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Netflix Ranks ISP Speeds

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the what-would-they-know-about-transferring-data dept.

The Internet 186

Carnth writes "Netflix will start releasing monthly ISP speed reports for the U.S. Google Fiber ranks at the top. They say, 'Broadly, cable shows better than DSL. AT&T U-verse, which is a hybrid fiber-DSL service, shows quite poorly compared to Verizon Fios, which is pure fiber. Charter moved down two positions since October. Verizon mobile has 40% higher performance than AT&T mobile.' Hopefully this will give consumers a better overall picture on how their ISP performs compared to others."

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Only ranks major ISPs (5, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#42256019)

There's plenty of smaller ISPs that get better speeds than many of these providers. Would have been nice to see them on the list along with the heavyweights.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about 2 years ago | (#42256037)

I'm surprised that Google Fiber is large enough to get ranked. I would have guessed that there were other regional ISPs with more customers that weren't listed. Perhaps they're listed simply to encourage the others below them to pick up their speed.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (4, Insightful)

korgitser (1809018) | about 2 years ago | (#42256581)

My guess is that they just want to ack some pressure on the big ISPs who all want Netflix to cough up for outbound traffic.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (3, Interesting)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#42257007)

Small regional players probably don't have all the media hype that Google Fiber has gotten. That said 2.55MBPS how cute. Admittedly I can't benchmark against Netflix since it sucks ass in my country but I get 18MBPS (not Mbps MBps) pretty easily from torrents and large sites like MS, youtube etc. It does get pretty annoying actually to have that much speed at times sometimes I open a streaming video somewhere and download the whole thing before I realize it isn't the video I was looking for where as with a slower connection maybe only 1/10th of the video would be loaded before I can click the next/back button. I'm sure there is some limit to how much Netflix will push to you regardless of your bandwidth (you only need to stream so fast to keep a decent buffer on your video).

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257523)

It does get pretty annoying actually to have that much speed at times sometimes I open a streaming video somewhere and download the whole thing before I realize it isn't the video I was looking for where as with a slower connection maybe only 1/10th of the video would be loaded before I can click the next/back button.

Oh you poor baby! That reminds me. I sure hate when I am standing on the deck of my yacht and I light a Cuban cigar with a $100 bill only to remember that I'd rather have my butler bring me more martinis to drink before smoking. I mean doesn't that just plain suck? Other people think THEY got it rough, well buddy they should try that sometime!

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 2 years ago | (#42257531)

I'm assuming it is 2.5 Mb/s because that is the bandwidth of the video stream. The average connection is way higher than 2.5 Mb/s. It is a connection stability test not a bandwidth test.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (2)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42257027)

Given that Google Fiber is not huge leaps and bounds above the top 4 contenders, I suspect in-home infrastructure is the limiting factor here.

Comcast and Fios are close contenders, although we don't know where those were measured. Comcast can be very spotty in some locations and
just great in others.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257503)

the problem with comcasts service is that the netops side is not one unified force. the company is basically a big conglomeration of local markets all marketed under the same brand. how things are done in one market can be radically different than the way things are done in another market. the backbone and the connections to it are wonderfully run, but the closer you get to the edge of the network, the levels of quality start to vary based on how the local markets operate. they have a great deal of autonomy and as long as they make their numbers, they don't get bothered.

(posting AC as im currently a comcast netops monkey, and the internet never forgets)

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256057)

They probably only wanted to show ISP's that the majority of Americans have access to. It probably wouldn't be helpful to most of the population to show ISP's that are for the most part regional.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (4, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42256083)

They probably only wanted to show ISP's that the majority of Americans have access to.

That is surely why Google Fiber and FiOS are in there.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#42256123)

If they provided a way to narrow it down and see only the ones in your area, it would be very useful. Big ISPs are killing the internet and any sort of consumer guide that presents their information without that of smaller competitors is ultimately a disservice. That said, this information is very useful and interesting, and I would encourage them to continue posting it - just please make it more inclusive. My provider is a small customer-owned co-op and the service is extremely competitive - it would be helpful for that information to be available alongside ratings for the industry giants.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (5, Informative)

Black LED (1957016) | about 2 years ago | (#42256939)

You might be interested in Net Index [netindex.com] . It's run by the guys who run Speedtest.net [speedtest.net] . You can look at various ISP rankings by regions.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | about 2 years ago | (#42257057)

I use speed test and find that my speeds with AT&T and wifi at home (century link DSL) both give 4.5 Mbps. I don't use it for much more than streaming and surfing and am happy with it. What's interesting is that the table shows far worse performance for both which makes me question how accurate speed test is.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (1)

Black LED (1957016) | about 2 years ago | (#42257077)

Try selecting a different test server. Sometimes servers that are further away can show better performance.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257223)

The best one I've found if you're on a high speed link (talking 200Mbps+) would be the SpeedTest Beta server in Washington, DC

At work, a lot of the test servers top out at maybe 220Mbps (or less), but with that one it actually hits around 480Mbps or more

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256085)

For that matter, I bet that all those "students" who who watch Netflix in the university library could show a 5000% better connection than anything Verizon or AT&T has to offer.

lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256113)

comment? It's all in the subject stupid.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256353)

If we lived in a tiny country like Sweden or Japan, it would be easy to have infrastructure in place for good internet speeds for all. "Unfortunately" for us, we just have too much room here in the USA.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (2, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42256529)

If we lived in a tiny country like Sweden or Japan, it would be easy to have infrastructure in place for good internet speeds for all. "Unfortunately" for us, we just have too much room here in the USA.

You can't blame it all on geography, I live in a small, densely populated city (with density exceeding many Japanese urban areas) located very close to Silicon Valley and my only options are Comcast Cable internet or "up to" 3 mbit DSL.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#42256633)

You can't blame it all on geography, I live in a small, densely populated city (with density exceeding many Japanese urban areas) located very close to Silicon Valley and my only options are Comcast Cable internet or "up to" 3 mbit DSL.

That's pretty good for DSL here in Silicon Valley. My neighbor who refuses to dump DSL is only getting around 200mbs.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#42256645)

Yes, that was a typo. Should have been 200kbs.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256685)

I live in Los Angeles, which is probably a much more densely populated city than yours, and we have a pretty good selection of internet providers here.

This is has always been a lie (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42257063)

According to the US Census bureau, 4 out of 5 Americans live in an urban area. [census.gov] Yes, we have some wide open spaces. But that's what they are: open spaces with no people in them. The vast majority of humans live in clusters that would bring the cost of broadband down.

Re:This is has always been a lie (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42257275)

According to the US Census bureau, 4 out of 5 Americans live in an urban area.

According to the US Census bureau, the entire state of New Jersey is an urban area. Including the pine barrens, the cranberry bogs, and the highlands of northwest New Jersey. Now, I'll grant you these places aren't the open lands of Montana, but they're not cities in the sense that Chicago or New York (or even Kansas City) is. It's a matter of their measure being insufficiently fine; an area is either "urban" or "rural".

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#42257037)

comment? It's all in the subject stupid.

I'm not sure what the speeds in the article actually mean - they may be an average capped to the maximum bitrate of a Netflix stream, hence the clustering at such slow speeds around 2-2.5 mbps. The cheap Charter service in my tiny podunk midwestern town gives me 30 mpbs in terms of real performance whenever I connect to a fast server, for instance when I'm downloading something off of Steam.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257157)

That is 2-2.5MBps, which is equal to 16-20mbps. They probably are still hitting a bottleneck at Netflix though.

Re:lol @ your shitty speeds in the US. (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 2 years ago | (#42257271)

i wonder though, is verizon really faster or does the phonehome of the android phones, using wifi, usually connected to a different network skews the netflix ratings.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256119)

Yep. I'll stick with my DSL with my small ISP. Even if it isn't as fast as cable or FIOS, I have true unlimited with no caps and they don't monitor or filter any traffic. I'd rather have a slower connection that I can use for anything than a super high speed connection that is limited to the corner of the internet deemed ok by some corporation.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257451)

I torrent like a motherfucker with FIOS and I can tell you I've had no problems with them sending me any nasty letters about any of my traffic, for the last two years. I run uTorrent 24/7, movies, music, and software being seeded and they appear to not care in the least. I do also pay for TV from them; not sure if that is a factor or not. I doubt it.

With the cable companies, of course, you have a point. They're assholes about the, uh, traffic you're sending and receiving.

Re:Only ranks major ISPs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256781)

I know they're not listing Electric Power Board of Chattanooga.

You know, the people who offered a Gig before Google was even set up.

Charter plain and simple sucks (3, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42256061)

These people lie constantly. When I signed up for Charter, I asked if I could run temporary instances of game servers so I could play my favorite games online. They said yes. That's a big lie, they block pretty much every port. I call to talk about this, I get sent to business class support, which ends up saying "We don't block anything over port 8080, so you should be able to run your games just fine."

Nope. Can't connect or host shit on my PS3, or my computer.

Then to boot, I'm paying for 100 mbit down. I can NEVER get more than 30mbit down.

Charter is a business full of false advertising and sheer incompetence. Avoid these fuckers like the plague if you can. As soon as Verizon FIOS is available here, I'm ditching Charter. Fuck those lying sons of bitches.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256105)

does all this lying cos you to cut and paste something twice cos your so mad?

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256115)

Meow!

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#42256663)

Arf!

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256239)

I had a similar experience. Charter claimed they did not block ports, but I was unable to consistently connect to a web server or via ssh to a server I setup until I switched to their business class service which costs a ton more. Liars but what can you do? It's not like there are other options in most areas they service. :-(

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256269)

Charter was great when I signed up. I even got the 100meg service and it was amazing.. For a while.

A few months ago the services started taking a dump. I went from 100mbit all the time, all day, to a laggy 300kbps in the evenings. (300kpbs down and 5 megabits up - How fucked up does your network have to be for that to be true?)

It's not on my end either. I had their techs at my place for eight hours making sure they had they cleanest signal they've ever seen.

I hear it's pretty much system wide. Their whole network is in the shitter and they don't seem to be doing much about it.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Detritusher (1031752) | about 2 years ago | (#42256413)

I also have Charter 100mbs service, and constantly get 100mbs, and host things just fine. They've always been fast. They can be terrible when something is broken, but when it's working properly it's great. Not sure whyh you have these issues.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42256587)

It's not on my end considering I have enterprise/big-business class hardware inside the home, including infiniband switch.

It's Charter.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Detritusher (1031752) | about 2 years ago | (#42256743)

The only port I can identify that they filter is 80. I'm even hosting ssh on it's native port.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42256789)

Everything is blocked here. Even with my main system hooked directly to the modem, I can't even run a simple Zandronum server on port 10666 to play Doom.

My PS3, directly connected to the modem, cannot do anything online with the weird exception of letting me see how others died in Dark Souls. Can't do Mortal Kombat online, Can't do Gran Turismo, can't do shit.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (3, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 2 years ago | (#42256533)

I had the 100MBs charter business line into my house up until a year ago for work (sold my company so they were no longer paying for it) and went to their standard 30mbs connection. I was never hosting any servers, but was involved on a large software project that transferred several gigs of data each day doing repo pulls and pushes, etc.. What I found wasn't that I was having connection problems on my end, but it was the servers that I was connecting to which seemed to be the bottle neck. I tested this from the main office which had a 100Mbs fiber line and found much the same that the most the remote servers we were using would allow us to pull was about 5MB/s sustained. I used to stream movies/tv from hulu on my iPad while waiting for code to download/upload and sometimes while playing my XBox all at the same time. Bandwidth never seemed to be a problem.

Even now on the 30Mb/s connection I don't really notice any problems even if other people are over and using their computers/iPads/Phones and whatnot.

I think the problem with Cable in general is a lot depends on how many users are on your line. I know for a fact that I am one of two houses on this line with cable internet. And the other house on the street is currently unoccupied while being renovated. Everyone else switched to Direct TVa couple years ago and are older and don't use the internet.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42256617)

"What I found wasn't that I was having connection problems on my end, but it was the servers that I was connecting to which seemed to be the bottle neck."

That's not the issue here. Everything seems capped at roughly 30-40 mbit. Torrents, downloads, even YouTube has some 'buffering issues' thanks to Charter. Speedtest.net can't even give me more than a reported 40 mbit and they're supposed to be THE defacto speed testing site on this planet.

I'm starting to wonder if I can't file a class-action against them like I did EA. I can understand getting maybe 80 mbit, but consistently getting less than half of my advertised speed is total bullshit, especially when my internal home network is all business/enterprise/big-business class hardware.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#42256661)

yea, I dumped time warner because of this. Speed was great, except when I and everyone else was home. In the evening, there was all kinds of random drops and slow downs that I can only attribute to the shared line. I got DSL where you have your own dedicated line and it has been fairly solid.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256709)

Who do you use for DNS? If it's not the right server for you uplink, you get bad cdn connections.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#42256813)

and found much the same that the most the remote servers we were using would allow us to pull was about 5MB/s sustained.

Did you rule out the possibility that it was just the end-to-end latency, because the server was far away?

Remember, with the TCP protocol, as end-to-end latency or distance increases: the maximum possible throughput decreases, and the minimum TCP buffer/window size required to achieve the maximum possible speed increases.

E.g. at 100ms round-trip latency, you have to have a TCP buffer size in excess of 256 Kilobytes, to get a throughput of 20 Megabits/Second; which requires special tuning at both ends of the connection.

If your TCP buffers are stuck at 64K; the best possible transfer speed at that latency will be 5 Megabits; even if you have 1 Gigabit of throughput to the server, and the server has 1 Gigabit of throughput to you end-to-end.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256779)

Charter actually works great, in two disparate areas of the country I've tried it, including one rugged area. If you're only getting 30 Mbps max, you've almost certainly got an old DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem instead of a DOCSIS 3.0 modem required for channel bonding. Try a Motorola SB6120 or SB6121.

You'll also want to ditch your sub-par 100BASET router for a gigabit router (and make sure your ethernet cables are CAT6), otherwise you'll lose a significant chunk of bandwidth (~10%) just to your router. Try a Netgear FVS318G, FVS336G, FVX538 or SRX5308.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42256803)

"If you're only getting 30 Mbps max, you've almost certainly got an old DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem instead of a DOCSIS 3.0 modem"

Wrong, in fact I have TWO modems, one for Internet, one for voice. Both are the latest.

"You'll also want to ditch your sub-par 100BASET router for a gigabit router"

I see you neglected to read where I mentioned I'm running an infiniband switch. Your single gigabit pales in comparison to my 40gbit backbone.

Try again when you're actually able to read, follow, and comprehend the discussion, yes?

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Detritusher (1031752) | about 2 years ago | (#42256891)

So, let me get this straight, you have an infinband switch as the backbone for your.... PS3 which you claim is directly connected to your modem. At least try to keep your bullshit consistent.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#42257013)

I'm sorry, are you still failing to comprehend? Doing direct-connection is for troubleshooting, as stated in the same post mentioning the PS3? Or are you too stupid to know that Zandronum is a PC thing, not a PS3 thing? Google too hard for you to use?

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (1)

Detritusher (1031752) | about 2 years ago | (#42257033)

Oh, I understand just fine. It's your claims that keep changing, but seriously, Try to get the neighbors 15 year old to come over, I'm sure he can get it working for you.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257043)

Well aren't you the sophisti-cat!
You have the latest DOCSIS 2.0 modems, eh?
If they're truly DOCSIS 3.0 modems, are they the same make and model Charter uses or approves? If not, they may be unable to bond or to bond reliably.
Motorola SB6120 and SB6121 are used by Charter. If you want to be safe, start with a rental unit.
Naturally you checked the browser interface on your modems for signal strength, error rates, and bonding activity, right?
You'll need a gigabit router, not just gigabit switch.
And you should be using Charter's own speed test (re-branded Ookla) because speedtest.net often can't come anywhere close to saturating a 100Mbps line.
Finally, call a Charter technician... a real Charter tech, not a subcontractor which they often send in routine situations... and if they can't solve your problem, have them escalate it. And if the problem isn't resolved as being exterior to your home, ask for the visit to be free.

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257299)

Use the Speedtest.net server in Washington, DC (I guess I should say if you're semi-local to it.. but try even if you're not). With the two 10Gbps backbone links we have at work, the fastest I got with the other servers was like 220Mbps, the DC server (Speedtest Beta), I hit 480Mbps+)

Re:Charter plain and simple sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256961)

I have their 100/5 connection here in Wisconsin and it's been very good. Max transfer speeds I've seen are 10.8MB/sec. I was going to say that maybe it's your modem or router, but you said you had Enterprise class equipment, so I'm not sure what to tell you. I was only getting around 30mbps on my old router. I upgraded to a much nicer router and went up to getting full speeds and no more uPnP problems like I was having on my old one.

I haven't had any issues using my PS3, hosting in Borderlands2, etc. But I believe those games use port numbers above 8080.

Google Fiber 2.55 MB/s? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256075)

How come Google Fiber is MB/s and not GB/s?

Re:Google Fiber 2.55 MB/s? (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#42256117)

it just means that much more ppl are using the free version, which is only 5mbit/sec, than the paid gigabit speeds. although, even that seems like a stretch to me. it is entirely possible that the netflix servers only allow downloading speeds to cap at 2.55MB/S, since there is no reason to go faster than that(it would never have buffer time)

Re:Google Fiber 2.55 MB/s? (0)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 2 years ago | (#42256193)

Because it sounds better? 1,000MB* or just a lowly 1GB*?

* - Marketing Numbers used here...

Re:Google Fiber 2.55 MB/s? (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#42256805)

Sure, but then it would say 0.03 GBPS for Google Fiber. I think the AC meant to ask, "Why isn't Google Fiber's speed higher?" It would be equally valid to inquire the same of Verizon's FiOS. As Xicor mentioned here [slashdot.org] , the transfer rate between upload/download is probably just limited.

Re:Google Fiber 2.55 MB/s? (3, Insightful)

edjs (1043612) | about 2 years ago | (#42257263)

Netflix says for the best quality setting to expect about 600 kB/s of traffic for HD programming (or 5 Mbps), so only households with multiple streams going will exceed that.

Averages with how much deviation? (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | about 2 years ago | (#42256107)

One of my pet peeves as a numerate person not impaired by statisto-phobia is the [ab]use of averages. Sure, the mean contains some information. But the standard deviation contains just as much, if not more! Very seldom do I see anything from which sigma could be inferred, yet whenever you collect data for averages, you can easily calc sigma.

In this case, network averages are useful only for advertising and not much use at all for consumers, with the possible exception of some large corporations who might reasonably suppose they have enough users spread evenly so they _on_average_ will see the average.

For individuals, what matters is the service you will see. And that depends with any carrier more on the neighborhood loading and upstream provisioning on that node.

The only real info you might guess from averages, provided you can make some reasonable assumptions about wirespeed, is what percent of a providers customers are under-provisioned. If cable is commonly 6 Mbps and DSL is 3 and they both net 2, cable is horribly cramped in spite of higher bandwidth.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (4, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#42256401)

The reason this is all released is a way for Netflix to fight the chance that their service gets throttled. It's a free market solution to anti-netneutrality legislation. I like it.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42256763)

This is the correct answer. We are about to get broadband competition.

BTW: all a network provider has to do to put Netflix's datacenter closer to their customer and improve their score is to call up Netflix and get some of these cool cache boxes [backblaze.com] modeled after the BackBlaze box. They're FREE.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#42256845)

Of course.... these things use electricity, and electricity is not free

I also wonder, how large does the network provider/datacenter have to be before Netflix will make them available for free? :)

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42257015)

They have to have 5Gbps of Netflix traffic. Based on the figures in TFA, maybe a couple thousand Netflix users. They're load balancing, so target is 5Gbps per box - the boxes can do a peak of 8Gbps. Netflix makes them available for free to reduce the cost of networking and improve the customer experience. Network operators take them for the same reason. There is more here [netflix.com] , including an install guide and BOM.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257343)

If the machine sits in the corner unplugged, it's clearly not costing any electricity, yet that still has no effect on the price of the machine. For the mentally challenged (aka you), that means it is free.

Also why don't you click the link and read the answer to your question?
For fuck sakes this is slashdot not jeopardy!

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42256417)

Sure, the mean contains some information. But the standard deviation contains just as much, if not more! Very seldom do I see anything from which sigma could be inferred, yet whenever you collect data for averages, you can easily calc sigma.

I can understand and appreciate your frustration; I share it. But let's be honest: The average person doesn't understand sigma, standard deviation, margin of error, or any of those other statistical concepts. They do like "Top 10" lists though and rankings. And for these things, averages are usually the best metric, even if they don't tell the whole story, or even a particularly accurate one.

The other thing is, most of the ISPs on that list are using some variety of traffic shaping. Internet users don't care whether their download takes 5 minutes or 5 minutes and 30 seconds... but they're going to throw a hissy fit if their video starts in 10 seconds instead of 4, even if the remaining duration plays without a problem. Needless to say, ISPs aren't blind to this -- they prioritize traffic to sites like Netflix. Or, in the case of mobile providers... they throw it under the bus. But network neutrality doesn't exist in the United States or the UK, which is where Netflix operates... so even a detailed statistical analysis wouldn't be terribly useful.

We can't expect the average person, with the attention spa--oh look a kitty! ... to be bothered to see the deeper truth that a full statistical exploration would reveal. Bluntly, they're too stupid to either know, or care.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

redelm (54142) | about 2 years ago | (#42256683)

Should ignorance/illiteracy/unnumeracy be encouraged? Sure it exists -- but should it be pandered to?

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | about 2 years ago | (#42256793)

I can understand and appreciate your frustration; I share it. But let's be honest: The average person doesn't understand sigma, standard deviation, margin of error, or any of those other statistical concepts. They do like "Top 10" lists though and rankings. And for these things, averages are usually the best metric, even if they don't tell the whole story, or even a particularly accurate one.

No, averages aren't the best metric because they don't capture the difference between a wildly bimodal distribution that sometimes frustrates the *!(#*& out of you and one with a slightly slower average that is quite consistent. It's the statistician's job (if she wants to be relevant) to figure out a more meaningful way to measure it and then provide the Top 10 Actually Usable ISP such that the public doesn't need to understand what's under the hood to read the chart and make an informed decision. If someone asks, she can talk their ear off about how she uses a nonlinear filter to more heavily weight intermittent poor performance in a way that broadly tracks user's perception -- triple bonus points if she actually sets up some computers with difference speed profiles and has people^H^H^H^H^H^H undergrads rate them perceptually in order to fine tune her metric.

Statistics isn't all hard crunching and regression (a lot, oh yeah), some of it is using that knowledge to best illuminate the data.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (1)

quarrelinastraw (771952) | about 2 years ago | (#42256619)

The content of what you're saying is clear, but it's less clear how sigma will tell you about neighborhood-by-neighborhood variation. What they're reporting is a sample statistic, and sample variance estimates approach zero with large sample sizes. So their observed standard deviation is probably extremely tiny. If you subscribe to the view that there is a true mean out there to be measured, then sigma -- the true standard deviation -- is literally zero.

Data about variation would be useful, but that would mean publishing more than just standard deviation data. It basically means publishing the whole data set, or computing means conditioned on neigborhood.

Re:Averages with how much deviation? (2)

redelm (54142) | about 2 years ago | (#42256701)

Averages of averages certainly are subject to the Central Limit Theorum and have diminished deviations.

But a simple global sigma would give the informed a probability of being better than someone else. Rather than assume a better average always applies.

As of consumers can do anything (4, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#42256125)

Each of us only has one, two, or maybe three (if we're lucky) options to choose from, does it really matter if some ISP that doesn't serve my area is faster than the ones available to me?

Re:As of consumers can do anything (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#42256141)

Exactly. I have two questions for Netflix:

Has the company...

  1. ...sought any favors from Google, in exchange for having its fiber service included in the list despite its small service area?
  2. ...made any attempt to encourage (with money, etc.) any the listed ISPs to offer their high-speed services in more areas, despite the utter failure of the US gov and other groups to get them to so serve a reasonably large proportion of the country?

I'd consider Yes answers to 1 and 2 somewhat bad and (if any money changes hands after evidence of buildout) very good, respectively. (Not that any answer would make me want to sign up for Netflix.)

Re:As of consumers can do anything (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42256301)

either way the differences in speed between the top ISP's aren't anything to get excited about

blu ray quality is around 30mbps. a difference of 2.2 to 2.55 won't be noticed

Re:As of consumers can do anything (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#42256453)

This isn't being released for your benifit. It's a way for Netflix to identify and shame companies that throttle their service.

Re:As of consumers can do anything (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#42257059)

Is it the ISPs that rank low that are doing the throttling though? I seem to recall that in Canada there was a bit of a fiasco (and I'm sure it is the same in the US) where the small landline ISPs lease bandwidth from the big provider and the big provider throttles them. So the little guy can offer unlimited internet where the big guy doesn't but as punishment the little guy can't get more than 20Mbps vs 150Mbps for the customers of the big provider (plus traffic shaping to prevent "abuse" by those unlimited customers on a 20Mbps plan when they use things like torrents).

html5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256157)

And when they will use html5 for Netflix?
Last time I checked it was silverlight which is pretty much windows (maybe also Mac) only.

If I can't watch it on my Linux box I am not subscribing for such service.

Re:html5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256213)

They have to protect their content somehow, or else Big Content isn't playing ball.

Re:html5? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 2 years ago | (#42256323)

It runs on many android devices, so it's not just Silverlight.

Re:html5? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#42256443)

Also iOS (which, unlike OS X, does not have a Silverlight plugin) and consoles (none of which, including the Xbox 360, have Silverlight) and Windows phones and Windows RT devices (which don't have Silverlight browser plugins either, although Windows Phone 7 and higher can run local apps written in Silverlight). That's really the thing, though: it requires a dedicated app, not just a browser plugin like you use on the PC. It would be nice to have either an official app or plugin for desktop Linux (Android being an example of mobile Linux), though.

Re:html5? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42256767)

Also Blu-Ray players and HDTVs have integrated Netflix now. You can't get away from the thing almost.

"In any color, so long as it's black" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256273)

"Hopefully this will give consumers a better overall picture on how their ISP performs compared to others."

Which means jack squat given most people have one broadband option.

Vroom Vroom! (2, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#42256321)

OK, I've owned enough fast cars to understand that faster is always better, but in practical terms just how much download speed does anyone really need?

We're using Shaw Cable in Canada, the budget plan, and thus far it does everything we want, including downloading distros and (surely paid for, not pirated) movies in a reasonable amount of time, and streaming video via our Sony BluRay player.

Maybe I'm just an old fart that remembers 300 baud, and the amazing jump to 56k, but really folks, what in God's name are you doing that requires more than cable Internet speed?

(awful rich for Netflix to pretend to be looking out for consumers when their own service rips off Canada customers by offering 1/4 the choices at the same price)

Remote speeds the same as local speeds (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#42256681)

I want data to stream just as fat from a remote site as it does from my local drives. That way, where something is stored isn't relevant, it is all the same speed.

That would take in the realm of 10 gigabit.

Or maybe fully uncompressed video, that could be nice, particularly for games but in general for having a more simplified receiver. Well that's over a gigbit for 1080p 24fps, 8-bit. Going to 1080p 120fps, 8-bit is near 6 gigabits per second. Gets even worse if you want to go 10/12 bit and/or 4k resolution.

Something less ambitious? Ok how about just better HD streaming. Blu-rays are generally in the realm of 25mbps for video, often another 10+mbps for audio. I'd like to stream stuff in that quality, it looks noticeably better than the Netflix HD streams.

Speaking of video streaming I'm hoping to see some better content some day, that'll require more. I'd like a 4k 60p stream. Going to need a lot more bandwidth for that.

10-20mbps Internet works fine these days for most things, but that doesn't mean I can't come up with a lot of uses for better Internet speeds. Until it matches local speeds (which it isn't ever likely too) there is room for more speed.

Don't Know What We "Need" Until We Have It (3, Informative)

cmholm (69081) | about 2 years ago | (#42256879)

I was one of the first DSL customers in Hawaii. At the time, my non-technical circle didn't see the point. "Always on? 10x faster? 2x as expensive? Whatever for?" Indeed. Based on your (I suspect) tougue-in-cheek comment, I'd note that neither distro d/ls or streaming video would be possible without it.... but we didn't know until we could *could* do it.

In Australia, they're busy debating whether the proposed National Broadband Network of fibre optics links is "worth it". What would you run over it that we can't run now?

It hasn't been invented yet.

Re:Vroom Vroom! (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 2 years ago | (#42257097)

I have a 6 MBit connection, which is good enough for HD video from Netflix.

The only reason I keep it is because, beyond the odd throttling, I don't have cap. If I have to go capped with a higher speed connection, then I need to have 300GB minimum. Its not so much I download that much, but I don't want to be stressing about going over the limit and be gouged.

As for the selection with Netflix in Canada, is you aren't really paying for a US or Canadian account. You are simply paying for Netflix and then getting the selection for the geographic region in which you are currently located. This means if you go on holiday in the USA, then you get the USA content selection and if someone from the USA comes to Canada, then they get the Canadian selection. This aside, I don't know whether the poor selection in Canada is down to Netflix not making the same effort to negotiate the rights or whether it is down to the content companies in Canada just being more difficult.

Re:Vroom Vroom! (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#42257099)

(awful rich for Netflix to pretend to be looking out for consumers when their own service rips off Canada customers by offering 1/4 the choices at the same price)

Agreed, but ****WE FINALLY HAVE STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION*** on Netflix Canada!

Position 9 and 10. (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#42256325)

That Cox and Suddenlink are almost exactly the same is not a surprise. Suddenlink bought most of the midwest network of Cox when they decided to sell their assets.

Re:Position 9 and 10. (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#42257031)

I've been relatively happy with Cox.. the prematurely forwarded my IP block on my commercial line the last time I moved, but other than that, been running great.

WTF is MBPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256447)

megabytes? megabits? millibits per siemens?

Are we really comparing apples to apples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256493)

Maybe someone can answer this, but aren't netflix apps "aware" of the display quality of device they are on? For example, does Netflix on my ipod (640x960) request the same bitrate file as Netflix on my HDTV (1920x1080)?

Because if not, is it really fair to compare a wireless carrier's avg stream speed (mostly serving netflix to smartphones) to that of traditional in-the-ground ISP (mostly serving netflix to dedicated hi-def devices)?

Re:Are we really comparing apples to apples? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#42256527)

Maybe someone can answer this, but aren't netflix apps "aware" of the display quality of device they are on? For example, does Netflix on my ipod (640x960) request the same bitrate file as Netflix on my HDTV (1920x1080)?

Because if not, is it really fair to compare a wireless carrier's avg stream speed (mostly serving netflix to smartphones) to that of traditional in-the-ground ISP (mostly serving netflix to dedicated hi-def devices)?

My guess is that they are only using data from connections where the quality had to be lowered due to bandwidth constraints. Even at a bitrate lower than the maximum the data would still indicate that the link has a sustained minimum bandwidth of AT LEAST some amount.

Misleading; ADSL has multiple speed options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256519)

A few problems with this is ADSL is offered for less with different speed options. I have 10mbps. I was on 1.5mbps though until I could afford more. Comparatively I bet more people on DSL aren't willing to pay more which is why they are on it over cable. The fact you have the cheapest option on DSL doesn't mean DSL sucks. it just means your too choice to pay for something that doesn't. I would never switch away from DSL in any area where the service didn't suck (except for maybe fiber). Cable is obviously some peoples only choice. I'm within the town limits now and I was just outside of town prior. I have had fiber and I have had DSL. I have also tested out Cable. Not terribly impressed with Cable (although it varies significantly just as DSL does depending on the area).

How the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256531)

Did they congregate all of the data for these tests? My steady speeds UL/DL are well over this, does HD streaming really only stream at 2.xx Mbps? I sincerely doubt this... Or is this MEGABYTE?

They state MBPS so maybe Megabyte? That would ring true with most non Uverse connections as the standard for most providers is about 14-20Mbps.

Google Fiber? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256583)

How do I get Google Fiber.

Reliability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256611)

I'd prefer to see a rating based on both UPTIME and speed.

A fast internet connection is useless when it randomly goes out every other day/week, as I have experienced in the past with many cable providers. Especially if you rely on the internet to do your job.

Has anyone noticed recent performance declines? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 2 years ago | (#42256893)

I live in the shadow of Google but have AT&T DSL and use it to watch Netflix. In the past six months, performance has deteriorated significantly, dropping from an average of 1.35Mbps to 800Kbps and sometimes less. AT&T has tested the link to the CO and found it meets their service level standards.

I have spoken with other locals who expressed similar problems with Comcast. If you look at the sales of iPads and other tablets, their growth seems to track against this slowdown. Have these new tablets, streaming YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix, put a strain on the local ISPs? I doubt if theISP's provisioning would keep up with sudden demand.

Re:Has anyone noticed recent performance declines? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42257401)

Basic US infrastructure is crumbling.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/decaying-infrastructure-costing-us-billions-report-says/2011/07/27/gIQAAI0zcI_story.html [washingtonpost.com]
Water, distance can really mess non voice copper data efforts. Old copper down old ducts, shared lines, digital subscriber loops that are long and where fine for adsl1 and voice been pushed to the limit.
Shared best effort coaxial been shared too wide, lack of good new equipment in near monopoly states... more users...
The telcos will upgrade but on their terms. Its back to the old telco dream - why get paid for packets when they could rent a game or hollywood gold plated packet.

more importantly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256919)

how many HD movies can be watched each month on each provider without horrific overage charges?

AT&T is terrible in more ways than just DSL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256981)

"AT&T U-verse, which is a hybrid fiber-DSL service, shows quite poorly compared to anything else!" AT&T also has horrid customer service. A terrible billing and computer system that cannot keep track of any changes. Plus, the customer service reps lie and are confused on what will happen next. Besides having the worst speed and quality, the "service of their service" is the worst ever recorded. Their phone service, however, used to be good where I live. But I have cancelled due to the other negatives.

Misleading Perception Of Ranking (1)

FairAndUnbalanced (959108) | about 2 years ago | (#42257527)

The Netflix chart gives a misleading perception of "ranking." Some of these services are tiered offerings, like TimeWarner Cable and AT&T U-Verse, but you can't tell from the chart what percentage of the customers have subscribed to lower-speed service or higher-speed service. It's possible that a higher ranking ISP just happens to have more customers paying more money for faster access -- that doesn't make them a faster ISP.
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