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Topic # 42418 5-Oct-2009 02:43
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Hi,

I'm on Telecom Explorer broadband plan. I get decent download speeds from NZ and Aussie servers, around 10-12Mbits/sec, but I only ever seem to get a max of about 3Mbits/sec from US servers.

I've tried many US servers, and have used speedtest.net on many US servers to test this.

They say plans such as Explorer are uncapped. Does anyone else have this problem? Are they capping international speeds, do you get better international performance from the more expensive plans?

Cheers.

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  Reply # 261056 5-Oct-2009 07:34
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If you want a SLA on international speeds you will have to pay for it have you searched the forums before posting??



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  Reply # 261061 5-Oct-2009 08:19
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Thanks. Had a decent browse of the forum before posting but could have searched a bit further :) Similar posts seem to suggest this may be about the norm for Telecom.

I have emailed Telecom in any case asking a few questions about their international speeds, so if they provide any useful answers I'll post them here.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 261066 5-Oct-2009 09:01
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You can't expect the same speeds as natioanl traffic on a consumer ADSL plan




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  Reply # 261069 5-Oct-2009 09:11
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Understood, but I was hoping for a bit better than 2-3Mbits, most commonly it's 2Mbits. I used to have home broadband on Telstraclear cable, on their 10Mbit/sec plan, and would commonly get 5-7Mbit/sec internationally, which was great. Unfortunately I've moved and Cable isn't an option for me now.

In saying all that, the Telecom plan I am on is quite cheap, so I'm happy to live with 3Mbits/sec. The only slightly irritating thing is, if they are actively capping some International traffic there is no mention of this anywhere on their site. The sell the plan I'm on simply as "uncapped".

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  Reply # 261082 5-Oct-2009 10:30
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All residential internet plans are shared network and best effort with no guarantee of performance.  They have a certain amount of international bandwidth that is available to be shared between users active at the time.  If it's busy or peak time you will see reduced speeds as there is more contention for the avaiable bandwidth.  No residential ISP provisions bandwith at 1:1 with user sync speeds, it's probably around 100:1.

If you want dedicated / gauranteed bandwidth it would cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month.

Also there are a large number of factors which can affect your speed: Exchange congestion, backhaul congestion, international transit congestion, limitations at the server's end etc.

Telstra typically target the premium niche and charge according but there is no guarantee of what performance you'll get on their residential plans either.

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  Reply # 261109 5-Oct-2009 11:54
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johnr: You can't expect the same speeds as natioanl traffic on a consumer ADSL plan


Why not?

I actually mean that, I'm not trying to troll here.

Sure, it's understood that there is less international bandwidth than national. And if this kind of 'capping' happens naturally because of congestion on the links then that's annoying but understandable.

However, if the observed international bandwidth for the user is always more or less at around tthe same level, no matter what time of day then that's a bit strange.

The OP's question was "are they capping international speeds?" The responses here haven't answered that yet. They have given some indications that the lower speeds could be due to general network congestion on international links. But nobody seems to know for sure if that's what really caused this or if the ISP is just rate limiting bandwidth on their own.

The latter then this would violate network neutrality.

Personally, I expect my ISP to give me ALL available bandwidth for whatever purpose and to/from whatever destination. Sounds dramatic, but since I only get a few MBit/s to the local exchange it really is not. Furthermore, when I talk about 'available' of course I mean whatever is available to me after all is shared amongst the currently active users.

My bandwidth is metered, I pay per byte. So there is no reason for the ISP to do any further limiting, shaping, filtering or messing around with my traffic. Delivery of my data should be their business, not the data itself.


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  Reply # 261110 5-Oct-2009 11:55
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deleted: double post

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  Reply # 261136 5-Oct-2009 12:52
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It's an interesting problem area...

Per user bandwidth allocation: 

The idea that you have 1000 active users sharing at 3pm sharing 1000Mbit bandwidth they should be able to get 1Mbit each, if you have 500 users sharing 1000Mbit at 11pm give them 2Mbit each.  It's not practical with current hardware it's too computationally expensive to track all the connections and streams for each user and dynamically scale the rate limiting.. This is because of the scale that Telecom deals with, thousands of users and multiple Gbps of transit.  Doesn't work yet in the real world, but is a promising area.

No traffic management at all: 

It doesn't work in the real world if the ISP has a lot of customers who use the net alot, ask Xnet.  Basically P2P and filesharing are designed to exploit design flaws in tcp/ip and UDP (remember these protocols were designed in the 70's and 80's and haven't changed much) to maxmise download speed.  If you have one user with one connection doing a http download or a voip call and another user with 500 connections open using bit torrent... the 2nd user will hog all the bandwidth and negatively imapct the performance of the first user.

Some ISP's can get away with less traffic management by charging a higher $ per GB for large usage and focusing on the smaller user niche, for example Telstra - I imagine they have heaps of mom and pop users who never use more than 3-5GB.  Those type of users are actually often subsidising bandwidth for the heavier users in many cases.

Current Traffic management implementations:

You have a bandwidth pool for x users, it's provisioned at whatever is commercially viable for the price you charge, example: 100:1 contention ratio (example only, real contention ratio is not known publicy) .  You use DPI (deep packet inspection) hardware to classify traffic streams, usually something like:

National or traffic from caching servers: Not managed
Identified web/mail/etc:  High priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool
Unidentified: Medium priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool
Identified P2P: Low priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool

Specific implementations will have a whole bunch more rules and options but you get the idea.







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  Reply # 261256 5-Oct-2009 14:54
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Ragnor:
Some ISP's can get away with less traffic management by charging a higher $ per GB for large usage and focusing on the smaller user niche, for example Telstra - I imagine they have heaps of mom and pop users who never use more than 3-5GB.  Those type of users are actually often subsidising bandwidth for the heavier users in many cases.

Current Traffic management implementations:

You have a bandwidth pool for x users, it's provisioned at whatever is commercially viable for the price you charge, example: 100:1 contention ratio (example only, real contention ratio is not known publicy) .  You use DPI (deep packet inspection) hardware to classify traffic streams, usually something like:

National or traffic from caching servers: Not managed
Identified web/mail/etc:  High priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool
Unidentified: Medium priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool
Identified P2P: Low priority, Min: x% of the bandwidth pool, Max y% of the bandwidth pool


Thank you for the reply. I know that is what's going on, but I think that it shouldn't.

The reason is that with the impact that the Internet has on our society, the unprecedented voice it lends to ordinary people, and a number of other reasons, Internet access has to remain unfiltered and un-censored. It should be treated more like a utility as in: It has to be available for everyone and for whatever use. If use electricity then my utility company will charge me for the amount I used, and has no business differentiating the pricing based on what I used it for.

I'd much rather have higher per-GB prices than ISPs rate shaping any of my traffic. Charge $1 for each of the first 5 GB per month, $2 for the each of the next 5, then $4 then $8 and so on. When you do something like that then the heavy bandwidth users end up subsidising Internet access for everyone else, not the other way around. As an option, ISPs can offer to throttle all your traffic down to 64 kbit/s after X GB, where the customer can select their own value for X.

The problem then would go away quickly (as well as the need for DPI on the ISP side) as personal bandwidth monitors and personal rate limiting software would become popular for those who don't want to pay that much and want to avoid accidentally using up too much traffic.

The problem with rate limiting international traffic is that it's potentially interfering with services hosted overseas to a point where people here just don't want to use them anymore. It gives local services, even crappy ones, an undeserved competitive advantage. It's bad enough that an overseas service has to deal with higher latencies due to distance, but having a national carrier punish foreign services even more by artificially rate limiting traffic to/from them is essentially a form of protectionism. Next we know that local carrier offers to put those services' IP addresses on a whitelist, for a small fee of course and there we have that nightmare scenario that happens when you don't insist on net-neutrality.



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  Reply # 261283 5-Oct-2009 15:42
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Thanks for the replies. It has enlightened me somewhat to what is going on in the background.

Anyway, I did get a reply from Telecom and they seem to be taking my 'problem' seriously. This suggests that perhaps they expect me to be getting higher international speeds.

The were adament that no artifical speed caps exist on the plan that I am on, nationally or internationally.

They've asked me to perform a series of tests for them, including supplying traceroute logs to the servers I've been testing against etc, so we'll see where this goes.

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  Reply # 261639 6-Oct-2009 12:24
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foobar:

The reason is that with the impact that the Internet has on our society, the unprecedented voice it lends to ordinary people, and a number of other reasons, Internet access has to remain unfiltered and un-censored. It should be treated more like a utility as in: It has to be available for everyone and for whatever use. If use electricity then my utility company will charge me for the amount I used, and has no business differentiating the pricing based on what I used it for.



Electricity is a simple and old technology, power comes from a handful of utililies through the grid to your place.  eg: once way.. no complex routing, no two way communication, no types of power than require low latency to operate effectively, no types of power that need high throughput, no traffic, no queuing.. and so on.  Electricity is not an good analogy for the internet imo. 

foobar:

I'd much rather have higher per-GB prices than ISPs rate shaping any of my traffic. Charge $1 for each of the first 5 GB per month, $2 for the each of the next 5, then $4 then $8 and so on. When you do something like that then the heavy bandwidth users end up subsidising Internet access for everyone else, not the other way around. As an option, ISPs can offer to throttle all your traffic down to 64 kbit/s after X GB, where the customer can select their own value for X.



If it was easy and effective to offer this style of plan there would be an ISP offering it.  The closest thing would be Xnet offering pay as you go on peak and free off peak.  However it's evident managing performance and network planning and making enough money to offer a service that doesn't suck seems to have proved challenging.

If you are willing to pay a higher price per GB for no management have you considered business plans and/or a premium ISP 's like Iconz/Maxnet?

foobar:
The problem then would go away quickly (as well as the need for DPI on the ISP side) as personal bandwidth monitors and personal rate limiting software would become popular for those who don't want to pay that much and want to avoid accidentally using up too much traffic.


The average joe does will not run or understand how to use personal rate limiting software and nor will they want to learn how.  All they know is that they click this icon here to open the internet and how to type something in the search to get what they are looking for. 

Have you seen the google video where they go around asking people on the street what a web browser is?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ

Smart geeks are a minority niche and not an attractive market to target for most ISP's.

foobar:

The problem with rate limiting international traffic is that it's potentially interfering with services hosted overseas to a point where people here just don't want to use them anymore. It gives local services, even crappy ones, an undeserved competitive advantage. It's bad enough that an overseas service has to deal with higher latencies due to distance, but having a national carrier punish foreign services even more by artificially rate limiting traffic to/from them is essentially a form of protectionism. Next we know that local carrier offers to put those services' IP addresses on a whitelist, for a small fee of course and there we have that nightmare scenario that happens when you don't insist on net-neutrality.


No amount of wishing we were closer to the source of the majority of the content on the internet will change the fact that we are half a world away.  At price x they can offer y amount of international bandwidth to z users and make a reasonable profit.  If they couldn't make a resaonable profit they would stop investing in offering the service and put the money in the bank for a better return.

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