Internet Traffic Report

Most of us have at one time or another wondered why the Internet seems slow today. And we never had a way to find out if the Internet is slow globally or if it was just our connection or our ISP having problems. Someone listened and came up with a tool to measure the relative speed of the Internet globally and give us a partial answer to our question:

What they are doing is having many computers doing pings to different places and gathering that data every 15 minutes and comparing that data to the data gathered over the previous seven days and coming up with a numeric score for how well Internet traffic is flowing in different areas of the world. Whew, that was a long sentence for such a short number as shown in the little icon to the left.

A ping is a network tool used to see if a computer is online with the Internet or not. Our computer sends a short message asking 'Are you there'. And the other computer, if it's online, will respond 'Yes, here I am'. Normally 4 pings are sent and then two measurements can be made. How many answers were returned and how long did it take for the answer to come back. Those measurements are translated into packet loss (how many packets were not answered) and how long did it take (measured in milliseconds) to get the answer. And when numerically compared with the same pings done every 15 minutes over the last 7 days, these people then put a numeric score on that answer, with 0 being down and out and 100 being a perfect score.
From what I have seen over the weekends, the numbers seem to stay in the low 60's. During the day on weekdays, the numbers seem to routinely drop down to the low 50's. If the numbers get much lower than that, it means that Internet traffic will be quite slow.

For instance, if North America is showing 62, that would be a normal reading and you should expect normal surfing speed. If that number drops to 25, expect serious slowness in surfing. If North America is at 62 and Europe is at 24, expect that any website in North America to be normal speed and any site in Europe to be slow.

However these are just general indications. Any single site can be in trouble via a down circuit or off line or drowning in heavy traffic. That won't show up in these numbers. Also if your ISP is having trouble with their internal equipment, expect all surfing to be slow until they fix it and that won't be reflected in the numbers posted either.

So in recap, this won't necessarily tell you why any single website is running slow, but it can tell you if all sites are going to be slow or if all sites from South America will be slow.



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