LIRNEasia has been engaged with price benchmarks and quality of service experience (QoSE) of broadband services since 2007. Both products have have demonstrated demand.
Broadband Prices: Broadband prices are collected annually for all eight SAARC countries and for the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. As mobile broadband (USB dongle based packages) are gaining popularity, LIRNEasia begun reporting on both fixed and mobile broadband tariffs. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defines broadband as a minimum speed of 256 Kbps. Therefore, the tariffs reported are for unlimited data packages (where available) with advertised speeds of 256 Kbps, 512 Kbps and 2 Mbps. The price per GB for the lowest cost limited data package offered by the service provider with the highest market share (in terms of subscriber base) is also reported. While the same is reported for mobile / USB dongle based connections, the distinction by package speed is not possible in all cases as most service providers now advertise the dongle speed (e.g. Up to 3.6 Mbps) and differentiate packages on data limits.
Broadband QoSE: In 2007, LIRNEasia in collaboration with IIT Madras designed a user oriented diagnostic methodology (the ‘AsokaTissa’ methodology) to test the QoSE of the end user. In order to normalize anomalies in the network, the methodology suggests the tests are carried out at six time slots per day (08:00, 11:00, 15:00, 18:00, 20:00, 23:00) on multiple days covering both weekdays and weekends. The use of the three domains (ISP – a server located within the service provider’s network, National – a server located within another service provider’s network in the country, International – a server located beyond the first U.S. Point-of-Presence) sets the AT Tester apart from the rest of its kind. As the service degradation becomes apparent, it helps in identifying potential bottlenecks of the network. The metrics measured are Download speed (Kbps), Upload Speed (Kbps), RTT (ms), Jitter (ms), Packet-Loss (%) and Network availability (%).
In the initial phase tests were carried out manually. Phase 2 of the project saw the automation of the test process where the application, the AT Tester was developed (by Nilgiri Networks, Pune, India). It was used for LIRNEasia’s QoSE benchmarking activities from 2008 – 2011. In 2012 the software was revamped and has been in use since. While the QoSE reports prove to be useful for LIRNEasia’s work, it is our vision that the tool will be implemented by regulatory bodies and the results used to define research based policies and regulations on broadband QoS standards. With this vision in mind, in 2012, the software was revamped (by We Are Designers, Colombo, Sri Lanka) and tailor-made for the use of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs).
The AT Tester
The Broadband Quality of Service Experience diagnostic tool (here) designed to test 6 parameters (Upload, Download, Latency, Jitter, Packet Loss and Network Availability) across 3 domains (ISP, National and International).
Galpaya H., and Zuhyle S. (2011). South Asian Broadband Service Quality: Diagnosing the Bottlenecks.
Broadband QoSE testing: Why AT-Tester? Why not Speedtest? (Paper by Timothy Gonsalves comparing AT-Tester with Speedtest.net and other test tools)
Using Volunteer Computing for monitoring Broadband QoSE (Paper Presented by Nilusha Kapugama at the workshop ‘Beyond Broadband Access’ in Washington DC Sept 22-24)
Links to past Broadband QoSE project pages
2006-2007 (Includes preliminary test results, speeches and presentations)
2008-2010 (Includes media coverage, papers & rapid responses by LIRNEasia)