To rely on bandwidth to access content is to take the risk of having restricted access to its content depending on the networks used. An American university faced a bandwidth problem because the vast majority of its network was used to watch Netflix series.
Netflix and Stadia are two services that have one more common feature than offering a catalog of content: Both services are heavy consumers of bandwidth. Providing a 4K stream can require up to 30Mbps downstream, it's hard to imagine the amount of bandwidth needed to serve dozens of users at the same time.
The practice of streaming can become very dependent on internet providers. That it is the provider of a public wifi network, like that of an airport or a hotel, but also of the good will of the service providers to provide a sufficient bandwidth. While Netflix already accounts for 15% of global traffic, in the United States, several ISPs have already imposed monthly ceilings at which throughput drops.
An American university bans Netflix to save its network
The history of Purdue University in the United States is interesting and illustrates this phenomenon. This is not the first time we have seen a university ban Internet access in the classroom, but it is rare for this ban to spread across the campus. The reason, this time, is not that watching Netflix series distracts students, the university WiFi can not handle as much traffic.
Netflix used so much bandwidth that only 4% of the traffic was related to academic research. The university has launched a pilot by banning Netflix in some parts of the university, and then deploying the filter across the university. Besides, it's not only Netflix that is blocked but also Hulu and gaming services as well as iOS updates.
Even if the technologies evolve, with 5G and WiFi 6 capable of supporting many connections with higher speeds, it is likely that services like Netflix or the recent Stadia are increasingly limited on public networks , with a diminished display quality for example, or simply banned services.
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