Last last week Colin Nederkoorn, co-founder and CEO of Customer.io stumbled across a problem that has been plaguing many US residential customers over recent months, the Netflix issue!
There has been much debate in 2014 regarding net neutrality in the United States regarding the introduction of a two tier traffic system and one which has caused controversy especially with video streaming services with one major player, Netflix being at the centre of most of the trouble. Without any official two tier system in place it is already clear that traffic management of video streaming services is in place in the US and other countries. In fact in February 2014 Netflix themselves succumbed to pressure and paid Comcast “after customers complained about slow service.“
So what did Colin discover? Well upon streaming Netflix he found that via Verizon the speed was awfully slow. After some research he happened across a Wired article that gives information on how you can work out the speed you are streaming video from sites like Netflix. With this in hand he got to work testing the connection. Now in his own words he pays Verizon for “75 mbps down, 35 mbps up on my Fios connection”
You’d imagine with speeds like that he would get a decent enough through put even if it isn’t full speed from a site like Netflix… wrong! What he discovered was
This Netflix video streams at 375 kbps (or 0.375 mbps – 0.5% of the speed I pay for) at the fastest. I was shocked.
Luckily for Colin he has already heard of the term VPN. For those of you who haven’t it is the shortened name for a Virtual Private Network. A simple way of making connection to the internet via a third party. Think of it as a way of adding an extra step between yourself and the internet. One benefit to this type of system is not only does it re-route your internet traffic but it cam also encrypt your traffic and because of these very two facts it is possible to speed up services such as Netflix. So what did Colin discover…
After the terrible speed he achieved connecting directly to Netflix from his home connection he opted to use VyprVPN, one of the bigger VPN providers to carry out the same test and see if the speeds achieved varied from his direct home connection. Surprisingly as soon as he made connection via VyprVPN he hit the maximum possible speed achievable for Netflix which was some “3000 kbps”.
Colin theorises that by connecting via one of the best VPN providers his traffic was routed via less congested networks and as such lead to the improvement in speed. It is entirely possible this is the case although another avenue to explore is the possibility that Verizon are purposely reducing the speed of certain sites such as Netflix whereas a VPN provider such as VyprVPN wouldn’t be. The traffic Verizon sees would only be traffic between Colin and the VyprVPN servers and as such it wouldn’t fall under their Netflix speed reduction measures. In a nutshell it would be VyprVPN providing the Netflix service and not Verizon.
While it isn’t a requirement that you get the full speed of your internet service it is imperative that you can at least achieve the maximum that Netflix allow. Why ISPs continue to offer such abysmal speeds is beyond me and something I personally suffer from from my own UK ISPs so know how annoying the issue can be. Luckily there are plenty of reliable and cheap VPN providers out there who can relieve you of such issues. If you’re paying for a service like Netflix and are plagued by stuttering, buffering or any other speed related issue then now might be a wise time to consult our VPN Comparison Guide and grab yourself a service from one of the leading providers.