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[liberationtech] Measurement Lab Technical Report on Interconnection Degradation in the United States

Collin Anderson collin at
Tue Oct 28 09:14:07 PDT 2014

Libtech colleagues,

Not the dramatic flare of international emancipatory movements this list
tends towards, but research methodologies and health of the Internet
related. Plus tools and code that might come into use for those other
breathless occasions. Please share!


*ISP Interconnection and its Impact on Consumer Internet Performance:
Introducing A New M-Lab Consortium Technical Report*

We are happy to announce the release of a long-term collaborative research
effort using M-Lab’s data to understand how interconnection impacts
end-user performance. The report, *ISP Interconnection and its Impact on
Consumer Internet Performance*
examines years of network measurement data from across the United States to
determine the effects of network interconnection on the Internet
performance of customers subscribing to specific access ISPs. Alongside
this report, we are also pleased to release the *Internet Observatory*
<> – a dynamic data-visualization tool
that will allow consumers, policymakers, and researchers to better
understand the impact of ISP relationships on their own Internet access and
performance. The Internet Observatory will be updated regularly, allowing
future monitoring and comparison against past performance.

In researching our report, we found clear evidence that interconnection
between major US access ISPs (AT&T, Comcast, CenturyLink, Time Warner
Cable, and Verizon) and transit ISPs Cogent, Level 3, and potentially XO
was correlated directly with degraded consumer performance throughout 2013
and into 2014 (in some cases, ongoing as of publication). Degraded
performance was most pronounced during peak use hours, which points to
insufficient capacity and congestion as a causal factor. Further, by noting
patterns of performance degradation for access/transit ISP pairs that were
synchronized across locations, we were able to conclude that in many cases
degradation was not the result of major infrastructure failures at any
specific point in a network, but rather connected with the business
relationships between ISPs.

This research was conducted over the course of months by a large
collaborative of researchers from within M-Lab and externally. Part of our
commitment to open data and reproducible Internet science stems from our
conviction that the sum of multiple perspectives produces better, richer
interpretations, and thus improves our collective understanding more

To help facilitate review, reproduction, and expansion of this work, M-Lab
is providing the research community with *Telescope*
<>, a tool designed to make
extraction of raw measurements simple and to allow easy reproduction of
this and future research. Beyond telescope, and in keeping with our core
principles, M-Lab makes its full dataset and methodological
documentation available
in the public domain
Please review, revise, and join the discussion on our research discuss
mailing list

*Collin David Anderson* | @cda | Washington, D.C.
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