Coronavirus and bandwidth shortages

With the huge increase in people working from home, bandwidth has become an issue. There are numerous stories about Netflix and other streaming services degrading picture quality to ease the burden on networks. But it is not really a problem that Netflix is having. Netflix is reducing bandwidth to help local cable, DSL, and wireless networks cope. Netflix long ago pushed most of their content to locations directly connected to local networks--the problem is getting from the Netflix server already attached to a Comcast or Spectrum or Verizon network to the local customers.

As I have been writing about for years, the cable Internet technology was not designed to provide symmetric bandwidth, but that's what you need if you are going to be work from home for long periods of time. The corporate VPN and the company videoconferencing all work better with symmetric bandwidth.

The current crisis is made worse because K12 and college students are also at home, trying to access school materials, online classes, and/or just watching movies.

It is a perfect storm of bandwidth needs. We need more fiber in more communities; fiber is designed specifically to deliver symmetric bandwidth--it's baked into the technology, unlike cable Internet, which was essentially a hack of the coaxial copper network that was designed to deliver broadband TV and nothing else.

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