Observations of an Internet Middleman (Level3) (was: RIP

Blake Hudson blake at ispn.net
Fri May 16 17:20:22 UTC 2014

Thanks for the insight Scott. I appreciate the experience and point of 
view you're adding to this discussion (not just the responses to me). 
While I might be playing the devil's advocate here a bit, I think one 
could argue each of the points you've made below.

I do feel that general usage patterns are a reflection of the 
technologies that have traditionally been available to consumers. New 
uses and applications would be available to overcome hurdles if the 
technologies had developed to be symmetrical. I'm not saying that the 
asymmetrical choice was a bad one, but it was not without consequences. 
If residential ISPs sell asymmetric connections for decades, how can the 
ISP expect that application developers would not take this into account 
when developing applications? I don't think my application would be very 
successful if it required X Mbps and half of my market did not meet this 
requirement. Of course content/service providers are going to tailor 
their services based around their market.


Scott Helms wrote the following on 5/16/2014 12:06 PM:
> Blake,
> I might agree with your premise if weren't for a couple of items.
> 1)  Very few consumers are walking around with a HD or 4K camera today.
> 2)  Most consumers who want to share video wouldn't know how to host 
> it themselves, which isn't an insurmountable issue but is a big 
> barrier to entry especially given the number of NAT'ed connections.  I 
> think this is much more of a problem than available bandwidth.
> 3)  Most consumers who want to share videos seem to be satisfied with 
> sharing via one of the cloud services whether that be YouTube (which 
> was created originally for that use), Vimeo, or one of the other 
> legions of services like DropBox.
> 4)  Finally, upstream bandwidth has increased on many/most operators. 
>  I just ran the FCC's speedtest (mLab not Ookla) and got 22 mbps on my 
> residential cable internet service.  I subscribe to one of the major 
> MSOs for a normal residential package.
> Scott Helms
> Vice President of Technology
> ZCorum
> (678) 507-5000
> --------------------------------
> http://twitter.com/kscotthelms
> --------------------------------
> On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM, Blake Hudson <blake at ispn.net 
> <mailto:blake at ispn.net>> wrote:
>     Certainly video is one of the most bandwidth intensive
>     applications. I don't deny that a < 1 Mbps video call is both less
>     common and consumes less bandwidth than an 8Mbps HD stream.
>     However, if Americans had access to symmetric connections capable
>     of reliably making HD video calls (they don't, in my experience),
>     we might be seeing video calls as a common occurrence and not a
>     novelty. I think the state of usage is a reflection on the
>     technology available.
>     If the capability was available at an affordable price to
>     residential consumers, we might see those consumers stream movies
>     or send videos from their home or mobile devices via their
>     internet connection directly to the recipient rather than through
>     a centralized source like Disney, NetFlix, Youtube, etc. Video
>     sharing sites (like youtube, vimeo, etc) primary reason for
>     existence is due to the inability of the site's users to
>     distribute content themselves. One of the hurdles to overcome in
>     video sharing is the lack of availability in affordable internet
>     connectivity that is capable of sending video at reasonable
>     (greater than real time) speeds.
>     --Blake
>     Scott Helms wrote the following on 5/16/2014 11:02 AM:
>         Blake,
>         None of those applications come close to causing symmetrical
>         traffic patterns and for many/most networks the upstream
>         connectivity has greatly improved.  Anything related to voice
>         is no more than 80 kbps per line, even if the SIP traffic
>         isn't trunked (less if it is because the signaling data is
>         shared).  Document sharing is not being impinged, on my
>         residential account right now I've uploaded about 30 documents
>         this morning including large PDFs and Power Point presentations.
>         Off site back up is one use that could drive traffic, but I
>         don't believe that the limiting factor is bandwidth.  We
>         looked at getting into that business and from what we saw the
>         limiting factor was that most residential and SOHO accounts
>         didn't want to pay enough to cover your storage & management
>         costs.  In our analysis the impact of bandwidth on the
>         consumer side adoption was basically zero.  There is no
>         expectation that back ups run instantly.  Having said all of
>         that, even if hosted back up became wildly popular would not
>         change the balance of power because OTT video is both larger,
>         especially for HD streams, and used much more frequently.
>         Scott Helms
>         Vice President of Technology
>         ZCorum
>         (678) 507-5000 <tel:%28678%29%20507-5000>
>         --------------------------------
>         http://twitter.com/kscotthelms
>         --------------------------------
>         On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM, Blake Hudson <blake at ispn.net
>         <mailto:blake at ispn.net> <mailto:blake at ispn.net
>         <mailto:blake at ispn.net>>> wrote:
>             Jay Ashworth wrote the following on 5/16/2014 10:35 AM:
>                 ----- Original Message -----
>                     From: "Mark Tinka" <mark.tinka at seacom.mu
>         <mailto:mark.tinka at seacom.mu>
>                     <mailto:mark.tinka at seacom.mu
>         <mailto:mark.tinka at seacom.mu>>>
>                     While that is true a lot of the time (especially
>         for eyeball
>                     networks), it is less so now due to social media.
>         Social
>                     media forces the use of symmetric bandwidth (like
>         FTTH),
>                     putting even more demand on the network,
>                 Oh yes; clearly, Twitter will be the end of L3.
>                 :-)
>                 Could you expand a bit, Mark on "Social media forces
>         the use
>                 of symmetric
>                 bandwidth"?  Which social media platform is it that
>         you think
>                 has a)
>                 symmetrical flows that b) are big enough to figure into
>                 transit symmetry?
>                 Cheers,
>                 -- jra
>             Applications like Skype and Facetime (especially
>         conference calls)
>             would be one example where an application benefits from
>         symmetric
>             (or asymmetric in favor of higher upload speed) connectivity.
>             Cloud office applications like storage of documents,
>         email, and
>             IVR telephony also benefit from symmetrical connectivity.
>         Off-site
>             backup software is another great example. Most residential
>             connections are ill suited for this. I believe these
>         applications
>             (and derivatives) would be more popular today if the
>         connectivity
>             was available.
>             --Blake

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