Saturday, May 7, 2016

Connection speeds from the LACNIC 25 Conference, hotels and the Google-Kcho Center

The LACNIC 25 Conference was held at the Havana Convention Center (Palacio de Convenciones) this week and Doug Madory, a frequent contributor to this blog, was there and sent me speed tests from the Convention Center and his hotel:

Convention Center speed test

Hotel speed test

Doug also forwarded a hotel speed test run by another attendee, Martin Hannigan, @TheIcelandGuy:

Hotel speed test

Access at the hotels was what we have come to expect -- around 1 mbps -- but connectivity at the Convention Center was much faster. I don't know whether that much bandwidth is always available at the Convention Center or if ETECSA allocated extra resources for this hi-tech conference.

Doug's next speed test was run at the Google-Kcho Center. As shown below, he used one of the center's chromebooks and connectivity was about four times the speed of the hotels.

Google-Kcho center speed test

Doug said there were maybe 4 or 5 chromebooks in use at the time he ran the test -- "Mostly young people on Facebook so not bandwidth intensive."

It is clear from this that the initial report that the center would provide connectivity for 40 simultaneous users at 70 times the speed of ETECSA's public hotspots, was incorrect. My guess is that they should have said 70 mbps backhaul shared among all the users currently online.

Finally, it is interesting to note that all four link speeds are roughly symmetric. We expect download speeds to be faster than upload speeds in the US because we download a lot more than we upload -- about 70% of our downstream, peak-period traffic is streaming entertainment.

But, in Cuba, home connections are over dial-up lines and the connections at public access spots and hotels are too slow for video entertainment. One mbps is fast enough for audio and even low-quality video chats, so symmetric bandwidth makes sense (as long as Cuba has El Paquete for the distribution of entertainment).

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