Understanding Broadband Speed Measurements

38 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2012

See all articles by Steven Bauer

Steven Bauer

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS)

David D. Clark

MIT CSAIL

William Lehr

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

Date Written: August 15, 2010

Abstract

Broadband speed has emerged as the single most commonly cited metric for characterizing the quality of broadband offerings. However speed measurements for the same service can vary significantly. These differences arise from a complex set of factors including different test methodologies and test conditions. For any testing methodology, teasing apart the end-to-end tests and attributing performance bottlenecks to constituent parts is technically challenging. While the broadband access network can be the bottleneck, significant bottlenecks arise in home networks, end users' computers, and server side systems and networks. Consequently, inferences regarding how ISP delivered speeds compare with their advertised speeds need to be undertaken with careful attention to the testing methodologies employed. Many testing methodologies are inappropriate for the purposes of assessing the quality of a broadband network.

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Steven and Clark, David D. and Lehr, William, Understanding Broadband Speed Measurements (August 15, 2010). TPRC 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1988332

Steven Bauer (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) ( email )

United States

David D. Clark

MIT CSAIL ( email )

Stata Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6003 (Phone)

William Lehr

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) ( email )

Stata Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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