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37. Internet Reliability Shows Gradual Improvement   5/9/13 by Dave Immer

The hardware and the network are getting better as we move to more reliance on broadband IP for remote live audio connections. Recently I bridged an IP hardware codec (Musicam Suprima) to an ISDN codec. There was not a single packet lost (dropout) in a 2-hour session. And delay was not bad.

To me, this suggests that the internet, under the right conditions, can deliver ISDN-like performance. But can it deliver this performance consistently, day-after-day?  Experience suggests not. I later bridged the same facilities with packet-loss every few minutes.

Overall it seems like I am seeing improved behavior from the internet. I checked my local download/upload stats using www.speakeasy.net/speedtest .I get download rates of 10Mb-30Mb and upload rates of 4Mb-5Mb. Same speeds as always, but jitter and packet loss have improved.

While it’s essential for you to have a capable broadband connection for live audio, the far end facility’s data characteristics need to be reliable also. Everyone has different data speeds, packet loss and jitter depending on where your studio is.

In order to be a competitive player in the remote production community your choice of ISP and level of service is important. A handy tool for doing this is www.broadbandmap.gov  . Enter an address, click Find Broadband and up pops a list of ISPs that can service that address, plus their advertised speeds. (I only wish ISDN availability was this easy to determine.)

-Dave