Benchmarks or Equity? A New Approach to Measuring Internet Performance

10 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2022

See all articles by Ranya Sharma

Ranya Sharma

University of Chicago

Tarun Mangla

University of Chicago

James Saxon

University of Chicago / Center for Data and Computing

Marc Richardson

University of Chicago

Nick Feamster

University of Chicago

Nicole P. Marwell

University of Chicago - Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Date Written: August 3, 2022

Abstract

A longstanding approach to measuring Internet performance is to directly compare throughput against pre-defined benchmarks (e.g., 25 megabits per second downstream, 3 megabits per second upstream). In this paper, we advocate, develop, and demonstrate a different approach: rather than focusing on whether speeds meet a particular threshold, we develop techniques to determine whether a variety of Internet performance metrics (including throughput, latency, and loss rate) are comparable across geographies.

We define these metrics and apply them across a longitudinal dataset of Internet performance measurements comprising approximately 30 neighborhoods across the City of Chicago. The metrics we define show some geographical disparities, indicating that such comparative metrics may be promising for studying questions of equitable Internet access across neighborhoods.

Keywords: digital divide, Internet measurement

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Ranya and Mangla, Tarun and Saxon, James and Richardson, Marc and Feamster, Nick and Marwell, Nicole P., Benchmarks or Equity? A New Approach to Measuring Internet Performance (August 3, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4179787

Ranya Sharma

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Tarun Mangla

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

James Saxon

University of Chicago / Center for Data and Computing ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

HOME PAGE: http://saxon.cdac.uchicago.edu

Marc Richardson

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Nick Feamster (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Nicole P. Marwell

University of Chicago - Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice ( email )

United States

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