Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday morning picture time

At first, this weekend's outage had me thinking they shut me off for "abuse" of their network primarily because of a lot of uploading I had done on one particular day - the Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope Linux release. So I took a snapshot of my usage graph courtesy of DD-WRT and marked it up with descriptions of my spikes in usage. I thought you might appreciate what "moderate" usage looks like.

As you can see, for not even the full month of April I've used about 23 GB of downloaded content including:
  • watching 2 hours of TV online a few times
  • downloading a couple Linux ISOs
  • uploading those ISOs via BitTorrent for 1 day
  • downloading software updates after installing the new Linux version
The rest of the days represent normal day-to-day usage:
  • VoIP phone calls (sent and received)
  • Web browsing (facebook, Stop the Cap!, Google Reader, etc.)
  • Watching online videos (,,
  • Sending / receiving emails
While 23 GB is under Time Warner's proposed caps, it's easy to see that with a full month's worth of activity I could easily reach 30 GB under normal usage. I know what you're thinking, Linux releases aren't normal and don't happen every month, and you're right. But they are part of my normal online behavior and there will always been days now and again when I download and/or upload a lot of data. In networking terms it's a burst of usage over the month and residental customers don't usually pay for bursts, only sustained usage (actually they don't pay for usage at all and that's the point of Stop the Cap!).

This graph does not include any online gaming, serious amounts of downloading or frequent online TV / movie watching. The video streaming will probably eat up data faster than any other activity online short of downloading games from online stores like Valve's Steam.

Consider my usage if I watched 2 hours of TV online a day for a month. That means the video alone would be 60 GB of usage (1 GB /hour * 2 hrs / day * 30 days). Added to my other usage would put me (this month) at almost 80 GB of data usage.

Under Time Warner's plan that gives me two options: pay $75/month for the 100 GB tier, or pay what I do now ($55/month) and get charged an additional $20 in overage fees (bringing me back up to $75/month). So clearly, I have no choice under the new tier and it would cost me an additional $20/month from what I pay now (which is $20 more than standard service because I don't have cable and I have Turbo).

Just some food for thought. Compare your usage to mine and you'll get an idea of how you fare even without a "gas gauge".

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