How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

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TomatoTomahto
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How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:17 am

People are working from home, increasing their internet usage (especially when video conferencing).

Kids’ schools are closed, so they will be increasing internet usage (video games, streaming video, etc).

College kids’ courses have gone to online.

How capable is public broadband of supporting this?
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:26 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:17 am
People are working from home, increasing their internet usage (especially when video conferencing).

Kids’ schools are closed, so they will be increasing internet usage (video games, streaming video, etc).

College kids’ courses have gone to online.

How capable is public broadband of supporting this?
Well, there’s one way to find out!

More seriously, it seems like a lot of home demand will just be time-shifted. If the kids do that stuff in the evening, and now they just do it during the day, the peak network usage might not be much different.

Similarly for business, a lot of network use will be location-shifted from office to home but should be roughly the same. Except for videoconferencing perhaps. Maybe Zoom needs to provision more AWS capacity (or whatever they use).

Online college courses may add some new network use of course, hard to judge how it will affect overall bandwidth.

It’s hard to reason about big shifts like this but I hope it won’t be an issue. Our Verizon fios has been holding up well so far, here’s to hoping that continues.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by retiringwhen » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:31 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:17 am
People are working from home, increasing their internet usage (especially when video conferencing).

Kids’ schools are closed, so they will be increasing internet usage (video games, streaming video, etc).

College kids’ courses have gone to online.

How capable is public broadband of supporting this?
I don't know, but we are going to find out. It is surely better than it was back 8-10 years ago whenever we had a snow storm, my telecommuting came to a dead stop. I haven't seen that in my area (Western Central NJ) for at least 5 years.

For a lot of people, their corporate connections will be the bottleneck of the company has not kept up.

With that said, the internet backbones looked swamped last evening with a broad set of websites having very slow responses. I put it down to a crush people doing "research" as in sharing toilet paper memes.

BTW, there are some things the industry can do to address capacity issues. Netflix turning off 4K video streaming could probably give back 5% of the internet backbone capacity alone (just a WAG).

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:51 am

Duplicate
Last edited by Dottie57 on Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:52 am

Comcast is the main internet supplier in my suburban area. Comcast Jim installing fiber networking in my area (last summer) and in surrounding areas. Speeds are doing great. When working (before upgrade), I had no problem using VPN to work from home - in fact response was sometimes better than at work.

Those who live in cities and surrounding areas should be fine.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by runner3081 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:36 am

We have Cox, our company just purchased enough bandwidth to increase working from home by 10 fold (for VPN connectivity). Seems that Cox, at least, has enough bandwith sitting around to handle it.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:43 am

runner3081 wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:36 am
We have Cox, our company just purchased enough bandwidth to increase working from home by 10 fold (for VPN connectivity). Seems that Cox, at least, has enough bandwith sitting around to handle it.
Not a network person, but is it simply a matter of bandwidth, or do other resources get taxed? For example, are WebEx ports virtual and adjustable?
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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Kenkat » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:00 am

Yes, I had this same thought. My company is doing a connectivity test where everyone who has remote access to work (via either VPN or Citrix) is supposed to work from home for a specified time period to access our corporate network’s capability to handle this. I had the same thought - is the overall public infrastructure going to be able to handle it if everyone does this.

Offsetting this concern is that there are already people streaming large amounts of content for Netflix, Hulu, etc. over the internet and if they are working, they won’t be using those services at the same time. Well, some of them at least. :happy

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by mancich » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:09 pm

FIOS Gigabit here. Bring it on..

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:15 pm

One of a thousand such questions. I think an awful lot of people are having panicky moments every half-hour or so thinking "but if that happens, then how are we going to do this?" How capable is grocery delivery of supporting increased usage, for example? Practically every idea we have for coping is going to get stymied by unpredictable self-created shortages of almost everything. The instant it occurs to you to make hand sanitizer from rubbing alcohol, you discover you aren't the only person with that idea and there is no rubbing alcohol on the shelves.

In the case of the Internet, the saving grace might be that streaming video uses an awful lot of bandwidth, which means that you can probably free up a lot of capacity by degrading, not even eliminating, streaming video. You can probably do a lot of remote-connectivity things without high-quality streaming video. During the actual day of 9/11, a lot of newspaper website "simply" eliminated all graphics and went to just text. All the spiffy business-remote-meetings software might be able to go to postage-stamp-sized video, or audio only...
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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by onourway » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:19 pm

I agree that I think it will largely be ok because with the growth of streaming video, network capacity has grown substantially in recent years and most work is relatively low bandwidth in comparison. As stated, most people are already working online anyhow.

That said, some services will likely have capacity issues. Even yesterday Zoom was putting out warnings that call-in capacity may be limited.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by RootSki » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:27 pm

I think you mean “Private Broadband”. I’m not aware of very many government/public large scale Internet delivery networks.

Private networks (Cable MSO’s) will be just fine supporting the additional “work form home” useage. Capacity (on many levels) is monitored very closely with alarming at various use/capacity thresholds.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:59 pm

It's likely going to vary by area and provider. However, a huge amount of investment in fiber optic capacity on the backend has happened over the last few years. Many of the companies responsible for interconnecting last-mile providers have a lot of excess "dark fiber" available but not connected, or connected in excess of their normal demand to handle high usage scenarios.

There's a chance the actual bottleneck could be how much server capacity services like Netflix have, rather than network capacity.

On a semi-related note, Cisco Webex has been extremely unreliable for us this week, presumably due to the volume of people calling in for remote meetings. It does seem to be better if you join via a PC microphone versus by telephone.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Silence Dogood » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:17 am

I'm not too concerned, but I do have a TV antenna and my emergency radio is fully charged.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by MotoTrojan » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:30 am

I would wager the bandwidth during the Super Bowl is higher in this age of cord cutting.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by JoMoney » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:36 am

I would be less worried about my phone/cable companies ability to support the capacity, they already manage just fine with a boom of Netflix watchers every evening.... and more worried about my companies VPN concentrator, school website, or whatever server that suddenly gets a much larger number of remote users.

Most ISP's already throttle subscribers "upload" speed/bandwidth, if people start increasing usage of that already limited capacity (moreuploading files to work, streaming video from there house, etc...) I wonder how much that will impact communication companies profitability. The "peering" agreements between network companies that create "The Internet" are usually structured such that (on balance) the network that is sending the most data pays the receiving network for access.
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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Chicken Little » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:40 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:17 am
How capable is public broadband of supporting this?
I have no idea, it's a great question.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by seawolf21 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:42 am

Ask me in a month.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by cableguy » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:44 am

The broadband infrastructure in the US is solid. It will handle the demand.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by tcassette » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:05 pm

cableguy wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:44 am
The broadband infrastructure in the US is solid. It will handle the demand.
There is no infrastructure in the US that is "solid" when severely stressed. As noted in previous comments, areas with fiber to the home should have the most unused capacity that could soak up much higher demand. However, there are many areas, usually with less population density, that are dependent on telco copper wires, aged coaxial cable, or wireless providers. Many of these internet services can not meet the FCC definition of broadband even during the best of times, and most have limited bandwidth that shrinks to almost nothing when a lot of subscribers are using the service simultaneously. I know, because that's the type of internet service I have.

The many folks that need to work from home and/or want more entertainment over the internet are going to be very frustrated if they subscribe to low capacity services like I do. :annoyed

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm

U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by CardinalRule » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:53 pm

And data caps are being suspended by some providers, among other measures.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/13/2117 ... tspots-fcc

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:57 pm

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge
Apparently not entirely, although the increased video watching seems to be a bigger problem than WFH, and while YouTube is throttling globally, many of the others are not .. yet.
YouTube throttling streaming quality globally as coronavirus forces people indoors.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/netfl ... d=69754458
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:08 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:57 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge
Apparently not entirely, although the increased video watching seems to be a bigger problem than WFH, and while YouTube is throttling globally, many of the others are not .. yet.
YouTube throttling streaming quality globally as coronavirus forces people indoors.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/netfl ... d=69754458
The wifi in my area has been terrific. No problems with streaming. I realize we are lucky.

I’ve downloaded my Apple movies and tv shows.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:21 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:08 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:57 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge
Apparently not entirely, although the increased video watching seems to be a bigger problem than WFH, and while YouTube is throttling globally, many of the others are not .. yet.
YouTube throttling streaming quality globally as coronavirus forces people indoors.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/netfl ... d=69754458
The wifi in my area has been terrific. No problems with streaming. I realize we are lucky.
I’ve downloaded my Apple movies and tv shows.
Yes, mine is generally good, but I have noticed a few sputters on Hulu and other streaming services. My guess is that the problem is on the very busy servers, not the backbone.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:34 pm

You mean commercial broadband, right? IS there any public broadband?

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:55 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:34 pm
You mean commercial broadband, right? IS there any public broadband?
Yes, I guess.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:06 pm

I live in a marginal service area, so the ability of the lines in urban and suburban areas to handle a big increase in people streaming 4k video is a lot less of a concern to me than the ability to simply make it through an online meeting on VPN at the low bitrate needed to show a largely static screen and provide audio.

I'm officially outside of city limits, but it's not even remotely rural. There's a massive subdivision half a mile away, and most of the homes around me are on modest 0.5 to 5 acres lots. My only fixed option is DSL at 3 Mbps, which should be enough for such modest use, but somehow isn't.

Meanwhile, 3/4 of a mile further from the city limits, in an upper middle class area filled with a mix of estate style properties, horse arenas, and weekend hobby farms on $1+ million properties, the official zoning is rural. The tech workers and doctors who make up a significant percentage of the neighborhood benefit from USDA subsides and are served by fiber internet.

The joke that the federal government has been calling a broadband map for almost a decade now has turned into more of an ISP-sponsored mockery over time, rather than less. Today it claims available cable internet speeds have increased 20-fold compared to what it said when we moved in, to 1 Gbps. The reality is still 0.

Satellite internet is theoretically an option, but a coworker who lives in a genuinely rural area has it, and it's clearly not a viable way to work from home regularly - there's several seconds of lag in his audio, and I'm not sure if he could realistically present content if needed. Forget about large file transfers.

T-Mobile has been teasing us with the promise of 5G fixed wireless for the past year, but so far there's not even a hint of when it will actually be available. I think it's a safe bet we'll have a SARS-COV2 vaccine first.

So on day 2 of working from home, I'm spending part of my workday shopping for a 4G hotspot and service. It looks like the bare minimum to get started and pay for a month of service is $150, for not very much data.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by Blake7 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:15 pm

Cox is our ISP. They have waived monthly bandwidth surcharges (> 1TB) for a couple of months due to the pandemic, and bumped our internet speed up temporarily to accommodate telecommuting for the same reason. I've not been happy with them for a number of years due there annual Internet price increases, but they earned a few points with me for doing this.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by hicabob » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:23 pm

Fast.com gives you a measurement, which is interesting especially if you are wireless. It has slowed down here a bit, but still not bad considering the probable geographical shift in demand.

https://fast.com/

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:24 pm

Folks,

The highest bandwidth usage of any US-based ISP is around 10 pm at night (local time). Only video streaming generates enough usage that may overload the network. Video conference and so on use so little bandwidth as compared to video streaming, it is laughable. If your ISP can handle Superbowl streaming, you will be fine.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:54 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:57 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge
Apparently not entirely, although the increased video watching seems to be a bigger problem than WFH, and while YouTube is throttling globally, many of the others are not .. yet.
YouTube throttling streaming quality globally as coronavirus forces people indoors.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/netfl ... d=69754458
If you read the article I linked it actually seems pretty spot-on about what’s playing out.

The video throttling seems mainly motivated by a European request, and some (but not all) providers haven’t applied their European throttles to the US.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:59 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:08 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:57 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm
U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge
https://www.boston.com/news/national-ne ... home-surge
Apparently not entirely, although the increased video watching seems to be a bigger problem than WFH, and while YouTube is throttling globally, many of the others are not .. yet.
YouTube throttling streaming quality globally as coronavirus forces people indoors.
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/netfl ... d=69754458
The wifi in my area has been terrific. No problems with streaming. I realize we are lucky.

I’ve downloaded my Apple movies and tv shows.
No issues whatsoever for us, using Verizon FIOS at gigabit speed. I have noticed that downloading massive software patches is slower than before - by a little - but that is an infrequent occurrence. I’m both happy and lucky to be in this position.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:01 pm

My connection has slowed down considerably at night. During the day I haven't noticed a difference. I guess everybody who used to go out every night are now streaming Netflix simultaneously.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by GeoffD » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:26 pm

This thread is based on a false premise. Telecommuting hardly adds any load at all. The 800 pound gorilla is IP streaming video. Peak busy hour is in the evening. The evening load is bigger now because everyone is stuck at home watching Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime on their panels.


This all depends on your service provider. Comcast is evil but they’ve done a good job staying ahead of the streaming video demand. Their flagship X1 video product uses streaming video, too, so their data network has to be pretty robust. Some have been ahead of the curve. Others haven’t.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by cjking » Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:47 am

My ISP (here in London) have actually emailed me to say this is a non-issue. They are sized for peak demand which happens in the evening, when everyone is streaming. Daytime demand is never going to be as high as when many people are streaming UHD.

On the other hand, I have heard of one online education web-site that is having problems even after expanding capacity more than ten-fold. But they have a scale-able approach, so it's just a question of throwing even more Amazon servers at the problem.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by onourway » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:19 am

No real issues here with Spectrum. A few sites have trouble from time to time, but that’s the exception and I expect it is that site’s own capacity issue rather than the network as a whole.

I do somewhat disagree with people who are saying that remote working isn’t adding to the load. Tens of millions of additional people are using video calling services during the day now, plus entire families are using streaming video for remote learning and entertainment during the normal work/school hours. In our house, which I take to be pretty typical of professional workers able to work from home with school age children, we will at times have 3 video conferences going simultaneously, while a couple of kids stream video. Our router’s graphical logs clearly show that current use from ~8-2 daily is much higher than our evening use pre-quarantine.

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by jharkin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:34 am

It’s not just a matter of what your personal connection can handle. It also matters what the large internet backbones can take - which are mostly run by legacy telcos (Verizon maintains much of the US east coast, other companies run other regions, continents).

It also depends on what the capacity is of the links and the computer power at the other end of whatever service you are using.

I have FiOS gigabit fiber and I think I only live a few miles from Tomato. A week ago, MS Teams video conferencing was smooth as silk on a 40 person call. Yesterday it was getting choppy on a 4 way. That may be load issues on Microsoft’s servers due to surge in sign ups? Or it may be some of the folks on the call had issues on their end as they may be on an overloaded cable modem link..? But at the same time, resource inside my company VPN where also responding slow... Company says the VPN pipe is rated for 8000 users and our peak last week was only 4200 so it’s not them afaik.

Verizon FiOS on demand video was also timing out last night, and Netflix has stated they are having to throttle streaming bandwidth in some regions (EU).

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Re: How capable is public broadband of supporting increased usage?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:50 am

onourway wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:19 am
Our router’s graphical logs clearly show that current use from ~8-2 daily is much higher than our evening use pre-quarantine.
We have FIOS Gigabit with no current problems, but our daytime use is much higher than pre-quarantine.

I watch streaming video during the day sometimes, which I rarely did in the past. I did not contribute to the super bowl loads 😁. My wife has Webex video conferences with 2 to 10+ attendees for 8 hours daily, with some international colleagues using only the audio.

I’m glad that the networks are not a problem for most of us. Rural network inadequacies were actually a consideration for us a few years ago when searching for a home to live in; DSL is a joke for a supposedly first world country. FIOS has been a consistent performer.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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