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How much use would you get from a 1 gigabit internet connection?

Displaying poll results.
Lots -- I push a ton of bits almost constantly
  3702 votes / 14%
Some -- I saturate my connection on a regular basis
  8278 votes / 31%
Little -- It would come in handy once in a great while
  6953 votes / 26%
None -- My current connection handles my needs just fine
  2444 votes / 9%
None -- I don't *need* it, I just *want* it
  3599 votes / 13%
I just want to upgrade my telegraph
  916 votes / 3%
25892 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How much use would you get from a 1 gigabit internet connection?

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  • by segin (883667) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:00PM (#46826997) Homepage
    So I can run a home server (web, maybe even Plex) and never have to worry about clogging all three megabits of upstream just to watch Star Trek or whatnot.
    • by segin (883667)
      On the go, that is. Have my own Netflix-like deal run on my own hardware, would be pretty badass.
    • by lgw (121541)

      Agreed. I'd use 1 Gb up to do all my DVD ripping in the cloud (I think that would be a fun project, but hopeless at my current upstream).

    • by Scotch42 (1120577)
      I could be rid of my full rack in the data center and build my dreamed private cloud distributed accross relatives and customers with full replication for our 8 TB professional data. GNU/Linux + openVPN + CEPH + openvswitch + KVM + freeNX would be just fine...
    • by Albanach (527650)

      But 20 or 50 mbit connections would do just the same for you unless you have a need to stream uncompressed HD footage from your plex server - and the other end has a sufficiently fast downstream link.

      • My connection started at a consistent 6.01MB/s download (50Mbit). It's now slow and flaky. Comcast does this: They slowly back down service as you go. Speedtest to a comcast facility still works, but downloading the same CD images from GATech or such is slower than it was when my Internet connection was shiny and new, in the 800k/s range often.
    • by rgmoore (133276) <> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:20PM (#46833553) Homepage

      Which points out another flaw with the poll; it assumes that you'll continue your current usage patterns even with a much faster network connection. To me, the whole point of getting one is that it would make things practical that simply aren't a plausible option today. Backing up my whole hard drive to the cloud would be hopelessly impractical with my current 5Mpbs upload, but it would become plausible if I could upload 200x faster. The creators didn't think of that and add a "I would start doing things I can't today" option.

    • With the voting, what was missing was a question about existing speeds.
      My download speed from an unencumbered website in bytes is between 80k to 120k per second. It takes me about 20 to 40 mintues to download a 3.8gig dvd image. I only do that every few months when a major release is issued. I am not a movie watcher, or a pirate, or even a collector of "software that I might use in the future"

    • by Tom (822)


      I honestly believe that we will see a whole new Internet revolution if we'd return to the original vision of a peer-based network where every client can also be a server. When you can run your website from your home. A lot of the current Internet companies basically sell you content hosting on steroids. Their primary reason for existence is that for technical (bandwidth) and knowledge (how do I run a server?) reasons, most people can't do it themselves. So they upload their photos to Instagram instead

  • It says saturate my connection.
  • I have a gigabit (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:04PM (#46827043)

    I live in Chattanooga, TN where every house is able to get 100 mbit or 1gbit from the electric company. I can't tell the difference between 100mbit and 1 gbit because my laptops wifi card isn't fast enough

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:13PM (#46827143) Homepage

    In real life, if you have Google Fiber, you're still going to get only, at best, 100 Mbps. []

    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @05:01PM (#46827623) Journal
      Even 10 mbps second would be a vast improvement over the 1.5 down and 0.75 up I see in practice from AT&T DSL.
      • The highest download I ever see in practice tend to top out around 20-24mbps although I can run a couple of them at once.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:33PM (#46828389)

          I regularly saturate 50Mbps downstream. I just timed it: 12 minutes for a 4.2GB Knoppix ISO. I also download Youtube Videos at 50Mbps. If you're seeing no more than 24Mbps (M is mega, m is milli, btw.), even though your ISP promises more, then check if your router is a bottleneck. The WAN-to-LAN throughput is CPU limited on most routers, and many can't handle a true high speed connection. (If I had a gigabit connection to the internet, the first thing I would do is build my own router from PC hardware, just to be able to use that bandwidth.) Another pitfall is that XP doesn't achieve full TCP throughput on high speed internet connections without a parameter modification. Obvious tip is obvious: Use a wired connection to measure throughput. WLAN throughput can be unreliable.

          • by Albanach (527650)

            How often do you download ISOs? I wouldn't think many folk, even here, would download them often enough to say they regularly saturate their link.

          • When Comcast upped my plan from 25Mbps to 50Mbps, I noticed an immediate improvement in download speed however I wasn't getting my full 50Mbps (it was capping out in the mid to high 30s consistently). This was pretty close to the limit you'd experience with a DOCSIS 2.0 so I decided to buy a DOCSIS 3.0 one to see if it would make a difference. I snagged a Motorola SB6141 and immediately started getting my full 50Mbps.

            Hopefully they sent out new DOCSIS 3.0 modems to people who rent from them. However if y

      • by geekoid (135745)

        On plus plus side, you have invented a way to post to the future.:)

        sorry, 1.5/.75 just reminded of 1997. I we were glad to have it!

    • by Zmobie (2478450) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:08PM (#46828165)

      I disagree with that article on the single point of multi-tasking. Right now, I have a 24 mbps connection from AT&T and for single tasks, yes it is pretty much plenty for me for general use (once I have my home server up this will NOT be the case though). The thing is if I could turn on all the things I want to at once, I could easily saturate 300 to 400 mbps half the day right now.

      There are tons of services, background downloads, personal applications, and so on that I just turn on and off depending on what I am doing. When working on any websites, I have to turn some other stuff off so that I can access pages, upload files, etc. but with a 1 gbps connection I would not give one single damn what-so-ever. On top of that the many things I would like to implement and host from home I could run all the time (various game servers, home web hosting, file hosting for myself, client-server applications, documentation and my own personal "cloud" services, the list is kind of massive now that I think about it) without worrying about destroying everyone else's connection at my house. I mean I do like the idea of cloud hosting for instance, but not when someone else is the host and with that kind of connection I can be the host.

      Now, I will definitely give you that I am probably in the very small minority of people that could/would do this sort of thing, but that is the main advantage (right now) of 1 gbps connections. Beyond that expandability comes to mind since so many things are transitioning to run over internet connections. My TV and phone both run through the same line but are limited by necessity right now since things are run to me over such lower bandwidth connections. Considering many places want to completely get rid of POTS lines and most of your TV services are going to a vastly improved digital distribution service, high bandwidth connection are going to become much more useful in the future (not *necessary* for a while simply because it is going to take forever for this to roll out to rural areas due to the ROI being so much smaller for that kind of deployment).

      If it isn't cost prohibitive to the consumer, bring on the increased bandwidth I say, can't wait until they roll it out to my area.

      • by bl968 (190792)

        Your bandwidth use would spike when you got the connnection but would reduce back to a more normal level after a short period of time.

    • by radish (98371)

      I get over 100mbps on FIOS right now. I've frequently maxed out my 150mbps connection pulling from a single server (well, single URL), particularly if I use a download manager which opens a few connections. It's true you don't usually see those traffic levels in normal browsing but for large file downloads it's not hard.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Well that's the price for being ahead of the curve, recently I was sending a file to a friend and his 40 Mbit download was the limiting factor not my 100 Mbit upload. But it's been this way since we had modems, only now it's a thousand times faster. So what? When I'm on gigabit then 100 Mbit will be normal, 10 Mbit slooow and 1 Mbit stone age. Besides, it will probably mostly be burst transmissions. During "The Gathering", a huge LAN party with 6000 participants - obvious all at their computers most the tim

    • My result from two months ago: []. Really, the best benefit I get from Google Fiber is the lack of over saturated links that came with Time Warner's Road Runner. Everything else is limited by the host servers' capabilities.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I currently am on 150/15 (megabit) and in May that will go up to 180/18.
    (Docsis3 cable.)

    The download is plenty. I can saturate it, but I really have to work hard to do that.
    The upload is decent, but I really would like to have some more.
    To move my backups off-site (have a 2nd Synology NAS parked at my sisters house, big updates can take more than a night) and for the VPN (I frequently need to upload files >200 MB) to the office.
    And some more upload would also mean I wouldn't have to down-throttle usenet

    • by unrtst (777550)

      This is pretty much spot on.

      As always, the polls here are worded, uh, oddly. I rarely ever saturate my current connection, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't use 1gbps quite a bit. I don't saturate my current connection because it'd be saturated.. I don't do a lot of things I'd like to do.

      Ex. similar to your off-site synology nas, I keep looking at online backup services, but I can't justify the price for something I can't really use (my upload sucks REALLY bad). I'd be pretty happy with 100mb up, but 1gb wou

  • by vanyel (28049) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:52PM (#46827549) Journal

    Like being able to have a remote fileserver replica

  • but what I want is less lag. Really.

    My lag in server-based games runs in the teens of milliseconds, but I would like to push that below 10ms. My own reactions aren't getting any faster, so a bit less wire delay would be a nice compensation. (Ok, not much compensation, since human response times are easily an order of magnitude slower than that, but still...)

    • Yeah. I was going to ask about latency.

      A minivan filled with micro SD cards has incredible bandwidth but horrible latency and no fault tolerance.

    • If your latency is in the teens of milliseconds you could actually probably get another 10ms reduction in latency by selecting low-latency gear and tweaking your OS - there's a surprising amount of lag in poorly implemented hardware.
      • You might be able to get teens of msec of latency if you stay within your ISP and local area. You're almost certainly not going to be able to get sub-10ms to an external server.

        Heck, my ISP doesn't connect to the local competition anywhere near here so my packets travel 1800 miles to cover a true distance of 160 miles.

  • Missed the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @05:35PM (#46827895) Journal
    As is typically the case, the survey overlooks one of the most compelling reasons to run Gigabit: Latency (or as the plebs like to call it these days; ping).

    Having an uber fat pipe is not really what most people need. Having a nice low latency (eg below 10ms) is what will really enable realtime thin client apps, cloud based n-tier apps (where part of the business logic layer is on the client), MOBAs and MMOs. I don't want Gigabit because I pump huge volumes of data (about 50Gb per month), I want Gigabit because I hit my latency wall several times every day.
    • Mod parent up. It's all about latency, kids.

      I'm actually quite happy with my 12mbit down / 5mbit up DSL link - not just because the bandwidth is plenty for my needs, but because the latency is pretty good (a canonical "ping", which should always resolve to a nearby Google DNS server, is about 25ms) - and it's pretty consistent at any time of day or night. (Unlike a theoretically fatter cable pipes, how many of my neighbors are watching pr0n doesn't affect my own speed since the DSL line is singl

      • by floobedy (3470583)

        Though with Gig-level fiber, I assume I'd get both....

        You wouldn't. Your latency would decrease only slightly. If you get 12mbit down, then you're located only a couple of miles from your DSLAM. You wouldn't reduce your latency by even 1% by having fiber to the home.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        I have a pretty fat pipe VDSL (45 down/6 up), and am only a couple hundred miles physically away from Google headquarters, but I still get a 55ms ping to, or anywhere, really.

        It's fairly annoying, but I still like having that bandwidth available for when I need to install a new game on Steam to play with my friends.

      • I've got a 25Mbps link, but my ping to google DNS is 46ms. I'm in Canada though, so that may affect it.

    • Re:Missed the point (Score:5, Informative)

      by SQL Error (16383) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @04:01AM (#46830829)

      Then you're going to be disappointed.

      The speed of light in optical fibre is about 200km per millisecond. So a round-trip ping of 10ms, ignoring all other sources of latency, limits you to a range of 1000km (call it 600 miles). And that's never going to change.

      • Bandwidth helps latency only if the amount of payload you have is a significant contributor to the time it takes. Like if you were transferring frames of video and each frame was a megabit and your link was only 1mbps, it would take a full second from the time you requested it to see it, on top of connection latency because it would take that long to transfer the data. In that case even a 100mbps link would still have 10ms of additional latency between the time the data started to get in and a complete fram

    • Re:Missed the point (Score:4, Informative)

      by floobedy (3470583) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @04:19AM (#46830885)

      I don't think getting gigabit would help latency much. Latency is largely a function of how many routers you're going through and physical distance, neither of which is affected by whether you have fiber to the home. Furthermore, your internet connection to your home is just last mile stuff anyway. The vast majority of the distance your packets travel is over fiber even if you personally are using dialup.

      Fiber might help latency slightly, because it would improve the speed of transmission for the final 0.1% of the distance. However, I'd guess the overall difference in ping times would be pretty slight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Optical fiber is ~.66C, while crap copper cable is ~.78C. You'd lose latency... (Excellent copper cable can hit .9C, though it's insanely expensive, big, and unwieldy hard-line coax).

    • Speak for yourself. If I could get 1Gb/s out of a satellite link at a price less than other options I'd go for that even with horrible latency of going out to geostationary orbit and back. It's still far better latency than getting a courier truck to deliver a USB hard drive.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Personally, I just want really high usage limits. Rarely do I need more than a 10 Mbit connection, but my ISP has quite low caps on how much data you can transfer in a month. I can only transfer 80 GB a month. It's pretty easy to go through that if you don't watch what you are doing. The only way go get higher usage amounts is to pay for a faster speed connection, which again, makes it easier to go over the limit. I could deal with a 10 mbit connection if there was unlimited (or very high, like 500 GB)
  • by RR (64484) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:40PM (#46828441)

    More download speed would be nice, but hardly revolutionary. My biggest problem with Internet speeds is lack of upload bandwidth.

    We're well into the 21st Century. We're supposed to be able to do full-screen video calls, and the technology does exist to do that. My Mac comes with a barely-HD video camera, which takes 1Mbps [] to do a single video call. That's more bandwidth than most of the AT&T U-verse deployments. And this video call will glitch if anybody in the household does anything else at the same time, because the entire 1Mbps upload bandwidth is needed for the ACK packets on any downloads.

    Countless applications have been eliminated because of this fundamental lack of upload bandwidth. I think it's the second-largest barrier to Internet innovation right now. Right behind lack of IPv6.

    And then there are quotas, and latency, and bufferbloat, and extreme overselling. Internet in the US sucks.

    • by Mspangler (770054)

      And in the other factors list, lets not forget the '286 apparently slogging away uploading the data at the other end.

      The last mile is no longer my bottleneck, but getting the data on the fiber in the evening seems to be a challenge for someone upstream.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Agreed. I'd love to double or triple or even 10x my upload bandwidth. SDL would be ideal (synchronous -- upload = download).

      The main reason I pay for a 6Mbit link instead of a 1.5 is for the *upload* difference, not the download capacity.

    • Maybe YOUR Internet sucks, but that doesn't mean all US Internet sucks. I have 150/20mbps cable Internet and I'm quite pleased with it. It gets those rates too, in my tests. I can download from Steam at like 16-18MB/sec. This isn't some special test market, it is just the speeds my cable company offers in my area. Anyone can have them, though few people opt to. Most would rather save $20-30ish dollars per month and go with their slower service (their 25/4mbps package is popular).

      You are also kidding yoursel

      • Maybe YOUR Internet sucks, but that doesn't mean all US Internet sucks. I have 150/20mbps cable Internet and I'm quite pleased with it. It gets those rates too, in my tests. I can download from Steam at like 16-18MB/sec. This isn't some special test market, it is just the speeds my cable company offers in my area. Anyone can have them, though few people opt to. Most would rather save $20-30ish dollars per month and go with their slower service (their 25/4mbps package is popular).

        Of course not all US Internet sucks. Google Fiber is in some neighborhoods, a few places have FiOS, and Chattanooga has an electricity company. Better Internet connections are available if you pay, but in most of the US including yours, it is too expensive. [] In my workplace's part of San Francisco, we tried to get Internet from the cable company, but they said they didn't have the cable in the ground in that part of the block. I guess we could have tried digging some fiber at a cost of hundreds of thousands

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:58PM (#46828563)

    Currently, TWC cannot even deliver HD cable reliably. I get pixellation, long drops, ... whenever the cable is busy, presumably moving data.

    If the USPS would just condemn and use a right of way on the sewer lines for fiber, and give me an IPv6 address for a router, THAT I would pay for.

    • If the USPS would just condemn and use a right of way on the sewer lines for fiber, and give me an IPv6 address for a router, THAT I would pay for.

      I never knew the Postal Service had that kind of power. Or that they installed communication infrastructure.

      Then again, it is run by a General...

    • by Xaedalus (1192463)
      That IS a brilliant idea--Amend the constitution to update the US Postal Service and make them a federally-backed net neutral ISP. Communications has evolved from letters and parcels, why can't the Postal Service??
  • I depends on what your limit is. If you're allowed 1GB/s but have a 200GB/month limit, it's not going to be much fun.

  • You would think the ISPs would get smart and lay drops with lots of spare bandwidth and use gateway devices with sufficient RAM & flash to act as distributed caches for frequently distributed content. Imagine if House of Cards or similar high bandwidth floods of data could be nearline cached in the neighborhood and never even hit the fibre to the CO or distribution center, instead being handled by the local remote terminal.
    • by bl968 (190792)

      It already exists for Netflix at least... []

      • That's a local cache at the CO or ISP distribution level. I am talking about a peer-to-peer neighborhood cache of the top few hundred GB to few dozen TB of semi-static high bandwidth content. This would be an additional level of data tiering, but reduce the bandwidth usage on the ISP's backbone, much less their peering with other providers and such.
  • I have Cox internet, advertised at 25 Mbps, just tested at 6.82/5.75. However, this is more than enough for the streaming youtube that my kids do and the streaming video that my wife does.
    In fact, Cox sends out nastygrams to me if I use more than 250 GB, which represents less than one day of full advertised bandwidth usage.
  • If everyone(most people) has 1 gb/s Internet, P2P games will be awesome. Imagine a first person shooter with a million people in one zone. Anti-hacking for P2P isn't as hard as you think.
    • by Ksevio (865461)
      1gbps AND IPv6 to fix the routing issues with NATs
  • Assuming I got at least 100Mb/s up (preferably a gigabit), this would make online backups for any more than a few GB feasible. A friend and I have been mulling this over for a decade before "cloud" became a thing and before even commercial online backups became viable, but it would be effective for those too.

    I have a NAS. He has a NAS. We can both set up encrypted containers that the other one of us doesn't have the key to. We both require offsite backups and have the nouse to tunnel rsync through an SSH tu

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @09:31AM (#46832157)

    After which my usage limit would lock me out for the rest of the month.

  • My current ADSL serves me well. I can stream all the usual video services (YouTube, Netflix, Acorn, etc.) in decent (near-HD) quality. The only time I could use more bandwidth is when I want to download something big, like an OS upgrade.

    With that said, I'm sure if I had gigabit internet I'd find something to do with it. :-)


  • With that much bandwidth my mundane tasks would be easier and faster of course. But there are new things that might very well open up that I simply wouldn't consider presently. For instance, I run a series of servers that are presently using maybe 20 gigs of their hundreds or thousands of gigs storage. So why not set up one or more of these machines as a timecapsule drive for my desktop/laptop etc?

    Or I could potentially start getting all my friends to run our machines together as a single compiling pool.
  • email
    check a couple forums
    look at ebay for junk
    updates to software/OS

    Nossir, I don't need it.

  • While many say that they don't do things that would require Gigabit, would they find a use for things they currently CAN'T do with a limited connection?

    Consider: With Gigabit available (like Google Fiber here in Kansas City), your connection to the Internet is the same speed as your LAN connection. If my best friend has Gigabit as well, then we are able to send and receive to each other at a Gigabit (confirmed by friends with Google Fiber and by Google themselves at an event I attended).

    When you take the

  • Right now, I'm downloading a 25GB game. I had to cap it to 128KB/s so I can still use my internet connection, which means it will take roughly two days (though since I will be uncapping it overnight I expect that it will only take one).

    With a full gigabit connection, it would take about three minutes (assuming my hard drive could keep up - it cannot, though it should only slow me to five minutes or so since I have a dedicated high-speed drive for games).

    However, now that I have all my games downloaded save

  • ...because I have one already.
    So there's no "upgrade" option for me at the moment.
    Of course, it's gigabit only in theory (for now). In practice, because I have software LAN drivers (onboard LAN), my connection speed is limited by CPU speed and of course HDD speed.
    When i download large patch files on my SSD I get about 70 MByte/s throughput but my 5400 RPM storage HDDs suck badly, they can reach as much as 30-40 MByte/s in a good day.
    The CPU (for non-hardware LAN chips) and HDD speeds all work against a high

  • "You ever try doing even just ASCII over a telegraph? Let me tell you, it ain't easy."

  • And that's about all I ever really need or use. I suppose my behavior might change with better bandwidth (maybe I'd start downloading like a madman), but getting a 11ms ping on Battlefield 4 basically is all I care about.

  • ...please sing this [] to celebrate the event.
  • by organgtool (966989) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @12:37AM (#46846491)
    I gave up my 75MBps FIOS connection because half of the time, YouTube failed to download videos at reasonable speeds. On some nights, I struggled to grab videos at 144p (you read that right - it threw me back to the days of RealPlayer in the mid '90s). I was tempted to blame this on Google/YouTube, but based on other people's research, the problem seemed to be on Verizon's end. Whether or not this was intentional or not, I will leave as an exercise to the reader, but many people claimed that the problem went away when using a VPN, leading them to believe that Verizon was purposefully throttling their streams. In any event, I went down to speeds 1/3 of what I used to have on another provider - they may not be as good as the theoretical speeds I used to have, but they're good enough given the smaller amount of money I am paying.
  • For the playing of the vid E O games like such as the Calling of Duty and Grandly Stealing Automobiles.
  • That option is missing from the poll

  • by nine-times (778537) <> on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:51AM (#46859207) Homepage

    The available answers seem to be talking about present usage, and whether you are currently pushing a lot of data around. The truth is, I'm not constantly saturating my connection. But that's not really the point. I'm not pushing lots of data around specifically because my connection is slow, and so uploading/downloading lots of data can end up being too slow for practical use. If I had gigabit Internet, I would do things that I can't currently do (e.g. regular online backups of terabytes of data).

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton


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