Is My Internet Fast Enough?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked at Azzaron during the testing process is "will my Internet connection be sufficient for hosted desktops?"

Azzaron uses sophisticated compression technology to improve the customer experience, but there are some minimum specifications for enhancing usability and system speed.

Many IaaS users take advantage of mobile and consumer-grade connections that work great for a few employees.  When an office has more than ten users, a business-grade Internet connection is typically recommended.  A good rule of thumb when purchasing business-grade services is to calculate 1Mb of Internet connection per every two users (i.e. an office of 40 people should have a minimum 20Mb Internet connection).

IMPORTANT: When looking at Internet speeds, notice that they are expressed in bits, not Bytes.  The small b at the end of Kb, Mb, or Gb indicates Kilobits, Megabits, or Gigabits (one thousand bits, one million bits, and one billion bits, respectively).  A big B at the end of KB, MB, or GB (KiloBytes, MegaBytes, or GigaBytes) is a usually indicates capacity since Bytes are made of up bits.*

The faster an Internet connection is, generally speaking, the better desktops will perform.  There are other considerations that also affect usability and stability.  Those factors include, but are not limited to: latency (discussed here as ping time, referring to amount of time it takes data to travel between points, namely being an Azzaron datacenter and a customer endpoint), jitter (the consistency of the connection), and uptime (the presence of a connection).

Business-grade sevices include Fiber, EoC, T1/T3, fixed wireless, and some cable deployments.  Typically they will have better, ping, jitter, and uptime than consumer-grade services like DSL and cable.  But the biggest and most obvious differentiator between service classes is speed symetry, which indicates if a connection has the same upload speed as download speed.  An assymetrical connection--typical of consuder-grade--means that the upload speed is slower than the download speed.  But it gets just a little more complex than speed; when considering an assymetrical connection it's also important to look at percentages.  For example, if you have 50 x 5 line (stated as 50Mb download and 5Mb upload speeds) the upload speed utilization is the same as the download speed utilization in percentages.  So if your connection is uploading at a 2Mb speed, then 40% of the line is utilized, leaving only 30Mb left for download!  In a business with lots of busy users, you can see how this calculation quickly eats up available bandwidth.

For the examples below, we used www.speedtest.net and Azzaron's NOC monitoring platform Observium to gather information.

The Internet speed test indicates great ping times (low latency) and a very fast download speed.  We would recommend this connection for a maximum of 12 users given the upload speed of 6Mb with the calculation we defined above.

speedtest1

speedtest2

The ping time listed on the speed test is the return time of data from the test site, not to Azzaron's datacenter.  So this is not indicative of quality of connection a customer will receive.  Speaking in generalities once again, users must have ping times under 100 milliseconds (1/10 of a second) to have an acceptable hosted desktop experience.

Azzaron's global monitoring shows us not just ping times from the customer to the nearest testing location, but from the customer all the way to an Azzaron datacenter.  Shorter ping times (lower latency is better) are great, but jitter will also affect experience.  In these two examples, the second customer has shorter ping times and a more stable connection to their Azzaron-hosted infrastructure.

 speedtest3

speedtest4

Azzaron is unique as an IaaS hosting company because, as an end-to-end provider, we monitor customer conections and work with your ISP to help identify and elminate potential issues.  Contact us to find out how we can ensure your best desktop experience.

 

* There are further complications to the speed and capacity calculations like route hops, base 8 vs. base 10 numbering calculations, etc. that are outside the scope of this article.

 

To see the latest bandwidth info, definition of terms, and updates to this and other support tools, visit http://support.azzaron.com/kb/support/item/80-internet-support-iaas.

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