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Monitoring & Assurance

By the Numbers: Network Latency in Texas

Life is about to get interesting for network operators. There have always been lies, damned lies, and statistics, but now we're entering a golden age of metrics. Metrics are revealing, and for this reason Light Reading will begin featuring some of them. In Texas, for example, the average latency experienced by wireless broadband subscribers is 105 milliseconds. But the average hides a pretty broad spread, as averages sometimes do. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s wireless broadband subscribers in Texas experience 53% longer latencies than subscribers of T-Mobile US Inc. -- 129 milliseconds to 84ms.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) subscribers are experiencing roughly equal latencies, at right about the group average of 105ms. The numbers are all monthly averages, covering a one-month period starting in late April and extending into May. The data was collected and analyzed by Cedexis .

Why is there such a difference in performance metrics? Could be any number of reasons. Light Reading will be working with Cedexis to mine wireless and fixed network performance metrics, and, as we proceed, we will also begin examining how those metric may vary, why performance metrics might differ, and why those differences might matter.


Want to know more about the latest developments in T&M, service assurance, monitoring, and other test issues? Check out our dedicated test channel here on Light Reading.


Metrics are excellent at providing insight into the causes for some trends. For example: Within the past year or so, companies that typically did business with one CDN began working with others, so that they had deals with two or more. Why? Several reasons are revealed by performance metrics. The numbers show that the performance of almost every CDN worldwide varies by geography. CDN subscribers with international reach are looking to get the best performance in each geographic subdivision.

Furthermore, different CDNs experience peaks and valleys in traffic load that can vary monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes even hourly. CDN customers looking to optimize their delivery performance look at these metrics to create relationships with multiple CDNs whose traffic patterns complement one another to the CDN customer's benefit.

Back to the chart accompanying this article. It also shows the latency performance of several wireline networks. The aggregate average latency for the wireline networks in Texas is 47.4ms. Wireline latencies are naturally lower than wireless network latencies.

Wireless vs. Wireline Latencies in Texas
Each dot represents a different company operating a broadband network in Texas; the y axis is latency in milliseconds. The grouping on the left includes four wireless carriers; Sprint and AT&T are close together at about the group average; T-Mobile is doing notably better by this measure than its rivals; Verizon is doing notably worse. The grouping on the right includes five wireline companies. Verizon's and Comcast's dots completely overlap at 31ms of latency. Charter Communications, Cox Communications, and AT&T all have higher network latency, their numbers are similar and so their three dots are clustered together.
Each dot represents a different company operating a broadband network in Texas; the y axis is latency in milliseconds. The grouping on the left includes four wireless carriers; Sprint and AT&T are close together at about the group average; T-Mobile is doing notably better by this measure than its rivals; Verizon is doing notably worse. The grouping on the right includes five wireline companies. Verizon's and Comcast's dots completely overlap at 31ms of latency. Charter Communications, Cox Communications, and AT&T all have higher network latency, their numbers are similar and so their three dots are clustered together.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Verizon clock in with only 31ms of latency. Charter Communications Inc. 's and Cox Communications Inc. 's dots on the chart overlap at 56ms and 57ms, respectively. The latency on AT&T's wireline network is 62ms -- double that of Comcast's and Verizon's.

Cedexis also provided average broadband speeds for these networks in Texas. The mobile average was 1.4 Mbit/s; the wireline average was 5.1 Mbit/s.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

kq4ym 6/19/2016 | 10:19:52 AM
Re: proof is in the details! Yes, it will be interesting to see how the measurements might vary depending on the methodology and then again there's the "traffic load that can vary monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes even hourly," that's going to play into just how, when, and where the latency measurements are made I would think.
Pete Mastin 6/8/2016 | 4:34:34 PM
Re: proof is in the details! Hi Jayakd0, 

I am Pete Mastin from Cedexis and I agree with your comments that more granularity is better! With regard to the methodology that was used I can help there. Basically Cedexis used Real User Measureents to measure public infrastrcutrue such as ISPs, Clouds and Content Delivery networks. Because our JS tag is so broadly distributted we get Billions of measurements a day of all this public infrastructure. We render the results of these measurements in near realtime to our Portal. You can read more about our methodology here. You can also get much more granular measurements over time and every percentile. 

http://www.cedexis.com/radar/methodology.html

 

Thanks
jayakd0 6/8/2016 | 8:10:34 AM
proof is in the details! It will be great to know how these latencies were measured. Also better to state the variance also (than just mean). Monthly average figures, whether it will be that useful? unless we have better visibility on day vs night averages, weekday vs weekend averages
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