November 2016 Urban Broadband Report
VDSL Performance Competes with Fibre
VDSL average speed continues to improve, it is now showing an average 9pm speed of 40Mb/s (up from 35Mb/s in October). This continues a trend for VDSL, now exceeding the base entry Fibre product (30Mb/s).
Speed of downloads from Sydney improved significantly since TrueNet discussed the impact of rampup on fast connections in the August report, see especially charts 8 and 8A in this report.
Fibre website download performance is not influenced by the service speed advertised for each Fibre product, so TrueNet is merging all fibre website download results for advertised products, and reporting by ISP only.
TrueNet is now funded for up to 25 MyRepublic Fibre panelists, this will enable regular reporting in future. We have insufficient panelists this month, so if you are able to assist please check out our FAQ here or volunteer here
- Technology comparison
- Fibre & Cable
- Copper (ADSL and VDSL)
- Fibre & Cable
- Copper (ADSL and VDSL)
Summary of Performance Measures
Changes this month include:
- VDSL average speed up from 35Mb/s to 40Mb/s.
- An increase in Voyager 100Mb/s Fibre panelists to enable publishing their results for the first time.
- We no longer have enough MyRepublic 100Mb/s panelists to report, as above we are seeking volunteers to assist, and we will include MyRepublic as soon as we have enough.
*Note: Cable and Fibre speed comparisons show minimum hour (slowest) speed to Advertised Service Speed; ADSL & VDSL compare minimum hour (slowest) speed to the hour with maximum (as fast as your line will allow) speed. The 9pm column is the actual average speed at 9pm for each product, for ADSL and VDSL that average is taken over all ISPs because actual speed is subject to the distance between our test points and the exchange equipment - we do not compare ISPs directly on speed because distance sets DSL speeds, not the ISPs.
This month we have merged all Fibre results for website downloads, because we have not seen any difference between speeds, the only previous differences we have observed is between ISPs.
Responsive website browsing is valued by most Internet users, and conversely, slow-loading sites can be extremely frustrating.
TrueNet tests Internet browsing by downloading a selection of Live Webpages from NZ, Australia, and the USA, measuring the time to fully download all files on the page. These pages are changed from time-to-time. This month there are 7 NZ pages, 3 Australian, and 4 USA pages.
The charts in this section have three points for each ISP entry showing the Min. Hour (minimum time to download a webpage); the Max. Hour (maximum time to download a webpage); and the Median of all hours. The best ISP has a low median, and a short arrow showing the spread between peak and off-peak performance.
We download websites from each connection, and compare the average time taken to download them. This test replicates daily activity for many people, and we group the websites into regions, NZ, Australia and USA, so that readers can compare ISPs based on their own preferences.
Fibre download times are independent of fibre speeds, so we show them inclusive of 30, 100, 200 and GigE services.
Max = Busy hour,
Median = the most likely time to download a page outside the busy hour,
Min = The best time all day, ie likely very early in the morning.
Chart 1: The overall trend and placing of ISPs remains stable. Voyager Fibre joins the mix this month, with their results being similar to those of the other ISPs. The difference betwen min. and max. hours was generally small, and is also reflected in Time of Day performance of speed tests (refer next section).
If we consider the median levels, there is just under twice the difference between the ADSL results of the different ISPs. The same is true of VDSL. For fibre services, there are only marginal differences in Webpage download times between ISPs.Chart 1: NZ Average Webpage Download Time - in seconds
|We download popular US websites from each connection, and compare the average time taken to download all websites. This test replicates daily activity for many people, but to provide the ability for readers to compare between ISPs based on their own preferences, we group the websites into regions, NZ, Australia and USA.|
Vodafone cable continues to distinguish itself with longer webpage download times to those of other high speed internet services.Chart 2: USA Average Webpage Download Time - in seconds
The main USA Webpages tested in Chart 2 do vary in download time depending on access speed (as might be expected). Again, this month we include a set of 4 websites where the download times are very consistent regardless of access speed. This implies the Website's are limiting speed to their content as shown in Chart 2A below.
Chart 2A: Alternate websites - average download time (AliExpress, Netflix, Outbrain and Vice)
|We download popular Australian websites from each connection, and compare the average time taken to download all websites. This test replicates daily activity for many people, but to provide the ability for readers to compare between ISPs based on their own preferences, we group the websites into regions, NZ, Australia and USA.|
Chart 3: This month there appears to be a greater min / max spread than recent months, particularly for ADSL and Vodafone Cable. Notable is that TPG have resolved their spread from last month, now looking competitive with NZ ISPs, if a lot slower. In their first month for fibre, Voyager again is equal to all other ISPs.Chart 3: Australian Average Webpage Download Time - in seconds
Speed (File Download Performance)
For TrueNet's speed tests each panelist's probe regularly downloads a 2MB or 5MB file from Auckland, Wellington, Dallas and Sydney. The faster the connection, the larger the file we need to download to ensure that the maximum speed is reached during our test. 100Mb/s connections easily reach full speed before 2MB of data is downloaded. Slower connections can test accurately with much smaller files. Our tests on Satellite, Wireless and ADSL can tolerate a smaller file size and we use a 1MB file.
International tests take the result from each test run from Dallas or Sydney.
Update 12 October: Many tests were updated mid September to 2MB or 5MB, so new reports will be based on 2MB tests for faster connections to allow for ramp-up (the time taken to reach the fastest speed possible on a line, which varies by ISP and technology).
Comparing performance by time-of-day is important as it shows the service degradation when everyone is using the Internet during the evening hours of 8pm to 10pm. TrueNet uses the best of a pair of Auckland and Wellington download tests to calculate the median NZ results by hour over the month for each monitored connection. We take the average of all median results with each ISP for each hour.
A poor result typically shows the line drop below 90%, which usually occurs in the busy period between 7pm and 10pm, i.e. if this is true, the average user for that ISP is getting less than 90% of their line capability.
Chart 4: Cable 100Mb/s speeds dropped considerably from over 110Mb/s at all times in October, to between 100 and 110Mb/s in November. Performance by Time of Day varies, but only just drops below the advertised speed, to a level within the margin of error for 100Mb/s
Cable & Fibre 100Mb/s average well above advertised rates, even if speed trends downward across the afternoon and evening. 100M Fibre results are very similar to those for October, while 100Mb/s Cable reduces to around advertised speed in the evening. The 50Mb/s Cable service is different, averaging just under advertised speed, but very consistent (flat) by Time of Day. Fibre 30Mb/s and 200Mb/s service speed results are just under their respective advertised speeds, similar to October.
Copper Services - VDSL and ADSL - follow each other well, having a slight evening dip, but still excellent performance by Time of Day during November.Chart 4: Fibre, Cable and Copper (DSL) File Download Speed
Fibre & Cable Comparison - File Download Speeds
Chart 5: Watch the suppressed zero, we did this to show the spread of performance, which is quite small, for 100Mb/s all ISPs are near, or above Advertised service speed at all times of day. Evening reduction of Vodafone 100M/bs cable dipped to 99% of advertised speed, still giving users the service speed at all hours.
Our new ISP, Voyager, has consistently higher speeds than any other ISPs we measure, averaging over 110Mb/s almost all day for a service advertised as 100Mb/s.
Last month 100Mb/s Cable was consistently above 110Mb/s, but this has changed to now sit between 100 and 110Mb/s - still better than advertised speed at all times of the day.Chart 5: 100Mb/s Fibre & Cable Download Speed from NZ
DSL Performance by Time of Day (ToD) Indexed speeds
|TrueNet use an index for copper reporting because ADSL and VDSL are sold using the phrase "as fast as your line will allow", so we find the maximum speed, and compare each result with that maximum.|
High Speed Copper (VDSL) File Download Speed
Chart 6: Voyager and Orcon improved from last month to match Spark & 2Degrees, and be above 95Mb/s (we would class that as a 5 star service). Vodafone service dipped to around 91% of maximum speed in the evening, we class that as 4 star.Chart 6: VDSL File Download Speed by Time of Day
Low Speed Copper (ADSL) File Download Speed
ADSL continues to have very consistent time of day performance, with all NZ ISPs achieving 5 star performance (above 95%).Chart 7: ADSL File Download Speed by Time of Day
TrueNet Downloads Files every hour to measure Speeds from Dallas and Sydney to compare international performance.
The speed reported is relative to the advertised speed. Usually 100Mb/s, but we have a few 50Mb/s lines also
We ensure the download file is not held in New Zealand (cached), so that the test truly measures international performance. Tests are either 2MB or 5MB, depending on cap offered by the panelist.
High Speed Fibre & Cable Time of Day
Fibre download results from Sydney are very different from September, showing speeds that are greater than 80% of the NZ speed, where back in September only Vodafone was close to 90%, now all ISPs Fibre results are in that range (Compare Charts 8 and 8A). The Vodafone Cable 100Mb/s results at 37% of NZ speed contrast with other ISPs, and experience a drop off in the afternoon/evening which is not shown with any other ISP. This difference may drive the website performance issues shown in charts 2 and 3 above.Chart 8: Australian download speeds for High Speed Connections (2MB file size only)
Chart 8A, September equivalent report
ADSL & VDSL (Copper Connections) - File Download Speeds
|Copper connections (ADSL & VDSL) have a speed that is dependent on the distance between the home modem, and the exchange equipment which means that ISPs do not have any influence on the peak speed of each connection. To overcome this limitation, the Australia, and USA speeds are referenced to the average NZ download speed of the respective ISPs.|
The speed of file downloads from Sydney, indexed to maximum NZ speed, shows an improvement from October, especially 2Degrees moving from 80% to 95% and Spark from 70% to 80%. There are no significant Time of Day issues revealed in the results.Chart 9: VDSL ToD performance from Sydney, Australia (1MB & 2MB Files used)
Downloads from Sydney for ADSL connections generally had excellent results in November (Chart 10) after TrueNet focussed on Sydney speed performance in the last few months. Spark improved a lot from 77% to 88% to be the best with Orcon 86%. Vodafone was a little behind, but improved a lot from 62% to 81%. Slingshot's relative speed was similar to that in October at around 70% during the day as they were last month, but with a dip in evening performance to 56%.Chart 10: ADSL ToD performance from Sydney, Australia (1MB & 2MB files used)
|Upload speed is important to users sending large amounts of data through the Internet, or uploading files to the Cloud. TrueNet's upload test sends a 1MB file to our Wellington server, and records the results using a similar method to the download tests, but measured from Wellington only.|
By Technology / Service Speed
Upload speeds for each technology and service speed remain stable, within similar results to previous months. 50Mb/s fibre averages below advertised, while other high speed internet services all achieve or exceed advertised speeds.Chart 11: Upload Performance by Technology
Upload Speed - by ISP
Fibre and Cable upload speeds by ISP are in Chart 12 below. Each ISP's 20Mb/s upload speed averaged above advertised speed. Spark 10Mb/s Fibre upload was also above advertised speed in November.Chart 12: Fibre & Cable Upload Speed by ISP