By Ed Oswald | Monday, October 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm
AT&T’s favorite scapegoat when talking about data issues is the ever increasing number of iPhone users on its network. While no doubt these folks can be bandwidth hogs, there may be another reason why there are issues: network configuration.
Brough Turner, a 25-year plus veteran of the telecommunications industry, took to his blog on Sunday to discuss AT&T’s data network problems. In his estimation based on his own research and that of others, it appears as if the carrier may not have its configuration settings correct.
(Reader beware: the above link has quite a bit of technical jargon. It may be a bit difficult to understand for most.)
AT&T’s ping times can vary widely, from a fairly normal 200 milliseconds to an absolutely horrendous 8 seconds or more. This is likely caused by an issue with the buffers in place to normalize Internet traffic.
For the less technical among us, Internet buffers help to smooth out traffic and prevent bottlenecking when the amount of traffic exceeds the bandwidth. Thus to prevent long wait times, sometimes packets are dropped.
But here’s the problem. Turner hypothesizes that AT&T has its network set to have no packet loss at all. This is practically unheard of in wireless data, and is causing slower loading times for users.
If he’s right, this is very embarrassing for the carrier. Did they really screw up in configuring their network? Hopefully Turner’s research compels AT&T to take a second look just to be sure.