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      Netstats FAQ

     


     Netstats FAQ by mayhem

    Last Updated: 06/07/2001

    What is Netstats?
    Why do we have Netstats?
    What is the average customer download?
    How can I predict what my Netstats value will be tomorrow?
    My Netstats value is pathetically low, how can I increase it?
    My Netstats value is close to 10, what can I do about it?
    How can I get my Netstats figure without going through all that WWW stuff?
    How come Netstats doesn't show figures in Megabytes?
    Are uploads included in my Netstats?
    How can I monitor my own usage?

    What is Netstats?

    Short Answer: Netstats is an Optus@Home provided tool that allows you to monitor your cable Internet usage relative to other users on the network.

    Long Answer: "My NetStats" stands for My Network Statistics. It is an online tool that will enable you to monitor and regulate your usage of the Optus@Home service. My NetStats provides a personalised indicator showing your usage relative to the "Average Customer Usage" on the network.

    Netstats is provided by calculating the average customer usage of the entire Optus@Home customer base. This average is taken over a period of 14 days and is based on the figure after removing both the bottom 5% and the top 5% of customer usage (these being the people who just use it for e-mail and those who are downloading gigabytes per day).

    By removing the 5% of customers with the lowest usage they prevent the average from being distorted by customers who have not used the service for a significant part of the 14 day period making the average too low. Similarly, by removing the top 5% of customers with the highest usage, they prevent the average from being distorted by customers who are using the service at the extremes of acceptable, or potentially non-acceptable usage.

    The My NetStats information display comes in two ways:

    1. The current value calculated over the previous 14 day period.
    2. The historical display which graphically displays the comparative values for the previous periods calculated the same way as the above current value.

    For the official NetStats FAQ provided by Optus@Home, simply click this link.


    Why do we have Netstats?

    The reasons for Netstats is so that customers can see (numerically and graphically) what usage they have had on their cable connection, and to help them keep their usage in an allowable range based on the overall usage of customers.

    It is mainly used as Optus@Home are trying to keep an even bandwidth distribution between its customers and live up to its already impressive high quality service. (Remember cable is a shared line and heavy use by many people will slow others down)

    That is, Optus are trying to ensure that all customers have an evenly distributed and high quality cable Internet that is ahead of the competitors and leading the market in Australian Cable Internet for which they have won awards for already.

    You may also want to go through the new "Account Management Tutorial" that is provided on the Optus@Home site, to view this just go to www, then click "Member Services" - "Account Management" - "My NetStats" - "Account Management Tutorial".


    What is the average customer download?

    Although Optus don't give a fixed "Average" value, it can be seen that the average customer download brings a NetStat of 1.0 and is probably around 60Mb a day or so. If you have a NetStat value of 1.0 then your usage matches the average use of subscribers. Alot of people float around 1.7 - 3.4 value and there is always the occasional heavy user that says up around 7.0.


    How can I predict what my Netstats value will be tomorrow?

    By accurately measuring your downloads each day over the 14 day rolling average period and collecting the resulting Netstats figures on those days, it is possible to accurately calculate what the average customer download is at any point in time and even to predict reasonably accurately what your Netstats value will be tomorrow if you download a certain amount today. See How can I monitor my own usage? for details on tools that will assist you in doing this.

    One other major thing to notice is that if you have downloaded heavily towards the beginning of your 14 day period, and then slow (small) usage for the rest then you could expect a large drop in your Netstats once this large value(s) have been taken out of the calculated values.


    My Netstats value is pathetically low, how can I increase it?

    Pure and simple: DOWNLOAD TILL IT HURTS. The only ways that your NetStat value can increase are:

    1. You download more than the daily average user by using a lot of bandwidth.
    2. The average drops, due to people not really using a lot of bandwidth on that day.

    (Yes, it could be a combination of both)

    So this is your chance to download that game demo you wanted, or watch that trailer in high-resolution or even watch a streaming movie or listen to streaming audio off your favourite shoutcast server. This is were you can let your hair down and max out that cable and make good use of your high speed cable Internet connection.

    Remember there are only two things that can restrict your cable usage, your NetStat value and the amount of available Hard Drive space you have free, so since your NetStat is so low, you can now try and fill up your computer will all those things you want off the net. Just don't over do it or you will hit the other extreme!

    If your a computer enthusiast like alot of people, then you might consider downloading Linux distribution and giving that a try, its always fun to play around with and has some great power.

    Recommended Link: mirror.aarnet.edu.au

    My Netstats value is close to 10, what can I do about it?

    Don't touch the net for a day or two and PRAY!!!. That is about the only suggestion I can make to you. Only use the bare basics at the moment, if that. ICQ and e-mail's and browsing should be OK, but you want to keep your usage to a minimum till you drop down a bit.

    This NetStats was designed for a purpose and is not an empty threat by Optus, I personally know at least half a dozen people who have lost their cable connection due to a 10.1+ NetStat value.

    Ideally, you want to keep your NetStat below the 8.0 mark, this is the point where Optus will send you a warning e-mail and when you should realize that you are heading towards the forbidden zone. This e-mail notification is probably your best warning that you are using the service too much and that you should watch out, but I wouldn't rely on it. If it doesn't come and you don't check your NetStats value you could soon hit 10.0.

    If you hit 10.0 or above you are in great trouble, you will probably see the graphic to the left on your NetStats page and the chances are that you are about to get cut off from the Optus service. This is where you should turn off your modem completely and think what got you to this point?. You may have a chance of saving yourself if you ring Optus and explain what tipped you over the edge (e.g. that Linux CD you got that you thought wouldn't affect your value that much). I am sure that Optus@Home don't want to disconnect all their customers or they are going to start losing face, so if you have a perfectly legitimate reason for going over your limit then explain it! Be nice and ask what you can do to prevent being disconnected.

    If you manage to get a 10.0 or greater value and don't get disconnected, then consider yourself blessed or just plain lucky and next time keep your NetStat value down so you don't give yourself a second panic attack the next time.

     

    How can I get my Netstats figure without going through all that WWW stuff?

    The easiest and quickest way to find out your NetStat value without going through the entire WWW site is to type in the following URL: https://netstats.optushome.com.au/

    To access your actual NetStat value you will need to login. The username for login in just the name of your main Optus@Home e-mail account that your service is listed under, similarly the password is just the password corresponding to the main e-mail account.

    This is the direct login page for the NetStat site. Notice it is a HTTPS page, that means it uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), that is the way with which Optus have coded the page to generate your NetStat values and usage graph.


    How come Netstats doesn't show figures in Megabytes?

    Ask Optus@Home, and tell them from me that we want Megabytes !!!

    Optus@Home don't want us to have 100% of the big picture, they would like to keep us a bit in the dark. Maybe it is a planned future upgrade for the NetStats page? who knows, all we can do it keep our fingers crossed and hope.

    The following quote from the Optus@Home NetStats FAQ can help to explain why they don't display the value in Megabytes, the value that they have created with the NetStats is a non fixed average that is calculated on the whole of the users of the service, if they give the users a Megabyte value then that could be seen as a fixed value and users could get the wrong idea.

    "We have decided to allow the patterns of customer usage and behaviour dictate what the maximum level of acceptable bandwidth usage is rather than setting a fixed limit. Not having a fixed limit is a fairer way of ensuring optimum performance on the network for our customers. This means that, as customer usage changes so will the maximum level of acceptable bandwidth usage." -- Optus@Home NetStats FAQ


    Are uploads included in my Netstats?

    Thank god no !!!, I mean come on really, with a 16k/s cap they don't expect us to be able to degrade network quality by uploads. The main factor that degrades the network quality its the amount of users downloading alot and therefore using alot of downstream bandwidth, the upstream with a 16k/s cap is safe from this problem.

    The only think that concerns Optus about your uploads is if your uploading at a constant 15-16k/s for a long time, (i.e. for 3 days or more) and if you do this then Optus will be all over you. I mean who in there right mind spends 24 hours on cable using full bandwidth, unless they are running a server of some kind.

    If your worried about your upload usage then I recommend you ready the AUP provided by Optus, as it covers all the aspects that you should know.

    Another thing that is currently not counted in the My NetStats value is Multicast data. Although multicasting traffic is sent to your modem it is not currently included in the amount of data that is counted towards your My NetStats value. It is also not included in the calculation that is used to generate the "Average Customer Usage". This is because you can't really control the Multicast data (If you had Optus@Home during the recent Sydney 2000 Olympics you would have noticed even though your weren't using your modem the lights were always flashing, this was the Multicast of the games), and it is for this reason they don't include it in your value calculations.

    Streaming media however is counted. This included such things as the on-line radio stations, movies and other full streaming multimedia that is available. The reason that this is counted is because you have control over it, you use as little or as much of it as you like and therefore comes into play under your downstream traffic/bandwidth.

    The only thing to remember is that even when your uploading you will still have an amount of download bandwidth in use also (relatively small in comparison), this is the acknowledgments and repossess from the machines your sending to, and this is counted as it is downstream traffic. Another thing is that people pinging you and other such tools also counts towards your downloads, unfortunately this is inevitable, but if someone is maliciously doing this to you then your advised to ring Optus@Home technical support on 1300300693.


    How can I monitor my own usage?

    1. Daily check your NetStat value.
    2. Use a NetStat program like Usage Agent or Optuse.
    3. Use a bandwidth monitoring program like DU Meter or Bandwidth Monitor.

    If you do all of the above then you should quickly get a feel for how the NetStat system works and how to ensure your within the acceptable limits.

    Usage Agent: This is a program that I found on the Internet that is programmed by an Optus@Home user, it uses your login information to retrieve the NetStats page in its own little browser window. When minimized is sits in your taskbar and displays and icon of your current NetStats value, this makes it easy for you to know your value at any point. (I recommend if your a heavy user that you have this in your Startup folder and always keep it running minimized).

    Optuse: A nifty little program that once again was programmed by an Optus@Home user, the latest version has many features, and can quite accurately predict your next days NetStats (depending on the fluctuation of the average usage). You will need to run this for a couple of weeks before it can gather enough history information to produce an accurate result, but the result is well worth the effort. The way this program works is based on some nice theory and although the layout and workings take a bit to get used to its rather worth using, especially since its free.

    DU Meter: Is a bandwidth monitoring program that is easy to use and accurate with information. All you do is simply set it to monitor bandwidth usage on your Optus@Home network interface and it will tell you how much you have downloaded, uploaded as well as what the current bandwidth in both directions is. This is a handy program and well worth registering. Now it has some great new features and even allows transparency modes in Windows 2000.

    Bandwidth Monitor: With many great features this program is similar to most, it does have some more options, like a graph where you can select a range of days and plot your usage. You can select current speeds and and total download/upload usage. This program is not freeware, but if your looking for a monitor that is easy to use and has many features then its worth registering.

    Any comments, additions or just want to ask a question, please e-mail mayhem (at) linuxathome.net

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