[Bloat] On metrics

Rich Brown richb.hanover at gmail.com
Mon Mar 20 07:30:33 EDT 2023

> On Mar 19, 2023, at 11:03 PM, bloat-request at lists.bufferbloat.net wrote:
>> Consumers really need things like published performance specs so they can
>> assemble their needs like an a la carte menu.  What do you do, what’s
>> important to you, what details support that need, and they need that in a
>> simple way.   Like a little app that says “how many 1080p TVs or 4K TVs,
>> how many gaming consoles, do you take zoom calls or VoIP/phone calls.  Do
>> you send large emails, videos, or pictures.”
> The problem is that these needs really are not that heavy. Among my ISP 
> connections, I have a 8/1 dsl connection, even when I fail over to that, I can 
> run my 4k tv + a couple other HD TVs + email (although it's at the ragged edge, 
> trying to play 4k at 2x speed can hiccup, and zoom calls can stutter when large 
> emails/downloads flow)

I want to second David Lang's comment. I live in a small rural NH town that was stuck at DSL prior to a local company raising the money to install fiber to all premises. 

Before the fiber came in, I had 7mbps/768kbps service. If I wanted to bond two circuits, I could get 15/1mbps. But many neighbors had 3mbps/768kbps - or worse - so they were basically unserved. We frequently saw people parked outside our public library after hours to get internet. (And yes, a good router improved things. I told a lot of people about the IQrouter that turned the unusable service into merely slow.)

But there is a huge swath of rural US that is in the same situation, with zero or one provider of dreadful service.

What's the value of a "nutrition label"?

a) It's meaningless for those rural customers. They have no choice beyond "take it or leave it." 

b) For the lucky ones where alternative providers compete, the proposed label does provide a standardized format that lays out purported speeds and the the pricing tiers (including overage charges). I don't think I'd ever believe the latency numbers.

c) Coming back to metrics: we can't look to a federally-agreed-to Nutrition Label to give guidance for which provider offers the right choice for your mix of gadgets. The most important advice I can imagine is "get a router that manages your latency", and your problems will go away, or at least be *much* better.


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