Fibre link proving its worth for devotees of high definition streaming services.

By accident I spotted an entry at the Chorus Bites (does it?) blog, which provides a rather good explanation of why Netflix in particular is an excellent reason why you'd want a 100Mb per second - or faster - ultrafast broadband fibre-to-the-premises connection.

I've had a few questions lately as to how much bandwidth is needed for Netflix's 4K ultra-high definition streams, and with that blog, Chorus provides a thoroughly researched answer - which is that 100Mb/s is great, especially if more than one device is running Netflix.

It's pretty techie, but the Chorus senior engineer's testing showed that Netflix likes a good amount of bandwidth: one UHD stream on a 4K smart TV and three high definition ones meant data bursts of about 90Mb/s. It makes that 100 megs look not excessive at all then.

I can believe it: my VDSL2 copper connection (also over Chorus' infrastructure) at 40Mb/s down works with UHD, but multiple Netflix streams overwhelm it.

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This compares to an early blog entry called "The fibre paradox - a study of fibre and DSL users", which bemoans the low uptake of UFB, even though a Swedish user study done by Diffraction Analysis showed fibre customers thought their connections were great compared to ye olde copper broadband. In that blog, Chorus said it was hard for customers to figure out what was so great about fibre without taking it up, and I'm guessing it was written before Netflix had come to New Zealand.

Which is fair enough - dry numbers are usually not as persuasive as trying things out yourself, so good thing the Chorus network engineers signed up for Netflix. How things change.

Battery reviver

Every now and then I'm sent something unusual to look at, like the plastic suitcase containing Japanese electronics vendor Uniden's Emergency UPP120 Jump Start Kit that arrived a while ago.

As the name implies, this can be used to start cars with flat batteries, providing up to 400 amps of peak current. Jumper cables are supplied but there's also a small air compressor and, perhaps most importantly for modern people, a USB port to charge your mobile.

The juice comes from a 12-volt, 12,000mAh battery that can be charged from a mains socket and a car cigarette lighter socket (which a surprising number of new cars still have, minus the actual lighting coil).

It's not too big and heavy, and charges pretty quickly too, despite the large capacity, and lasts a thousand discharges.

The battery has enough to crank a 3l, six-cylinder petrol engine with ease - Uniden says the device can manage up to a 5l petrol engine and a 3l diesel. I didn't try it with such large petrol engines, or diesels, but suspect the kit would have to work far harder with them than with my smaller test motor. Pumping a tyre with the small compressor (which is rather loud and runs hot) is possible, at least enough to take you to the nearest garage. The compressor isn't really strong enough to go beyond an indicated 30 PSI/2 bar of pressure.

Charging a smartphone works great though, and the battery has more than enough capacity to revive a number of them, ditto pumping up soccer balls and bicycle tyres.

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The $249 retail price is on the high side, but having it in the car is nice, especially on longer drives.