Broadband Forum hones UDP speed test utility for low latency network verification

March 7, 2023
Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband - User Datagram Protocol Speed Test (OB-UDPST) project has produced nine public releases of the open source implementation.
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Broadband Forum has released the latest update of its User Datagram Protocol (UDP)-based Speed Test (UDPST) utility, putting broadband operators one step closer to being able to deliver a new standard of connectivity.

Per a press release, the updated UDPST now performs the tests defined in TR-471 Issue 3 ‘Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric, Related Metrics, and Measurements’ document to quantify and verify broadband networks in instances where consistent low latency is just as critical as speed.

Via the new update, the utility now can aid in the deployment of gigabit services that intend to support next-generation applications with growing user uptake, in applications such as gaming, UHD streaming, and augmented and virtual reality, which require low latency to assure the required Quality of Experience.

Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband - User Datagram Protocol Speed Test (OB-UDPST) project has produced nine public releases of the open source implementation.

Al Morton, AT&T and OB-UDPST project co-leader and TR-471 editor, explained:

“Our open source implementation provides an approach to internet access measurement with demonstratable accuracy and is an integral part of Broadband Forum specifications.

The TR-471 specification was harmonized and developed in coordination with other standards organizations, including ITU-T, IETF and ETSI-STQ/Mobile. UDP is a critical communication protocol for time-sensitive transmissions on the internet, and the UDPST measurements provide consumer confidence in their service’s support of applications that use UDP.

UDPST’s Latency under Load measurements and capabilities to perform application-layer traffic performance estimation address topics that are of considerable interest to the industry."

As reckoned by Broadband Forum, with UDPST 'Latency under Load' measurements, users can compare their performance to the latency demands of their internet applications in milliseconds. Latency requirements can be categorized with red, yellow, and green indicators, as needed.

Results of UDPST conducting Latency under Load (and Capacity) measurements were shared with the IETF-IPPM in late 2022. The Forum said that new UDPST results offered an enhanced and more practical view, when compared to a TCP-based method.

As further explained by the Forum:

UDP-based methods address an important gap because user applications and traffic with strict response time requirements will use UDP. The percentage of UDP traffic is also significant and continues to grow in proportion to TCP traffic. The fully encrypted QUIC transport protocol – running over UDP – already accounted for nearly 30% of traffic in EMEA and 16% in North America in January 2022.

In the press release, Sascha Dech of Deutsche Telekom asserted:

"As an industry we have long realized the strong need for a common understanding on how to measure performance which goes beyond speed as the only factor to consider. We now have what was missing: a simple, standardized, and open-sourced method ready to be used across the whole industry to fill this void."

Initially launched in response to growing fiber deployments with low latency and gigabit service rates, the OB-UDPST project utility applies to both mobile and fixed radio access.

Lincoln Lavoie, UNH Interoperability Lab principal engineer, concluded:

“OB-UDPST is one of the latest utilities we’re using at the UNH-IOL today to measure the capacity and latency of systems with increasing capabilities, such as 5G and higher speed PON networks. Directly participating in the open source project also enables us to share requirements with the team to ensure the UDPST continues to meet our expanding use cases at the lab.”

Learn more about OB-UDPST. 

See the latest release of TR-471 Issue 3 ‘Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric, Related Metrics, and Measurements’.  

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