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Cable/Video

Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand

Seeking a new competitive edge against swiftly growing DSL providers, cable operators are starting to offer new bandwidth-on-demand services that let cable modem users sample faster data speeds whenever they wish.

In the past couple of weeks, two of North America's three largest MSOs -- Comcast and Cox Communications -- have brought out new "turbocharge" products that allow broadband subscribers to boost their data download speeds temporarily for no extra charge. With the faster speeds, cable modem customers can download multimedia games, music, video, and other bandwidth-hogging applications much more quickly than before.

"It's great for downloading music files," says a Comcast spokeswoman. "We expect it's going to be great for gamers, too."

Read the complete story at Cable Digital News.

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secretsquirrel 12/5/2012 | 3:51:20 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand Isn't this what the RBOCs were getting blased for over net neutrality. What difference does it make who payes for the 'better' pipe.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:51:20 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand
No it is not the same.

What the cable guys are doing is a "turbo buttom" (which BellSouth has already) that allows a consumer on demand to create a larger bit pipe to his/her own.

This bit pipe is restricted to the Access Network so may or may not have actual better results.

seven
Michael Harris 12/5/2012 | 3:51:18 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand Correct. It's a "click here to increase your access speed" feature, meaning it increases bandwidth for all applications.
heritagejd 12/5/2012 | 3:51:18 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand Some of all applications require more than 16MBS?
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:51:15 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand
There is a 30 Mb/s offering on FiOS and it has been available since the inception of the service.

seven
spelurker 12/5/2012 | 3:51:15 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand > Some of all applications require more than 16MBS?

16Mb?? No one offers 16Mb residential service in North America (yet). Most of the MSOs offer 3-6Mb, which is plenty for most applications.
This seems to be a feature for online gamers, though I have to wonder what high-speed services can possibly work with an unknown customer base. Maybe this is meant for P2P gamers or users of MSO co-located game servers.
fiber_r_us 12/5/2012 | 3:51:14 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand > It is a bit of a joke, as that speed is only
>possible on the access network anyway.
>Unless the targeted application resides on a
>server on the cable network, the user is
>constrained by public Internet backbone and data center speeds.

More correctly, your speed is limited by *contention* for the rest of the links/resources in the network. The links leaving the MSO's CMTS are probably already at 1Gb/s, and the other links in the network, including:

- the MSO's backbone
- the peering links interconnecting to other providers
- the backbones of other providers
- links in hosting centers
- etc...

are all 1Gb/s to nx10Gb/s in all major providers.

So, unless one of the links in the path from where you are to where you want to go is continually congested, you *should* be able to achieve the 30Mb/s access limit (it should be the slowest link in the path). What usually gets in the way of achieving maximum throughput is the application or overloaded servers, not the network.

This is relatively easy to test as you can simply try your application (or one of the TCP throughput tests) at various times during the day/night. Assuming your source/target machines are not the bottleneck, and there is no ongoing congestion, you should reach whatever rate you are limited to on the access network.

If there is congestion, you will achieve a rate below the advertised rate, and it will vary over time with the severity of the congestion.
Michael Harris 12/5/2012 | 3:51:14 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand Cablevision is also readying a 30-Mbps cable modem service in the New York area. The kicker, of course, is that it is a best-effort offering, i.e. "up to 30 Mbps." Frankly the speed obsession is much more about being able to make marketing claims like being "the fastest" broadband service in a given market. It is a bit of a joke, as that speed is only possible on the access network anyway. Unless the targeted application resides on a server on the cable network, the user is constrained by public Internet backbone and data center speeds. Lots of buzz, little user benefit.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:51:13 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand
How many customers are on the 1Gb/s links? Are you contending that if all customers were active at the same time that these links would be undersubscribed? I didn't think so. That is the reason p2p traffic is such a "problem" for broadband access companies and thus why net neutrality is such a big issue.

seven
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 3:51:13 AM
re: Cable Turns to BB-on-Demand Unless the targeted application resides on a server on the cable network, the user is constrained by public Internet backbone and data center speeds.

But isn't that the nature of progress in this industry? Some portion of the network gets ahead of itself, and the others catch up (or exceed) ad infinitum.

FYI, when I've used Fios, it kicks butt. (I was dealing with video transport, and the destination data center had multi-gigabits to the backbone.)
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