Home media servers, AUPs, and upstream bandwidth utilization.

Alexander Harrowell a.harrowell at gmail.com
Mon Dec 25 10:58:03 UTC 2006

UK UMTS operator 3 (a Hutchison division) is advertising its so-called
X-Series service, which provides "unlimited" data service (plus various
lumps of steam telephony) for £25 rising to £40 a month. Skype is being
bundled with the devices involved, and here's the kicker - 3 is offering
Slingboxen thrown in for £99 extra.

3 has just begun HSDPA Class 5 upgrades in metro areas (claimed
maximum 3.6Mbits/s) and plans to launch HSUPA in the uplink next
spring, with a claimed
max of 1.4Mbits/s.

On 12/25/06, Thomas Leavitt <thomas at thomasleavitt.org> wrote:
> Check the AUP and TOS for that EVDO connection - my guess is that by
> viewing stuff from your Slingbox, you're risking termination of service.
> I don't have an EVDO connection myself (still toodling along with my
> Sidekick's GPRS), and part of the reason why is that they have a lot of
> what I think are unreasonable restrictions on how these services can be
> used -- this is based on what I've read on the various mailing lists I'm
> on (Dave Farber's IP, Declan McCullagh's Politech, and Dewayne
> Hendrick's Dewayne-Net).
> I don't know how significant restrictions like this are from a
> competitive perspective, but my broadband ISP also has a very liberal
> TOS... and that's one of the reasons I use them. I suspect that as items
> like the Slingbox become more common, folks will start paying more
> attention to what they're permitted to do with their upstream bandwidth.
> Thomas
> Roland Dobbins wrote:
> >
> >
> > I recently purchased a Slingbox Pro, and have set it up so that I can
> > remotely access/control my home HDTV DVR and stream video remotely.
> > My broadband access SP specifically allow home users to run servers,
> > as long as said servers don't cause a problem for the SP
> > infrastructure nor for other users or doing anything illegal; as long
> > as I'm not breaking the law or making problems for others, they don't
> > care.
> >
> > The Slingbox is pretty cool; when I access it, both the video and
> > audio quality are more than acceptable.  It even works well when I
> > access it via EVDO; on average, I'm pulling down about 450kb/sec up to
> > about 580kb/sec over TCP (my home upstream link is a theoretical
> > 768kb/sec, minus overhead; I generally get something pretty close to
> > that).
> >
> > What I'm wondering is, do broadband SPs believe that this kind of
> > system will become common enough to make a signficant difference in
> > traffic paterns, and if so, how do they believe it will affect their
> > access infrastructures in terms of capacity, given the typical
> > asymmetries seen in upstream vs. downstream capacity in many broadband
> > access networks?  If a user isn't doing something like breaking the
> > law by illegally redistributing copyrighted content, is this sort of
> > activity permitted by your AUPs?  If so, would you change your AUPs if
> > you saw a significant shift towards non-infringing upstream content
> > streaming by your broadband access customers?  If not, would you
> > consider changing your AUPs in order to allow this sort of upstream
> > content streaming of non-infringing content, with the caveat that
> > users can't caused problems for your infrastructure or for other
> > users, and perhaps with a bandwidth cap?
> >
> > Would you police down this traffic if you could readily classify it,
> > as many SPs do with P2P applications?  Would the fact that this type
> > of traffic doesn't appear to be illegal or infringing in any way lead
> > you to treat it differently than P2P traffic (even though there are
> > many legitimate uses for P2P file-sharing systems, the presumption
> > always seems to be that the majority of P2P traffic is in
> > illegally-redistributed copyrighted content, and thus P2P technologies
> > seem to've acquired a taint of distaste from many quarters, rightly or
> > wrongly).
> >
> > Also, have you considered running a service like this yourselves, a la
> > VoIP/IPTV?
> >
> > Vidoeconferencing is somewhat analogous, but in most cases,
> > videoconference calls (things like iChat, Skype videoconferencing,
> > etc.) generally seem to use a less bandwidth than the Slingox, and it
> > seems to me that they will in most cases be of shorter duration than,
> > say, a business traveler who wants to keep up with Lost or 24 and so
> > sits down to stream video from his home A/V system for 45 minutes to
> > an hour at a stretch.
> >
> > Sorry to ramble, this neat little toy just sparked a few questions,
> > and I figured that some of you are dealing with these kinds of issues
> > already, or are anticipating doing so in the not-so-distant future.
> > Any insight or informed speculation greatly appreciated!
> >
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Roland Dobbins <rdobbins at cisco.com> // 408.527.6376 voice
> >
> >         All battles are perpetual.
> >
> >                -- Milton Friedman
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Thomas Leavitt - thomas at thomasleavitt.org - 831-295-3917 (cell)
> *** Independent Systems and Network Consultant, Santa Cruz, CA ***
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