New minimum speed for US broadband connections

Blake Hudson blake at
Fri May 28 15:10:10 UTC 2021

Yes, the video doorbell and similar cameras are a great example of a 
product that barely existed a few years ago and are now common place 
(and one that is driving the need for change in the WiFi and broadband 
space). I agree that a 5:1 (down:up) ratio is better than a 10:1 (and 
that I do not recommend a 20:1 ratio for most folks).

As someone that has a video doorbell (wired) and several wireless cams, 
I can tell you that my experience is that they worked fine on 50Mbps 
down/10Mbps up while two folks did WFH. Would my experience have been 
better with 25Mbps upload? Possibly. Would it have improved with 100Mbps 
instead of 25Mbps? Probably not. At another location I did WFH on a 
30M/3M connection with no adverse affects (that would be minus the video 
doorbell, but with two WiFi cameras). I'm sure there were bottlenecks, 
but either the applications dealt with it intelligently or they shared 
the bandwidth well enough so that everything remained usable.

On 5/28/2021 9:34 AM, Abhi Devireddy wrote:
> I think the 10:1 ratio might have been great 5 years ago, when usage 
> was more asymmetric. The last 5 yrs. have definitely changed the 
> profile of a typical home user. A 4M upload pipe, will hit bottlenecks 
> with all the collaboration that is happening remotely.
> Typical residential usage:
> Zoom group call: 2M upload
> OneDrive + Dropbox + Box + Other file sync services: ~ 1 - 5M
> Nest / Ring / Other constantly streaming camera = ~1M
> If I'm working on a media file that's syncing real-time + on a zoom 
> call, artifacts are impossible to avoid. Add to that 2+ users working 
> remotely from the same home.
> @Mike, Telehealth relies on a combination of HD video + accessories 
> that stream AV + telemetry in real-time. In addition to bumping up the 
> 4M upload, I agree with all the other comments on here about setting 
> some parameters around latency and packet loss.
> I think if anything, the proliferation of smart devices, requirements 
> for higher reliability and the continuity of WFH practices are going 
> to put additional demands on upload, not lower.
> Abhi
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* NANOG < at> on behalf 
> of Blake Hudson <blake at>
> *Sent:* Friday, May 28, 2021 9:02 AM
> *To:* nanog at <nanog at>
> *Subject:* Re: New minimum speed for US broadband connections
> What is the rationale for changing it? Have the applications changed? 
> Has our use of them changed?
> Yes, somewhat. There's been, and will continue to be, more cord 
> cutting of non-IP broadcast video services towards unicast IP 
> streaming services. However, video codecs have gotten more efficient 
> so that what used to require an 8Mbps stream now fits in a 4Mbps 
> package. I see more folks video conferencing (whether that be for 
> personal or business use), which relies more heavily on upload than 
> most applications. Folks with crummy WiFi or slower upload speeds have 
> become the have-nots in this remote work era. The goal of subsidies is 
> to lift the base/minimum so that there are fewer have-nots. Set the 
> qualifier too low and you'll end up providing assistance where it 
> doesn't accomplish this goal. Raise the qualifier too high too soon 
> and you run the risk of excluding assistance where it could help.
> I'm content with 10Mbps down per person in the household (a quick rule 
> of thumb I've been using for a few years). If a common household has 4 
> people, 40Mbps download seems sufficient for today's typical usage 
> (this assumes a 10:1 download:upload ratio, so ~4Mbps up). Latency 
> needs to be quick enough for real-time voice or video calls to work 
> smoothly. If the makeup of our homes change or the applications we use 
> within the home change, I'm all for adjusting these figures. This 
> still leaves DSL, cable, fiber, and various wireless technologies as 
> options that would qualify for the definition of broadband. At some 
> point, if one of these technologies cannot keep up with the pace of 
> demand it will need to be excluded in favor of technologies that have 
> done a better job of keeping pace.
> --B
> On 5/28/2021 8:07 AM, Chris Adams (IT) wrote:
>> I’d be interested to understand the rationale for not wanting to 
>> change the definition. Is it strictly the business/capital outlay 
>> expense?
>> Thanks,
>> **
>> Chris Adams
>> *From:* NANOG < at> 
>> < at> *On Behalf Of 
>> *Jason Canady
>> *Sent:* Friday, May 28, 2021 8:39 AM
>> *To:* nanog at <mailto:nanog at>
>> *Subject:* Re: New minimum speed for US broadband connections
>> CAUTION:This email originated from /*outside the University of North 
>> Georgia.*/ Do not click links or open attachments unless you 
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>> I second Mike.
>> On 5/28/21 8:37 AM, Mike Hammett wrote:
>>     I don't think it needs to change.
>>     -----
>>     Mike Hammett
>>     Intelligent Computing Solutions
>>     <>
>>     Midwest-IX
>>     <>
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *From: *"Sean Donelan" <sean at> <mailto:sean at>
>>     *To: *nanog at <mailto:nanog at>
>>     *Sent: *Thursday, May 27, 2021 7:29:08 PM
>>     *Subject: *New minimum speed for US broadband connections
>>     What should be the new minimum speed for "broadband" in the U.S.?

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