Paul Brooks pbrooks-link at layer10.com.au
Wed Apr 8 09:49:54 AEST 2009

Frank O'Connor wrote:
> I tend to have those problems on the Net even now ...
> Technically I have a connection that rates at between 15Mbs (on a good 
> day) and 9Mbs (on a bad day).
> Most sites on the Web don't funnel data at those speeds. FTP transfers 
> rarely hit anywhere near my maximum and more usually at about 25% of 
> my maximum. Peer to peer is good if it hits one third of my connection 
> speed. Streaming and the like tends to get about 1/3 of my connection 
> speed ... and I'm talking quick local sites like the ABC and that here.
Peer-to-peer is generally gated by your upstream capacity - at least, 
thats how the BitTorrent protocol tries to encourage fairness. The 
incoming speed generally slowly climbs to a peak of around 2x to 3x the 
upstream datarate, although in many cases I can barely achieve 1:1 - 
however, thats due to the protocol design, not the underlying network.

> I suppose the point is that even without the technical limitations 
> mentioned (and I'm sure that over 8 years many of these would be 
> surmounted ... hey, progress happens!) there are any number of 
> dysfunctional attributes (server performance, site performance, 
> application performance, third party performance, router performance, 
> firewall performance, etc etc) on our Net that are unlikely to be 
> remedied by fixing the backbone and the hardware.
A US Government report on broadband a few years ago actually defined 
"broadband" as (paraphrasing) "an access link with sufficient capacity 
that the access link itself is not the bottleneck for any data transfer 
across it". I really like this definition, as it self-adjusts with 
improvements in technology and Internet topology over time - it stays 
valid,  while a definition of "anything above X Mbps" quickly becomes 

I think you 've just confirmed that you have achieved true broadband, 
Frank - all the things that limit your experience of performance are 
upstream of you and out of your control. Thats not a problem!

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