Performance of Vodafone 100Mb/s Cable download is now equivalent, if not better than competitive 100Mb/s UFB fibre services. On October the 2nd, Vodafone Cable fixed their major network problems that have been evident since March (NetFlix launched it's services in March) when speeds dropped from 110Mb/s to below 5Mb/s for many users.
Other improvements include reduction in congestion on almost all remaining products and suppliers, to a level not seen before as ISPs are clearly investing in sufficient capacity to meet demand. Orcon, MyRepublic and some Other ISPs have more work to do, but all have improved.
Copper services show a very different trend with Vodafone now requiring more investment to resolve congestion after months of good performances, and Slingshot continuing their major improvement from last month to now lie within the leading bunch of ISPs.
Latency (delay) and Domain Name Server (DNS) response times are two background parameters that affect Web Browsing performance. There is a lot of focus on "Speed" in the press, though both DNS response time (time to find the IP address of the server) and Latency (time to receive a response from the remote server) influence the responsiveness of the internet. Latency (or lag) is very important to gamers, and DNS failures are very conspicuous when they occur.
TrueNet note an impressive Slingshot improvement with their performance on copper connections in September compared with their August result.
Congestion on the internet continues to be a major issue for many users, but not for all ISPs, Spark continues to be free of congestion on all technologies while 2Degrees is good on copper and Slingshot have almost caught up
Many ISPs are now showing signs of congestion in their fibre products. Only Spark was immune in August 2015. Early users of Fibre connections (supplied via the Ultra Fast Broadband rollout sponsored by Government) found that their usage was consistently close to full speed at all times of day, despite the product being sold as delivering "up to" the speed they bought. Now that demand is growing and many connections are sharing the same backhaul, congestion is reducing speeds in the evenings on many ISPs networks. Chart 7 shows the impact.
Vodafone Cable has a similar network structure to Fibre, where all users share a backhaul from a local node. Vodafone Cable continued to have serious congestion in the evenings right throughout August after having insufficient capacity to support the major increase in on-line video that started with Netflix launch in March.
Provisioning errors remain an issue for Fibre connections.
For international file downloads from the USA on copper connections (ADSL & VDSL), the best ISPs by quite a margin are Slingshot & Vodafone. This translates to also being the best ISPs for downloading the websites we test that are based in the USA.
Only two plans remain with apparent congestion after the launch of multiple movie providers in March; Vodafone's Cable is degraded to a level causing significant consumer complaints, and Slingshot copper services performance variation is greater than other ISPs, although we have not observed complaints.
The May report noted that congestion issues seen since March 2015 appeared to be on the mend and mostly gone. Matching the capacity requirements of consumers is an imperfrect art, and this month there are lingering signs of contention in the evening period. However, network congestion is still better than that experienced a couple months ago.
We include an Other ISP group this month, where we group results from 62 panelists on 19 ISPs. As a group they are the worst performers on all technologies and tests, although while some are not very good, others are able to deliver as good as the best.
Fibre provisioning errors are so frequent TrueNet has resorted to holding back on reporting results until we have confirmed with a panelist that they have the correct service. ISPs need to ensure they are filling orders correctly more often.
DNS Response Time and Latency is reported this month, looking at the difference between North and South Islands. The South Island has greater latency to test points because of greater physical distance, but DNS times show that some ISPs provide for customers better than others.
New Zealand data use soared immediately Netflix launched in mid March 2015, according to Spark, and over the next two months there was not enough capacity for supply to meet demand on some ISPs connections we monitor. But by May the shortfall in supply was mostly satisfied, just a month and a half after the NetFlix launch, demonstrating the highly competitive nature of the ISP market in New Zealand.
Rural Broadband is reported this month with a fresh look at Satellite which, despite high latency, manages to achieve website downloads competitive with ADSL.
April results continue with the same pattern as March where peak evening performance was down from the previous long term trend. TrueNet measurements show reduced speed for file downloads from almost all locations we measure on some ISPs. Increased time to download websites is now featuring strongly, supporting the probablility there is congestion in some networks.
April is worse than March, and we have yet to see whether this is the bottom of the cycle where investment in network capacity resolves congestion.
The market for television and movies on the Internet (Over-the-Top-Technology, or OTT) suddenly took off this year, and March appears to be the month that demand started to impact supply.
While Most ISPs would have increased capacity to prepare for the extra demand, it would appear the balance of supply and demand we have seen for many months is no longer present. In March, both Vodafone and Slingshot had severe DSL performance reductions during the peak demand hours of 8pm to 10pm, while Snap and Spark also dropped significantly.
Netflix announced on March 3rd in Stuff that they were to launch Streaming Video services in New Zealand on the 24th March. With such short notice, ISPs had little time to forecast accurately, and install sufficient supply to meet demand.
In April, Vodafone Cable, Orcon & Slingshot all show a reduction in performance, at the time Netflix videos launched mid March. Our Youtube video download tests showed a significant drop in speed over that period. Note, these slower speeds may still be sufficient to view any video without interruption, depending on the connection speed.