symmetric vs. asymmetric [was: Verizon Policy Statement on Net Neutrality]

Scott Helms khelms at
Tue Mar 3 13:07:21 UTC 2015

> I don't know many schools that are open at midnight to accept thumb
> drives.

I think he was trying to point out that most school libraries, and their
computer labs, open before classes start.  Ice never heard of a school
deadline that was actually in the middle of the night, so if you're working
on a paper at night it's because it's due the next day.

> Well kids will be kids.

Very true :)

> Yep.  The assumption that because you are sending from home it is
> not time critical is absolutely bogus.  Upstream speeds really are
> just as important as downstream speeds.  It just that it is not
> normally needed as much of the time.

This assertion is counter to the choices that consumers are making.  Forget
about the access technology and it's symmetry or asymmetry for a moment and
consider the growth of WiFi in the home, which is highly asymmetrical
because clients have much lower power output and most often 0 dB gain
antennas at 2.4 and 5.8.  The point is that a great percentage of the
traffic we see is from asymmetric sources even on symmetrical broadband
The other thing to consider is that LTE is asymmetrical and for the same
reasons as WiFi.

For consumers to care about symmetrical upload speeds as much as you're
saying why have they been choosing to use technologies that don't deliver
that in WiFi and LTE?  In the WiFi case they're taking a symmetrical
connection to their home and making it asymmetrical.  I can make a home
WiFi network operate more symmetrically by putting in multiple APs but very
few consumers take that step.

I'm not done collecting all of our data yet, but just looking at what we
have right now (~17,000 APs) over half of the clients connected have an
upload rate of 5mbps or less.  A just over 20% have an average upload rate
of 1mbps.

BTW, the reason we're working on the WiFi data is that we think this is a
huge problem, because consumers don't separate the performance of the in
home WiFi from their overall broadband experience and we need to
dramatically improve the in home WiFi experience to increase customer

> Mark
> --
> Mark Andrews, ISC
> 1 Seymour St., Dundas Valley, NSW 2117, Australia
> PHONE: +61 2 9871 4742                 INTERNET: marka at

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