W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2001

Bandwidth Still is a Real Issue

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 11:09:24 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200110131009.f9DA9O012296@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
For those on the list that insist that site bloat isn't an accessibility
issue, I've just been on a tour of mainland China and I found that my 
chosen roaming email provider (Freeserve) varied between the almost
unuseable (finally got the home page and service after trying for three
quarters of an hour) and totally unuseable (never got the home page).
I got some work done on Demon even when the primary one was a writeoff,
but Demon don't allow sending and I had intended to have my home machine
clear that mailbox, except for a power failure that stopped it.

Reports from others suggested that Hotmail fell somewhere in between.

This means that a large proportion of the worlds population is being
excluded from such services for a significant part of the time.

Once the bandwidth was there, machine performance wasn't an issue, and
there seemed to be a Windows/IE mono-culture.  The only variation was 
whether one got offered US/North European Windows (one place only) or
just Chinese Windows).  Having Chinese Windows was something of an
accessibility issue as there were some differences in the menus and
some of the access keys were different, although this only really affected
the ability to try and tune for better performance.

My guess is that the problem is severe packet loss.  At the start of 
page load, there will be a fresh TCP connection, but each time a packet
gets lost the TCP timeout will go up, so the next lost packet will 
cause an increased delay.  Small pages, like the relatively clean HTML
used by Demon, will finish loading before the timeouts escalate too much.
Turning off images and pipelining might have helped, but hit langauage
problems.

The route to China from the UK is via the USA, and this was typically at
08:00 to 09:00 UTC.

I couldn't find any indication that any of the cafes were running shared
caches, but these days the amount of cacheable material is low.
Received on Saturday, 13 October 2001 06:10:04 GMT

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