Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bandwidth - continued...

In January I wrote about predicting bandwidth (When is it ever enough - how many of these little megabits do we need? ). The State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) was predicting 10 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff, in a technologically rich environment, over the next 2 or 3 years.
Does this work pro-rata? That is, 1 Mbps per 100 students/staff?
Look at this graph of our one day average over the past year. You can see when we upgraded from a 2 Mbps connection to a 4 Mbps one. 
Now, as the bandwidth provided increased, we made full use of that bandwidth. When we look at our daily use, we see very many times in the school day when we get full use of the maximum bandwidth (and thus have a poor internet experience as things slow down). But, we have a 4 Mbps connection with a maximum of 350 users at one time. So, crudely, a 3.5 Mbps connection should suffice. Yet it does not.
A group that makes a great use of the bandwidth is our current 12th grade. We are going to monitor our bandwidth use over the next few days since they have finished classes - what impact will it have?
An interesting aside: disagreement over what will happen in the future - one view is that bandwidth capacity will continue to grow exponentially (HD coming in, etc) and the other that it will flatten out (better rendering, on-computer devices to reduce need for full transmision).
What do you think?