If you are interested in the FCC's broadband measurement program or in Verizon's FiOS service, here's some info. I've been a FiOS customer since July 2005 and I've been an FCC measurement site since their program began in December 2010. Until last month, the monthly reports routinely showed rock solid performance at the advertised rate of 15/5 Mbps with less than 15 ms delay and less than 0.05% packet loss.
Beginning last month and more obvious in this month's report we saw our service degrade and then come back. Of all the measurements, it was delay and packet loss which best reflected what we were sensing.
During the entire period, bandwidth measurements were unaffected:
But over some weeks, something seemed to be happening. Some transactions seemed to take longer than expected. Well, it's visible when you look at latency and packet loss. Delay was creeping up above 20 ms and then above 30 ms with packet loss going up to and above 1%. Then on Feb 24th, Verizon did something (split a PON segment? added capacity on a backhaul?) that fixed the problems. Look at these graphs:
Seeing this with Verizon and SamKnows (the FCC's measurement contractor) was reassuring as, at netBlazr, I'd already decided the most sensitive way to measure performance was by looking at latency and packet loss. We find the open source program SmokePing is the single most useful measure of our network's performance -- a single graphic shows both latency and packet loss.
As an example, here is a SmokePing graphic for a netBlazr member that was having problems, showing before and after the problem was fixed. If only I had been monitoring SmokePing at that time, I could have found and fixed this problem on Monday rather than Tuesday afternoon. :( We know better now!