Friday, March 19, 2010

FCC Broadband Testing

Last week I wrote about the FCC's testing of broadband connections. Check out this entry from the blog about how things are going so far.

Thanks to the over 150,000 unique users who have taken over 300,000 Consumer Broadband Tests, as well as the nearly 4,000 addresses submitted to the broadband Dead Zone Report. The popularity of the consumer tools has exceeded our expectations.


The FCC chose to use two testing applications for the Beta version of the Consumer Broadband Test. The two applications are among the most popular on the Internet and the FCC hopes to make available additional testing platforms in the future. However, software based broadband testing is not an exact science and contains inherent variability, as described in the About section.


You will see that Ookla provides a higher overall average and median speed than M-Lab. This is likely due to the different methodologies these testing applications use. The difference comes from the fact that broadband speeds vary over time, even within a single second. Ookla measures peak performance and ignores short periods of slow speed, which it considers to be speed bumps in performance, while M-Lab takes many rapid speed measurements and averages them all. For more detail, see the Ookla and M-Lab methodology sections. Additionally, Ookla and M-Lab each have testing servers geographically distributed across the country. Individual’s proximity to these testing servers could also affect testing results.

If you haven't done so yet, make sure you test your connection.

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