As long as I can remember I have been telling companies to be careful about the reality of bandwidth. I have asked the question about available bandwidth for a long time. One of my first posts on CloudTweaks was all about bandwidth.
In the past month, I had an opportunity to use the wi-fi at a hotel. The hotel was less than ½ full when we checked in and the overall bandwidth was incredible. It was more than ¾ full when we checked out and the bandwidth I had been enjoying was gone. I ended up using my cellular phone as a hotspot for awhile rather than waiting for the try, fail, try again process with the Hotel Wi-Fi. Now, the hotel provides Wi-Fi as a service for free to guests, so I wasn’t going to complain about it.
But I realized bandwidth wasn’t what I used to think it was. First off when you are traveling for business and have to do work in your hotel room, the extra expense of premium hotel network connections is justifiable. I need bandwidth to do my work. When it is you on vacation, the need and value of the bandwidth goes down.
All of this got me thinking. I realize in looking at my old post on bandwidth that the problem is still there. It is in fact still real. There is a finite amount of bandwidth available. Many analysts project two, three, and some even predict five times the number of connecting devices in less than four years. All of this building on an existing infrastructure.
How many new devices did you get this year that consumes bandwidth? From just presents, I got this year, not a single one consumed bandwidth. But at my age, I tend to buy the things I want and need so there were a couple of things I got in the past month and a ½ that actually consume bandwidth. Not just a little bit.
Every single connected device of the reality of IoT consumes bandwidth. I listen as companies advertise the FASTEST IN HOME WI-FI. Those commercials do two things. The first is they make me cringe. Cringe because they are advertising in-home. That means by the way, that from your device to their router it is the fastest interest connection. Who cares? No one should!!!!! Why? You don’t want to get to their router. You want to touch the routers beyond their routers. You want to consume Amazon instant Video, or Netflix and Hulu services. Those are not at your router. They live at the end of other router connections. So the fastest in-home Wi-Fi is advertising. Misleading, and a ½ truth. You don’t often need to access things connected directly to your router.
The other thing they often advertise is the reality of speed tests. No matter how much you can download (which would be those beyond your router) is the reality of uploads. The more upload capacity you have the greater your ability to have IoT devices. As you sit on a Friday and enjoy Netflix or Hulu (or Amazon Instant Video, sure iTunes and so on) you decide to go out for dinner. The first thing you want to know is what the local weather is. So you connect with your home weather station that is sharing information and see what the current temperature is.
To share that weather data with the world, you are using upload bandwidth. In fact, every single IoT device is uploading beyond your router. So Fastest INHOME WI-FI is useless if you can’t continue fast beyond your router.
Is there enough bandwidth in most people’s homes? If your connection is less than 10 meg uploads than likely you have a problem. There is nothing like Champaign taste on a water budget. If you are sitting with 200 Mbps download speed and 5 Mbps upload you are living on a water budget, even if that combination costs you Champaign money!
The image to the left is our actual network speeds, but in fairness measured in the very early am.
images today courtesy of Dr. Hans O Andersen (digital collection)