Helping users shop for ISPs with internet nutrition labels
Srikanth Sundaresan, Nick Feamster, Renata Teixeira, Anthony Tang, W. Keith Edwards, Rebecca E. Grinter, Marshini Chetty, and Walter de Donato. (2011). Helping users shop for ISPs with internet nutrition labels. In HomeNets ’11: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGCOMM workshop on Home networks, ACM, 13–18.
When purchasing home broadband access from Internet service providers (ISPs), users must decide which service plans are most appropriate for their needs. Today, ISPs advertise their available service plans using only generic upload and download speeds. Unfortunately, these metrics do not always accurately reflect the varying performance that home users will experience for a wide range of applications. In this paper, we propose that each ISP service plan carry a "nutrition label" that conveys more comprehensive information about network metrics along many dimensions, including various aspects of throughput, latency, loss rate, and jitter. We first justify why these metrics should form the basis of a network nutrition label. Then, we demonstrate that current plans that are superficially similar with respect to advertised download rates may have different performance according to the label metrics. We close with a discussion of the challenges involved in presenting a nutrition label to users in a way that is both accurate and easy to understand.
access networks, broadband networks, BISMark, benchmarking