Last week I was in Guilin China for Connect 2007. Chinese friends called Guilin the most beautiful place in China, so I decided to stay over the weekend to see the sights (unedited conference and sightseeing photos here). Between blogging the Connect conference and being there for three additional days, I ended up using the Internet more than I have on my last three trips to China combined. Wow, what a pain. I mentioned my set up and some of my problems in this earlier post.
Connectivity to sites within China is was just fine. For example, here are results between Guilin and Shenzhen at different times of the day over several days:
The problem arises the moment you want to access sites outside of China. Suddenly bandwidth drops and packet loss soars. Here are tests to Japan and the Philippines, but the story is similar to Europe and the US.
These measurements were all with one ISP in one city but when I mentioned my problem to Chinese friends who routinely travel within China on business, they're response was "Oh yes, bandwidth to the outside is always a problem. It's probably government policy to keep it that way."
I can't tell if the bottleneck is in the physical links or in the speed of the equipment that implements the Great China Firewall, but somewhere there's a capacity problem that's causing queued packets to be dropped.