After a hard day’s work you get home, put your feet up and switch on your computer to check your emails, stream some music and just chill out. But as you load up that first website, much to your frustration it loads exasperatingly slow. As a family member, you automatically assume it’s those pesky kids downloading something and slowing the Internet down or one of your house or flatmates playing their online games. And so the inter-household verbal warfare begins about who actually is slowing the broadband down. Remind you of a situation you have encountered? Thought so. Here at Plusnet, we manage our traffic so that any effect on your broadband speed is minimal. Sadly, if you are experiencing issues with other providers and you encounter similar arguments like the situation above, we thought we'd put an end to bickering and finally provide the facts, along with our cool infographic below, about just who in the household is causing the misery for other users. We will give you a clue – it is not the gamers!
What is Bandwidth?
Bandwidth is a computing term and is essentially a measure of how quick you can do everything on the Internet. Whether that is an image on a website or streaming a video, it all requires bandwidth. The larger bandwidth you have, the faster websites, videos, files and games can download. Websites generally only require small amounts of bandwidth because the size of each page is relatively small compared to a video, which could be several hundred MB on Youtube to over 1GB for a film downloaded on iTunes. Think of two funnels, one of which has a narrow spout and one with a larger wider spout. The narrow funnel represents smaller bandwidth, the larger funnel fibre broadband with a large amount of bandwidth. In this analogy, when liquid (or information) is passed through that funnel, which is going to go quicker? Because the larger funnel can pass through much more information because of its width, it means it can finish much quicker.
Gaming and the effect on bandwidth
It is hard to believe but after downloading games, playing online and gaming only ever uses a small amount of bandwidth. Compared to streaming music and videos, playing online games is relatively low bandwidth and only 2% of our network bandwidth can be accounted for from online gaming. In comparison, streaming takes up roughly 50% of the network because of the huge amount of data that has to be downloaded. In fact, you do not really need a fast line for gaming as factors such as a stable line, with less lag and latency are much more important. Plusnet statistics show that despite this customers on our fibre broadband tend to play the most games because of the faster download speeds and also because the latency is not as bad as traditional broadband.
Our cool infographic
To illustrate some cool broadband and gaming statistics, Plusnet has produced this cool infographic for you to share via Twitter and Facebook. Did you know that;
Bandwidth across the network is generally split across all platforms with 35% of gaming bandwidth coming from Xbox users, compared to other platforms. The Nintendo Wii lags behind with only 5% of usage.
The largest amount of bandwidth data usage for the download of Black Ops Vengeance Pack 2 was 1,279 megabits per second.
Call of Duty tops our bandwidth usage list in the Top 10 games played online along with the amount of usage from downloading the expansion packs. We may see this overtaken soon when GTA V launches online.
Gaming bandwidth actually decreased between 2011/12. However in the last 12 months, it has seen an upsurge of 50%!
When do people play games the most?
It comes as no surprise that Plusnet statistics show that bandwidth is generally at its highest more consistently on weekends and Bank Holidays, purely for the fact that more people are at home and there is no work or school. The most recent Bank Holiday illustrated that gaming was played at a high level of bandwidth usage for a 12 hour period, illustrated by our graph below. However, when kids are back at school and the adults are working, gaming generally only picks up in the evening with gaming taking place between 7pm and 9pm at night. On a weekly basis, Tuesdays and Friday nights reach the highest level of bandwidth for peaks, whilst Saturday looks to have the most prolonged peak of gaming bandwidth.
School Days vs School Holidays
Dark colours – School Day; Light colours – School holidays There is an interesting correlation between the school day and school holidays. Gaming generally peaks during the evening, however, due to the fact that children are at home longer they contribute to a much more prolonged spell of gaming throughout the day. It could be assumed that children go out after lunch, whether it is to see family or just playing out, so this could explain the sudden drop at around 2pm.
What does this say about bandwidth usage?
Gaming bandwidth generally takes place on evenings and weekends when it peaks much higher. There is also a huge upsurge in traffic immediately after games are downloaded online as there is a huge rush to play them. However, the biggest answer to the original question is that it is not the gamers in the household causing those arguments. For all the people streaming from the likes of 4 on Demand, catching up on the latest happenings in Hollyoaks, it may be you causing misery for the rest of your household (possibly because you are watching Hollyoaks, but primarily because you are hogging the bandwidth!). 6 DAYS TO GO! There are just 6 days to go until our first ever Online Gaming Tournament, where the winning team will win £160 in Amazon Vouchers (£40 per team member). Visit our Community Forums for more details on how to sign up!Remember we will also be hosting a Twitter take-over with FUTURLAB and TEAM 17 on Friday and we want your questions! More details on how to send your questions in will be released later on in the week!