SamKnows to roll out 2,000 routers to get a true picture of Irish broadband speeds

13 Jun 2014

SamKnows CEO Alex Salter

Broadband quality test firm SamKnows is distributing 2,000 wireless routers to various broadband users across Ireland to get a genuine picture of real versus advertised broadband speeds.

The UK-headquartered company has deployed its routers in the UK, mainland Europe, the US and in Asia.

SamKnows tests broadband speeds and quality to inform operators and regulators about broadband performance levels in various countries.

More than a month ago, the company launched a public-driven campaign to measure every aspect of internet performance in Ireland.

The data gathered by the routers will be used to create an accurate picture and detailed report of the country’s internet landscape.

In March, the European Commission published a study based on SamKnows’ research that revealed that across Europe the actual download speeds is, on average, 75.6pc of the advertised speed.

Real insight

Speaking with, SamKnows CEO Alex Salter explained the routers will sit alongside volunteers’ existing broadband modems and exist purely to monitor broadband performance.

“They will be distributed across various locations and broadband categories to give a good picture and tell a solid story with a high degree of accuracy of what’s happening in Ireland.”

The data provided by the routers is monitored in real-time by SamKnows specialists in London.

Salter said that typically about 50 modems would be deployed to specific categories, such as DSL, cable broadband or satellite in various locations.

“We operate this project in South America, North America, Asia and across the whole of the European Union and we’re about to start in Hong Kong.”

Salter said that as well as giving consumers greater insight, the data revealed also proves useful to regulators, such as ComReg and Ofcom, as well as telecoms operators themselves.

“It unlocks significant insights into the huge telecoms investments that have taken place. There is data that is less obvious to the average consumer, such as the impact of router cards being changed or anomalies, such as if there is a problem with firmware at the local exchange.

“For regulators it really puts accurate information about broadband performance in their hands, which can be an important catalyst for change. They can look at the data and actually have real data on consumer broadband performance.

“For ISPs, the data also proves very useful in terms of helping them to improve what they are doing and support what they are saying about their product.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years