OFCA Broadband Performance Test has launched a new version (2.0) of mobile apps in January 2015. Users can download the new version (2.0) for free through the following channels:
Apple iPhone: iTunes App Store
Android Phone: Google Play
Previous version (1.1) of mobile apps will cease operation towards end of February 2015. Users are advised to install new version of mobile apps in order to continue using the OFCA Broadband Performance Test service.
This broadband performance test system (the "System") is commissioned by the Office of the Communications Authority ("OFCA") and designed, established, operated and supported by Hong Kong Internet eXchange ("HKIX").
The System enables broadband service users to measure the performance of their broadband connections as follows:
Download speed refers to the speed for downloading data from the System to the user device.
Upload speed refers to the speed for uploading data from the user device to the System.
Network latency refers to the round-trip time taken to transmit data from the user device to the System and subsequently for the user device to receive the data from the System .
Packet loss refers to the percentage of packets lost during the sending of the data from the user device to the System.
Jitter refers to the variation in the delay of received packets. At the sending end, packets are sent in a continuous stream with the packets spaced evenly apart. Due to network congestion and other factors, the delay between each packet may vary instead of remaining constant when received.
The System is designed to handle performance tests within the territory of Hong Kong .
The System is available for use free of charge to the users, but users should be mindful that their broadband service providers (BSP) may charge them for the use of the broadband services to access the website. Users situated outside the territory of Hong Kong (irrespective of whether they are subscribers to the service of local BSP) should bear in mind that they may need to shoulder additional service charges for accessing the System and the charges payable may be quite substantial.
Users with iPhones and Android Phones
Apart from users with desktop and notebook computers, users of Apple iPhones and Android Phones may also gain access to the System. The relevant application software is officially known as "OFCA Broadband Performance Test" and may be downloaded for free through the following channels:
Apple iPhone: iTunes App Store
Android Phone: Google Play
Users should note that the System only supports measurements of upload speed, download speed and network latency for Apple iPhones and Android Phones.
Data Usage in Mobile Application Software
The data usage for the use of this system varies with the speed of mobile broadband connection under test. Users are advised to keep track of their data usage from time to time in order to avoid any unnecessary mobile bill charges.
The following table lists the required data usage for a test with different mobile broadband technologies:
|Mobile broadband technologies used by the testing devices||Data usage can be up to*|
|EDGE (2.75G)||5 MBytes|
|HSPA+ (3.75G)||135 MBytes|
|LTE (4G)||375 MBytes|
|LTE (4G) using Category 4 device||500 MBytes|
|LTE-A (4.5G) using Category 6 device||875 MBytes|
*Actual data usage depends on the upload and download speeds of the test.
Factors Affecting the Results of the Measurement
The speed measured with the System may be lower than those claimed and provided by BSP in their service plans ("claimed speed") due to various factors including, but not limited to:
- End-to-End Speed – The claimed speed commonly refers to the maximum permissible speed supported by the connection between the BSP and its customers, which may be just one portion of the entire end-to-end transmission link under test and may not be representative of the end-to-end speed.
- Overhead – During the process of delivering the data to and from the users, the service platform of the BSP will have to incur overhead on top of the actual data being delivered. This may cause degradation in the speed performance.
- Network Conditions – The internet is shared by numerous users and applications. Performance of a particular broadband connection is inevitably affected by the traffic being generated by these other users and applications.
- Associated Services – The associated services provided by the BSP may take up certain capacity of the broadband connection. For instance, if the BSP also delivers broadband TV using the broadband connection at the same time, the speed performance of the broadband service delivered by that connection may be adversely affected.
- Number of Concurrent Users – The performance will be affected by the number of concurrent users sharing the same broadband connection.
- Relative position between the user device and the service platform – The physical distance of the user device from the BSP’s equipment, especially in the mobile situation, may affect the performance. Normally, the closer the user device is to the mobile base station of a BSP, the better will be the speed performance of the mobile broadband service connection.
- Software installed in the user device – Some software such as firewall or anti-virus software may affect the performance of the broadband connection. User may need to momentarily disable or even uninstall the software in question before performing the test.
- Configurations of user device – For high speed broadband connections with speed up to 1000Mbps, the measured speeds may be limited by the user device used in the test. To conduct the test with accurate result, the minimum recommended requirement is a Core i7 CPU at 3GHz, 6GB random access memory, 1000BaseT Ethernet port and operating with Microsoft Windows 7 or an equivalent operating system in association with IE11 browser.
Data speed required for different applications
Data speed refers to how fast data is transmitted to/from our equipment or device. It is usually measured in units of megabit per second (Mbps) or kilobit per second (kbps). 1 Mbps equals 1000 kbps. Downloading a song of 4 MB requires less than 40 seconds if the data speed is 1 Mbps. The same song requires a much longer time of five minutes to download if the data speed is 128 kbps, the typical speed for 2.5 G (i.e. 2.5 Generation) service.
The following table lists the required data speed for different applications:
|Applications||Required data speed*|
|Listening to an on-line Internet radio program or on-line music||128kbps or above|
|Streaming of a low definition video||300kbps or above|
|Streaming of a high definition video||1Mbps or above|
|Using on-line texting, social networking websites, sending/receiving e-mails, browsing web pages||Non real-time applications do not have a serious consideration in speed. Depending on the size of transmitting information, the time required will be different. With higher data speed, it will require less transmission time.|
*Actual speed required depends on the quality of streaming media
The Office of the Communications Authority ("OFCA") is concerned to ensure that all data submitted through OFCA Broadband Performance Test website (“the website”) are handled in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
OFCA will record test results through the website without collecting any personal identifiable information of users. Such test records are collected for the compilation of statistical reports and the diagnosis of problems with or concerning computer systems to help improving the website.
Personal Information Collection Statement
When you perform test through the website, system will collect and record data obtained from the test result, including upload and download speed, network latency, connection type, device type and IP address. This information will be used by us only for preparing statistics. The website will not collect any personally identifiable information.
The data collected by the website are secured and access to them is restricted to authorised personnel only.
Whilst HKIX has used its best endeavour to ensure the accuracy of the measurement results produced by the System, no warranty or guarantee, express or implied, is given as to the accuracy of the results. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the "Government"), the Communications Authority and OFCA accept no liability for error or omission and shall not be liable for any claim, loss or damage, howsoever caused, arising from the conducting or inability of conducting the broadband performance test or use of or reliance upon any information or material provided by the System.