Why your Neflix, Hulu, YouTube and other video streaming might slow down

We're caught in the fire as ISPs and streaming services fight over the bill

I recently pointed out some stuttering problems with Netflix and ISPs like Comcast and Verizon, and how you might be able to get around them by using a VPN. This infographic from Golden Frog for VyprVPN illustrates the bigger threat to consumers for all kinds of streaming, including Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and YouTube.

The problem is the amount of bandwith these kinds of services require. Peering agreements, wherein ISPs and content providers agree to deliver traffic in a mutually beneficial way, have a set amount of traffic. In the Netflix-Comcast scenario, third-party network Cogent is supposed to provide the bandwidth between Neflix and Comcast, but with increasing traffic volumes is unable to maintain the original peering ratio agreed to. And then Comcast expects either Netflix or COgent to pay for the extra traffic. At a standstill, Netflix customers get slower and lower-quality video streaming.

Golden Frog points out that this isn't just a problem for Netflix and Comcast. It's an issue for any high-bandwidth service (including Skype and Spotify) and the ISPs that might not want to pay for the traffic. Here's a disturbing chart:

netflix throttling by ISP

The solution is to use a VPN, as mentioned before (and VPN providers, unsurprisingly agree!), until we get some reform in this area. Here's the full infographic:

video streaming peering problem infographic
Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.
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