things that you do every day.

The combined power of speed and capacity over a gigabit connection, means that you can download tonight’s entertainment, and update the security software on your home network and make a Skype call to a friend, all while the kids are doing their homework online – without any interaction affecting the other.

Now, if only it could cook the dinner as well . . . .


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812 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 986689 13-Feb-2014 12:19
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I would very much like to have such additional capacity.
Unfortunately the Chorus website says "UFB deployment dates for your area are still being developed".

2863 posts

Uber Geek
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  # 986709 13-Feb-2014 13:06
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from the uptake figures , it seems most people still prefer walking.

Common sense is not as common as you think.


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Uber Geek
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  # 986717 13-Feb-2014 13:23
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Seems like the cable out of NZ is becoming the biggest bottleneck.

In reality, you'd have to be doing something pretty intensive even over a ~15Mbps ADSL link for it to really interfere with other people in the same house. Netflix maxes out at ~3Mbps, point-to-point Skype maxes out at ~1.5Mbps, leaves plenty for downloads, browsing & emails.

Other than for downloading big files quickly (which rarely if ever gets anywhere near maxing out my VDSL) or for improving latency (which actually is "nice" mostly for loading complex webpages, multiplayer gaming, or super-high-end finance trading), I don't see UFB being of any real benefit to residential users until it becomes ubiquitous and more affordable.

Total chicken & egg \ catch-22 scenario unfortunately, pricing needs to be "no-brainer" territory so that consumers choose it by default over the "lesser" alternatives given that, for most people (GZ'ers are probably not representative), the realised performance will be virtually no different.

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Uber Geek
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Biddle Corp
Lifetime subscriber

  # 986718 13-Feb-2014 13:27
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stevenz: Seems like the cable out of NZ is becoming the biggest bottleneck.

Not really.

Based on recent comments from several ISP's somewhere in the vicinity of 40% (and growing) of all international traffic is destined for Australia. We have another cable being built between NZ and AU and significant capacity upgrades.

Is the current cable a bottleneck? Certainly not. Will it become a bottleneck in the future? Certainly not. Should we have another cable? Well that's another question entirely.

812 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 986725 13-Feb-2014 13:53
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stevenz: In reality, you'd have to be doing something pretty intensive even over a ~15Mbps ADSL link for it to really interfere with other people in the same house.

One smart phone saturating the 1mb/s upload by automatically uploading photos/videos is enough to make an internet connection unusable for the rest of the house.

The problem with the only cable out of the country IMO isn't its capacity. It's the cost of using said capacity. Again though hopefully another cable will go ahead to help bring this cost down faster.

165 posts

Master Geek
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  # 986731 13-Feb-2014 14:06
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Bottlenecks for us are, and getting worse, the handover from chorus to ISP, in the evening we get litterally 10% of our overnight speed when eveyone is sleeping...

142 posts

Master Geek
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  # 986735 13-Feb-2014 14:15
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This being geekzone I think we all understand this already :/

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