According to Preseem‘s recent report:
– The average internet speed used by fixed wireless subscribers is only 4 megabits per second.
– Average users consume a total of 6.6 gigabytes of data each day (or 196 GB a month).
– On one end of the scale, about 33% of subscribers use less than 1 GB of data daily.
– On the other end, 11% of internet users consume more than 16 GB a day.
Preseem’s 2019 (Q3) reports looks at quality of experience and network optimization for wireless internet service providers. The company collects detailed metrics on subscriber usage, network equipment, and overall network performance for fixed wireless Internet Service Providers across the U.S. to show the real world experience of fixed wireless subscribers.
Average Download and Upload Speeds for Wireless Internet
Most networks will experience a variation in speed and performance over the course of the day. Both download and upload speed will be affected by network congestion in periods of greater demand. The report shows that fixed wireless customers experience significant reduction in internet speeds at peak usage times. Upload speeds in particular are greatly impacted. While the reported ‘average’ looks remarkably slow, the statistics for 95% of customers is around 11Mbps download speed and hovering around the 1Mbps upload speed.
Average Mbps Download Usage for Wireless Internet Users
The average subscriber download usage for wireless internet subscribers is 6.6 GB/day or 196 GB/month. However there is a huge difference between actual internet usage. A full third of wireless subscribers use less than 1GB of data a day. These are internet customers who are using their fixed wireless service simply to check emails, use social media, or browse the internet. Only 11% of subscribers would be considered heavy internet users who download over 16GB a day. This download usage would be consistent with online gaming, streaming movies or music, file sharing, or other heavy internet consumption.
When considering actual user experience, the total amount of data used won’t necessarily be a reflection of perceived network quality – a large amount of data consumed during off-peak will have less of an impact on perceived network quality than a smaller amount of usage during peak times.
Wireless Internet Access Points
There is significant variation in how many subscribers wireless internet providers put on individual access points. A full 70% of access points have less than 10 subscribers.
Preseem also rated the oversubscription ratio as a measure of user experience. A high oversubscription ratio generally results in a lower individual subscriber throughput during peak times and therefore a poorer online experience. ISPs allocate enough bandwidth to meet average consumption over the course of a day or month rather than the unlikely scenario of every subscriber using their entire plan at the same time. While some amount of oversubscription is normal, it can reduce network quality if multiple users are connected and using the internet at the same time. The report found that over 26% of access points are between 1 and 2 times oversubscribed, and a total of 50% of access points are less than 3x oversubscribed – a surprisingly low figure that should ensure good bandwidth availability for customers.
While there wasn’t a huge amount of change between the 2018 report and the current 2019 internet stats, we can expect Preseem’s 2020 report to show some significant changes. The latest generation of fixed wireless equipment being rolled out now supports considerably higher speeds in comparison with the current generation. By 2020 we should also begin to see the impact of the Connect America Fund CAF II auction. Many of the fixed wireless subscribers experiencing slow internet and congested networks will benefit from plans already underway to use fixed wireless to deliver broadband to rural areas. Many of these ISPs have committed to providing speeds of at least 100 Mbps.
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