RealTime IT News

Report: Call Failure Rate At All-Time Low

A new study of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) conducted by Inverse Network Technology, Inc. showed that the average call failure rate for major ISPs fell below 4% for the first time last month.

The measurement service firm said Netizens who used modems to go online had a better than 96% chance of connecting on their first dial-in try during August.

In fact, the rate of Internet connectivity is twice as good as results from the same time last year, according to Inverse.

The company said the average call failure rate fell to 3.8% during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hour-period and to 3.6% for 24-hour periods. In August, 1997 the business hour failure rate equaled 8.0% and the 24-hour call failure rate reached 7.6%.

Call failure rate, as measured by Inverse, tracks the likelihood of a user failing to connect to an ISP on the first try due to problems such as busy signals, unanswered calls, failed logins and modem problems. Inverse said it measures approximately 1,000 POPs (points of presence) per month in 42 metropolitan areas.

"We've observed a steady improvement in call failure rate over the last year," said Inverse CEO Mike Watters. "This indicates that ISP infrastructure investments--particularly bigger modem banks that can handle larger call volumes--are paying off in terms of perceptible benefits to end users."

The study indicated that Mondays proved to be unreliable in getting a first-try connection with a business-hour call failure rate averaging 5.2%. In comparison, Fridays had an average connect failure rate of 3.3 for every 100 access calls.

Inverse said the ISPs that delivered quality service during peak business hours were FASTNET, GridNet (now part of WorldCom Advanced Networks) and BellSouth.net. In August, FASTNET's failure rate was just 1.5% and the other two ISPs weighed in with call failure rates under 2%.

An additional eight ISPs came in under the 3% failure rate: GTE, Ameritech.net, Concentric Network, UUNET Technologies, MSN Internet Access, EarthLink Network, America Online and BellAtlantic.net.

However, according to the report, while AOL was tops during daytime hours with a 2.7% business hour failure rate, it dipped sharply during evening hours (6 p.m. to midnight) when the majority of its consumer users tend to log in.

"It's worth noting that AOL was far more apt to get users on the Internet reliably during the business day than during the nighttime hours when the consumers it caters to actually log on," he said. "Perhaps small businesses in the U.S. should start to consider AOL as a viable business-hour service provider that offers them the added advantages of low subscription rates and flexible nationwide access."