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Oxford ranks 5th in the world in broadband speeds
Wednesday 21 April 2010 17:42:03 by John Hunt

The State of the Internet report by Akamai records that Oxford is 5th in the world for broadband speeds, clocking in at 14.4 Mbps. Their report looks at average measured connection speeds of cities where at least 50,000 unique IP addresses are recorded. Oxford faired well in the UK coming 5th, whilst other UK cities included within the top 100 were Southampton (57th, 8.4 Mbps), Bristol (58th, 8.3 Mbps) and Cambridge (73rd, 7.8 Mbps). The Top 3 results were all in the United States and were 18.7 Mbps, Berkeley, CA; 17.5 Mbps, Chapel Hill, NC; and 17.0 Mbps, Stamford, CA.

The average for the United Kingdom was 3.7 Mbps, only slightly pipped by the United States at 3.8 Mbps. Thankfully we were well above the global average of 1.7, but we did fall far behind South Korea at the top with 11.7 Mbps, Hong Kong, 8.6 Mbps and Japan, 7.6 Mbps.

It's unclear why Oxford holds such a clear speed advantage over other UK cities. It is an area that has been enabled for BT's 21C network so broadband line speeds could be higher perhaps due to this, or take up of higher speed services from Virgin Media could be more predominant here. Oxford is also close to the 'M4 corridor,' popular with high-tech companies so could see an increase in speed due to the people who live in the area craving faster broadband.


Posted by nicksk over 7 years ago
All the cities mentioned have well known universities. Universities provide very high speed connections (up to 100Mbit/sec) to their students in university owned accommodation. Just 5000 students on these ResNets could be enough to skew the figures upwards. When these students move into private accommodation they might be more likely to pay for the highest speed connections from Virgin Media too.
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
If you look at the news piece prior on the site it says Oxford has 100% WBC coverage, so all exchanges are at up to 24Mb. It is also fairly dense so many people will be able to get above the 8mb. This makes it clear why Oxford is top. Wonder if anyone will be able to give BT credit for this achievement and encourage them to aspire to this elsewhere!
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Halls of residence connections are your friend.
Posted by mhc over 7 years ago

The Hall or Residence comment is not valid as they tend to be switched through the University network and thus will not contribute significantly to the 50,000 unique IP addresses.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
@nicksk - We had that suspicion too; we're trying to find out more on the methodology.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
@mhc - Halls often get real IPs so could contribute significantly. Not sure about Oxford though?
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Oxford University has 65536 IP addresses allocated to it, a full class B, along with various other ranges. Not a huge leap to imagine it isn't using NAT, would be quite rude to!

inetnum: -
netname: OXFORD-UNIV

Also check: tech-c: RT103-RIPE for other ranges.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
My mistake, they also have another class B -

135680 IP addresses, most of which will be on fast JANET connections.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Just to skew things further Oxford's population is only around 154,000, so there are going to be less non-academic IP addresses in Oxford than academic given an average of 2.36 persons / dwelling.

These aren't speed tests they are performance measurements from Akamai's CDN so plenty of hits from academic machines just going about their business.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
They aren't classful any more.. Class B <> /16 as I kept getting told until I converted :) - We don't really know the impact of this based on number of IPs.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
or it could be the exchange layout in oxford means less long lines than other areas?
Posted by mrod over 7 years ago
Well, living on one of the large estates in east Oxford I have to say that firstly I'm not on a fast connection (2.7Mb currently) and note that all the 21CN upgrades have happened in central, north, south and west Oxford (and steering clear of the Cowley exchange).

The whole basis of this study does seem seriously flawed though as it doesn't discriminate between home connections and "corporate" networks. I'd say it was meaningless. The top three places are all the locations of large hi-tech campuses in the 'States.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
In this instance Seb the whole lot is owned by Oxford Uni per the URL I gave.

No Chrysalis it's nothing to do with residential services at all. No coincidence Berkeley is #1 and Chapel Hill, home of Uni of North Carolina #2 with some place you may have heard of called Stamford at #3.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
yeah I agree, seems the report is very flawed indeed.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
How do they know which city someone is in?
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
How do they know which city someone is in?
Posted by scusting over 7 years ago
I suspect they lookup the IP details with RIPE etc. If I lookup my dynamic IP with Eclipse it reports:

inetnum: -

So its part of a block of 8000 odd IP's and the admin contact for all these gives the address:

address: Exeter, Devon EX2 7JG

Which I guess is Eclipse head office. So the mapping of IP address to location is not reliable and could be skewed massively if an ISP has large quantities of their IP's registered to a particular address.
Posted by twamito over 7 years ago
I wonder who these lucky people are in Oxford achieving these 14.4mbps speeds. My ISP has told me that my line is configured for 6mbps because the BT Exchange (Summertown) cannot handle speeds in excess of this. I have written to BT about this but they do not respond. I wonder which exchange in Oxford achieves these speeds.
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