Improving the Measurement and Analysis of Gigabit Broadband Networks

24 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2016 Last revised: 25 Mar 2017

Steven Bauer

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

William Lehr

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

Merry Mou

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

Date Written: March 31, 2016

Abstract

Measurements of broadband performance are important for consumers, ISPs, edge providers, and regulators to make informed decisions regarding the choice, design, and regulation of broadband services that are increasingly regarded as essential basic infrastructure. Bauer, Lehr, and Hung (2015) explained how the shift to very high-speed broadband access services poses a challenge for managing end-user performance expectations and for regulatory policy. In this paper, we focus on the measurement challenges, examining existing broadband tests which were designed in a world of lower speed services (10s of Mbps) for their suitability and accuracy when access speeds are measured in the 100Mbps to 1 Gbps. Our analysis highlights the large variability and systematic biases in results depending on which of the many common tests are used. We explain why this variability is observed and offer thoughts on how the measurement infrastructure should be improved in light of the increased availability and use of superfast broadband.

Keywords: Broadband, performance

JEL Classification: l96, l86, l98, l5, 03, D8, K23, L15, L86

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Steven and Lehr, William and Mou, Merry, Improving the Measurement and Analysis of Gigabit Broadband Networks (March 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2757050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2757050

Steven Bauer (Contact Author)

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

United States

William Lehr

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

Stata Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Merry Mou

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

Stata Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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