Does Internet Speed Vary by Season?

Bret Clark bclark at
Wed Oct 7 14:27:38 UTC 2009

Yeah I have to agree...that article was poorly written and clearly the
author has little understanding of physics.  "Velocity" has absolutely
nothing to do with Wiedemann-Franz law, we are talking resistance and
that determines current through the wire; not how fast the electrons are
flowing through the wire.  Plus unless you are selling services on
Mercury or Pluto, the temperature extremes between summer and winter are
not enough to affect the resistance level of a copper in such a manner
that it would affect the current on the circuit.

We all have traffic utilization graphs, and, at least in my case, its
pretty obviously that trends are affected by seasons only in terms of
vacation, holidays, and eve if it's a Monday or a Friday.  If we need to
do major backbone upgrades, we try to schedule around a holiday weekend,
because that's when we find Internet traffic to be the least (well from
a business utilization point of view).


On Wed, 2009-10-07 at 10:16 -0400, Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:

> On Oct 7, 2009, at 9:26 AM, Pierfrancesco Caci wrote:
> > :-> "Hank" == Hank Nussbacher <hank at> writes:
> >
> >>
> >> -Hank
> >
> > There are TXCOs and OXCOs inside equipment for a reason. And rubidium
> > lamps as well, sometimes.
> >
> > Seasonal variations in usage from the end customers are a fact of
> > life, instead. If your net is large enough you can even spot the
> > different habits about vacations, holidays and whatnot across the
> > different regions.
> I read the article and the follow up posts and I wonder if we are all  
> using the same definition for "speed" here.  The article seems to  
> imply you don't get 6 Mbps on your DSL line in summer because the  
> copper is hotter and it's harder to push electrons down the link.   
> That is clearly BS, the clock is ticking six million times per second,  
> period.
> Then it talks about traffic, which is very different than speed, at  
> least in my book.  If the intertubes are congested, you might get less  
> throughput, but your "speed" is the same.  And congestion cannot  
> affect speed.  That laser is blinking at 10 billion times per second  
> whether the queue behind the port is full or not.  (And don't tell me  
> the laser is quiescent when the queue is empty, you know what I mean.)
> So what are are talking here?  Speed, throughput, congestion, packet  
> loss, latency ... ?
> Oh, and while I am certain it is true different networks see different  
> peaks & valleys for different seasons & times of day, the  
> "Internet" (whatever the hell that is) definitely has less traffic in  
> summer than fall.

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