It's been a little over a month since Ping Collector was publicly released. Let's take a look at the results.
We will refer to "pings" or a "ping" as a result of the popular latency measuring tool, also called "Ping". Only the latency performance data recorded from customers of one Internet Service Provider(ISP), Windstream Communications, (hereinafter "Windstream") is featured in this report.
All "pings" were collected via the Ping class in the .NET 2.0 Framework, implemented by the Ping Collector Client. Each ping process measured four integers which represented the latency of one ICMP packet.
Every ping collected was time stamped at the start of the ping process, and recorded in our database. All users elected to collect pings at an interval of 30 minutes to 720 minutes. Most users elected to do 30 to 60 minute intervals.
The four remote locations used to measure latency from the users computer were:
- www.facebook.com (one of the most commonly used websites in the world)
- www.windstream.net (Our pilot ISP's website)
We elected to use these locations with the Ping performance measuring tool in order to promote a realistic usage scenario of the internet.
7 unique users (that use Windstream ISP). Most of these users are in South-western PA, although some are located in the around the following areas (obtained via WHOIS lookups):
89623 pings collected.
Quality of pings collected:
- 32% Excellent Pings (0-59ms)
- 21% Good Pings (60-99ms)
- 18% Ok Pings (100-149ms)
- 5% Below Average Pings(150-199ms)
- 17% Horrible Pings(200-499ms)
- 2% Worst Than Dialup(500+ms)
- .0097% packet loss.
Graphs and Analysis:
[caption id="attachment_223" align="alignnone" width="696"] Quality of all pings collected[/caption]
As you can see, the quality and stability drops quite a bit during peak time. Excellent pings took a 11% hit, most of them transferring over to Horrible quality, which gained 11 percent when viewed during peak time. 500+ ms pings doubled in terms of ratio as well.
Lets switch over to a more personal perspective, the quality of service that my mother receives:
[caption id="attachment_225" align="alignnone" width="700"] My mother's pings (located around Holbrook, PA)[/caption]
In general, my mother's service is far more sporadic. Good, OK, and Below Average aren't even a 4th of the pie collectively, while Horrible and Excellent take up a little under 2 thirds. About 1/3 of the time, her connection is pretty bad, at least quadrupling the average latency reported (67.7 ms) for Windstream by the FCC in their Feburary 2013 report. Whenever we enter the 7% of pings that are 500ms+, we are nearly doubling that divide.
[caption id="attachment_236" align="alignnone" width="691"] My mother's pings collected during peak time (4PM to 12AM EST)[/caption]
The FCC measured that during peak periods, latency increased across all terrestrial technologies by 10 percent, which represents a modest drop in performance. We are dealing with a loss of over half Excellent pings, while the "Worst Than Dialup" group nearly doubles in percentage. Horrible pings rose by 16%. About 55% of her service is at least seven times slower than the average latency (29.6ms) of across all terrestrial technologies during peak periods (reported again by the FCC in the previous links). This is a larger decrease of performance than the "modest" 10%. The 1% packet loss alone is enough to cause substantial problems with many online applications.
Frustration. If you look at the map of areas supported by the Connect America fund (shown above), specifically in south-western Pennsylvania (Greene County), you will see thousands of dollars being invested into areas very close, if not at the same point as Holbrook, PA, where my mother resides.
For a company that has taken federal funding of $653,325 already to improve and implement broadband, I am highly unsatisfied and severely doubt that we will see stable internet service provided to these homes. Even more disturbing, Windstream elected to accept $60,404,310 in incremental support allocated to it for 2013 under Phase I of the Connect America Fund ("CAF").
I hope that not just Windstream, but all ISPs will keep the quality and performance of their services provided to customers. I also look forward to Ping Collector gaining additional users to help shed light on the quality and stability of their internet. If you have any concerns, or would like to know more details about this report, feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The graphing functionality of Ping Collector (seen above in this report) will be available to users for their own research soon.
Thank you for your time.