Performance

What Makes Internet Service Fast?

A few factors come into play. Most internet providers focus solely on bandwidth (Megabits-per-second, or Mbps), because it is the simplest metric to advertise. But in addition to offering high bandwidth, JackRabbit also delivers Whole-Home WiFi and low-latency under load (bufferbloat). Achieving optimal performance in these multiple metrics is the key to an internet connection that feels fast, stable, and responsive.

WiFi

Most ISPs provide customers a single WiFi router, charging a monthly rental fee of $5 or so. Typical WiFi routers can only cover around 1500 sqft before performance degrades significantly – causing WiFi performance issues in the far ends of the home.

We take a more proactive approach – providing our customers with Mesh WiFi at no additional monthly cost. This ensures thorough WiFi coverage across every room of the home.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. Usually this is measured in Megabits-per-second.

Surprisingly, bandwidth does not impact performance as much as advertisers would lead us to believe. Here is an excerpt from the recent research paper Understanding the Metrics of Internet Broadband Access: How Much Is Enough?

Bandwidth primarily impacts how long it takes to download large single files (game release downloads, video editing files). Performance for everything else we do day-to-day on the internet (video streaming, VoIP, conference calling) – all comes down to Latency, and Latency under Load (bufferbloat).

Latency

Latency can be thought of as the time it takes a message sent from your device to reach its destination, plus the time it takes to receive a response back.

Latency impacts internet performance much more than bandwidth alone. A user with a low-latency 25 Mbps connection (0-100ms) will experience the internet as being much faster than someone with a high-latency 300 Mbps connection (100-600ms).

For online gaming, latency is crucial. Recent research confirms that latency is more important than bandwidth for online gaming.

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

Responsiveness / Bufferbloat

When we install service for new customers – they often express that Netflix, web browsing, and gaming feel faster with JackRabbit than with their previous ISP. We often see Netflix video loading times go from 30 seconds to 3 seconds, even in cases where their previous ISP offered comparable bandwidth. This is due to a phenomena called Bufferbloat.

Many of us take it for granted that it is “normal” for a video call to stutter or disconnect when someone else on the same home network is watching a 4K video. That is actually a symptom of Bufferbloat. Bufferbloat is the undesirable latency that results from network equipment buffering too much data. Connections with high Bufferbloat have lower perceived responsiveness.

Cable and DSL internet services suffer from significant Bufferbloat, which can make these connections feel slow even when speed tests show normal bandwidth (Mbps).

JackRabbit uses a Smart Queue Management (SQM) system to keep latency and bufferbloat as low as possible. This provides a more streamlined internet experience for our customers. With SQM, your WiFi calls, zoom calls, and online games are prioritized over large file downloads or other so-called “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.

Satellite Internet

Cable Internet

JackRabbit

JackRabbit developed its own Smart Queue Management system for ISPs, releasing it as free and open-source software. Our SQM platform has now been deployed by ISPs around the world, with tens of thousands of internet users benefiting from its performance benefits.

In recent years, Bufferbloat, SQM, and responsiveness have become recognized as crucial for understanding and improving internet performance. Here are some excerpts from the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group’s recent paper Latency Explained:

Queue management techniques such as Active Queue Management are available that will reduce bufferbloat in network bottleneck equipment by triggering applications to reduce the amount of queuing delay that they cause. This is not theoretical; AQM has been proven to work at scale in DOCSIS and other networks.

The less delay that a network or application has, the more “responsive” a service will feel to an end user. The more delay (or lag), the worse it will feel.

Critically, however, reducing delay meaningfully improves all existing user applications.

Find out if you experience Bufferbloat on your home internet connection using the Waveform Bufferbloat Test.