Bandwidth concerns


Now that a few machines are in the wild, I’m curious if someone can testify what the data requirements are? My concern is the fact that I live in the sticks and my only internet connection is cellular. It seems like some of the .svg files can be quite large. I don’t want to run into data limits once I start using the Glowforge, I would like to make my decision to stay the course sooner rather than later.

Can anyone give me some real world numbers data numbers? I’m not as concerned about throughput as I am total data requirements.


I, too, would actually like to know some of these numbers. Not that I have a big concern (living in the city), but I’d be curious to hear from some of the more network-savvy pre-release users if they’ve got any numbers from their routers, etc.


I know that at least one of the prerelease users is a web wizard (not me), hopefully they will have an answer for this. It’s a legitimate concern for anyone with really limited data.


honestly i’d be very very surprised if the experience degrades with bandwidth past some very low bar. given the way the gf works it seems like their comms should be pretty low b/w; given @takitus’ recent experiences it looks like cloud processing time is a much larger concern.


I will be testing cellular connections out before I head to Bay Area Maker Faire. That’s what Glowforge has recommended we do there. There are a few threads that have discussed this and @dan has chimed in. From everything I recall, the Glowforge has been thoroughly tested with a cellular data connection to ensure a good experience. I’ll post as soon as I know more. I would imagine a few of the other pre-release have that capability. Would be interesting to see what they come up with.


To be clear, I’m less concerned about the “speed” of my connection which is pretty good on average. I’m concerned about total data size because I’m capped a given amount of data per month. It get’s expensive once I exceed the threshold. Verizon has recently introduced an “unlimited” plan, but if you read the fine print, they throttle you back once you reach a certain amount per month - 10gb per device if I read it correctly - then they step you back to 3g connectivity.


For the upstream side, It really depends what you are planning on doing with the Glowforge. Vectors themselves are pretty small because they are just code. Appearances (in illustrator), Raster effects, bitmaps, etc all add to the size pretty quick.

As for the downstream side from the cloud, I’m not sure. I know it’s downloading wav files from the GF servers so it shouldn’t be horrible. If I had a unit, I could tell you:)


I’ll do my best to check out the throughput and data sizes. Not sure if @takitus or @karaelena have done specific monitoring for the machine yet.


A little annoyed w/ Comcast at the moment. For almost a week now my bandwidth has been 1/10th or less of what I’m paying for! (For the record, I usually get almost exactly what I pay for with them.) When I’m paying for 100Mb and getting as low as 2Mb, that’s a problem. They’re sending somebody to check it out on Tuesday.

I must say, though, I had this same issue a couple of years ago and this time the experience was about 1,000 times better. Last time it took weeks of complaining before they’d do anything of any value. I spent considerable time collecting data on my own to present as proof of the issue. This time I got right through to a tech, they did their normal “let’s bounce your modem and see what happens deal,” then they actually admitted they’re seeing errors on the modem. I was shocked. Seemed like a real attempt to examine the issue! (Not to mention I wasn’t seeing the errors looking at the diagnostic logs of the modem.) Then the tech sounded genuinely disappointed I couldn’t be scheduled until Tuesday. So all-in-all, I felt okay about the whole thing. I know they won’t be able to fix the issue on Tuesday. It’ll require line work. But at least the ball’s rolling rather quickly this time! :slight_smile:


I never really had a reason to check bandwidth usage previously, but now since im going to makerfaire and things could be tight, it might be a good idea. If I have time in the upcoming weeks ill see if I can run some tests.


Thanks all,
I’ll be interested to hear what the numbers are.

Tom_A: hope Comcast gets you taken care of on Tuesday.


It surprises me, the convenience of this global communication network that has evolved and slipped into so many aspects of our daily lives, and how utterly unaware of our complete dependence on it - until it goes down, and withdrawal symptoms manifest.
“Wait… I have to go to Starbucks to get on?” :tired_face:


I was just reading an article this weekend about the coming death of Wifi & even hard-wired Internet a la’ Comcast.

Between 5G and upcoming other technologies that allow wireless to span additional frequencies and the carriers now going back to offering unlimited data plans, use of wifi is actually decreasing. The article was projecting that people will depend more & more on their wireless and leave wifi as the videotape of the 21st century.


Hahaha. Not until they can get latency down and clear up packet loss. Hard lines are going to be around for a while. Anyone that games online will be in the same group.


Yeah, there was some caveating about the impact of high-density data streams (like video) and not having any real ability to estimate that. Kind of like building a big highway and it goes from unused to saturated in no time because people start using it and altering their behavior - they weren’t part of the planning calculus and so throw off all the models.


Any chance you and your glowforge will be making an appearance at the Kansas city Maker Faire?



I’d love to go but I have my brother’s 40th wedding anniversary that weekend and I’m on call to preside. If you are ever at the Lake, drop me a message. I’ll be glad to show off the Glowforge!


Wow! Y’all have cell service where you live? Ain’t technology great.


I have to say, when I drove down to California from Canuckyland a few years ago, I was pretty surprised by the state of rural internet, given the higher population density in the rural areas. In the rurals of the province I live, providers just use gobs of pole-mounted microwave radios. We have more line-of-sight, admittedly, but you’d think that the density of the places I saw would economically sustain wiring up something more functional.


This is relative. A file with a lot of information will be bigger than a file with less. But, in my experience, compared to other file types, SVGs tend to be smaller. Like, when they’re the same ‘designs’, my PNG files are almost always much, much bigger than the comparable SVG.

That said, you can do some things to make sure your SVG file isn’t bigger than it needs to be. SVG saves points and paths. The more you have, the more it saves, the bigger the file gets. So double check that you don’t have extra points that aren’t necessary. So, imagine you have a line that is supposed to be perfectly straight, but has more than 2 points. All those extra points are superfluous (and might mean the line isn’t actually straight when you enlarge it enough to see). Delete the extra points, and you’ll be saving less information (and your line will actually be straight). If you delete a point and nothing changes, then the point didn’t need to be there. Some programs will have a tool (called simplify, or something similar) where you can easily eliminate points without changing the look very much. And in some cases it changes the look for the better.

This goes for font choices too, if that’s part of your design. Some fonts have lots and lots of points compared to other fonts. This can make a big difference if your file size, even when you have the same amount of text. (And with that, you probably want to make sure the font you’re using is being saved as SVG-ness, not as a font. If you can change the text, it’s still a font. I don’t know how to word this. Maybe someone who understands what I mean can translate that into an actual coherent sentence)

Also, don’t use two paths (or 15) when you can use one. The specific term depends on the software, but merge, join, combine, collapse, unite, etc, whatever you can.

And, probably easiest, be sure you aren’t saving the SVG with any additional features it doesn’t need, like preserving editing capabilities or program compatibility. This is an option in some programs that can make the file much bigger. Feel free to save the editable version as a backup, if you’re worried, but save it turned off in the version you will actually cut. This goes for other file types, too. Any extra info makes the file bigger.