broadband Engineer

Evidence that video is driving home internet use

Home broadband usage driven by TV streaming

Evidence is emerging of what applications are driving home broadband usage at the Davies house.

broadband usage wife at workThe two graphs presented herein for your entertainment and delight are of the broadband traffic over our Timico 80/20 FTTC line at home over the last two days – Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first graph shows very little happening during the day. As it happens my wife Anne was at work – she is a supply teacher. There isn’t that much going on in the evening either really although were were hitting 10Mbps at 10.30 pm.

DSL usage wife homeThe second graph shows the traffic when Anne was at home during the day. What a difference!

Most of the bursts are running at around 1.2Mbps and lasting between 30 minutes and two hours.

Now I happen to know that Anne, who always keeps herself busy, often has cookery programmes on during the day in the kitchen. There is so much to catch up on – Master Chef, Great British Bakeoff etc etc. She plays them on her iPad.

The bursts of traffic look very much as if they represent this kind of TV programme watching. Also interesting is the bandwidth required. It isn’t very much although I’m not sure what codecs were being used by iPlayer.

The other usage must basically represent everything else though the spike at 10.30 looks like a download – I know not what. All this just goes to show what this tinterweb thing is being used for. This is in no way an accusation that Anne sit around all day doing nothing – if you knew her you would know she is a very active person. I would however say that she was very representative of the average consumer even if I am not.

You can check out our home broadband data usage trend here.

Ciao bebe…

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

5 replies on “Evidence that video is driving home internet use”

Only trouble with this is it puts more load than ‘normal’ on networks at a certain time of day in the evenings.

In the ‘old days’ you set your various newsgroup or torrent clients to download things of dubious legality in a nice overnight window of maybe 1am til 5am, that’s all a bit over now, these days it’s all about iPlayer and Netflix etc. but because it’s all streaming, quality does seem to suffer sometimes.

Our network is relatively quiet in the evening – it’s all daytime business use apart from a burst at around 8pm ish when homeworkers get their laptops out on the settee and do their mails (at least I assume they are sat on their settees and that it is mail that they are doing 🙂 )

A quick back of fag packet calculation given the default speeds on BBC iPlayer if you’ve got a good connection (e.g. FTTx)…

BBC HD streams are around 3.5Mb/sec at best quality.
BBC SD streams are around 1.5Mb/sec at best quality

So, even 24 hours solid of BBC HD iPlayer will only burn 38Gbytes, and 24 hours of SD would be ~16Gbytes.

As we’re linked on Facebook, you will have seen the “mission control” shot from “Magic Monday” of Wimbledon 2013 – as we didn’t manage to get tickets for that day in the ballot we had every device available in the house going, allowing us to stream every court live in HD – thanks BBC! Still didn’t really make a dent in my bandwidth allowance that month.

Looking at the graphs, looks like your wife is only watching in SD… 🙂

Our home traffic graphs tell a similar story with respect to iPlayer usage, especially if we’ve been out or there’s multiple things on at once.

I understand that Netflix are pushing higher bandwidth streams for some content…

Yes it does look like SD. My 13 yo is after a projector for his room. TV is so yesterday. His projector will do him for gaming and online content and I anticipate a lot more HD streaming of an evening.

Whilst I am glad that the XBox doesn’t live in the TV/Family room anymore I’m not totally convinced about kids having all the kit in their own room, or even in one of the spare rooms vacated by a now adult sibling.

The one saving grace is that whilst I don’t watch much TV it is really irritating to have to sit there trying to do something really important like chat to pals on twitter or facebook whilst an all out battle is going on on the TV and there is a one sided conversation going on over the headphones 🙂

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