the digital inquisition


Internet performance in NZ

By  , in , posted: 26-May-2007 20:09

NZ seems to have very modest broadband capacity to overseas.

From what I measured on an Xnet ADSL line in Christchurch one can't reach Europe in less than 350 ms round-trip time (London's exchange point linx in 350 ms, and Frankfurt's decix in 400 ms) and even connections to North America take quite a while (New York's NYIIX in 290 ms and Los Angeles' LAIIX in 210 ms) and these values aren't noticeably better with other NZ ISPs.

This lag becomes problematical when using time-critical applications, like VoIP. Especially in peak hours VoIP connections to Germany are sometimes interrupted and/or of minor quality.

According to this page the "Southern Cross Cable", connecting NZ via Hawaii to LA, has a delay of 40.01 ms on segment C (NZ-Hawaii) and additionally 20.68 ms on segment D (Hawaii-LA), so that should be 61ms in total to LA.
I understand, that there's some delay on IP-basis but I can't understand why latency acutally triples, when you ping LA (from 61 ms to more than 200ms).

Obviously NZ's internet capcity and especially the transit routes to overseas are insufficient.

Since Telstra plans its own undersea fibre cable connectiong Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii I hope the situation will improve, but that may take a while.

Is the "Southern Cross Cable" NZ's only fibre connection to the rest of the world? No other cable going to you folks?




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Comment by juha, on 27-May-2007 11:09

That's a lovely map - I thought gutta percha was used for golf and ping pong balls only; didn't know it was used in cables as well.

Anyway, the latency on Telecom's DSL network is pretty high, if you have interleaving error correction enabled (there are pros and cons to this, so if you decide to ask your ISP to remove it, read up first). My Wired Country connection has something like 13ms latency to the first hop, and 25-40ms nationally. DSL can have similar latency as well.

Pinging so2-0-0-0.labr4.global-gateway.net.nz which I believe is situated somewhere in Telecom/Global Gateway's Los Angeles landing point, I get around 160ms RTTs. Europe however, I see the same figures as you do, which doesn't make for a good experience. It depends on how your traffic is routed by the ISP and its upstream providers.

There are more cables than the SCC connecting NZ. I'm not sure how many there are, but I believe there are a number between us and Australia (including one operated by the SCC) and think there may be one to Japan as well.

You can get an idea of how you're connected to the world by using Perry Lorier's excellent Traceroute page.


Comment by timestyles, on 27-May-2007 23:22

On an associated note, I read recently on the Computerworld local newspaper that if the Telstra cable goes ahead, the cost to NZ internet users may increase, due to NZ basically paying for most of the Southern Cross Cable traffic. 


Author's note by inquisitor, on 27-May-2007 23:41

Why should prices increase when competition intensifies? The motivation to lay an own submarine cable is cost-saving. Telstra wouldn't invest in such a project, if it wouldn't promise financial advantages over hiring capacity on existing cables, would they?


Comment by freitasm, on 28-May-2007 09:54

Perhaps the CW writer came to the conclusion that two cables would reduce the Southern Cross Cable revenues and the company would put the price up?


 


Comment by freelancer, on 5-Jun-2007 19:03

Re Latency - the 60ms you calculate for the Southern Cross cable is for traffic in only one direction - whereas the delay measured by PING is for a packet to go out there, and then for the reply to come back. On that basis, the Southern Cross cable itself would be responsible for at least 122ms of the ping-time you measured. The rest can be easily soaked up in the local metro backbones (probably around 15-20ms of the total), the ADSL link latency (about 20ms), leaving only another 20-40ms for other routers, congestion queues, and the possibility the traffic didn't go down that Southern Cross path, but rather went the other way around the ring.



Love the map though!


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