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

Gian Constantine constantinegi at
Tue Jan 9 12:24:37 UTC 2007

I am not sure what I was thinking. Mr Bonomi was kind enough to point  
out a failed calculation for me. Obviously, a HD file would only be  
about 3.7GB for a 90 minute file at 5500kbps. In my haste, I  
neglected to convert bits to bytes. My apologies.

Gian Anthony Constantine
Senior Network Design Engineer
Earthlink, Inc.
Office: 404-748-6207
Cell: 404-808-4651
Internal Ext: x22007
constantinegi at

On Jan 8, 2007, at 9:07 PM, 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
> 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
>>> 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.

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