Network performance update: Birthday Week 2023

By admin

5 min
TIME

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We constantly measure our own network’s performance against other networks, look for ways to improve our performance compared to them, and share the results of our efforts. Since

June 2021
DATE

, we’ve been sharing benchmarking results we’ve run against other networks to see how we compare.

In this post we are going to share the most recent updates since our last post in

June
DATE

, and tell you about our tools and processes that we use to monitor and improve our network performance.

How we stack up

Since

June 2021
DATE

, we’ve been taking a close look at every single network and taking actions for the specific networks where we have some room for improvement. Cloudflare was already the fastest provider for most of the networks around the world (we define a network as country and AS number pair). Taking a closer look at the numbers; in

July 2022
DATE

,

Cloudflare
ORG

was ranked #

1
MONEY

in

33%
PERCENT

of the networks and was within

2 ms
QUANTITY

(

95th
ORDINAL

percentile TCP Connection Time) or

5%
PERCENT

of the #

1
MONEY

provider for

8%
PERCENT

of the networks that we measured. For reference, our closest competitor on that front was the fastest for

20%
PERCENT

of networks.

As of

August 30, 2023
DATE

,

Cloudflare
ORG

is the fastest provider for

44%
PERCENT

of networks—and was within

2 ms
QUANTITY

(

95th
ORDINAL

percentile TCP Connection Time) or

5%
PERCENT

of the fastest provider for

10%
PERCENT

of the networks that we measured—whereas our closest competitor is now the fastest for

19%
PERCENT

of networks.

Below is the change in percentage of networks in which each provider is the fastest plotted over time.


Cloudflare
ORG

is maintaining our steady growth in the percentage of networks where we’re the fastest. Despite the slight tick down

the past couple of months
DATE

, the trendline is still positive and with a higher rate of increase than other networks.

Now that we’ve reviewed how we stack up compared to other networks, let’s dig a little more into the other metrics we use to make us the fastest.

Our tooling

To provide insight into network performance, we use Real User Measurements (RUM) and fetch a small file from

Cloudflare
ORG

,

Akamai
ORG

,

Amazon CloudFront
ORG

, Fastly and

Google Cloud
PRODUCT

CDN. Browsers around the world report the performance of those providers from the perspective of the end-user network they are on. The goal is to provide an accurate picture of where different providers are faster, and more importantly, where

Cloudflare
ORG

can improve. You can read more about the methodology in the original

Speed Week
EVENT

blog post here.

Using the RUM data, we are able to measure various performance metrics, such as TCP Connection Time,

Time
ORG

to First Byte (TTFB),

Time
ORG

to Last Byte (TTLB), for ourselves and other networks.

Let’s take a look at some of the metrics we monitor and what’s changed since our last blog in

June
DATE

.

The

first
ORDINAL

metric we closely monitor is the percent of networks that we are ranked #

1
MONEY

in terms of TCP Connection Time. That’s a key performance indicator that we evaluate ourselves against. This

first
ORDINAL

line of the table shows that

Cloudflare
ORG

was ranked #

1
MONEY

in

45%
PERCENT

of networks in

June 2023
DATE

and

44%
PERCENT

in

August 2023
DATE

. Here’s the full picture of how we looked in

June
DATE

versus how we look

today
DATE

.


Cloudflare
ORG

’s rank by TCP connection time % of networks in

June 2023 %
DATE

of networks in

August 2023 1 45 44
DATE

2 26 24 3 16 16 4 9 10 5 4 6

Overall, these metrics align with what we saw above:

Cloudflare
ORG

is still the fastest provider in the most last mile networks, and while there has been slight changes in the month-to-month fluctuations, the overall trend shows us as being the fastest.

The

second
ORDINAL

metric we monitor is our overall performance in each country. This gives us visibility into the countries or regions that we need to pay closer attention to and take action towards improving our performance. Those actions will be listed later. Orange indicates the countries that

Cloudflare
ORG

is the fastest provider based on the TCP Connection Time. Here’s how we look as of

September 2023
DATE

:

For comparison, this is what that map looks like from

June 2023
DATE

:

We’ve become faster in

Iran
GPE

and

Paraguay
ORG

, and in the few cases where we are no longer number

1
CARDINAL

, we are within

2ms
PERSON

of the fastest provider. In

Brazil
GPE

and

Norway
GPE

for example, we trail Fastly by only 1ms. In various countries in

Africa
LOC

,

Amazon CloudFront
ORG

pulled ahead but only by

2ms
PERSON

. We aim to fix that in

the coming weeks
DATE

and

months
DATE

and return to the #1 spot there also.

The

third
ORDINAL

set of metrics we use are TCP Connection Time and

TTLB
ORG

. The number of networks where we are #

1
MONEY

in terms of

95th
ORDINAL

percentile TCP Connection Time is one of our key performance indicators. We actively monitor and work on improving that metric so that we are #

1
MONEY

in the most metrics for

95th
ORDINAL

percentile TCP Connection Time. For

September 2023
DATE

, we are still #

1
MONEY

in the most networks for

TCP Connection Time
FAC

, more than double the next best provider.

Provider # of networks where the provider is fastest for

95th
ORDINAL

percentile TCP connection time

Cloudflare 826
PRODUCT


Google 392
PRODUCT

Fastly

348
CARDINAL

CloudFront

337
PRODUCT

Akamai

52
CARDINAL

The way we achieve these great results is by having our engineering teams constantly investigate the underlying reasons for degraded performance if there are any, and we track open work items until they are resolved.

What’s next

We’re sharing our updates on our journey to become #1 everywhere so that you can see what goes into running the fastest network in the world. From here, our plan is the same as always: identify where we’re slower, fix it, and then tell you how we’ve gotten faster.