Helpful network info

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When talking about internet and data, it's helpful to understand what it is and how it works. So this is really just a suggestion for some information that could be thrown out there for people. I see so much miss information and inaccurate information and for any who want to actually know what's causing their various problems this basic understanding of how networks work could be invaluable. Just a thought worth sharing I think.

Internet "Speed" isn't speed at all, it's size. It's the total amount of data you can transfer at any given moment, or the amount of data you are currently transferring between your computer and a location outside your computer (this can include your internal network). It is limited by how much data you can transfer out, AND how much data the remote location can upload to you (often this is far less than your over all download capacity). It can also be limited by over all network congestion. Congestion can make your network seem like it's going slower.

You can think of it like a highway, it has a fixed number of lanes, all the cars travel at the same "speed" (correct usage this time), but if you send more trucks full of data down the highway by adding lanes then your transfers will take less time to complete. The trucks aren't moving faster there's just more of them going to you. Thus making it appear like your internet is going "faster" It's not.

Internet "speed" (the correct definition) is the time it takes for a single packet of data to travel to it's destination (and back), this is what's called latency and is measured in MS (milliseconds) at any given moment on viasats network I average about 600ms latency. Latency is primarily limited by how the data is transferred. Almost all wireless communications including satellite are some form of radio wave so the "speed" of the internet is the speed of the radio waves over the distances you're sending them, electromagnetic waves for cable, and light waves for fiber. This is dictated by physics and no company has the power to change this. However other issues can cause high latency basically slow downs (like a broken or overloaded router between you and your destination).

So going back too the highway model, the over all speed of the network doesn't really change much, unless there's broken equipment or a bad routing path causing too much traffic to pass through a particular node (which is rare with an ISP, network engineers usually know what they are doing).

The over all capacity of the network is largely fixed. Unless they add new cables (or in viasats case new satellites) the amount of total data that can be sent by everyone has a fixed limit, however each individual is sold a fraction of that total limit. If the limit is reached congestion, packet loss, routers tipping over all sorts of issues can occur. You could potentially literally crash the network if you tried hard enough, with any major ISP this would be rather difficult as they are designed to attempt to mitigate congestion, but not totally impossible.

However data running out is an imaginary concept. The pipeline is there, it's fixed, it's there regardless if anyone is actually using it (unless viasat has some contract that lets them use another company's network to offload some of the extra traffic when things get slammed, which I kinda doubt).

So "limiting speed" IS limiting data, and limiting "data" is limiting speed (here's looking at you Jim16, trying to say otherwise is just nonsensical gibberish).

In short there are technical limitations, and reasonable solutions to those limitations. A priority system isn't a bad solution at all when you look at things from this perspective. Which is why I had high hopes for the "Unlimited" plans, too bad that didn't end up panning out the way it was sold, but I wasn't trusting enough to buy it anyway, not until it was demonstrated to be real. But hopefully this information helps some of the more advanced users correctly identify their problems and avoid spreading nonsense (looking at you again Jim16)
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Edmond

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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Jim16, Champion

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Wow, a rant just for me!  I'm honored.



(Edited)
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Jim16, Champion

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"Congestion can make your network seem like it's going slower."

Well that makes me feel better.  It's all in our heads.
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Edmond

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Dude, as stated before, the "speed" is the same, it's the amount you can send at once that's changing. From the end user perspective it is going slower, it's simply a matter of clarifying what exactly is going on so that people don't make erroneous conclusions. *cough*

As for slowing down data lowering congestion, well you're partially right yes. But it's such a bizarre way to go about it. The entire network could technically be brought to it's knees even with data caps. The problem with data caps specifically is that it doesn't stop anyone from using internet during congested hours, and in fact congestion still happens. It's not being alleviated  currently by the data caps. So.... why continue to push an ineffective solution?

Instead all data caps do is try to scare people out of using a service they are paying for. It's not really any different than someone ordering a pizza and being told they can't eat it all or they'll be denied food for the rest of the month. You did pay for this service, you paid for that pipeline. "Fare use" is cute and all but if the solution isn't fixing congestion to begin with it's time to look at better solutions. 

Of course the best solutions are simply to invest in infrastructure, that's what every other ISP has done (outside of satellite companies) and it's worked quite well for them.

As for what you did that annoyed me? You made a bizarre nonsensical response to something I wrote and the thread was locked before I could correct you.
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GabeU, Champion

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Hang in there Edmond, you'll be a sophomore next year and your teacher will get to the more advanced aspects of networking unless your "Introduction to Networking" is the only class your high school offers.
Oh, that's so bad.  LOL. 

There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who speak binary and those who don't.
ROFLMAO!!!  Gotta love it!  
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GabeU, Champion

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Hang in there Edmond, you'll be a sophomore next year and your teacher will get to the more advanced aspects of networking unless your "Introduction to Networking" is the only class your high school offers.
Oh, that's so bad.  LOL. 

There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who speak binary and those who don't.
ROFLMAO!!!  Gotta love it!  
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GabeU, Champion

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Oh, joy.  Double posting.  One thing I don't miss about GetSat.  
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wm4bama, Champion

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Picky, picky, picky....☺

Order in de court....here comes de judge....☺☺☺
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Deku, Champion

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nah... ill just run away from the court and the judge >:3
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Judge and Jury

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I just hate to make a simple mistake and find it impossible to fix it.    :o(
 
And then it makes a double-post a few seconds later.  Maybe I didn't goof, it was GetSatisfaction the whole time.
(Edited)
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Edmond

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Judge and Jury, while dial up is an odd suggestion, fiber for most people is a complete waste of money. Few people are going to transfer enough data to need 1Gbps... I mean I can use up a good 6TB inside a week and I can't max out a Fiber connection. Now a lower bandwidth Fiber connection would be great because of the low latency, but most people buy more bandwidth than they actually ever need or use. I would happily live off a 15 down 2 up connection with no data cap, it's not the best for me but it's definitely something I could live with. Instead of paying 150 a month for 150GB data cap a month at 25 down 2 up. For the most part no individual connection is going to let you use more than 6 or 7 down because as stated earlier you are limited by the upload of the site you are connected to. Your upload is likely between 2 and 5.... so is theirs so you can't download more than they can upload. Having more bandwidth is really only beneficial to a point, and that's largely determined by the number of 4k Netflix streams you plan on having on at the same time (or HD take your pick)....

Data caps are far more damaging than slightly lowering the speed (bandwidth) and slightly lowering the speed (bandwidth) over all would go a lot farther along in alleviating network congestion over all. no need to throttle back to the days of 56k modems, though when you hit your data caps that's pretty much what Exede will do anyway. Just pointing that out.

Keep in mind if you aren't getting 25 down from your satellite company currently you're not even getting broadband internet. Viasat/Exede only have 1 data package that qualifies as a broadband connection. Yet they struggle severely to maintain the network. This isn't the fault of the users.

Edit^ for clarity most sites have more than 6 or 7 upload but they restrict how much you can download so everyone can download from them and you don't' start tipping over their routers and servers.

Also bandwidth and throughput weren't mentioned earlier for brevity and simplicity. Years of experience have taught me that trying to explain things in too much detail results in peoples eye's glazing over before rolling back into their heads.... Well technically bandwidth was kinda mentioned in the highway analogy.... but I suppose that might have been over your head.

I mean if you wanna go over some BGP or OSPF or data encapsulation sure why not, we can nerd out if you like.
(Edited)
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Judge and Jury

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You have your philosophy of how things work and what method of mass data distribution would seem most appealing to the most people.  You are encouraged to build a system to demonstrate your method's superiority.

Viasat is offering what they feel is the most rewarding Internet experience possible to a specifically limited extent per subscriber, thus data caps. 

The problem Viasat encountered was the question "What happens when too many people subscribe to the best plan, one having unlimited monthly data and an excessively high data cap?"  Their system cannot support that plan for too many people per beam and when that plan was offered it was well received and was quickly exploited.  Those plans were probably offered considering the VS2 satellite was coming online and the load would be shifted by offering even better plans on that satellite causing a migration that would leave VS1 capable of servicing the subscriptions that included high data caps and unlimited use.  The crisis landed on Viasat when VS2 didn't deploy 2 of 4 antennas correctly, leaving nearly all subscribers stuck on VS1, and now there are plans in place that squander the bandwidth of VS1 with no relief in sight.  Viasat went with a "sure-win bet" on data plans and lost due to problems on VS2.

The same thing could have happened sooner if every subscriber was a millionaire and every subscriber just kept paying more for as much priority data as they could use every month, putting every subscriber on the system at the non-expired priority data level.  The system wouldn't be capable of delivering that load at a reasonable speed.  The huge unlimited plans did that same thing to Viasat, and now there's a serious problem of insufficient bandwidth to service VS1 customers. 

Here is where the data caps and de-prioritization saves the day.  When a customer exhaust their priority data, their speed drops precipitously to the point their Internet service becomes nearly unusable.  This shows customers just how tight the bandwidth budget really is, there is nearly nothing to spare.  The thought of being de-prioritized to such a low speed encourages most customers to be mindful of their data use and conserve their allotted priority data, relieving demand in that process.

Eliminating data caps in favor of a slower overall system just makes everybody have a slower connection no matter how much or how little they use their service.  This can also cause unused bandwidth resources to occur which is tantamount to wasted capacity on the satellite. The method used by Viasat totally exploits the capability of the satellite, every byte of data that could be sent through it, was.

Viasat has the right idea on selling a limited resource in their data plans.  They just trusted VS2 to be a total success a little too far, too soon.  The wonderful unlimited plans should have been delayed until VS2 proved to be a capable satellite to deliver the goods.
 
 
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