Networking

Understanding Broadband Speed Measurements

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Executive Summary

Broadband speed has emerged as the single most commonly cited metric for characterizing the quality of broadband offerings. However speed measurements for the same service can vary significantly. These differences arise from a complex set of factors including different test methodologies and test conditions. For any testing methodology, teasing apart the end-to-end tests and attributing performance bottlenecks to constituent parts is technically challenging. While the broadband access network can be the bottleneck, significant bottlenecks arise in home networks, end users' computers, and server side systems and networks. Consequently, inferences regarding how ISP delivered speeds compare with their advertised speeds need to be undertaken with careful attention to the testing methodologies employed.

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