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Vodafone Cable Speed Matches Fibre

February 2014 Broadband Report
[Original report with charts: https://www.truenet.co.nz/articles/february-2014-broadband-report]

2014-03-25

Vodafone Cable Speed Matches Fibre

A significant improvement in Vodafone Cable file download speeds, and Time of Day performance sees Cable speeds matching high speed Fibre.

TrueNet's Live Webpage download tests show Orcon Fibre to be the quickest browsing product. They have held the lead since September 2013. Over a similar period Snap ADSL Testpage downloads have dropped significantly from best in November to second worst this month.

TrueNet introduces regular File Upload tests for the first time with Fibre 100Mb/50Mb showing Upload speeds far superior to any other ISP service.

Summary of Performance Measures - All ISPs

File Download speeds at 9pm show a big improvement in Vodafone's 10Mb/100Mb performance, from 49Mb/s in January to 70Mb/s in February 2014.

Snap Livepage download speed for ADSL has slowed by nearly 1second since January, and their Latency has increased by 15ms. This trend continues for Snap Fibre with February's Livepage download speeds slowing from last month.


Webpage Download Time

The time it takes to download a webpage is inherently related to a user's internet experience. TrueNet separates webpage download results into two groups - Test webpages, and Live Public Webpages.

Test Webpages are kept at the same size, and are easily cached by the ISPs. TrueNet regularly changes the Live Public Webpages which link to ISPs from a wide range of network connections. The live webpages are used as a cross check, and measure uncached download times.

Each chart shows the time to download all webpages, measured in seconds, with total download time shown as stacked bars in the charts.

Live Pages Download Times

The TrueNet Live Public webpage test measures the download time of 8 popular Web sites (e.g.Trademe, Stuff, Banking sites).

Orcon Fibre remains fastest, and has held the lead since Live page download tests began in September 2013. Slingshot is best amongst ADSL. Snap VDSL and Fibre are almost identical.

Vodafone Cable is comparable to the slower ADSL for live webpages compared to their top performance for our Testpages.


TrueNet Test Page Download Times

Test pages are downloaded from specific TrueNet servers in Wellington, Auckland, Sydney and Dallas.

Vodafone Cable continues to lead in these tests, having done so since September 2013, except for the November Broadband Report where Orcon beat them by a small margin.


Speed (File Download Performance)

Fibre - Cable - VDSL Technology Comparison

This section looks at the relative performance of Fibre, Cable and VDSL technology, reporting on actual speeds achieved by Volunteers' probes, by time of day. The TrueNet Speed test downloads a 1MB file from both Auckland and Wellington every 5 hours per probe. The best download speed from Auckland or Wellington is used from each test run, and the data points below are the medians of these. We compare the worst speed during the day to the best to get a Time of Day (TOD) comparison.

ISP File Download Comparison

In a significant change, Vodafone Cable has improved in average speed and Time of Day (TOD) performance, and is now often faster than the 100/50M Fibre service. 100Mb cable still shows a pronounced dip in the evening busy period, but much less so than in previous months.


Technology File Download Comparison

Results by Broadband technology are given in Chart 3a. The results from all probes and ISPs are aggregated in these results.

VDSL is separated into services connected directly to an Exchange and those connected to a local cabinet (FTTN). Cabinet based VDSL is typically closer to users homes than Exchange based VDSL. Speeds are dependent on distance from the users home to a Cabinet, or Exchange.

The 100Mb services (Fibre and Cable) clearly provide faster speeds than any other technology options at all hours of the day, although there is a Time of Day speed dip for Cable during the busy time around 8pm.

VDSL provides lower speed than the 30Mb Fibre service, though it is capable of achieving faster speeds. Based on results from our Volunteers, VDSL from the cabinet (FTTN) is quicker than Exchange-based VDSL, averaging about 7Mbit/s faster this month (24Mb vs 18Mb averages)


VDSL

The results are based on a 1MB file downloaded by each probe every 5 hours, from both Auckland and Wellington servers. The best speed from Auckland or Wellington for each probe is used, and the median of these is reported.

Telecom and Snap show similar file download speeds except for a couple of downward spikes in Telecom's Time of Day performance.

The number of VDSL users (converting from ADSL) is expanding, and next month TrueNet anticipates including additional ISPs in the VDSL speed comparison.


ADSL

The ADSL speed test is based on each probe downloading a 300kB file from our Wellington server once every hour of every day.

As with last month, Flip a newcomer to TrueNet monthly reports, continues to impress on performance

Vodafone is affected by a deep busy period in the evening. Orcon and Snap also exhibit more variation than in recent months. However all ISPs continue to achieve better than 90%.


File Upload Performance

This month TrueNet introduces regular reporting of file upload speeds from Volunteers probes to our test servers. TrueNet Uploads a 1MB file once every 5 hours per probe.

File Upload Performance by Technology

The following chart shows the Upload speeds achieved by Fibre, Cable, and VDSL technologies.

Not surprisingly, the Fibre 100Mb/50Mb service is clear by a large margin from the rest of the field. The Cable service upload speeds are very steady by time of day, with the 100Mb/10Mb service meeting the advertised speed, and bettering both 30Mb/10Mb Fibre plan and VDSL.


ADSL File Upload Performance by ISP

The following chart shows Time of Day upload speeds reached by the ISPs versus three time periods during the day, representing middle of the night, morning business period, and evening busy period. It shows very little Time of Day variation, but far greater variation between the ISPs.

Providers Slingshot & Flip (same owners) had superior upload speed in the test, with Flip around 30% faster than the competitors.


Latency

Latency is the time it takes for a packet of data to be returned by a remote server to a Volunteer's probe.

Latency can impact many internet activities. Very poor latency will make browsing the internet difficult if page requests fail due to timeouts. High latency can make gaming impossible, adding to reaction time, meaning if someone else has lower latency they may see a game change, and react well before a slower connection is able to show the change (ie you can be shot and killed in a game before your computer shows the shooter)

Overall Latency test results have been stable for a few months. Newcomer Flip does well amongst the ADSL providers, particularly to Australia and the US.


Domain Name Server (DNS) Response Time

DNS response times, like latency, can affect the user browsing experience when slow.

TrueNet measures the time taken to receive a response from all of the ISPs DNS servers, and records the best result for each hourly test.

By ISP

There are a number of small changes to ISP performance in the different regions. For example, Orcon showed improvements in Otago and Cantebury, while Telecom had increased DNS reponse times in Auckland and Otago.

South Island centres show poor performance by ISPs apart from Snap. This may be due to a lack of, or insufficient capacity on local DNS servers for other ISPs. We need more Vodafone Volunteers in Otago.


By Technology

The Auckland region scores the best Response Times for both Fibre and VDSL services, but Wellington is quickest for ADSL.

ADSL has the slowest DNS response times in each region, followed by VDSL, with Cable and Fibre vying for quickest response times.

TrueNet measurement service shows that ISP performance varies over time. In the past year some ISPs that showed top performance have started to slip in the rankings, as others are rising. Similar changes have occured in the past 3 years and we expect to see this change in lead continue.

Regular reporting by TrueNet is providing the incentive for ISPs to strive for the premium position in rankings, helping all Internet users to gain the best performance possible.

[Original report with charts: https://www.truenet.co.nz/articles/february-2014-broadband-report]

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