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Author Topic: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic  (Read 1283 times)

Alex Atkin UK

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Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« on: March 24, 2020, 09:11:28 PM »

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To help all of our customers stay connected at this difficult time, weíre removing usage caps from all our broadband products until the end of June. Many of you are already on unlimited packages, but for those customers who are on older broadband products with a usage limit, this means youíll be able to use your Zen broadband as much as you like without having to worry about additional charges.

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Unsurprisingly, over the last few days we have experienced an 18% increase in traffic on our network, but this remains well within the additional capacity we have in place to deal with extraordinary situations such as this.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 10:27:54 PM »

Good on Ďem. :)

I hope they told that Brussels Commissioner, the one that thought Netflix should stop streaming HD? ::)
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jelv

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 11:09:15 PM »

If Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video hadn't already decreased the bit rates the increase would have been much more than 18% - no telling if Zen's network would still have been OK.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2020, 11:25:06 PM »

If Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video hadn't already decreased the bit rates the increase would have been much more than 18% - no telling if Zen's network would still have been OK.

Source?
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 11:55:31 PM »

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-24/youtube-to-limit-video-quality-around-the-world-for-a-month

Iím aware that it has been widely reported.  That does not prove that it was based on factual evidence or need.
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j0hn

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 12:16:59 AM »

Iím aware that it has been widely reported.  That does not prove that it was based on factual evidence or need.

The EU apparently asked as some networks in the EU were struggling or expected to struggle.

Seems Amazon, Netflix, YouTube all lowered their quality EU wide despite numerous UK ISP's stating they have coped fine.

I can confirm YouTube defaults to 480p but I can change that at any point.
Netflix and Amazon I haven't checked but they both released statements to that effect.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 12:18:33 AM »

And as if on cue, BBC have chipped in.   Not that they are a source of facts either, but interesting...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52027348

Ignoring all the daft advice from Ofcom, at the end of that article...

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But the internet companies say they can handle the pressure.
Openreach, which maintains the telephone cables and cabinets across the country used by most broadband providers, said that - despite the jump - usage is still lower than the usual peaks it experiences in the evening.
"We're not seeing any significant issues across our broadband or phone network," an Openreach spokesman said.
"We've seen a circa 20% increase in daytime usage over our fibre network, but that's in line with what we expected and not as high as the usage levels we see during evening peak times."
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 01:54:28 AM »

I've been watching Disney+, Netflix and YouTube - I haven't noticed any difference at all.

I do have UltraHD on Netflix and checking just now its working fine.  Just saw it pulling 40Mbit from ipv4_1.cc0.c125.lhr004.ix.nflxvideo.net as it seems to prefer using the Plusnet line for some reason, Zen usually pulls from their Netflix cache.

Can confirm that Youtube is definitely not defaulting to SD for me either though, went straight to 4K as normal when I tried to watch a LinusTechTips video.

I did notice: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/03/netflix-lowers-video-quality-to-aid-broadband-isp-congestion.html

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Netflix have also yet to confirm if this will apply to the United Kingdom, where the majority of fixed line providers have yet to really struggle with managing increased demand (weíve covered this here).

Indeed all of the biggest UK providers will already be using specialised Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to effectively cache online videos closer to their end-users, which helps to ease the burden of video streaming services on their networks and wider capacity (not only Netflix but many others too, such as YouTube, Amazon Prime, NOW TV etc.).
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Weaver

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 02:26:19 AM »

I have been having enormous problems with slowness and software bugs in the Netflix iOS app. I found the cause the other day. The quality setting was set to "high" as opposed to "standard". That seems to make it 4-6 times slower to download a programme, but those figures are very very approximate. The programme image quality is poor when there is a lot of fast moving random detail if set to "standard" that must be why I changed it some while ago and then forgot all about having made the change.

Sometimes an episode gets to 99.9% or 100% downloaded and then just sits there at that level forever, never changing to a box with a tick in it. Thatís the iOS app bug.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 02:45:54 AM »

That really sucks.  I mean half the point of having a download option is so you can pick a quality setting higher than you can stream.
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Weaver

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 03:25:36 AM »

I donít see why there should be more load on the content providers, if anything it might be less peaky, with less of an evening peak because people may have more times at which they can watch content. Or am I wrong?

What about increased load on ISPs though, due to home working?
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j0hn

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2020, 09:27:14 AM »

I've been watching Disney+, Netflix and YouTube - I haven't noticed any difference at all.

Not likely to notice a difference on Disney+ as it launched at a reduced rate.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/22/21189920/disney-plus-delayed-france-uk-streaming-reduce-quality-coronavirus

You must surely notice a difference on YouTube unless perhaps watching on a mobile phone.
Even I notice it on my phone though as I usually watch in 1440p where available.
Every single method of watching YouTube now defaults to 480p for me (TV, Android phone, Shield TV).

Netflix 4k may be unaffected. I only read reports of them reducing the HD streams.

Facebook and Prime video have also reduced stream quality across the EU, some not limited to the EU.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2020, 10:17:44 AM »

Worth pointing out that Netflix streams always appear to start at a very low bitrate and resolution, then ramping up quality after monitoring the connection quality for few minutes.  All streamers do similar, I think.     My Panasonic TV actually shows the Netflix bitrate on request so  Iíve just put this to the test....

I just started a random chosen stream... 1.4Mbs/480
After about 70 secs, it switched briefly to something/720, then quickly to 4.42Mbps/1080.

In the past, I have noted Netflix bitrates of 4.6Mbps or more so it may be slightly reduced. Or maybe it is a reflection of the fact I have limited bandwidth and other half is working from home in the other room, in a video conference right now.

But certainly, no evidence to suggest they have bowed to the well publicised EU request, to reduce HD to SD.    Then again, maybe they have, for those in the European Union.

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jelv

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Re: Zen bandwidth usage during pandemic
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2020, 10:37:31 AM »

I wonder if it makes a difference if you are getting it direct from the source or via a CDN?
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