By Doug Suttles, CEO of Ookla
If the last few years have shown us anything, it’s just how critical network connectivity has become to daily life. Ookla is thrilled to be back at Mobile World Congress (in-person!) to celebrate what today’s connectivity has already enabled. We’re equally excited to open conversation about how our unique crowd-plus-controlled testing framework can catalyze, as this year’s MWC theme suggests, a future of “connectivity unleashed” that creates new opportunities for consumers and enterprises alike.
Spoiler alert: we’re always thinking about connectivity. We have a clear vision not just about what expanded connectivity will mean to our communities, but why new methods of network testing are needed now more than ever,andhow Ookla is uniquely positioned to help networks around the world create a better, faster, and more accessible internet for everyone.
As just one indication of how important access to connectivity information has become for consumers, over 40 billion consumer-initiated tests have been completed on our Speedtest app to date. Data from those tests is analyzed using our rigorous, industry-standard methodology and becomes the foundation for our Speedtest Awards, which provide a trusted and reliable view of which networks are delivering the best performance across the globe.
We’ll be celebrating those top-performing networks throughout this year’s MWC, with award presentations, a two-story video screen highlighting performance, and champagne toasts for the winners at our booth (after all, what’s a celebration without a bit of bubbly?). But our Speedtest Awards are more than just a celebration of strong connectivity. This elite designation provides an objective, third-party seal of approval that publicizes trusted network performance information to consumers.
Creating the superior network solution
Speedtest Awards are driven by our industry-leading crowdsourced testing on our world-renowned Speedtest platform. The advantages of crowdsourcing are clear: it offers a view of real-world performance and quality anywhere networks are live to the public. Ookla can show network performance in places where traditional drive or walk testing simply can’t or won’t access—private buildings, suburban developments, rural areas, and more. It’s pretty simple: we provide insights and performance visualizations based on consumer-initiated and approvedtesting, which tends to also favor the places where a reliable internet connection matters most to users.
I’ve emphasized “consumer-initiated and approved” because our Speedtest app never collects data without a user’s permission or direct interaction. We believe that a company’s values are as important as its products. As privacy concerns become top priority for consumers, governments, and the industry alike, it’s clear not just that we’ve been ahead of the game but that our approach is even more critical moving forward.
Speedtest is a cornerstone for testing network performance and identifying potential issues. But Ookla is much more than crowdtesting alone. To truly reach our mission of making the internet better, faster and more accessible for everyone, we’ve added new controlled testing and technologies to help providers build better networks and optimize for best performance.
Our new Ookla Wind product suite, for instance, provides lower-layer and chipset-level measurements to help verify that cell sites are built and configured correctly. Think about an event, where consumers expect uninterrupted performance, even under demanding network conditions. Wind offers near-immediate analysis and minimizes post-processing needs, allowing a provider to fine-tune coverage during the event itself. If you’re attending MWC, stop by our booth to see a demo of Wind (and ask us how we tested performance during New Year’s celebrations in Taiwan).
We also recently acquired RootMetrics, which provides industry-best drive and walk testing that complements our crowd testing from around the globe. The rigorous RootMetrics methodology tests networks at the same time and place, with lower-layer metrics that power root cause analysis. In short, it offers controlled testing that allows us to go beyond issue identification to help networks optimize and solve any problems that arise.
The full picture
Since networks and consumer expectations are constantly changing, we’re also adding new testing for video streaming and showing why loaded latency is now critical for modern connections. Take a step back and you can see a complete, start-to-finish network solution: our combination of data, insights, and visualizations helps providers build better networks, analyzeperformance to identify issues,optimize to solve those issues, then publicizeperformance metrics and awards to the public.
Our crowd-plus-controlled approach means we can simultaneously provide a panoramic view to help identify trouble spots, plus the ability to zoom-in for more detail and undertake root cause analysis. It means seeing the forest and the trees.
Crowdtesting is our foundation and will always be at the heart of Ookla, but a crowd-plus-controlled testing framework will help build, maintain, and grow the networks of the future.
Put all the pieces together and you don’t have individual products; you have a complete, A-to-Z solution designed to help improve connectivity for all. That type of full suite offering is unique. And to return to the theme of this year’s MWC, it’s the type of solution that will help truly realize a future of connectivity unleashed.