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Measuring broadband access network performance in Pakistan: A comparative study

Author(s): Awan, MF; Ahmad, T; Qaisar, S; Feamster, Nick; Sundaresan, S

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Abstract: Although broadband Internet relishes wide penetration in Pakistan, performance of fixed and wireless broadband networks have not been thoroughly investigated from perspective of end-users. To the best of our knowledge, no independent study exists to date documenting home user broadband experience in Pakistan. This dearth of information is troubling as benchmarking broadband performance is fundamentally important for consumers in Pakistan due to its big Internet market. To address this gap, we conducted a pilot study of both fixed landline and fixed wireless broadband connections in Pakistan through deployment of programmable wireless routers for home users. Our work is inspired by (and compares to) a previous study of fixed and wireless broadband performance in South Africa that was published in 2013, drawing comparisons to previous work where appropriate. We measure the performance of both fixed landline and fixed wireless ISPs. Our findings agree with the findings of this previous work, suggesting that (1) consumers in Pakistan are not getting advertised speeds; (2) wireless broadband satisfies the advertised performance bounds better than wired broadband in a majority of cases under consideration; (3) network latency often contributes to performance bottlenecks more than throughput; and (4) ISPs in Pakistan shapes internet traffic in order to bring in compliance with desired traffic shape. Limiting factors such as latency mean that investing in local server infrastructure and rich peering between different ISPs will also make a significant difference in improving the Internet experience for users in Pakistan.
Publication Date: 28-Dec-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 2015
Citation: Awan, MF, Ahmad, T, Qaisar, S, Feamster, N, Sundaresan, S. (2015). Measuring broadband access network performance in Pakistan: A comparative study. 2015-December (595 - 602. doi:10.1109/LCNW.2015.7365903
DOI: doi:10.1109/LCNW.2015.7365903
Pages: 595 - 602
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings - Conference on Local Computer Networks, LCN
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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