Connection Quality

What Makes Internet Service Feel Fast?

There are multiple metrics that factor into making our internet connections feel fast. Most companies focus on just bandwidth, because it’s the simplest metric to advertise. JackRabbit, in addition to offering high bandwidth, also focuses on optimizing additional internet performance metrics such as DNS Resolution, Latency, and Bufferbloat. Achieving optimal performance in all of these metrics is the key to an internet connection that feels fast, stable, and responsive.

"Web page load time is largely determined not by throughput, but by two other factors: how long a network round-trip takes, and how many network round-trips are required."

Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group - Latency Expalined

Latency

Latency is the round-trip delay time – the one-way latency from source to destination plus the one-way latency from the destination back to the source.

Latency impacts internet performance much more than bandwidth alone. A user with a low-latency connection (0-100ms) will experience the internet as being much faster than someone with a high-latency connection (100-600ms), even when the low-latency plan offers less bandwidth (Mbps)!

Many common internet tasks require a connection with low latency (<100ms):

  • Live video conferencing
    • Zoom, Skype, Teams, Tele-medicine
  • Voice over internet protocol (VoIP)
    • WiFi Calling, MagicJack, Ooma
  • Online video games

Satellite internet performs poorly for these tasks due to its high latency of 600ms or more. By contrast, fixed wireless networks such as JackRabbit connect users to towers just a few miles away, leading to much lower latency than satellite internet.

Domain Name Resolution

When you visit a website on the internet, such as Google, a Domain Name System (DNS) server resolves that URL – google.com – into an IP address your computer can use to reach the server – such as 8.8.8.8. It takes a few milliseconds for that DNS resolution to happen, as your computer communicates with the DNS server and waits for a response. The further away that DNS server is located, the longer that DNS lookup takes.

By keeping DNS servers as close to the end-user as possible, website load times are reduced by a few milliseconds. With the thousands of requests to-and-from web server happening each second, those milliseconds add up – so fast DNS resolution helps connections feel much faster, even with equivalent bandwidth (Mbps).

Most large ISP do DNS resolution on servers located hundreds of miles away in Phoenix or Dallas, as it is more convenient for them from a network engineering perspective. JackRabbit instead does DNS resolution as close to our clients as possible. This is part of why JackRabbit feels so fast.

Smart Queue Management

JackRabbit uses a Smart Queue Management (SQM) system to control latency and bufferbloat, providing a more streamlined internet experience for customers. With SQM, your WiFi calls, zoom calls, and games receive greater priority than large file downloads or other “bulk” tasks occurring in the background. SQM provides a more “responsive” and “snappy” end-user internet experience than you would find from Satellite Internet, Cable Internet, or in some cases, even fiber.

When we install service for new customers – they often express that Netflix, web browsing, and gaming perform much better with JackRabbit than with their prior ISP. We often see Netflix load times go from 30s to 3s, even in cases where their previous ISP offered the same bandwidth. It’s not bandwidth that makes that difference – it’s Smart Queue Management.

JackRabbit developed its own Smart Queue Management system for ISPs, releasing it as free and open-source software. Our goal is to improve the experience of internet users across the world. Our SQM system has now been deployed by dozens of other ISPs in more than 6 countries, with tens of thousands of internet users benefiting from the software.

Bufferbloat

Bufferbloat is the undesirable latency that comes from network equipment buffering too much data. Cable and phone internet providers suffer from significant buffer-bloat under load, which can make connections feel slow even when bandwidth tests show normal results.

Find out if you experience bufferbloat using the Waveform Bufferbloat Test.

Satellite Internet

Cable Internet

JackRabbit