RealTime IT News

Inverse: ISPs Improve Net Performance

The Internet posted its strongest performance to date, according to the latest report released today by Inverse Network Technology, in which the performance of 25 leading Internet Service Providers was tested.

Inverse's findings for the fourth quarter 1997 show that ISPs are continuing to improve their call failure rates, or the amount of times a user encounters busy signals or other logon problems.

The call failure rate dropped from an average of 12.5% in September to 7.9% in December during peak consumer usage hours of 6:00 p.m. to midnight. Within a 24-hour time frame, ISP call failure rates dropped from 8.3% in September to 5.2% in December.

According to Inverse's measurements, the average time it takes to download popular consumer Web pages (such as ESPN Sportszone and CNN) was 41.5 seconds in December, a slight decrease from the September rate of 41.8 seconds. Inverse reported Web throughput, including graphics files and Java applets, averaged 2.03 Kbytes/second, an increase of one percent over the third quarter.

Inverse also noted that ISPs successfully sent e-mail 95% of the time, and the messages are received within 5 minutes after being sent. Average upload speed in December was 7.4 Kbps, compared to 6.9 Kbps in September. Download rates averaged 6.5 Kbps in December, compared to 5.9 Kbps in September.

As to Internet performance by day of the week, Mondays show the worst call rate failure, with an average rate of 8.9%, compared to 5.2% throughout the week. Broken down even further, the worst time of day for call failure rates is 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. local time.

"Our testing showed that, in general, users experienced a higher level of Internet performance at the end of 1997 than they did at the beginning of the year," said Michael Watters, president and CEO of Inverse Network Technology.

"The Internet became a more reliable place to conduct business by the end of 1997 for two reasons. First, ISPs invested heavily in infrastructure to improve performance during the year. Second, business customers are demanding and getting service level agreements from ISPs that specify performance and reliability."

Inverse also introduced today a new ISP rating system that uses such performance measures as call success rate and throughput. ISPs can receive grades of A+, A, B, C or D. Those ISPs receiving A+ grades for call failure rates include BellSouth.net and Erol's, and those rating A+ grades for Web throughput include Sprint Internet Passport.