Rush hour can be a nightmare, don’t you agree? The bane of many commuter’s existence, rush hour can turn a 20 minute drive into an hour long wait-fest. These times plague the streets and highways with congestion that slows everything down, no matter if you’re in a big rig or our sweet Lamborghini. Did you know this happens on the Internet also?
This is known as Internet Rush Hour. Internet Rush Hour occurs during the times when most people use the internet simultaneously which is 7-9PM during the week and we can’t forget about the weekend! Weekend speeds can be affected from 11AM to 11PM or even further extended hours. During these times, users commonly experience slow loading speeds usually for just browsing sites. This is especially true for media streaming sites.
During these times of gridlock, who is to blame? The end users who is driving their cars trying to get from point A to point B? Nope. The destinations, anxiously awaiting for the patrons to arrive and be served? Try again. The answer is the roads or, in this case, the Internet’s infrastructure.
Everyone knows about Netflix, right? Netflix is one of the prime companies in the midst of this “blame game” so to speak where they blame the ISPs and the ISPs, claiming they’re not throttling (even though they admit it), push the attention back to Netflix. Because Netflix drives so much traffic, it works with other Internet companies like Cogent Communications, which supplies additional bandwidth. Cogent works with ISPs under money-free arrangements in which the amount of data sent between each company is about equal. However, some of these ISPs claim that Cogent drives much more traffic than it takes, and does not want to pay for upgrades to infrastructure that could help handle the greater data load.
To sum things up, here’s a fancy demonstration put together by the folks over at Google (You might want to make it full screen to get the full effect):
Today, more and more people are streaming larger amounts of data including high quality video and ultimately, the current infrastructure simply can’t handle it. But it’s not just Netflix. The commuters that are trying to watch the latest episodes of their favorite TV shows in HD are probably using the same roads you are to do some online shopping or pay bills during the weekend. They’re using the same connections that some of the traffic trying reach your GlowHost server is using as well.
For example, your dedicated server with GlowHost is running on a 1Gbps port and you have a 100Mbps download connection with your ISP. Those are pretty good speeds overall. Unfortunately, when streaming, you may still only be able to obtain 3-6 Mbps. Bummer! Netflix has performed an ISP speed index which shows you the average speed for most of the popular ISPs. A fiber connection is only getting 3.43 Mbps – outrageous!
From the ISPs to the backbones, wherever the issue lies you can be assured that near constant tensions are keeping this topic on the forefront of the technological future. As more and more services are heading online, can the roads continue to handle the traffic? Unfortunately, this issue has been going on for years, so only the future will tell.
So in regards to the future, we strongly suggest that you help fight for ours. Fight for internet speeds on par with the rest of the world. Fight for net neutrality and Internet for everyone. Help do your part and Fight for the Future!