Best Practices/Big Ideas

Make Upload bandwith as much a priority as download

Broadband must be truly two way fast. Upload and download. In order for the technology to grow the bar must be set high. And companies must be forced to stop making claims that are false when it comes to speeds. For example the term "up to" claims should be actual and tied to peak usage numbers. Also two way high speed is needed, companies that offer a high download speed but and extremely low upload speed do their customers a disservice by claiming to be "high speed internet" Certain things like "downloading" music work fine on the current model, but other applications like online gaming or HD video steaming suffer because of low upload bandwith. Broadband should mean fast up and down it should be at a rate fast enough both ways to support the most intensive transfers of information. If we set the bar low we will not grow, if we set the bar high the innovation and new services that will come from a truly fast network are unlimited!


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment

    It simply costs more, to the company and therefore to each user, to provide symmetrical high speed service. As long as the most desirable highest speed pipe is downstream, offering such asymmetric service is far better than offering a symmetric but lower speed service.

    For example, say that offering a symmetric 1.5 Mb/s up and downstream costs the same as 6 Mb/s down and 640 Kb/s up, which would you choose?

    If demand for high speed uplinks is there, then I'm all in favor of companies offering that for a price, to those who want it, rather than forcing this on everyone else.

    To get broadband deployed in a reasonable time, you don't want to simply put huge burdens on the ISPs. You want to give them INCENTIVES, not a long and growing list burdens.

  2. Comment

    Bad idea. What this is asking for is to put an arbitrary constraint ISPs, preventing them from optimizing networks as circumstances warrant.

    Some users -- a very small minority -- need (or would like!) symmetrical bandwidth; others do not. Why force everyone into the same mold? Why tie engineers' hands?

  3. Comment

    Symmetrical bandwidth, on the max speed end, is a business issue. Businesses pay for higher upload rates. At the min speed end it's a VoIP issue. Especially regarding satellite, if an ISP doesn't offer minimum speeds, VoIP won't work well, if at all. A minimum speed (up and down) fast enough to accommodate VoIP is imperative. Consumer grade sat co's make no such accommodation.

    Set the bar at the minimum speed, fast enough to accommodate one VoIP line. That'll ensure connectivity for telecom and telemedicine.

  4. Comment

    The design of the last mile network also has to do with how easy it is to achieve symmetry with reasonable "value." In the passive networks deployed to households, at any given downstream speed, increasing upstream is simply more costly. It takes greater bandwidth, because up and down are sent over different frequency bands. This is true for the passive optical nets, for hybrid fiber and coax nets, for xDSL, and also for radio links. All of the technologies typically used for HOME use, as opposed to business use (which is much more expensive).

    I don't think VoIP is all that demanding of bandwidth. It DOES require low latency, which satellite is not good at, but in terms of bits per second, no big deal. You can support voice connections with only 14 Kb/s or so, or even less than that. But latency has to be less than 150 milliseconds. So this is mostly a matter of total distance traveled by the voice packets, not speed so much. Any connection fast enough to view streaming video should be plenty fast enough for voice, although the latency might not be low enough.

  5. Comment

    You're right that some VoIP requires little bandwidth, though a minimum speed or CIR is important. But I beg to differ somewhat regarding latency. Our satellite NOC achieves latency under 700ms. Our customers find VoIP unusable on consumer satellite services that typically deliver latency well in excess of 1s -- but that on our service, it's clear. I was talking with a biz owner recently who made the switch to our setup a year ago, and he loves it. He has offices in major cities, but one location in the middle of nowhere, and connectivity is imperative. So VoIP can easily tolerate latency much greater than 150ms, but still prefers less than 1s.

  6. Comment

    700ms latency provides a frustrating VoIP experience.

    Before undersea fiber optic cables were available, we used business grade satellite links to international offices, including voice traffic. The long latency (~600ms) required training and adjustment for both parties so that people didn't talk over each other. Yes, it worked, but it was not an enjoyable experience. Interactive video suffers similar challenges. Businesses and consumers choose it over other options due to cost and/or availability.

    700ms latency also provides a frustrating web browsing experience. Pages with moderate graphic content take 3-10 times as long to load over satellite links vs. fiber/DSL/cable with comparable bandwidth. 20 seconds is not an unusual wait.

    Satellite is perceived as a service of last resort, and this perception is earned. The latency, bandwidth, reliability, and resulting contention ratios are unfortunately a reality.

    On the positive side, satellite service is available in places where nothing else is feasible. For those situations satellite makes sense and provides a valuable service.

  7. Comment
    Nathaniel Robertson

    As others have mentioned, ISPs should not have symmetrical restrictions. It's not for the government to decide what kins of service they sell. However, it may not be such a bad idea to make upload more of a priority in the *definition* of broadband or types of broadband.

  8. Comment

    Telecommuting is a vital tool for growing businesses. Workers connecting to their office resources from home face bottlenecks due to limited upload speeds. As a developer I work in a client/server environment and poor uploads speeds affect productivity.