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Podcasts and Bandwidth

There have been a lot of discussions between podcasters and the amount of bandwidth that is needed to serve these files. Successful podcasters shift several gigabytes of data with each episode of their podcast and since everything is automated everyone requests and receives the file at this time. This means there’s a massive peak.

I’m interested in the reception side though. I’m on a university network and I’ve used it when you would get a throughput of at least 400 kilobytes a second. That’s quite fast and pleasant. It’s changed since then. Digital village, part of Catalyst has throttled our bandwidth, offering 8 gigs a month paid for by the university but limiting to 500 megabytes a day.

What this means is simple. Anytime I leave iTunes unattended up to a gigabyte of podcasts may be downloaded at once. No problem, when you’re at home with 2 megabits per second or within uni but a big problem. I’m constantly watching over the files and their size in order to stay below the bandwidth limit. It’s frustrating.

Last night I went to have a little fun since I was having a denial of service from Digital Village as they were refreshing the database at the end of the “service month” as I will refer to it. For 8hrs they cut off my service.

In the meantime, I’m only 5 minutes’ walk from the uni library and it’s open 24hrs a day. This university has good download speeds. Using the wifi connection I downloaded 2 gigabytes worth of podcasts and videos within about one hour. The connection speed for university fiber is fast. It’s at least 600KB/s sustained. That’s a 40 meg file within 4-6 minutes when you’re downloading three at once. It’s a great feeling.

In halls, it’s disappointing and frustrating. I don’t like Catalyst. They’re behind the times. They provide a sub-standard service and I feel that people should know about it. I’ve spent at least 11 years online now. I know what to expect from an ISP. Digital village doesn’t provide it.

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