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typical bandwidth utilization distribution

Posted on 2001-09-07
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I am considering getting a burstable T1 from UUNET.  They compute bandwidth utilization by sampling actual bandwidth usage every five minutes for the month, then discard the highest 5% and use the 95%-th highest bandwidth utilization rate as the rate for the entire month.  Depending on the bandwidth utilization distribution function, this means they are overcharging by quite a bit (88% for a linear distribution function).  I want to argue with them but don't have the data to prove my point.

So my question is:  can anyone point me to data showing what a typical bandwidth utilization distribution function (or probability density function) -- by bandwidth, not by time -- is for a small ISP?

Thanks in advance,
Brian
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Question by:moquin
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Expert Comment

by:BlackDiamond
ID: 6466397
moguin,

Your numbers are correct, but I doubt it is an argument that you can win.  95th percentile billing (5 minute samples) is the defacto billing standard for pretty much every network provider.  I say pretty much, because my company used to bill based on straight averages, but it confused people that we charged twice as much for our bandwidth than the companies billing on 95th percentile.  

The real issue here is what the price per Mb is based on their actual billing method.  What did they quote you for bandwidth pricing (just curious)?  I can make some comparisons for you with that info.

In theory, your upstream provider has to maintain a bandwitdh surplus (that they pay for in full) that is adequate to cover all of their customers high traffic periods.  So say you buy a 256k pipe burstable to a full T1, your ISP will compute their bandwith needs based on the 95th percentile amount that you are using.  Granted, their cost per Mb is much smaller, but they have to maintain much more available bandwidth (and they still have to pay for the bandwidth that no one is using).

Then there is the whole other issue of peering aggreements and such, but I digress.

Here is an interesting statistical analysis of price versus demand.  Haven't found any good articles that directly pertain to your question, but I will keep an eye out.

http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~hal/Papers/wtp/
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by:moquin
ID: 6467546
BlackDiamond,

Thanks for the info.  I don't expect to win the argument, but from a mathematical perspective I am still interested in what a typical usage distribution looks like.

UUNET quoted $597 for a 128K burstable T1, with a $1,000 one-time service fee.  We are going to be selecting a provider soon, so I'd appreciate seeing what you can offer.  The ISP will be located in Bordentown, NJ.

Thanks,
Brian
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BlackDiamond earned 200 total points
ID: 6469253
That pricing seems to be pretty much in line for a T1.  UUNET is a Tier-1 backbone, and as such you can expect to pay a bit of a premium.  When you are price shopping, make sure to compare apples to apples (Tier-1 to Tier-1).
 Of course, your other option is to consider a colocation facility with network.  The rack space is a bit expensive, you can expect to pay $1000-$1500 a month per rack.  But you can usually get cut rate deals on the bandwidth from the provider (and most can pull you a standard Ethernet drop).  Save you the money and maintenance headache of managing a T-1 and the router to boot.
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by:scott_renton
ID: 9020112
moquin,
No comment has been added lately (687 days), so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area for this question:

RECOMMENDATION: Award points to BlackDiamond http:#6469253

Please leave any comments here within 7 days.

-- Please DO NOT accept this comment as an answer ! --

Thanks,

scott_renton
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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Author Comment

by:moquin
ID: 9045602
If someone provides me with the distribution graph that I requested, I'll gladly award the points.
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