Cloud End User media video

BBC iPlayer growth – tablets shifting our viewing habits

Richard Cooper runs the BBC’s online platforms. He was guest speaker at the ISPA Conference last week and his subject was naturally iPlayer which with 245 million requests in September has enjoyed 23% year on year growth.

bbc_iplayer_request_growthI took pics of some of his slides – this first one shows the increase in requests. The step function in January is interesting. The BBC have labelled last Christmas as the year of the tablet. The growth in traffic is largely down to the increase in people getting tablets as Christmas presents. Apparently you could almost plot the rate of opening of presents based on the growth in the traffic on the day.

bbc_iplayer_trafficnov13The second pic shows the exponential month by month growth in iPlayer streaming traffic expressed in TeraBytes. Impressivo. Apparently, according to Richard Cooper, the perceived wisdom is that this rate of traffic growth is set to continue until 2025, based I think on the continued development of Video quality and usage until the point comes where the human eye can benefit no more.

bbc_iplayer_timeofdayFinally we have a chart that shows how TV viewing habits are changing now that people are watching programmes on more than just the TV. Internet usage peaks at approx 5pm – this includes all web browsing. TV watching peaks just after 9pm and iPlayer requests peak around an hour later. People are taking their tablets upstairs and watching in bed.

A few observations spring to mind. People are starting to do everything online. Music listening is moving to streaming, movies are moving to catch up TV and video on demand and why would you bother with physical copies of games? The time is rapidly approaching where people won’t bother with hard copies of anything (me excepted – I’ll be a book buyer until I pop my clogs – I am of a certain generation and won’t buy an eBook). On this basis there’ll be hardly anything left for people to open on Christmas Day – it’ll all just be brown envelopes with gift vouchers & subscription codes for downloads. The frenzied throwing of paper around the front room will become a thing of the past. Sad really.

The other snippet is that apparently with 4k video you need to be sat 8 feet away from a 10 foot diagonal screen to get the benefit. Screen tech is getting better than our own eye tech. Not sure I completely understand this one but it’s all to do with pixel counts of screens versus what your eye can interpret. Maybe someone can elaborate. Just maybe (I think that’s an advert for something – not sure what).

Whatever happens it’s going to be some time before traditional broadcast TV is replaced by streaming video – there just isn’t enough bandwidth available. Bring it on.

PS pics aren’t perfect soz – better than nothing as you can see the data.

4g broadband Business mobile connectivity net neutrality

4G adoption in UK businesses

4g for business offers backup facility for superfast broadband

Why should business use 4G?

Yesterday I sat on a panel discussing 4G at the Convergence Summit South trade show in Sandown Park. The audience was largely resellers of communications services. What you would traditionally call a PBX reseller.

In terms of expectations of what 4G would do for this channel it would appear that it was very much a case of wait and see. There are some sceptics who go as far as to that “4G is just a faster version of 3G and won’t really have any specific applications and uses”.

Well I think they are wrong. 4G may well be “just a faster bearer” but it is going to open up opportunities in the communications market that weren’t there before.

For example Timico does a lot of good business selling 3G cellular back up solutions for broadband lines used to carry credit card transactional data. This type of application doesn’t need the bandwidth capabilities that 4G can offer (although 4G’s faster ping times could have a role to play here).

This type of back up application is not used nearly as much to back up ADSL lines to offices. 3G just isn’t good enough for this other than as a very basic means of accessing the internet. If you rely on your broadband for VoIP then it ain’t going to be any use over 3G, as much as anything because half the networks block VoIP (note to self to do net neutrality update post).

Now something is happening in the communications market in the UK and that is FTTC, Fibre to the Cabinet, fibre broadband, call it what you will. The superior speeds of FTTC make a huge difference to how businesses and indeed consumers use the internet. They are starting to make use of online resources like they have never before.

Witness the aggressive promotion of the Samsung Chromebook. Not only did I get 100GB of free Drive storage (ok only for two years by which time Google hopes I’m hooked enough to buy more) but I also get a free Galaxy phone. When I got my Samsung Galaxy S4 they gave me two years of free 50GB Dropbox which I am very much starting to use.

All this is driving the market towards using more and more of the cloud.

Now businesses when they start to rely more on cloud services are not going to be happy if their internet connection goes down. These things do happen, regularly.

With an increasing availability of 4G it is going to be a no-brainer for  business to have a 4G backup for its FTTC connection. The speeds, assuming you can get coverage, are pretty much identical. In fact 4G is likely to give a better uplink speed than FTTC.

4G networks do not (currently) block VoIP applications such as Skype and have latencies that are going to be able to support other real time applications. I can’t see 4G replacing FTTC in a business connection because of the cost of bandwith.

This may not apply for certain demographics in the consumer market. The only reason we have a phone line in our house is because it supports our data connection. The only people that phone it are scammers from Indian call centres and anti social pariahs trying to sell me PPI miss-selling compensation.

For a single person leaving home, saving on the cost of a phone line and broadband might well be enough to offset the additional bandwidth costs of a 4G subscription. I digress.

The upshot is that I think that the combination of FTTC and 4G is going to be a real driver for sales of mobile subscriptions and that the resellers sat in that room listening to the panel discussion should all be thinking of how they can add mobile into their portfolio. If you like think of it in terms of increasing ARPU for broadband sales.

On a similar but different note I met with EE last week for a chinwag on life, the universe and 4G. I had been pretty critical about the EE efforts to sell 4G (see post here). However soon after I wrote that post their subscriber uptake rocketed and I think they may well have now reached a million subs.

It would seem that this increase in interest is due to a combination of market reach (ie more people can now get 4G), growing awareness due to the continued marketing effort and more people coming up to contract renewal. The entry of the O2 and Vodafone into the market will also help by creating even more market awareness.

This same dynamic is going to happen in the business comms market. There will come a time where 4G is generally available, more or less, to all businesses and they will start to use it.

Obvious really. Ciao.

PS if you want to talk more about this drop me a line.

PPS I was driving past Coventry earlier this week and noticed an O2 4G signal on my phone. Hey Coventry, it’s on it’s way to you next 🙂

Engineer internet

iOS7 release causes internet traffic to double

traffic growth on lonap network due to ios7 upgradeiOS7 caused a stir in more than one way last week. Twitter abounded with all sorts of comments regarding how slow the Apple servers were responding to download requests from excited fanbois eager to checkout the latest slightly iterative functionality of their new iOS. When the dust settled it seemed that the majority of people had been sorted.

Taking a look at the effect of iOS7 on networks comes up with some interesting results. The graph in the header pic above shows the traffic over the Lonap core before, during and after the flurry wave (ocean?) of downloading. Steady state is around 30Gbps or maybe slightly more. Once iOS started to hit the fan this doubled to around 60Gbps.

It’s good that networks such as Lonap can take the capacity hit.

The growth in traffic comes as no surprise when you consider the size of the download. This seems to have ranged from around 700MB to nearly a Gig depending on the device with 3GB of space needed on your phone for the install. I guess you wouldn’t want to be eating into your mobile data bundle with that.

Engineer internet peering

#LINX82 – visible signs of growth of the internet

Sat in the LINX82 meeting. If you’ve never been, these LINX meetings are where the people who run the internet in the UK get together to chat – about the nuts and bolts of the internet.

Today we are discussing the Open IX developmental standard, getting an update on the US exchange, following the Manchester IX update yesterday. Traditionally an ISP’s connectivity to the rest of the internet is a mix of peering, where one network connects directly to another through a mutual not for profit internet peering exchange such as LINX or LONAP (both of which Timico is a member of) or  using a commercial provider of international connectivity called transit.

Peering is cheaper and over time represents a growing proportion of internet traffic.

LINX, which is the London Internet EXchange is expanding – to Manchester and the USA. I have been in two minds about this. Each of these regional exchanges are mutually independent – connecting in Manchester or the USA doesn’t mean you can peer with someone connecting at LINX in London.  So in one sense I had initially to ask myself why an organisation that set its stall out as a London exchange would want to also be elsewhere.

The LINX argument for its own regional expansion is that if it is to continue its growth in London it needs to be seen to be more of a Global player and the first choice for new members looking for a first connection in Europe. LINX competes with the likes of  AMS-IX (Amsterdam) and DEC-IX (Frankfurt) in this respect, both of who have been establishing bases overseas outside their original locations.

The long term trend is forecast to be towards more and more regional peering.  If you are in one city and want to connect to someone else in the same place why haul the traffic back to a hub such as in London that might be hundreds of miles away? You do need a critical mass of traffic for regional peering to be economic but the growth in the use of the internet is such that  the business case is beginning to become valid for more locations.

On balance, personally knowing the board of Directors at LINX and although I was originally sceptical, I have gone with the flow regarding this expansion. The numbers coming out of LINX certainly show real growth continuing to happen.

In the last three months LINX membership has grown from 469 to 477 companies and its connected capacity from 6.792 Tbps to 6.999 Tbps. This is a huge capability. Peak traffic remains at 1.618 Tbps. LINX is undoubtedly a major global presence on the internet to the point that the exchange has already connected its first 100Gbps port.

The internet industry. It’s an exciting place to be.

Engineer internet ipv6

A few observations on the Cisco Annual VNI Report 2012 – 2017

Trefor Davies thumbnail pictureI live in my own little world. It’s a connected world but relatively contained. I have a modest 2,461 followers on Twitter, 455 friends on Facebook and over 5001 connections of LinkedIn.

All this comes in to perspective when you read Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index, a body of research that charts the growth of the internet and forecasts traffic patterns over the next five years. The latest issue is just out and comes with a ton of data. I’ve distilled a few points that jumped out of the router at me and shared them below.

Connected people and IPv6

According to the forecast by 2017 3.6 billion people will be connected to the Internet, up from 2.3 billion in 2012. Also by 2017 there will be 19 billion networked devices, up from 12 billion last year.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of devices. The fact that there are around 5 times more devices than people is a reflection of the growth of machine to machine connectivity. Nobody is going to be carrying around five networked devices, although having said that I carry four but don’t use me as an example of Mr Average.

It’s interesting to note that the number of IPv6 connected devices is forecast to grow from 1.6 billion in 2012 to 8 billion in 2017. On the face of it this suggests that most of the growth in connected devices is going to come from IPv6 which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Metro versus long haul

Cisco reckons that metro traffic will surpass long haul traffic in 2014 and will account for 58% of total IP traffic by 2017 and will grow nearly twice as fast as long-haul traffic from 2012 to 2017. This is not something that your average man in the street will have to think about but it does help us to understand the trend towards regional peering exchanges.

Historically most ISPs connect to the internet at a few major hubs. London is one such hub. However as more and more traffic is local traffic it makes more sense to connect this traffic near to where it originates. For example the traffic between two servers “taking to each other” in Leeds would historically have been tromboned to London and back. It obviously doesn’t make sense to pay to cart data hundreds of miles and back if it can be done more directly. Now ISPs with a reasonable density of customers in Leeds can connect via the IX Leeds Peering exchange. The same applies for Manchester. In time as traffic levels grow the business case for smaller metropolitan areas will work we will see other locations appear on the connected map.


Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of Internet traffic by 2017. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this number upsided. The only fixed internet connections in our house are the Xbox and my home office VoIP phone and the XBox is likely to go wireless when the new one comes out later this year. I would guess that most wired internet connectivity is going to be business based.

There’s more info on the Cisco blog here together with links to tools that allow you to play with the numbers. It’s well worth a browse.

Returning to my opening lines and the number of people I connect with, all these statistics do highlight the changing nature of our world. We are going to have to continue to adapt as more and more of our daily lives become electronic and connected.

I think these are exciting times from both a personal and business perspective. Exciting because of the wave of change sweeping across our personal lives that will hopefully enrich and enhance the quality of our lives. Exciting from a business perspective because there is money to be made out of all this growth.

That’s all folks…

1 no idea actually how many because it only tells me 500+ and I couldn’t figure out how many and I wasn’t prepared to spend any time finding out how to do it.

Business mobile connectivity phones

year on year blog stats show huge growth in mobile users

Interesting to see how readership of this blog has changed year on year.

In March 12012 only 12% of visits came from mobile devices. By March 2013 the figure was 35.5%. The number of visitors to the blog has also grown by 88% year on year (March 2012 – March 20131) so the actual real terms increase in readers accessing via a mobile device has increased by 458%.

I note that in 2012 the iPad was the most popular device followed by the iPhone and the SGS2. In 2013 this has changed to iPhone/iPad/SGS3 though there are so many variants of Samsung phones in use that if you add them all up the numbers for Android are roughly the same as for iOS.

There were very few visits from the Nokia Lumia series and none from the Blackberry Z10.

1 year on year for the full year numbers to the end of March have grown from 110k to 220k visits fwiw. It is only a small property as blogs go.

Business engineering

Cisco London Partner Forum, apprentices, graduates, growth and investment

Sat with a lot of grey suits at the Cisco London Partner Forum. @richorob is speaking. Cisco always have lots of interesting stats to talk about. They are a rich source of data about the high tech world we live in and make a living out of. You can look on their website for specific stuff, I’m not writing about it here.

What did interest me was the audience response to a couple of questions.

@richorob asked how many in the audience were expecting their businesses to grow this year. My gut feel is that only maybe 25% of people raised their hands. Extending this to 10% or more growth quite a few with their hands up dropped them. I’d say that less than 10% of the audience were expecting double digit sales growth. My hand stayed up btw.

Interesting. Times are clearly hard out there even in a market sector that has always been high growth driven by technological change.

Later he asked how many companies took on apprentices or graduates in their business. The response was astonishing. Maybe 10 or 15 hands went up out of at least 200 people in the room. The businesses in the room are all in the high tech game. They may well be sales orientated but in this world a highly skilled and highly educated workforce is absolutely essential. The quality of the person that you put in front of your customers is the difference between sinking and making that 10% progress. The stream is fast moving.

I’m not just talking about sales people. Our most recent apprentices have been in our reception team and in the IT department and graduate recruits get trained around different departments before deciding on the type of job they would like, except perhaps for the developers who prefer to go into a dark room with other geeks and do their stuff” :).

Times may well be hard out there but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. That’ll do for now – I need to listen to the talks.

Engineer olympics

Olympic bandwidth usage growth

chart showing  http (web browsing) traffic before and during the OlympicsThought this would interest you. It’s a chart showing the http traffic on our broadband network in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympics.

The change is quite amazing. This growth isn’t representative of all the internet traffic during that time – that showed an overall increase of 30% or so.

As a business ISP our peak traffic time is during the day with a smaller local maximum (ok mini peak) in the evening when homeworkers and road warriors get back and use their work-provided broadband.

We still saw the evening  mini peaks but they are dwarfed by the daytime ones.

That’s all folks…

Engineer mobile connectivity

Growth in traffic over O2 3G data network between 2008 and 2011

growth in O2 3G traffic correlated with device intro milestonesThis chart is a few months old now but I haven’t had it all that long and is still interesting to take a look at (click either pic to enlarge).Growth in traffic over O2 3G network between 2008 and 2011

It shows the growth in O2 3G data traffic between 2008 and 2011. See the spike when the iPad was introduced combined with the football world cup traffic (dunno why anyone bothers!).

I don’t have an up to date one which would probably be even more interesting but I suspect that is too close for commercial comfort.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be covering two main themes. These are the Olympics Games and 4G. They are different though to some extent the technical aspects are very similar. Both subjects are going to be in our consciousness quite considerably from here on.

I’m not going to be blogging or tweeting over the Easter Holidays so see you all back on the 16th April, thoroughly refreshed and ready for the sensory onslaught that will be the run-in to London2012.

PS Thanks to O2 for the chart – keep the info coming guys – everyone is interested 🙂


Business dns

Global domain name growth hit 9.5% in 2011 #Nominet

The global number of domain names under registration grew by 9.5% in 2011, up from 6.1% in 2010. The total now stands at 218 million domains registered. I have a few of them – perhaps 7 or 8 I’m not sure.  The growth trend might sound interesting but the rate peaked at over 30% in 2006 and for most of the ten years running up to 2011 was higher than the growth in that year. I got all this from the Nominet website.

It doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to envisage a situation where one day everyone on the planet has their own domain name. Every person in my family does. Your domain will be the basis of your own unique resource and identifier and used for many things. A bit like a “super” National Insurance number. The fact that John Smith is likely already taken is a bit of a shame if you are he but that is already something you have had to live with for most of your life. In the future we might even find couples searching for available domain names before choosing a name for their baby! 🙂

If we assume a steady rate of growth of 10% a year then it will take 28 years for the total number of domains to reach 8.14 billion. According to the United Nations the world population in 2011 was around 7 billion1. I don’t know what it will be by 2040 but probably higher than my 8.14 Billion (assuming we don’t all blow each other up in the meantime) and it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this chat.

I guess what I am saying is that whether you agree with me or not re everyone having their own domain name there is still a long way to go with project internet. This is reinforced when  you consider the capacity for expansion of the physical infrastructure presented by IPv6. I am also sure that thus far we have only scratched the surface of what can be done with domain names. We also have to recognise that many people and organisations own multiple suffix variants of the same domain so for everyone to have one we need to have far more than the 8.14 Billion registered.

As well as the Nominet website it is also worth checking out for data on domain history and growth.

1 wouldn’t stay still long enough for anyone to count

broadband Business

Grown Up Networks

I’ve started the process of cancelling some of our smaller connections to the BT ADSL network. We have newer bigger better pipes on order (in the pipeline 🙂 ). This is on top of the resilient Gigabit hostlinks we have into the BT 21CN network.

This really does feel as if Timico is growing up. When we started, in 2004, we had a single 34Mbps connection. By the middle of next year we should have resilient 2,000Mbps capacity. That’s a big change. Big growth. By the end of 2009 and beyond we should be into the realms of 20,000+Mbps. That’s 2 x 10Gbps. I left it expressed as Mbps for effective comparison. Quite dramatic I think.

At the same time the size of project we are handling is getting bigger and bigger. Although the majority of network customers are small with perhaps 2 or 3 sites, networks with hundreds of connections are becoming much more common and this year we have started talking to customers about projects involving thousands of sites.

Thats when life starts to get really interesting.