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Growing the Internet 23 October 2014

Why ‘Megafast’ Internet Often Isn’t (Video)

Mat Ford
By Mat FordTechnology Program Manager
Mike Silber
Mike SilberHead of Legal and Commercial Liquid Telecom

What’s the most important thing determining your satisfaction with your Internet connection? I’m sure a lot of people would say speed, and that’s not surprising as headline bandwidth figures have been the way many commercial Internet service providers have chosen to compete in the marketplace for subscribers for many years. 50Mbps must be better than 10Mbps, right? Superfast sounds really, erm, fast, right?

Well, in many cases, increased bandwidth won’t result in significant improvements to user experience and one of the reasons for that is related to latency, or delay. Measurements from Google show that upgrading your connection from 1Mbps to 2Mbps halves web page load times, but quickly thereafter we are into diminishing returns: upgrading from 5Mbps to 10Mbps results in a mere 5% improvement in page load times.

To help more Internet users with understanding this seeming conundrum, I’ve been working with the lovely folks over at the RITE project to develop a new video, released today, that seeks to explain the difference between bandwidth and delay, and the different ways that latency affects Internet performance.

Why not take a look at the video and then see how you do in the quiz? There are even more resources for teaching and other activities available at the RITE project website.

It’s great to see these educational efforts being launched, as they start to address some of the important actions identified during the Reducing Internet Latency workshop we held last year. There’s still lots more to be done though and, “getting smarter queue management techniques more widely deployed” remains a priority.

So check out the video today and share it with your contacts to help us all get educated about this challenge. You can also keep watching our ITM blog for more posts about tackling the scourge of network latency!

Enjoy the video!

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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