Network end users to pull down 2 gigabytes a day, continuously?

Thomas Leavitt thomas at
Tue Jan 9 02:49:31 UTC 2007

So, kind of back to the original question: what is going to be the 
reaction of your average service provider to the presence of an 
increasing number of people sucking down massive amounts of video and 
spitting it back out again... nothing? throttling all traffic of a 
certain type? shutting down customers who exceed certain thresholds? or 
just throttling their traffic? massive upgrades of internal network 

Is it your contention that there's no economic model, given the 
architecture of current networks, which would would generate enough 
revenue to offset the cost of traffic generated by P2P video?


Gian Constantine wrote:
> There may have been a disconnect on my part, or at least, a failure to 
> disclose my position. I am looking at things from a provider 
> standpoint, whether as an ISP or a strict video service provider.
> I agree with you. From a consumer standpoint, a trickle or off-peak 
> download model is the ideal low-impact solution to content delivery. 
> And absolutely, a 500GB drive would almost be overkill on space for 
> disposable content encoded in H.264. Excellent SD (480i) content can 
> be achieved at ~1200 to 1500kbps, resulting in about a 1GB file for a 
> 90 minute title. HD is almost out of the question for internet 
> download, given good 720p at ~5500kbps, resulting in a 30GB file for a 
> 90 minute title.
> Service providers wishing to provide this service to their customers 
> may see some success where they control the access medium (copper 
> loop, coax, FTTH). Offering such a service to customers outside of 
> this scope would prove very expensive, and likely, would never see a 
> return on the investment without extensive peering arrangements. Even 
> then, distribution rights would be very difficult to attain without 
> very deep pockets and crippling revenue sharing. The studios really 
> dislike the idea of transmission outside of a closed network. Don't 
> forget. Even the titles you mentioned are still owned by very large 
> companies interested in squeezing every possible dime from their 
> assets. They would not be cheap to acquire.
> Further, torrent-like distribution is a long long way away from sign 
> off by the content providers. They see torrents as the number one tool 
> of content piracy. This is a major reason I see the discussion of 
> tripping upstream usage limits through content distribution as moot.
> I am with you on the vision of massive content libraries at the 
> fingertips of all, but I see many roadblocks in the way. And, almost 
> none of them are technical in nature.
> Gian Anthony Constantine
> Senior Network Design Engineer
> Earthlink, Inc.
> Office: 404-748-6207
> Cell: 404-808-4651
> Internal Ext: x22007
> constantinegi at <mailto:constantinegi at>
> On Jan 8, 2007, at 7:51 PM, Bora Akyol wrote:
>> Please see my comments inline:
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Gian Constantine [mailto:constantinegi at] 
>>> Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 4:27 PM
>>> To: Bora Akyol
>>> Cc: nanog at <mailto:nanog at>
>>> Subject: Re: Network end users to pull down 2 gigabytes a 
>>> day, continuously?
>> <snip>
>>> I would also argue storage and distribution costs are not 
>>> asymptotically zero with scale. Well designed SANs are not 
>>> cheap. Well designed distribution systems are not cheap. 
>>> While price does decrease when scaled upwards, the cost of 
>>> such an operation remains hefty, and increases with additions 
>>> to the offered content library and a swelling of demand for 
>>> this content. I believe the graph becomes neither asymptotic, 
>>> nor anywhere near zero.
>> To the end user, there is no cost to downloading videos when they are
>> sleeping.
>> I would argue that other than sports (and some news) events, there is
>> pretty much no content that
>> needs to be real time. What the downloading (possibly 24x7) does is to 
>> stress the ISP network to its max since the assumptions of statistical
>> multiplexing
>> goes out the window. Think of a Tivo that downloads content off the
>> Internet
>> 24x7. 
>> The user is still paying for only what they pay each month, and this is
>> "network neutrality 2.0" all over again.
>>> You are correct on the long tail nature of music. But music 
>>> is not consumed in a similar manner as TV and movies. 
>>> Television and movies involve a little more commitment and 
>>> attention. Music is more for the moment and the mood. There 
>>> is an immediacy with music consumption. Movies and television 
>>> require a slight degree more patience from the consumer. The 
>>> freshness (debatable :-) ) of new release movies and TV can 
>>> often command the required patience from the consumer. Older 
>>> content rarely has the same pull.
>> I would argue against your distinction between visual and auditory
>> content.
>> There is a lot of content out there that a lot of people watch and the
>> content
>> is 20-40+ years old. Think Brady Bunch, Bonanza, or archived games from
>> NFL,
>> MLB etc. What about Smurfs (for those of us with kids)?
>> This is only the beginning.
>> If I can get a 500GB box and download MP4 content, that's a lot of
>> essentially free storage.
>> Coming back to NANOG content, I think video (not streamed but multi-path
>> distributed video) is going to bring the networks down not by sheer
>> bandwidth alone but by challenging the assumptions behind the
>> engineering of the network. I don't think you need huge SANs per se to
>> store the content either, since it is multi-source/multi-sink, the
>> reliability is built-in.
>> The SPs like Verizon & ATT moving fiber to the home hoping to get in on
>> the "value add" action are in for an awakening IMHO.
>> Regards
>> Bora
>> ps. I apologize for the tone of my previous email. That sounded grumpier
>> than I usually am.

Thomas Leavitt - thomas at - 831-295-3917 (cell)

*** Independent Systems and Network Consultant, Santa Cruz, CA ***

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