Map measures network interconnection latency in Latin America and the Caribbean


Map measures network interconnection latency in Latin America and the Caribbean

LACNIC has developed a map that presents measurements of Internet network latency in Latin America and the Caribbean. Known as the Simón project, the initiative offers the Internet community information on latency measurements in the region.

Agustín Formoso, responsible for the Simón project at LACNIC, told LACNIC News that the proposal was the result of regional debates on interconnection five years ago and its goal is to offer up-to-date and representative information on latency measurements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Formoso announced that Simón will make available to the region a tool that automates the collection of data and allows having a complete, updated, and representative map of Latin America and the Caribbean. The tool will generate approximately 500 tests per day from 25 different countries.

Why is measuring network latency in Latin America and the Caribbean useful?

Latency is a good indicator of packet routing efficiency. Good latency values ​​mean a good interconnection between networks, and vice versa. While there are other sources that generate delay on the Internet, we believe that sub-optimal routing is one of the major contributing factors. In this context, the project measures interconnection through latency.

What would the Latin American and Caribbean network interconnection map look like today based on the information collected by the Simón project?

Two major factors are affecting the creation of this map right now. The first is the fact that the map is constantly changing. Traffic doesn’t always follow the same routes, networks and traffic agreements change all the time, which is why tests must be ongoing. The second factor is that tests must be automated, not conducted manually as has been the case up to now. Manual testing entails a huge effort on the part of the community and the database loses quality if/when users stop performing tests. To solve these two problems we need to deploy tools that will automate traffic measurement. Simón is very close to launching a tool that will automate data collection and allow us to have a complete, up-to-date map that is representative of the region. Hosted on the LACNIC and Lacnic Labs websites, the new tool allows us to generate about 500 tests a day and in the last two weeks we’ve had tests from 25 different countries, numbers we consider to be healthy.

How has this evolved from 2009 to date? Has any progress been made?

Indeed, some progress has been made. The countries that allow for the best comparisons are those that have regularly generated similar tests during these five years, always using the same measurement tools. When comparing, we need to consider that different measurement tools have been used and therefore results can’t be aggregated (at least at this time). An example of this is between Argentina and Brazil, for which the latency profile has been improving over these past two years.

Which countries have advanced the most in these five years during which the latency map has been created?

Latency is not easy to rank, as the factors that affect latency don’t simply depend on one particular country or operator but, instead, they depend on every country and operator involved in that measurement. For example, measurements between Chile and Uruguay don’t only depend on these two countries’ operators but also on many others. However, a country’s internal latency is a parameter that depends on only one country. Brazil has been regularly conducting internal tests and is showing a trend of improvement. While other countries do have internal measurements, their volume is not enough to reach further conclusions.

Is it possible to prepare a ranking of the countries with the least latency within the region?

Today we have a small ranking of internal latencies and we believe that, in time, constant volumes of recent data will allow us to prepare an even better internal latency ranking. One of the new measurement tool’s main goals is to provide this type of data.

What is the Latency Lab and what tests is it conducting? Are there any results available?

The Latency Lab is a small nook of the project where users can run latency tests to a particular destination, simply to try out the new tool. It was born of our own need to conduct tests with the JavaScript measurement tool. Because this tool offers “connectors” that allow its customization, we decided to use these customizations to select the destination and show the data on a chart. Users who decide to participate in the project will be able to customize it as they wish, for example, to save the results to their own database in addition to Simón’s.

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