Ranking ISP Performance No Simple Matter

By Gary Kim January 28, 2011

According to Netflix data, cable modem services appear to be better than most telco digital subscriber line connections for supporting high-definition video streams. Ken Florance, director of Content Delivery at Netflix, says that since the top high-definition TV streams require about 4.8 Mbps, and since image quality is adjusted for bandwidth, sustainable bandwidth matters to Netflix.

Of course, those performance rankings probably are influenced by the actual peering relationships Netflix carrier Level 3 Communications has with various ISPs. It is no secret that cable companies peer with Level 3, in fact use its network, quite extensively, compared to telco-based ISPs. There are probably additional reasons, but the obvious driver is that cable operators are loathe to give money to backbone bandwidth providers such as AT&T or Verizon Communications, with whom they compete fiercely.

The possible implication of comparing end user experience across ISP domains is that it is quite likely performance will be better on networks with which an ISP directly peers, and from which an ISP buys backbone transport. 

It arguably also makes a difference whether an ISP uses a "content delivery network" for backbone traffic, all of the time, compared to application providers that do not. 

There also is an argument that advertised speeds and typical end user experiences do not match closely, in fact that experienced speeds might be as little as half of the headline speeds. 

Of course, other measurements indicate that actual experienced end user speeds are about 93 percent of advertised headline speeds, not "half," as some studies have indicated.

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

Bloomberg BETA: Models Are Key to Machine Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    4/19/2018

James Cham, partner at seed fund Bloomberg BETA, was at Cisco Collaboration Summit today talking about the importance of models to the future of machi…

Read More

Get Smart About Influencer Attribution in a Blockchain World

By: Maurice Nagle    4/16/2018

The retail value chain is in for a blockchain-enabled overhaul, with smarter relationships, delivering enhanced transparency across an environment of …

Read More

Facebook Flip-Flopping on GDPR

By: Maurice Nagle    4/12/2018

With GDPR on the horizon, Zuckerberg in Congress testifying and Facebook users questioning loyalty, change is coming. What that change will look like,…

Read More

The Next Phase of Flash Storage and the Mid-Sized Business

By: Joanna Fanuko    4/11/2018

Organizations amass profuse amounts of data these days, ranging from website traffic metrics to online customer surveys. Collectively, AI, IoT and eve…

Read More

Satellite Imaging - Petabytes of Developer, Business Opportunities

By: Doug Mohney    4/11/2018

Hollywood has programmed society into believing satellite imaging as a magic, all-seeing tool, but the real trick is in analysis. Numerous firms are f…

Read More