The Internet connection into your home or business is why you have slow Internet.
This connection is the “last mile”.
Understanding this connection has business implications. It is the Internet access shrouded in the most controversy. It is the connection content providers have the least control over.
I want to provide information on this area of the Internet. This way we understand how this affects our everyday Internet speed.
Here are eight topics that affect Internet speed in the last mile.
Last Mile Internet
Last mile Internet refers to the Internet connection leading into your home or office. This is the final stretch of an Internet connection. The last mile.
It is an important area of the Internet as it is where content providers have the least control. It falls prey to artificial congestion, net neutrality infringement, poor infrastructure, and censorship.
The last mile consists of tier 3 Internet providers. These are the providers an individual is purchasing an Internet service from. It is discussed as how much bandwidth you will receive.
The Internet is a complex web of cables. These cables span oceans, land, and cities. All to connect your home or business to your favorite businesses and services. In this web of cables, there are three tiers of Internet providers.
Tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3.
Tier 1 providers are the providers connecting large Internet exchange points. These are the exchange points that span continents.
Tier 2 providers are those connecting continent spanning exchange points to local Internet service providers (ISP’s).
Tier 3 Internet providers are the ISP’s connecting to individual homes and office buildings. This is where the last mile lies.
There is another area that concerns Internet speed and the final mile of Internet access. This is the exchange points that connect the 3 tiers of Internet providers. These exchange points also connect different Internet providers within the same tier.
Internet Exchange Points
Internet exchange points are where Internet connections change. They move between service provider tiers and competing service providers. This creates the bottleneck in speed. In the connection to move Internet traffic form one provider to another.
The Internet exchange point concerning the last mile is the connection to a tier 3 Internet provider. This is the point where loss of control of your Internet connection occurs.
The Internet exchange point is the beginning of the last mile Internet. This is the area with the most speed implications.
Unobstructed access to high speed Internet. The free flow of information.
Net neutrality is important in keeping the Internet free, open, and democratized. That means ensuring last mile providers are not charging different rates for different content. Also, ensuring the Internet stays a public utility.
The net neutrality debate centers on local ISP’s keeping networks as a public utility.
Artificial Internet Congestion
Artificial congestion occurs in the last mile. This is the result of ISP’s infringing upon net neutrality. This is ISP’s slowing certain content. An ISP will claim this as “network management”. When an ISP is slowing a content providers streaming service and not their own, it has moved beyond network management.
In most cases, the only place artificial congestion occurs is at the local ISP level. This would mean that a Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, or Comcast is the culprit. This is the importance of understanding the last mile.
You do not want to be on the receiving end of artificial congestion.
Internet connections in the last mile hurt network performance. Internet speed is becoming one of the largest concerns of eCommerce companies. Thus, last mile access should be of paramount concern.
An eCommerce company can see a 2% increase in revenue from 100 ms decrease in latency.
81% of Internet users abandon a page or video if it does not play immediately.
This is not limited to eCommerce companies. It affects any company that relies upon a website to attract customers.
A large factor to the slowing of Internet lies in the last mile. Controlling your Internet connection to the user can decrease the possibility of artificial congestion.
The Great Firewall of China as an Example
An example of how last mile Internet affects users of an Internet location is the Great Firewall of China. In the case of the Firewall, all Internet traffic is slowed since it has to be scanned for content. In most cases, the Firewall can cause at least 100 ms in network latency.
In our case of artificial congestion and net neutrality, you can picture an ISP being equal to the Chinese Firewall. Determining what content goes to what users. Instead of banning content, they require content providers to pay more for access to users.
Effect on Rural Countries
Like most things, this affects rural countries the most. These are the ones with the poorest connections.
For example, Nigeria has poor last mile technology and a poor Internet exchange point. The result is most Internet traffic goes to Europe before it reaches users. This creates poor network performance, poor bandwidth allocation, and slow Internet connections.
Nigeria is not alone in this situation. This occurs in developed nations such as the United States or Germany. Poor Internet connections affect poor and rural areas of the country.
It is up to last mile Internet providers to build the infrastructure needed to connect the users in these areas.
At Datapath.io, we believe in giving content providers control over their Internet connection. Controlling the path of content from their hosted servers to the user.
Download our AWS Optimization Whitepaper to learn more.