Performance Measurements Show Great Disparities in ISP Performance

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    How Business Can Stay Connected Through the Summer Months

    M-Lab and Internet2 introduced an updated version of the Network Diagnostic Tool, a performance measurement platform that organizations can freely make into a client using HTML and JavaScript.

    One organization that has done so is Battle for the Net, a coalition of public interest and advocacy organizations. The release of the organization’s version of the tool, according to M-Labs, has created a spike in results, which now totals about 2.5 million data points from about 300,000 users, most in the U.S.

    A conclusion, according to M-Labs’ release, is that there is a wide discrepancy in performance of ISPs in the same area:

    Our initial findings show persistent performance degradation experienced by customers of a number of major access ISPs across the United States during the first half of 2015. While the ISPs involved differ, the symptoms and patterns of degradation are similar to those detailed in last year’s Interconnections study: decreased download throughput, increased latency and increased packet loss compared to the performance through different access ISPs in the same region.

    Among the results reported are that AT&T performed better than GTT in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles; Centurylink bested Tata in Seattle; and Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon beat GTT and Tata in New York City.

    The Optical Network Sector Evolves

    IHS this week released data from its report on the optical network hardware vendor sector. The firm found that the top 10 vendors are “Adva, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cisco, Coriant, ECI, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera and ZTE.” The press release says that the market has divided into two segments. One is comprised of traditional service providers and the other of competitive and Internet content providers.

    More specifically, IHS reports that Ciena is the second largest vendor in wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) sector, Cisco has the “first-mover advantage in integration of the IP and optical layers,” Infinera is strong in the Internet content provider and data center interconnect markets, and Alcatel-Lucent is close to reversing a multi-year decline.

    Millennials: Smart Homes Are Smart Choices

    The group that marketers must attract, at least until the next generational shift (i.e., their kids) comes along, is millennials. They are driving the growth of smart homes, according to the NPD Group. The organization’s Connected Intelligence Home Automation Advisory Service found that 23 percent of millennials have installed one or more sensors, system controllers, smart lighting, power or appliance devices or elements in their home. That percentage compares to 12 percent of the overall U.S. population. Forty-one percent are aware of or are interested in buying such products, the study found.

    An interesting side note is that home owners are just as likely to be interested as renters and that millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 are three times as likely to be renters as the overall population. This could, in the long run, impact the portability designed into products.

    More Complexity May Be Coming to BYOD

    T-Mobile may be making life even more difficult for IT administrators and others involved in overseeing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) work structures. The carrier’s JUMP! On Demand program has been changed to enable subscribers to switch phones three times annually and to get devices with no money down.

    The bottom line is that organizations that are already struggling to fit a growing number of makes and models of devices under their IT and telecom umbrellas may have to deal with even greater chaos as employees switch more often. If T-Mobile’s approach is successful, other carriers will likely follow suit.


    No Cell Phones While Driving. Period.

    Al Sacco at CIO wants to start a dialogue. He believes that it is in the best interest of everyone to ban use of cell phones by drivers – even if they are using hands-free devices. Studies have shown that using a hands-free device is not significantly safer than holding the phone. The problem is the distraction of the conversation, not whether or not the person is hands-free while having it.

    The figures on auto safety and its relation to mobile devices are startling. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an average of 660,000 drivers use cellphones or other devices daily. Another site, the government’s website on distracted driving, said that during 2013, 3,154 people were killed and about 424,000 injured in accidents that involved distracted driving.

    Though distracted driving goes beyond cellphone use, Sacco argues that the numbers should lead us to ban any use of the devices.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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