Consumers still have a need for speed during the pandemic, but attributes such as latency and jitter are also important, particularly among online gamers.
Verizon Fios is the top gaming ISP among major US service providers while Iowa's Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) was the best among all qualified ISPs, according to a new PCMag study that emphasized jitter and latency performance along with overall raw speeds.
Altice USA's Gaming Quality Index results were a mixed bag. Its Optimum service area, which includes parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and a growing number of areas supported by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network upgrades, fared well in the study, while its more rural Suddenlink service area was at the bottom of the heap with AT&T (U-verse) and Frontier Communications.
CFU topped PCMag's broader ISP study with a Gaming Quality Index of 9.1, the best in the nation, followed by Empire Access and Hotwire. Summit Broadband, Comporium and GVTC Communication were at the bottom of the US ISPs that made the cut.
PCMag's Gaming Quality Index factored in latency (measured in milliseconds) and jitter (a check of the consistency of the latency) of the connection being tested – the lower the number, the better the performance in those categories. "Adding the two provides a number for comparison," PCMag explained in the study, based on tests conducted between December 1, 2019 and November 30, 2020.
PCMag said it used 280,777 US-based tests to quantify the results. ISPs not listed either did not have connections of a high-enough quality on average, or users or ISPs did not use the PCMag test tool often enough. Notably, wireless ISPs seldom made the final results because "they're not great for throughput or low-latency gaming," the study noted.
Those study results enter the picture as low-latency starts to become a greater focus of cable operators and other ISPs as they pursue features and capabilities that go beyond speeds and pricing.
Today’s access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment