Game Over for Lag: Unraveling the Gigabit Fiber Congestion Chaos!

Raffaele Santopaolo
4 min readOct 31, 2023

Ping spikes, crazy jitter values, terrible packet loss. Especially in the evening when the bandwidth is being used by entertainment applications that saturate all the available bandwidth, they are the real culprits.

“It’s making me miss the old copper connections. And I’ve said it all. The packet loss is terrible with these FTTH connections.”

“Unplayable, insane jitter on the PS5. I’m highly frustrated if they don’t resolve this.”

(comments from gamers in a popular online community)

Whose fault is it? The neighbor’s? The entire neighborhood’s? ISPs?

Yes, yes, and…yes, and now I’ll explain why.

Let’s start with the third “yes,” ISP (or any other provider that has installed the Gigabit Fiber).

Gigabit Fiber is built on an architecture called GPON. Without getting too technical, this means that the network architecture resembles a tree. Or a point-to-multipoint, as the experts call it.

And like all trees, it has a trunk with a capacity of 2.5 Gbit and a series of branches leading to 64 end-users.

Do you have a calculator? I won’t spoil anything, but you can easily figure out what’s left for each of the 64 users.

So, before you get overwhelmed with jitter, milliseconds, traceroutes, and ping, know that Gigabit Fiber is marketed poorly because you might think you have a dedicated Gigabit, but in reality, you have a shared internet connection with 64 neighbors.

And now, to make things a little scarier:

The 2.5 Gigabit trunk, which, if you read correctly, serves 64 users, is not dedicated only to those 64 users. (Stop, you with the CISCO CCIE certification, this article isn’t for you. I’m simplifying here. And if you really have that certification, send me your resume — we’re always on the lookout for talents!)

The trunk itself is a branch of a larger structure (the experts call it OLT, but just think of it as a huge router with many ports) that has a capacity of 10 Gigabits and many branches of 2.5 Gigabits to serve (I won’t tell you how many, you’re not ready for that)(2).

Let’s simplify and say there are 40 GPON ports. For 64 users.

This means that 2,560 connections share 10 Gigabits of total capacity.

(If someone is confused between Giga and Mega, the answer is 3.9 Mega. Less than 4 Megabits per user.)

So, how do you solve all this? Is there a solution?

Can you have more than a measly 4 Megabits? I have good and bad news for you.

You can have more than 4 Megabits, but it’s not free. You can ask your provider for a profile with Guaranteed Minimum Bandwidth (BMG). Please note that I’m not talking about the guaranteed minimum speed (Wikipedia explains it better than me), but the Guaranteed Minimum Bandwidth. These are two terms that only sound similar.

You can ask your provider for five times as much, ten times as much, or twenty times as much. Essentially, you’ll be taking bandwidth away from your neighbors. You’ll have priority in case of congestion. The trunk remains the same, but you can divert more bandwidth to your pipeline.

How much does it cost?

It’s not 29.99 Euros per month. For some profiles, triple that amount won’t be enough. In fact, you’re reserving the same bandwidth as 5–10 individual connections. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost five or ten times more either.

How do I request this from my provider?

You need to ask your provider for a profile with Guaranteed Minimum Bandwidth (BMG). At least 5–10 Megabits. Better if it’s 20. But it can go up to 40 or 100 Megabits if you’re willing to pay for it.

At KLIK.NETWORK, we offer our customers different layers of Guaranteed Minimum Bandwidth, up to 95%. Is that excessive? Maybe. But that’s your neighbor’s problem.

(If you don’t know who KLIK.NETWORK is, stop reading immediately, or see what people are saying about us.)

If I have Guaranteed Minimum Bandwidth (BMG), does it solve all my congestion problems?

No, BMG is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Just surpassing the “trunk” with priority is not enough; you also have to reach the other side of the world when you connect to gaming servers X or Y.

But we’ll talk about transport and transit another time.

You’ve yawned six times already.

See you soon.

Want more?

Email me at raffaele@klik.network if you need further clarifications.

FAQ

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Seriously? Google us. Talking about ourselves is annoying. Here’s what our customers say about us.

Why do you claim to be the most customer-focused telecom company? Because it’s not just a slogan; it’s ingrained in every aspect of our business.

For the stalkers
Raffaele Santopaolo’s LinkedIn profile.

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