Hacker News

88 Comments:
gok said 4 days ago:

The actual report: https://broadbandnow.com/report/internet-speed-analysis-marc...

"But New York City, now considered the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., saw download speeds drop by 24% last week, compared to the previous 10-week range. That said, NYC home network connections, which have a median speed of nearly 52 Mbps, are managing."

It took me a few times reading it to understand what this is trying to say. What they mean is that many of these cities that are showing slowdowns already had higher-than-average median speeds. Many of the cities that aren't seeing slowdowns were already pretty slow to begin with. E.g. Chicago has only slowed down 10% but its median speed is only 26.79 mbps.

wtvanhest said 4 days ago:

It seems more like a mix shift issue, than a real issue.

If most of the fastest internet speeds are in offices, and people start working from home where slower speeds are located than average speed will decline.

irrational said 4 days ago:

Is that true? My home connection has always been far faster than my office connection. Sometimes I go home just to download a particularly large file.

jlokier said 4 days ago:

Ha!

If I want to download a particularly big file, I use tethering via my phone. Seriously, about 90Mbit/s download on the phone, that's faster than most places I've worked and also faster than my home connection.

It was so obviously better, that I switched home to be on 4G instead of ADSL, because the 4G was both cheaper and faster. It's working out well, but the phone still manages to be faster than the router.

fpoling said 3 days ago:

In Norway if one has a copper phone line into house, then the speed is typically bound by 40 Mbit/s. And it is not just rural areas. The apartment I live in is close to the center of Oslo. But as it is an old building with few flats it is not profitable to lay down the fiber even if it is just extra 10 meters from the near office building. With 4G with a good phone or modem one gets 50-300 MBit/s depending on the provider and coverage.

wenc said 4 days ago:

Yes. Most people don't realize this. (4G phone >> home internet)

I tether my iPad to my 4G phone because the latency/bandwidth is much higher than my home internet (40mbps).

I ran Speedtest on my phone vs my desktop with a wired connection to the router and learned that my 4G wireless connection was faster.

stOneskull said 4 days ago:

I think most of my town must use 4G at home because between 4pm and midnight my ping is too annoyingly high to play counterstrike

briffle said 4 days ago:

For most of us in the US, that does not work when you need to upload a file. (or synchronous communication, like video chatting, etc)

phinnaeus said 4 days ago:

What kind of office is it and where is it located?

411111111111111 said 4 days ago:

not the parent but that kind of situation is pretty normal in germany with consumer gigabit costs of about 50€/month.

enterprise connections pay a premium, and smallish employers often don't want to spend money on monthly expenditures, so mostly ~50-200mbit shared between all people at the office

Roritharr said 4 days ago:

To be fair, i spent 1500€/m for 1gbit fiber in the center of Frankfurt, which was considered cheap at the time.

You can get 1g down, 50mbit up for less than a tenth of that with cable for example. We used that line heavily and I loved it, but I'm still unsure if I should rather have spent the money differently.

We've moved now to a WeWork Style Location ( Studio from Tishman Speyer ) and are down to 100/100, have put our vpn equipment in a datacenter for 70€/m and nobody complains.

411111111111111 said 4 days ago:

rereading my message makes it sound like a complaint. That wasn't my intention at all. I know how much of a premium it costs and how little you need for anything but streaming video.

The most efficient way is probably to get consumer cable through the CEO(for "private" access to YouTube etc) combined with a smallish business vdsl connection for everything company related.

C1sc0cat said 4 days ago:

How small if its over 5 or so

They do know that consumer internet is asymmetrical and not practicable for real work.

FYI ELM (ethernet last mile) at 70Mbs in the UK costs about £70 pm

samoa42 said 4 days ago:

true, but qos is usually terrible and there is no sla to speak of on the consumer offerings. the most common offer (vodafone cable) has frequent outtages where you only hope is to call a robo-center and the optimal outcome is a troubleticket and maybe a refund. upload speed on gbit-cable is also only 50mbps...

if your business relies on connectity, best to avoid it.

gsich said 4 days ago:

Only download. Upload is far worse usually.

kayoone said 4 days ago:

they are often "up to 1Gbps" and also not available everywhere. In my area it's also at least 70 EUR, so I am fine with 400Mbps at home.

irrational said 4 days ago:

Fortune 500 in Portland, Oregon. My home Internet is more than twice as fast as my office line.

lotsofpulp said 4 days ago:

A dedicated 50mbps/50mbps fiber circuit for a business will be better quality than a home cable (coaxial) “100mbps” connection, shared between a million houses with 2mbps upload. Notice how you can’t even find upload bandwidth advertised for residential cable internet, much less other factors affecting connection quality.

irrational said 3 days ago:

I have a fiber optic line coming all the way to the box inside my home. The only coaxial line is the short line from the fiber box to the WiFi router.

selimthegrim said 4 days ago:

He may have fiber to the home

maccard said 4 days ago:

the fastest connection available to my home is ~60Mbps, my office has a 1Gb line, soon to be upgraded to 10Gb

tyingq said 4 days ago:

Maybe not in your case, but it my case, that big pipe is shared with a lot of people, and full of MITM, shaping, "threat detection" etc, that makes it sloow. And currently fronted by a shite VPN for all of us working from home :)

kayoone said 4 days ago:

if you work for smaller or non-tech companies maybe. My employers in the last 5 years have all had at least 1Gbps, current one has 10Gbps and a 2Gbps backup.

loeg said 4 days ago:

On the bigcorp end of things your corporate network is so fucked and the gateway to the public internet so slow you're back down to 50Mbit. With HTTPS MITM.

lmilcin said 4 days ago:

I am really sorry you have bad experience with your Big Co. Understand, not every company is like that.

Also there is no need for the kind of language. It definitely isn't helping your argument so you might just as well drop it.

lmilcin said 4 days ago:

Your office connection is probably scaled well. If it was as fast as your home broadband it would mean your company overpays for it and actually looses productivity.

Office work does not require fast Internet access and does not require that your Youtube videos load instantly.

We did some research and it seems broadband Internet access does not improve productivity and may actually reduce it.

Any minuscule increase in productivity (I mean a total of 5 minutes of loading times per employee per day) is meaningless. People can't focus on their real work for 8 hours straight. When Internet works faster, people just use more of it and are less selective about how they use it. People also get quickly used to increased performance and will be complaining at almost any performance point.

Another research on build times showed that hugely increased build times don't improve productivity either. At first yes -- people get excited. But then, when build times are very short (say 5s compared to 10m) most (but not all) developers just stop staring constantly at their IDE and thinking about how to structure their code and instead reduce their iteration to a minimum (say couple of lines of code) and just restart to see if it works. This seems to actually reduce quality of produced code.

Retric said 4 days ago:

I seriously doubt you had the kind of precision to measure a 1% change in productivity. What exactly where you measuring?

tyingq said 4 days ago:

There's also lots of bored folks at home streaming Netflix, Hulu, and the like. That would have been at work using a lot less bandwidth.

notyourday said 4 days ago:

I've again switched to BTing what I want to watch rather than watching it streamed because 2-3 hour late evening binges became an exercise in frustration.

classified said 4 days ago:

> 26.79 mbps

Milli-bit per second? Really?

gok said 4 days ago:

Feels like it sometimes!

zeckalpha said 4 days ago:

> 112/200 top U.S. cities have seen internet speeds increase this past week

And no matter how hard we try, half are below the median!

Ninjak8051 said 4 days ago:

Checking the actual report (broadbandnow.com, not the linked article, which is blogspam) they looked at the weekly median download speeds for the previous ~10 weeks. Last week, 88/200 cities had a median download speed lower than any of the previous 10 weeks.

mstibbard said 4 days ago:

Statistics are unforgiving!

said 4 days ago:
[deleted]
dogsgobork said 4 days ago:

Network speeds in other cities didn't increase, they just didn't decrease.

dumbfounder said 4 days ago:

So am I the only one that's happy and amazed it's working at all? Unprecedented demand and it's still running, just a bit slower than normal. Imagine if it all fell apart.

Ajedi32 said 4 days ago:

I'm having trouble imagining a failure mode that would cause total collapse under load rather than just reduced per-user speeds. Networks have to deal with spikes in demand pretty frequently anyway, usually during the evenings when lots of people are streaming video. A sudden increase in overall demand throughout the day doesn't seem like it should be that big of a deal; and so far it seems like it isn't.

JoeAltmaier said 4 days ago:

How about the mode where, video streaming makes normal browsing impossible for some users? Their packets just don't survive the public net in the blizzard of video packets? That would cause apparent collapse for some at least.

Not sure how 'net neutrality' would factor into that - a free-for-all would mean it might happen more, but a pay-as-you-go would eliminate a whole class of users. A hard problem.

freehunter said 4 days ago:

Networking isn’t magic, it’s pretty well understood. And ISPs are pretty good at QoS to make sure that doesn’t happen.

JoeAltmaier said 3 days ago:

When it gets full (like it is some places), then the only strategy is to drop packets. If they are dropped systematically (by some rule) then some demographic loses some part of their internet entirely. That's also well understood.

Its a product of non-neutral nets, where by definition they do something by a rule (instead of randomly for instance).

And even randomly dropping (neutrality?) stresses certain subsets of network traffic more than other e.g. video can recover from dropped packets; TCP traffic not so much. Again stymying certain classes of activity more than others.

dumbfounder said 4 days ago:

Netflix reduced the quality of videos in Europe to combat this.

kevstev said 4 days ago:

It seems almost funny now, but in the late 90s there was a lot of talk about how the internet could fail under its own load. The arguments never made that much sense to me, but they attracted attention...

zantana said 4 days ago:

I'm in NYC and have been having trouble loading YouTube videos seem like they fail about half the time. I don't recall ever seeing that before last week.

rooam-dev said 4 days ago:

It's just a reality check on how much your current ISP has oversold their capacity (similar to overbooking of airplane tickets).

ganoushoreilly said 4 days ago:

If anything it shows how over subscribed the lines are by the providers. I'm sure they'll use it as an argument for gov. investment. :/

willis936 said 4 days ago:

They already burned money given for them to do that. The next logical step is to simply take the infrastructure for the public.

topkai22 said 4 days ago:

So thoughts on rural areas- my experience is that they generally have more workers that will be considered essential than in urbanized areas- agricultural workers, truck drivers, people in the supply chain, etc. That might provide some moderating forces on the lower bandwidth options they are often stuck with.

That being said, schools doing distance learning over low bandwidth dsl or fixed wireless is going to be interesting...

dredmorbius said 4 days ago:
Accujack said 4 days ago:

If by "shine" you mean "be as ineffective and underfunded as they have been for decades", then yes.

dredmorbius said 3 days ago:

Rural phone and electric service exist largely by government based efforts.

Market solutions don't work for disadvantaged communities, we've learnt that lesson repeatedly.

Answering your presumption: no, that's not what I mean at all.

stickfigure said 4 days ago:

I'm on rural wireless broadband about an hour outside of SF. While the service has never been amazing (3Mbit on a good day, 10Mbit at best), it's been sub-1Mbit (and sometimes sub-0.1Mbit) for quite some number of days now. The rural wireless ISPs are swamped.

sudosteph said 4 days ago:

I had to do a temporary move, and ended up in the only rural county in NC with county-wide municipal fiber. It's working great, FWIW. I'm hopeful this situation will finally prove to the rest of the state that rural fiber is a worthwhile thing to do at scale. I've seen people argue it's not worth it b/c it doesn't attract enough jobs to pay for itself, but the additional network resiliency and quality of living improvements alone are worth it. Especially in times like this. If Wilkes County can do it, so can others.

Accujack said 4 days ago:

FYI, "lower bandwidth" can effectively mean dial up connections only, depending on how far someone lives from a major population center.

My uncle lives about 50 miles west of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and unless he wants to pay more than his entire (fixed) monthly income, his only option is dial-up. Cell data isn't even very good out there.

Lots of people in the US in rural areas are going to be entirely shut out of schools and businesses for the duration.

topkai22 said 4 days ago:

Agreed, I don't want to minimize the impact on them. I was responding to the article's DSL population.

For your uncle- I know that both suburban and rural providers in my area are providing various "COVID19 lifeline" deals, including fixed wireless operators serving some super rural locations. Might be worth looking into.

HarryHirsch said 4 days ago:

Try office hours (i.e. video calls) over satellite internet! It's the only thing that's on offer in the boonies.

gcatalfamo said 4 days ago:

It's peculiar how everything that has happened in Italy is slowly also happening over there.

And weird in a sense that the US actually has/had a chance to use other country's hindsight and is not doing it.

JoeAltmaier said 4 days ago:

Italy is 60 millions of people in a country 116,000sq miles.

The US is 328 millions of people in a country 3.8 million square miles.

For different reasons, its playing out similarly?

op00to said 4 days ago:

If it was overloaded handoffs or connections, the problem would be cheap and easy to fix. Unfortunately the problem is overloaded last-mile. Way more expensive to fix, because it costs money and cuts into profit margins.

seibelj said 4 days ago:

Everyone is trapped inside trying to stream HD video and all physical medium has limits. Especially coax. Why does supply and demand surprise anyone? This isn’t a conspiracy.

memco said 4 days ago:

I used to read about how ISPs were overselling and would be in trouble if everyone was using their connection to the fullest. It was always talked of as a hypothetical because it used to be pretty unlikely that every person would be home and needing to use the internet so much at the same time. Now that so many people are home and needing to use the internet, it’s not hypothetical and we get to see how ISPs are actually able to handle the load: and as many predicted it would not be able to keep up. I think this isn’t news in the sense that everyone thought it would be fine; I think this is news because this was a known but not addressed situation. It will be interesting if this leads to capacity upgrades or if we’ll see more pleas for major content producers and consumers to constrain their resources to keep the infrastructure running. I think people would like to see upgrades so that we can get the previous speeds and quality but we’ll see.

Laforet said 4 days ago:

The hypothetical already exists, it's called the evening peak hours. I'm not familiar with every part of the US however in Europe most ISPs saw no need to throttle video as the current situation merely makes the usual peak last longer.

someperson said 4 days ago:

> however in Europe most ISPs saw no need to throttle video as the current situation merely makes the usual peak last longer.

"Netflix to cut streaming quality in Europe for 30 days" https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51968302

Laforet said 4 days ago:

It was a precaution ordered by regulations rather than something out of necessity.

dehrmann said 4 days ago:

I could see this being up to 2x of the normal peak because everyone's at home.

TeMPOraL said 4 days ago:

Or more, as now "watching on-line videos" doesn't compete with alternatives like "going out" or "being too tired after work to do anything but eat and sleep".

baddox said 4 days ago:

Why would it be 2x the normal evening peak hours? Yes, normally maybe second shift workers and the rolling shifts of people going out to eat would reduce normal peak usage slightly, but I can’t imagine it being 2x.

TeMPOraL said 4 days ago:

Because ordinarily, not everyone watches videos in the evening; people go visit each other, go out to bars, go on dates, etc. Now however, meeting and outside activities are unavailable.

Hamuko said 4 days ago:

I haven't heard of any ISPs throttling video. It's the video streaming providers who are doing that.

dehrmann said 4 days ago:

Cell carriers are always throttling video, but I know that's not what you meant.

gnopgnip said 4 days ago:

It is common for ISPs to have 2000+ customers sharing a 1 gig line. Regardless of the speeds offered end users use about the same amount of bandwidth. End users all get "full speed" until the link is 95%+ used.

jcrben said 4 days ago:

Source which explains this in more detail?

Symbiote said 4 days ago:

It's contention ratio, but I don't know the current situation. Upgrades to infrastructure where I live mean it's no longer something we think about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contention_ratio

https://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/guides/broadband/what-is-...

sneak said 4 days ago:

In the US, most providers are operating under a near total government-granted any government-protected monopoly. They like to pretend there’s competition in the market but that’s mostly smoke and mirrors, designed explicitly to preserve their special status as the only game in town.

The fact that they are oversubscribed to the point where it doesn’t work well in an emergency would not be such a big deal - except that they are granted a moat.

They can and should be held to a higher standard as a result. The term “critical infrastructure” comes to mind.

A4ET8a8uTh0 said 4 days ago:

Anecdata. Chicago suburb on WOW.D 78 mbps U 10 ( I pay for much lower speeds ). I was able to get Doom Eternal in 30 mins or something. Decent stress relief.

I am not sure what is happening. It is obvious WOW lifted caps on me and I am actually benefiting, but I am not sure how that is possible since everyone near me ia streaming something.

threwer234234 said 4 days ago:

Seems to be a worldwide thing. I have a 50Mbps symmetric optical fiber line in Bengaluru, and servers hosted outside India have come to crawl these days, even while latency/bandwidth within the city are as high as before.

I wonder if the undersea cables have become overwhelmed in the past few days.

tartoran said 4 days ago:

Yeah, I wouldn’t be pissed if 4k doesn’t work. If the content is good even less than HD works for me. Everybody’s on, the network is congested, lets not be too picky for now. Stay safe everyone

hokumguru said 4 days ago:

Anecdotally, here in Nebraska my residential fiber connection remains 1gbps symmetric. Haven't seen any fluctuations at all over the last few weeks.

Living in less densely populated areas does have its advantages at times.

kawfey said 4 days ago:

Likewise, in St Louis on AT&T Gigabit fiber. There have been many outages with Spectrum cable though.

bin0 said 4 days ago:

I'd guess this is less of a concern than the services people are accessing being slow. E.g. even though I've got FTTH, youtube is still sometimes slow to load the front page.

tibbydudeza said 3 days ago:

Fortunately youtube and netflix has a good CDN at our major ISP interchange node as we are about 12,000 km from New York so all our traffic goes via undersea cables.

sjg007 said 4 days ago:

Anyone use bevcomm? I have fiber to the house at 300Mbps but rarely get it. I wanted 1Gps but apparently my ONT can’t handle it. I’d get it replaced but trying to avoid covid_19 at this time.

tibbydudeza said 4 days ago:

My fiber ISP is doubling my speed for free during the 21 day nationwide lockdown ... currently on 50/50 Mbps.

jsjddbbwj said 4 days ago:

25/25 fibre? That's... Cheap

tibbydudeza said 3 days ago:

It will be upgraded to 100/100 in the next few days ... pay about 75 USD but it is really a luxury for most where I live.

fonix said 4 days ago:

i understand wireless is tied to the internet backbone, but i'd imagine with so many people at home, wireless data congestion must be at an all time low, with everyone (probably) on their home wireless networks rather than using cellular data.

mcny said 4 days ago:

I think by default some Android-based devices and iPhone in recent years (since about 2014 I believe but don't quite me on that) can use cellular data even when we are on WiFi if the WiFi signal is weak like when you've wandered too far from the access point.

sebow said 4 days ago:

Not surprising,not news. Internet connections are just like ordinary pipes. More overall usage means less bandwidth for everybody