Measurement Observations on Network Performance During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Northern Italy

OONI was recently invited to participate in a NetGain Partnership webinar (titled “Surging Demand and The Global Internet Infrastructure”) to discuss the changing landscape for internet infrastructure and technology in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of our preparation for this webinar, we looked at network performance measurements collected from northern Italy over the last months (i.e. when Italy was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic) in an attempt to understand whether and to what extent there was a correlation between increased internet use and reduced network performance. As our observations may be of public interest, we decided to share them through this blog post.

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Accessible M-Lab NDT data for Internet Performance research during COVID-19

In response to increased reliance on the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic Measurement Lab, with the support of Internet Society, is dedicated to making our NDT data more accessible so everyone with an interest in Internet Performance can use our data in their research. We started with a visualization of test count and median download speeds in New York, India, and Sao Paulo as an example of what data was available to researchers through BigQuery.

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How Measurement Lab’s Open Data can be used during COVID-19

Measurement Lab’s dataset is free, open, and full of data for Internet researchers to study how the Internet is performing under the increased COVID-19 related Internet usage. The DataStudio dashboards below correspond to the internal monitoring metrics we posted last week. They show data about test rate and median download speeds as COVID-19 increased its impact globally.

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Changes Related to COVID-19

As COVID-19’s impact increases globally, more people are working, learning and living online. Internet infrastructure is critical in these moments. The user-initiated measurements collected by M-Lab provide an opportunity to understand whether our shared infrastructure can handle the unprecedented shift of load to the network’s edges. The following is a snapshot analysis of how our platform’s traffic has shifted in the last three weeks. We will follow up with DataStudio dashboards using our public data set soon.

As these dashboards will show, the benefit of open data is that anyone can access it, use it, and reproduce research done with it. If you are using or would like to use M-Lab data in your response to the Internet’s performance during COVID-19, please let us know!

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Digital Inclusion @ Home Announcement

National Digital Inclusion Alliance Institute for Local Self-Reliance X-Lab The Marconi Society

As COVID-19’s impact increases globally, more people are working, learning and living online. In partnership with NDIA, X-Lab, ILSR and Marconi Society, Measurement Lab has set up a speed test portal to collect geolocated data with an accompanying survey focused on Digital Inclusion @ Home.

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