Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 200 Mbps …
Virgin Media is looking to bring cable Internet connections running at 200 Mbps. But according to this article from ArsTechnica, when looking at actual download speeds, there are many variables and disputes over measurements.
Ars failed to mention a few further factors that keep your Virgin Media connection from being as fast as advertised, and in some cases, make the whole purpose of having a 200 Mbps connection redundant:
1. Virgin has introduced traffic shaping. Virgin Media's CEO, Neil Berkett , has been known for attacking the principle of net neutrality, calling it a "a load of bollocks". What's the point of having a 200Mbps connection that an ISP places restrictions on? Virgin is one of the 'Big 6' ISPs that are already more than happy to send customer details for music file sharing, and they are in talks with content providers to pay for and deliver prime content.
2. Cables already have the problem with bandwidth sharing. In most major cities, the lines are already “oversubscribed. So when it leaked last week that Virgin Media is drawing up secret plans to rent out part of their fibre-optic infrastructure to rival companies, it's worth considering how this could impact current users sharing a "local loop", or line, with a competitive carrier (CLEC).
3. Existing wireless technology limit a 200 Mbps delivery. Even if you have a 100Mbps ethernet throughput on your LAN and optic fibre's impressive speed, there can be problems with upstream congestion, especially during peak hours. Add on latency and site bandwidth, reaching max throughput becomes incredibly unlikely, especially if the site is hosted overseas.
Google has a bandwidth tester that can detect throttling that some ISPs use on file sharing protocols like bittorrents. You can check it out at http://www.measurementlab.net.