The Broadband Forum is launching the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Speed Test, an open source project that it says will provide more accurate speed assessments tools as FTTP networks push overall network speeds and as latency tolerances shrink.
The new approach will quantify and verify ultra-fast broadband networks. The key is the replacement of the transmission control protocol (TCP) that had formed the basis of much of the network testing performed in the past with UDP.
TCP, the forum says, becomes less accurate as speeds increase – with the degradation more acute when speeds exceed 500 Mbps. This is increasingly problematic both because such networks are proliferating and because regulators and end users are being pushing service providers to be more accurate. Better testing also is important for measuring latency in applications such as augmented reality, virtual reality and gaming.
“User experience is at the core of any service provider’s offering, and today’s consumers expect their broadband service to deliver speed, low latency and seamlessness,” Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said in a press release. “A benefit to both providers and consumers, the UDP Speed Test is a game-changer, providing a criterion to ensure next-generation networks meet industry-wide expectations and can deliver the connected services we consume every day.”
The base code for the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Speed Test will be provided by AT&T. The Broadband Forum says that major international and US operators have signed up, though they are not named in the press release. The metrics and measurements performed by the speed test are defined in Broadband Forum’s IP Layer Capacity Metrics and Measurement (TR-471) specification.
Understanding network performance is increasingly important. The Broadband Forum has other ongoing initiatives that address testing, measurement and analysis of quality and service in their Performance, Experience and Application Testing (PEAT) Project Stream.