There is a common misconception about Internet bandwidth, when it comes to your home internet and a b2b internet in an office or at a data centre. It is about capacity and usage. But there is a big difference between a home connection and a professional connection and that is ‘burstable billing’ and the “95th percentile” rule.

When you go for a Internet connection at home for let’s say 50 Mbps, you will probably receive a non-symmetrical bandwidth, meaning that 50Mbps will be for the incoming (requested by you) Internet, and if you want to send out (upload) some data, your connection will be slower than 50Mbps. But this is not the major different with a b2b Internet yet. The most important part is that the maximum capacity of your Internet is limited to 50Mbps. Once this capacity is in use and you try to download or upload more data, your connection will experience a “packet-loss”, meaning that some random IP-data packets will be dropped simply because the capacity pipe is full.

Bursts of usage

When you set up a b2b Internet at your company office or connect to the Internet servers that you host in a data centre, you pay for your predicted usage of Internet bandwidth (also called “commitment”), however the maximum capacity of your Internet connection is not limited. For example, you pay a fixed fee for your commitment of 500Mbps, but the maximum capacity of your connection will be 1000 Mbps or 10.000 Mbps. You can exceed 500Mbps at any time and use up to 10.000 Mbps with so called “bursts” of usage. ISP’s, and Fusix also, invoice the bursts of usage according to the “95th percentile” rule.

5 percent ‘free’ Internet every month

The 95th percentile rule allows bursts of Internet usage above your commitment. Even more interesting, it provides you with 5% of the highest bursts free of charge. Add to this that – in a normal scenario – your Internet usage will be within the predicted limits that are covered by your commitment. That means that the 5% of your usage that bursts above the commitment is in fact free regardless of how high this 5% of burst peaks are. ISP’s measure your Internet usage commonly every 5 minutes, which means that the usage that happens between the measurements is not a part of your invoice and in fact every month you have about 36 hours in when you can exceed your commitment without have to pay extra for it.

So to get back to the misconception. The bandwidth for a home connection is the maximum you can use without having a bad Internet connection, where your b2b ISP will invoice you a fixed monthly fee for a predicted usage, which you can exceed without having to pay extra, for 5 percent of the time during each month. Pretty good deal, right?