Network World Reveals Results of Groundbreaking ISP Backbone Test

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA – DECEMBER 17, 2002 – Network World, Inc. is laying to rest the notion that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot deliver service levels customers are used to getting from established circuit switched networks. In a groundbreaking study of ISP backbone network performance, Network World set out to study the availability and reliability of the Internet – is it good enough to support mission critical business applications? The answer was a resounding yes.


In our test, we placed measurement devices on the networks of seven ISPs at four locations across the country and collected over 156 million measurements on uptime, data loss (packet loss) and delay. The results show that some routed IP network backbones now meet or exceed telecommunications-grade performance. Highlights from this test include:

Cable & Wireless and Savvis delivered picture perfect 100% uptime.

WilTel and Level 3 met the five-nines standard for availability.

Average jitter measurements were well below levels that would hurt application performance.

Total packet (data) loss amounted to less than 0.01% of the 4.5 billion packets passed back and forth.

Internet measurement experts Andrew Corlett and Robert Mandeville and Network World Global Test Alliance member David Newman of Network Test, conducted this largest public network backbone test for Network World. For nearly a month, measurements were collected non-stop, resulting in an astounding 4.5 billion packets passed across these network links. The seven participating ISPs were Cable & Wireless, Level 3 Communications, Qwest Communications, Savvis Communications, Sprint, Verio and WilTel Communications.

Even before a single measurement was obtained, the Network World testing team went through many rounds of conference calls with each provider, months of careful planning, and weeks of logistical legwork managing each participating ISP vendor. "The expertise, knowledge and experience of our testing team allows Network World to conduct tests of this magnitude," comments Christine Burns, Network World Global Test Alliance director. "Network World went out into the real world for this groundbreaking study in order to give our readers what they demand — insightful information about network products and services."

The Network World Global Test Alliance (GTA), a coalition of industry experts, network integration consultants, independent test labs and universities, conducts single-product reviews and head-to-head comparative tests that are published in Network World. The GTA, formed in 1992, currently comprises 14 members and has tested well over 200 enterprise products and services annually. For more information on the Network World GTA, its members, and published reviews, visit

About Network World

Network World, Inc., the Leader in Network Knowledge, empowers Network IT Executives through education, information and community. Network World is the leading provider of news, analysis, reviews, events and education on information technology. Network World publishes the leading newsweekly, Network World, hosts the most active online community, Network World Fusion (, and produces educational seminars and events worldwide. Network World's portfolio of strategic marketing programs provides marketing and agency professionals with the tools to generate high-quality leads, optimize marketing campaigns, and create new revenue opportunities.

About International Data Group

Network World, Inc. is a division of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research and event company. IDG publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers and offers online users the largest network of technology-specific sites around the world through (, which comprises more than 330 targeted Web sites in 80 countries. IDG is also a leading producer of 168 computer-related events worldwide, and IDG's research company, IDC, provides global market intelligence and advice through 51 offices in 43 countries worldwide. Company information is available at