Ookla Speedtest is now offering users the ability to directly measure their video streaming experience, providing a new Speedtest that measures max resolution, buffering and loading times. It’s only available on iOS devices to start, but Ookla says it’ll be rolling out to other platforms soon.
“While network speed certainly impacts your video experience, providers routinely prioritize video traffic differently than other traffic,” Ookla said in a post explaining the new metrics and other recent changes it has made to its app. “This means that video can perform very differently than the rest of the things you do online, no matter how fast the download speed of your network.”
Offering the video-specific metrics gives a higher degree of insights into how carriers are treating their video traffic, which is often different on wired versus wireless networks and also different from generic “data” speed across networks, which Ookla has traditionally measured. More than half of all traffic crossing mobile networks is video-related, according to Ericsson, but that traffic is often limited to 480p resolution — although higher-quality video demands from AR/VR and HD video could eventually change that, with the help of 5G.
The test involves playing a short video, Ookla says, because “an accurate video measurement requires an actual video to be played, because video traffic cannot be simulated across a network.”
The company explains that streamed video content is typically delivered via adaptive bitrate technology, which adjusts the quality of the video stream based on network conditions. The video test measures the adaptive bitrate to tell users the maximum resolution, load time and buffer that they can expect under the current conditions on the network they are using.
While the data that Ookla collects will offer additional insights to carriers and provide new fodder for rankings, consumers can use the information to choose a device on which to stream or to use video test history in customer service conversations with their ISPs, the test company said.
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