95th Percentile Bandwidth Metering Explained and Analyzed.

What is 95th Percentile billing?

The term “95th percentile billing” is often heard when an Internet connection is provided as variable-rate bandwidth billed according to demand rather than restrictions. These rate plans are synonymously used within data center colocation facilities, dedicated server providers, and large ISPs worldwide.

This method of bandwidth metering allows Volico Data Centers clients to enjoy a non-blocking, non-restrictive, burstable service across an ever growing and transparent internet demand.

How is 95th Percentile Measured?

95th Percentile is measured by the quantity of data transferred across a customer’s network port(s). Over the course of a customer’s monthly billing cycle, a group of eight thousand (8000) five (5) minute samples are recorded into a SQL database. These values are then sorted and ranked lowest to highest. The highest 5% ranked samples represent bursts of traffic that are discarded and not used. Once the top 5% of samples are discarded, the next highest sample is considered the 95th percentile sample rate. This sample represents a data rate that encompasses 95% of the client’s traffic across the sample group.
Using the measurement methods found below, VOLICO clients are ONLY billed on either the incoming or the outgoing 95th Percentile Measurement figures; whichever is greater.

How 95th Percentile Billing is More Beneficial for Volico Clients

Every business worth its salt has an online presence of some kind, and it uses computers and networks to run a business effectively in this modern business environment. One of the vital aspects of an online presence is bandwidth. Like water or electricity in your home, you pay for “currency” or “current” each month, based on the amount of water or electricity you use. It’s not static, like your cell phone or cable TV bill.

Bursting the Budget

You may have a situation in your home where your water or electric bill is higher than usual. For example, your water line bursts while you were at work and you have a flooded yard, or you have a weeklong heat wave that causes you to run your air conditioning every hour that week.

These little “bursts” or “blips” in use can be budget-busters, though they may represent less than 5% of your usage in a month. But these can be events that could force you to spend more on your bill than what you may 95% of the time.

Paying the 95th Percentile

It might be nice If your electric or water utility would “excuse” these occasional bursts and charge you only for the most consistent demand by your household. Why not get the top 5 percent of your demand curve discarded from your bill?

Now think about how this might work with your online business and the bandwidth that it pays for each month. Most companies pay for demand (like a residential electric bill) instead of for restrictions (such as a cable TV, Netflix, or Hulu subscription).

For the sake of your business, you may be one of those businesses which have surges of bandwidth demand because of sales or promotions or increased media presence. In other words, your business is seasonal or occasional. When you have these demand surges, you can pay a lot more for the extra bandwidth in these short-term situations.

How Does 95th Percentile Billing Work?

When it comes to bandwidth based on demand, one of the fairest methodologies is called 95th Percentile Billing. A company like Volico provides bandwidth services based on demand using this type of billing, and it is more efficient and fair for your business.

Here’s how it works: A billing cycle split into 8,000 samples of five minutes each, and those samples, containing both incoming and outgoing traffic, are sorted from highest to lowest. The top 5% of that list are discarded, including any short bursts of traffic in or out, and the top-value sample left is the 95th percentile. The data rate posted in this sample represents 95% of the traffic rate across the entire group of samples.

The concept of 95th Percentile Bandwidth Billing has been a staple of Volico’s efforts to provide value for its customers. Compared to other methods of calculating bandwidth, it apparently works out to be better, and it is considered an industry standard in the colocation space. Volico Data Centers customers can choose the 95th percentile billing or flat rate transfer.

Short 95th Examples

Example 1:
Over a period of 500 minutes, 100 readings are taken of both incoming and outgoing traffic. If the billing period was also 500 minutes, the top 5% (highest traffic usage) of these readings (5 in this case) are discarded, and you are billed at the value of the 95th reading. If the top 10 readings of this set of 100 were:

Recorded Traffic
Poll – 100 : 640Kbps
Poll – 99 : 440Kbps
Poll – 98 : 170Kpbs
Poll – 97 : 69Kbps
Poll – 96 : 40Kbps
Poll – 95 : 30Kbps – Billed Usage
Poll – 94 : 28Kbps
Poll – 93 : 27Kbps
Poll – 92 : 24Kbps
Poll – 91 : 21Kbps

Example 2:

In another example, let us have a Colocation customer with (1) 1u server and a contract for one Meg of service. Normally, they use 1 to 2 Megs a day of bandwidth. On Fridays, they download a large file that uses 5+ Megs of bandwidth for 15 minutes. Using the 95th percentile calculation, the 15 minutes you use every Friday would be discarded because it is in the top fifth percentile. These 15 minutes of traffic each Friday create a total of a one-hour spike of traffic during each month that we would include in the 36 hours worth of traffic discarded before billing at the 95th percentile.


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