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AOL Wins Key Inverse Benchmark

America Online came out on top in Inverse Network Technology's latest statistics measuring network performance.

AOL posted the top rated Web PageTime-to-Download (TTD) statistics and was the only provider of 28 tested to receive an A rating for the number of seconds it takes to download a web page.

The Web Page Time-to-Download (TTD) metric is a new Inverse IMS BenchMark metric that measures the average number of seconds it takes to download a web page. Twenty popular test sites including Yahoo!, Schwab and MTV were used to complete the TTD testing. The Inverse metric is the first testing method to take into consideration compression and caching factors.

America Online received an A rating with an average TTD rate of 27.64 seconds. AOL downloads proved to be nearly three seconds faster than BellSouth, with an average TTD rate of 30.43 seconds. No provider received an A+ rating.

Providers who received a B rating include BellSouth, Pacific Bell Internet Services, Sprint, MindSpring and Bell Atlantic.

USWest and Prodigy TTD rates barely beat the industry average of 33.93 seconds.

Sprint took top honors in Web throughput speeds, coming in just under 3.20 kilobytes of data transmitted per second. Despite its top performance ranking, AOL's Web throughput of 2.83 KBPS was only slightly better than the industry average of 2.79 KBPS. The Web throughput metric measures the average number of bytes per second for a web download.

"The discrepancy between AOL's Web throughput and page download scores can be attributed to AOL's pioneering use of certain data-compression and data-caching technologies," said Mike Watters, Inverse president and chief executive officer.

According to the Inverse report, the likelihood of failing to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the first attempt increased in December 1998 when compared to the same month of the previous year. The December 1998 call failure rate was 8.5 percent, just slightly worse than the 8 percent rate reported the previous December.

Watters said the call failure test results do not necessarily mean the ISPs fell down on the job in December. "At first glance it might appear from the data that ISPs slowed their infrastructure investments as the year went on," Watters said. "But what's really happened is that this was the first holiday season when electronic commerce became a serious venture."

Of the 28 national ISPs tested, only AT&T WorldNet earned a perfect grade on call failure rate during the fourth quarter of 1998.

Inverse's U.S. Internet Measurement Service measures ISP results in 42 metropolitan regions selected to represent a majority of the U.S. Internet community. Measurements are taken 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for at least a 10-day period each month.

Tests are conducted on approximately 1,000 points of presence (POPs) per month using consumer PCs running Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and a 33.6-Kbps modem. Each ISP is tested against 20 web sites. Industry averages are based on measurements of 13 popular national ISPs.



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