For months now, I've been dealing with too-consistent slowdowns in accessing and streaming/downloading files from some key top Internet-based services, among them YouTube and the Apple app store. Things are generally peachy and relatively quick during the day, but I get serious slowdowns and even some failures during "prime time" in the evenings--roughly 7PM to midnight, Central time.
Often, YouTube videos won't stream at all, and if I pause one to let it buffer up, the video will take several times longer to buffer fully than it does to play. That's pretty pathetic--and this isn't all 720p or even 480p videos. Even the 360p ones can have problems. This is a problem on both my wireless laptops and my fast, wired GigE desktop.
Similarly, the Apple app store will often be sluggish to move from screen to screen, slow to load screenshots (they sometimes just fail to load), and painfully sluggish when downloading even simple, smallish iPhone apps. I'm using an iPhone4 on Wi-Fi with a solid signal, but I still run into problems.
I've pretty much assumed the problem was related to servers at those services for a while now, but it seems to me like, if the basic infrastructure for those popular Internet services were nearly failing constantly, folks would be talking about it. So far, I haven't noticed much on Google beyond the occasional basic support thread. Recently, I've finally gotten fed up enough to do something I've not found necessary for a while: bust out some basic network analysis tools and see if I can pinpoint the problem.
For what it's worth, I have Time Warner/Road Runner for my ISP, with the 15Mbps "Turbo" option, and I can get 15 Mbps downloads and 1 Mbps uploads to a local server via SpeedTest.net. Ping times are ~55 ms to that server, although local ping times to my ISP are in the 20s. If I hit a server on the west coast, I generally get 8-10 Mbps downloads, with ping times in the 70-80ms range. (I'm in KC, MO.)
I'm just starting work on it, and at this very moment, there's no problem to observe. I'll have to check later tonight. In the interim, though, I'm wondering whether any of you are running into similar issues with YouTube, the app store, or other streaming video services like Bing's. Is everything peachy in the evenings or are any of you seeing similar probems?
If you are seeing problems, tell me: What sort of 'net connectivity do you have? Do a lot of people share it? Do you suspect your ISP or do you suspect it's a larger problem? Why?
I wonder if, with CDNs and the like in wide use, if there isn't some kind of regional issue at play here. Hmm.
Scott Wasson - "Damage"
Editor - The Tech Report