Is high-speed Internet pointless​? No.

A contributor to Dave Farber’s IP (“Important People” list) recently stated that 1 Megabit per second  (Mbps) is adequate bandwidth for consumers. This compares to “high speed Internet” which in the US is 20 Mbps or higher, and Korea where speeds over 50 Mbps are common.

My response: 1 Mbps is woefully low for any estimate of “useful bandwidth” to an individual, much less to a home. It’s risky to give regulators an any excuse to further ignore consumer desires for faster connections.  1 Mbps is too low by at least one order of magnitude, quite likely by three orders of magnitude, and conceivably by even more. I have written this note in an effort to squash the 1Mbps idea in case it gets “out into the world.”

The  claim that 1 Megabit per second is adequate:

>From: Brett Glass <>
>Date: Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 2:14 PM

> The fact is that, according to neurophysiologists, the entire bandwidth of
> all of the human senses combined is about 1 Mbps. (Some place it slightly
> higher, at 1.25 Mbps.) Thus, to completely saturate all inputs to the human
> nervous system, one does not even need a T1 line – much less tens of megabits.
> And therefore, a typical household needs nowhere near 25 Mbps – even if they
> were all simultaneously immersed in high quality virtual reality. Even the

My response:

First, I don’t know where the 1Mbps number comes from, but a common number is the bandwidth of the optic nerve, which is generally assessed at around 10Mbps. See references.



An American Scientist article on “How the Retina Works” is available here.


Second, a considerable amount of pre-processing occurs in the retina and the layer under the retina, before reaching the optic nerve. These serve as the first layers of a neural network, and handle issues like edge detection.

Continue reading


Autonomous vehicles – how skeptical should we be?

I have gone up and down on the prospects for  autonomous vehicles (AVs). There are a lot of technical hurdles, and probably as many social issues such as how liability laws will be written. The Google car has been over-hyped. But today I received a claim that AVs are not feasible until 5G wireless networks are ubiquitous.

Continue reading

How compressed are computer games?

The Digital Society blog raises the question of bit rates for computer games.

The study assumed that computer games were effectively compressible to 100 Mbps which the researchers say is 8 times higher than HDTV.  But I don’t know how this number came about since computer games (even the most realistic) are not as realistic as live video due to the lack of details.  This is why even Hollywood has a hard time convincing us we’re looking at live shots instead of computer graphics.  Compression is an arbitrary number because we can choose any level of compression level we want depending on how [much] data we are willing to discard.

Actual 1920×1080 resolution gaming requires 3000 Mbps of data going from the video card to the display and at no time is it ever compressed

We spent a lot of time investigating this issue; as the post says, it has a big effect on our total byte estimate. Continue reading