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Ultra-Fast Broadband. What for?

Published on December 4, 2019

Web video streaming, OTT video -Netflix- and gaming: Top online services requiring ultra-fast broadband

The average global Internet speed is getting faster, demand for bandwidth is growing year over year and new applications that require even faster connection speeds continue to emerge. In 2018, global Internet bandwidth rose by 26%, and total international bandwidth stood at 466 Tbps (Terabits per second). 

Pace of growth is positive, and it also varies by region: Africa has experienced the fastest increase in Internet bandwidth at 45% annual rate (CAGR) between 2015 and 2019, whereas Latin America’s, linked to US and Canada’s telecoms networks, form the highest-capacity inter-regional route. 

But what is driving bandwidth demand today? The massive increase in the number of devices and connections that are growing at a 10% CAGR, faster than Internet Users’ (7% CAGR), but also in the capacity-hungry services that consumers use day by day. 

According to Cisco Visual Networking Index, Internet video streaming is one of the most bandwidth-intensive activities, with a bandwidth demand over 55% in 2019. Plus, it will continue to grow to the 71% of total data demand by 2022 since video quality improves, and connections are increasingly being used to deliver video to large-screen TVs. 

Netflix has lately been ranked as the Over-The-Top application that requires the most bandwidth, especially during peak hours. OTT video streaming is one of the activities that most capacity (data) demands and for which consumers mostly use their broadband connection. 

For instance, technologies such as FTTC (Fiber-To-The-Cabinet) and cable in UK are able to deliver Ultra High Definition Netflix streams during peak hours, whereas, for HD quality streaming an ADSL2+ connection would be enough to provide a fair and reasonable quality of service. 

However, online video consumption continues to evolve, and online media streaming may beat OTT apps -Netflix- in bandwidth consumption. HD video streaming requires a bandwidth of at least 5 Mbps, but for 4K quality users, it will need a minimum of 25 Mbps. Plus, for Ultra HD 4K streaming, Internet connections will likely need to be much faster in order to avoid bandwidth congestion, as it is becoming more and more popular for consumers.

On the other hand, gaming is also emerging as a key source of bandwidth demand. The video game industry is growing more than ever thanks to advances in new technologies, the maturity of the sector and immersive online experiences for the users. 

It is important to highlight how strong Internet connections and faster speeds widen bandwidth. This allows to enjoy Massive Multiplayer Online video games (MMO), which are almost replacing single-player video games, and improves the gaming experience. In these situations, a large bandwidth availability avoids unforeseen network failures and keeps the users connected with the rest of the team. 

Then, you’d be wondering: what is a good Internet connection for online gaming? In general terms, the quality and reliability of online gaming sessions depends on the download speed (no less than 3 Mbps), upload speed (at least 1 Mbps) and latency, which may be affected by distances and network traffic. 

These application requirements and bandwidth usage trends indicate that bandwidth consumption is continuously growing as consumers use more and more services that need large data capacity, but also request better quality of experience. Furthermore, acceleration of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality adoption is also driving broadband requirements to higher levels, due to the need of more capacity, lower latency and equivalent experiences.

 Technologies that meet users’ residential bandwidth requirements 

The demand for greater bandwidth requirements and ultra-fast broadband will become essential to meet the residential users' demands for content and entertainment. 

Fiber is the most scalable, secure and cost-effective option to transmit large volumes of data and serve the interests of the most demanding consumers. FTTP (Fiber-To-The Premises) is the most qualified technology which offers a potential beyond 1 Gbit/s, and could highly improve network quality, including low latencies. However, since it is a shared medium, it may need upgrades to meet the growing demands. Nowadays, this technology offers high standards of quality and almost unlimited upgrade paths. 

Figure 1: Bandwidth, Quality of Service and Technologies | WIK Consults

 On the other hand, cable DOCSIS technology is also sufficiently high performing to meet the most demanding users’ requirements. It offers 1Gbit/s downstream and full duplex will enable symmetric bandwidth at 10Gbit/s. 

In MedUX we consider Customer feedback as a differential value. In the telecom industry is essential to know the customer needs and requirements regarding Internet connections, as it means powerful insights to lower churn and increase the Customer Lifetime Value. 

If you want to know more about users’ needs and how to address them, follow us on social networks, subscribe to MedUX blog’s newsletter and don’t miss our following articles. 

For more information contact us at hello@medux.com.

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