broadband Business

It’s Nice When Someone Impresses When You Are Not Expecting It – BT Wholesale Broadband Performance

My home ADSL has occasionally been causing me issues with the broadband performance dropping right off. I know it isn’t the Timico network because I can see our network utilisation and when I have problems at home there is plenty of capacity available in our backhauls.

So gnashing my teeth I blamed BT and pulled a favour. As a one off they took a look at the Lincoln exchange to see if it was suffering congestion. Blow me down if they didn’t send me a graph showing that usage never get near capacity.

Engineer olympics

iPlayer demand forecast scheduled by session at the Olympics

Just sat in one of our ongoing planning sessions to calculate our bandwidth BBC estimates of iPlayer busy periods during London 2012 Olympics - click to enlargeneeds during the London 2012 Olympics. It’s a complicated call and we will be telling all nearer the time.

One of the data sources we are using is the BBC’s own estimates of iPlayer traffic growth. The inset photo shows when the BBC is expecting heavy iPlayer traffic loads and is based on the sport/competitor mix for any given session.

The colour coding scheme doesn’t tell us how much traffic is expected for each event but the Beeb is planning for a peak of 1Terabit per second.

The capacity planning and quality management  for the Olympics is not totally straightforward because there are factors involved outside the control of any individual ISP. Load on the iPlayer servers is one and the traffic at individual exchanges is another. As an industry we are going to have to be nimble to make sure that our customers’ experience is a good one.

More as I get it…

End User mobile connectivity

Liverpool Echo Arena mobile capacity #paulmccartney and the French

Went to the last gig of Paul McCartney’s world tour at the Liverpool Echo Arena last night. Ten thousand fifty somethings with the occasional grandchild thrown in for the experience. Old Macca is going strong though at around 70 years old doesn’t quite hit all the high notes with the same strength as he might once have done.

Not complaining. It happens to us all and the die hard fans in the audience didn’t really care. On a boringly technical note what surprised me was the high quality mobile data reception inside the Arena. My mails and tweets were coming in as normal. The signal varied between HSPDA and 3G according to my Samsung Galaxy S2.

I recently met with one of O2’s tech team to discuss stadium communications technology.  This followed on from

Engineer mobile connectivity

How to manage mobile network capacity for a very large crowd.

crowds at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011Last weekend we went to the Lincoln Christmas Market.crowds walking past the cathedral entering the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 We go every year 1 – we live just on the edge of where the market is located and can walk there easily. It’s an institution in Lincoln.

You either love the Christmas Market or you hate it. Those that like it love the atmosphere, the gluhwein, the noises and the smells. They love the variety of stalls where they can pick up Christmas presents. The location is top notch – around Lincoln Cathedral and Castle. Takecrowds in Castle Hill at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 a break from the walking and stop off for a beer or a coffee or two. It’s great, especially by night when the neon lights add to the effect.

Those that hate it do so for the very simple reason that it is very crowded. The market attracts north of 160,000 visitors in one long weekend. That’s great for local trade but as I said very crowded. This year I noticed something for the first time. I was able to get a mobile phone line every time I tried. No “the network is busy” notifications and frustrated repeat attempts to make contact with lost friends andcrowds on Steep Hill during Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 relatives.

On my way home I think I spotted the reason – a temporary tower with mobile transponders. The networks, at least O2 who I use, must have boosted their capacity just for the weekend. It was great and whilst I realise that all they probably want is for nobody to notice and for people to just carry on using their phones this does warrant a pat on the backcrowds coming out of Lincoln Castle Westgate during the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011 – for Lincoln City Council too.

If I can I’ll find out what kind of boost there was to mobile capacity. Everyone at the council who has anything to do with the market is busy right now.

rings over bottles - the finest sport in town at the Lincoln Christmas Market 2011And finally a photo of my favourite stall. You hand over a fiver for a small bucket full of red plastic rings and spend a minute or so throwing them in the vain hope that one will land squarely around the neck of one of the bottles and you win a giant stuffed animal. Almost an impossible feat but it is doable as the stuffed gorilla we have languishing in our attic proves. Just the one word of advice. If you do win give the prize away as quickly as you can. It will make a kid happy for at least as long as its take to parents realise they are going to have to squeeze it in the car and then when they get home find somewhere to put it!

I do have a video of the action at this stall.  The picture quality ain’t great but the sound effects are spectacular. Sounds just like the cash rolling into the tills of the guy who owns the stall!!!

1 except for last year when it was snowed off.