beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
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May 15th, 2014 at 2:15:08 PM permalink
I'm gonna give it a rough try; as I understand it.

You have content-providers. They have movies, old tv shows, photos, graphics, this forum, RPG's, ie Netflix online, HBO online, GameHouse, whoever. They are free, or charge subscribers to access their content, especially streaming, or sell files like digital movies outright for download. Many of the biggest providers have servers in most large metropolitan areas with duplicated content and/or proprietary linkage to their own servers, in order to provide the fastest possible service (the farther the server is from your location, the longer the lag of your content, and sometimes the lesser the quality).

You have transportation systems. They go in between the servers (large banks of hard drives, switching boards, digital storage) owned or rented by the content-providers, and deliver the product you have ordered, kind of like the railroads deliver large quantities to metro areas. These are commercial networks of optical wires, wireless, hard-wired systems, which bring the content from content servers to your ISP (internet service provider), which I'm going to call "portals". Some of them overlap company-name-wise with your "local" service, some of them only do the transportation from server to hub. A lot of them have regional networks and agreements among themselves about how to pay each other for moving content across the other's lines.

Your ISP is a "local" hub (the people you pay monthly to have internet service, whether it's a cable company, a phone provider like ATT, a satellite provider like Direct TV). They take the commercial traffic and route it "the last mile" from their hub or node or satellite, direct and retail to you. Your cable feed is on a node somewhere in your neighborhood; my last one, for my block, was in my back yard. About 20 houses went off that node, which had an overall "bandwidth" or capacity in bits per second (Gigabits or Terabits at that level per second). Cell systems have nodes, or cell capacity, which can slow or even stop the system ("All circuits are busy; please try your call again later"). Satellites, not sure how bandwidth is allocated; never had internet service beyond its infancy, and it was slo-o-o-o-w. Uploads at 19K modem speeds. Almost 20 years ago, so useless for this discussion.

Users (you and I) are being charged for bandwidth/month on the retail level. Most areas, until very recently, do not have a choice of providers beyond Satellite or Cable. There is one Cable provider with a virtual monopoly in most geographical areas. So they charge crazy rates for delivering content you're paying for at a bandwidth that works for you and your family; a sliding scale based on usage, which streaming videos eat like (insert guzzling metaphor here).

ATT Uverse is an example of someone coming into the cable market and trying to steal customers from cable (and also satellite and other phone companies, but mainly cable) internet providers, one house at a time. There are others. A lot of municipalities have signed exclusivity agreements with cable companies, though, which guarantee their virtual monopoly, which the areas signed onto decades ago; it was expensive to install the infrastructure to provide cable, get all the easements, etc. So breaking the monopoly goes slowly.

Now the cable companies, satellites, and other signal providers are trying to make more money from the content providers as well, by charging the content providers a premium to give them first priority on the transportation networks, especially the "last mile" providers. It's somewhat analogous to how people can pay for their placement on a Google search result for particular keywords.

The signal providers are assuming the content providers will simply charge you a little more to pass on their extra cost, and promise in return that you will get a better signal because it will be given transmission priority over those who don't pay the extra fee. (To me, that sounds like extortion, but that's my opinion). It's a question of system/node/delivery bottlenecks, when demand exceeds bandwidth. The content providers are pushing back, because they don't want to raise their fees OR pay more (or at all) for their content to be distributed, and explaining to the consumer via Congress (and directly) how the transporation providers are trying to screw them.

I could be wrong, and welcome corrections. But this is my best shot at plain-language.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
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May 15th, 2014 at 2:22:23 PM permalink
Quote: AxiomOfChoice

The internet does not work like a pipe with water flowing through it.


But but but...I thought the internet was a series of tubes? I mean it's not like a big dump truck, is it?
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steeldco
steeldco
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May 15th, 2014 at 2:46:47 PM permalink
Quote: AxiomOfChoice

I'm not sure why you think that the slow speed would have you at capacity quicker. Slower speed means that less data is being sent so you are further away from your capacity. The capacity is the amount of data that it can handle per unit of time. If you send less data per unit of time then you are using less of their capacity.



I use the following analogy. If you have a length of water pipe between 2 locations, there is a maximum amount of water that can be in the pipe at any one point in time. Let's call it 10 gallons. Let's also say that the normal flow would allow it to drain in 2 minutes. So you get an average of 5 gallons per minute thru the pipe at its' capacity. However, if you are able to increase the speed of the flow, say double it, then you are able to push thru 20 gallons per 2 minutes, or 10 gallons per minute. In each case the size of the pipe is the same, but with increase speed you can push thru more data. Does that make sense? Sorry. Not an expert on this.
DO NOT blindly accept what has been spoken. DO NOT blindly accept what has been written. Think. Assess. Lead. DO NOT blindly follow.
endermike
endermike
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May 15th, 2014 at 6:06:44 PM permalink
I can't verify the veracity of this video's take on it, but I can tell you this guy's (CGP Grey) videos are well researched and informative.

He has an excellent youtube channel, check it out some time.
AxiomOfChoice
AxiomOfChoice
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May 16th, 2014 at 12:23:32 AM permalink
Quote: steeldco

I use the following analogy. If you have a length of water pipe between 2 locations, there is a maximum amount of water that can be in the pipe at any one point in time. Let's call it 10 gallons. Let's also say that the normal flow would allow it to drain in 2 minutes. So you get an average of 5 gallons per minute thru the pipe at its' capacity. However, if you are able to increase the speed of the flow, say double it, then you are able to push thru 20 gallons per 2 minutes, or 10 gallons per minute. In each case the size of the pipe is the same, but with increase speed you can push thru more data. Does that make sense? Sorry. Not an expert on this.



It makes sense for pipes of water but not for the internet.

Actually, I'm not sure that it makes sense for pipes of water either. If you install a low-flow faucet in your shower it doesn't have an adverse affect on the amount of water everyone else can receive.
onenickelmiracle
onenickelmiracle
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
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May 16th, 2014 at 12:42:56 AM permalink
Lets call it the malevolent prince of a benevolent king.
I am a robot.

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