Speedtest site accuracy [was: Bandwidth issues in the Sprint network]

Mikael Abrahamsson swmike at swm.pp.se
Tue Apr 8 20:38:58 UTC 2008

On Tue, 8 Apr 2008, Scott Weeks wrote:

> To other medium-sized eyeball network providers (I'm defining medium 
> size as 50-150K DSL/Cable connections and 50-1500 leased line 
> customers): are you seeing this and what do you tell your customers?

We're having this big push here in Sweden with something that basically 
translates into "broadband checkup". It's also web based, and it ended up 
in the national papers last week, where the newspapers misinterpreted 9.53 
megabit/s of TCP thruput on a 10 meg ethernet connection as "barely 
acceptable" or something of that nature.

We're seeing difference in results on the same computer depending on what 
browser is being used, and other strange results. Yes, it's a basic test 
and it should be treated that way, unfortunately quite a lot of users 
expect to get the same number they have purchased, so when they have 
purchased 8 megabit ADSL, they expect this test to say 8 megabit/s. 
Industry standard here is that 8/1 is ATM speed, so best results one can 
expect is approx 6.7 megabit/s of TCP thruput.

So yes, this is seen and it's a problem I guess we as an industry have to 
learn how to handle. Swedish ISPs are adopting fineprint in their ads on 
expected speed to be seen in this tool, as it seems the users are very 
keen on using it.

What worries me is that people will get dissatisfied with their connection 
even though there is nothing wrong with it and that they won't get better 
service elsewhere if they switch ISPs. It's good that there is a test, but 
since we're a market where 100/100 ethernet connections are fairly 
prevalent, this test doesn't work properly (75 megabit/s result on a 
100/100 was listed in the paper as "not acceptable" which we all 
understand is unfair).

Mikael Abrahamsson    email: swmike at swm.pp.se

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