In today’s world where thousands of Internet ready devices (and demand for content), are being added monthly there is an ever increasing demand on our Internet access – and ultimately on the providers supplying that demand. What usually ends up happening is congestion resulting in slow Internet speeds. Throw in a major event like the FIFA World Cup and people feel it. In this month’s post I’ll write about what is happening with ADSL and Cable systems and how the providers are handling the content load we are throwing at them.
How ADSL saturation is Affected by an event like the World Cup
Right now, the big challenge with ADSL is being able to provide enough throughput on service of 15 Mb or higher. Anyone, regardless of ISP is affected by this issue. These services run over the Telus PGS network which is quite different from the “up to 6 Mb” network used previously. First and foremost, the slower speeds meant less overall traffic. The new capabilities mean far more data needs to be sent. To resolve this problem Telus has installed new equipment to take one some of the load. This will even out the load and remove the saturation. The process of migrating clients over to the new equipment should be completed by the time this is posted.
Cable Saturation: A Problem for Some but not All
Cable, on the other hand has a different saturation problem. Unlike ADSL, Cable saturation is only happening in those small areas where usage is higher though, like ADSL it affects every customer in that area – regardless of provider. Cable works by connecting each subscriber to a central node and running traffic from that node back to their core by fiber. Nodes have their own throughput limitations and can saturate when their ability to send greater amounts of data is reached. When this happens, Shaw must install a second node which eases the traffic to the first node to resolve the problem. While the issue is not as widespread as the ADSL saturation problem, it is a serious concern in that it can take up to 6 months for Shaw to install new equipment.
What This Means for You
So we have a series of Internet options that, at present are or can be overloaded. Now add in extra load courtesy of a major sporting event like the World Cup (or the Stanley Cup or any major sporting event), to take an already congested load beyond congestion and your connection speed can slow down even more. On our side, at Skyway West Support, we see higher than usual latency and packet loss, though the traffic being sent and received is minimal. In the case of ADSL the negotiated speeds are where they should be as well.
The good news for those customers of high speed ADSL, the problems you have been facing for a while are soon to be over (at least for the time being). Since Shaw’s problems happen in smaller clusters their issues will continue, and they will address them as needed. However, most customers on Cable won’t notice a problem unless their particular node is saturating. It seems clear that both access technologies, ADSL and Cable, will continue to resolve their issues as a reactive response rather than a proactive one. It makes sense from a business perspective. However, from a practical perspective it does leave clients hanging while the providers work to resolve these problems. While our Support department recognises this, it does not stop us from doing what we can to work with Shaw and Telus to resolve the problems as fast as possible. As always, our goal to provide you and your company with as much uptime as possible so your online experience is as seamless and rich as possible.
Got a question or an idea for a topic you would like to see covered in one of my upcoming blogs? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and sound off. I’ll do what I can to address your questions or concerns either personally in a reply email or on the blog. Until next month, take care.