Frequently Asked Questions - Connectivity SLA

What is the Connectivity SLA reporting service?

  • At any point in time you may view our Connectivity SLA figures listed by market or by category using the at Reports can be generated for different time scopes and down to the URL details (if you are a customer).
  • In addition to this, you can subscribe to a service to receive a monthly e-mail. This will provide you with the Connectivity SLA figures for all markets and all categories.

You may also have a look at the Connectivity SLA white paper.

What are the key terms I need to know?

The Internet is composed of multiple IP Backbones from different Internet service providers (ISPs). Every single IP Backbone only covers a relatively small fraction of the wider Internet. Therefore it is cruical providing excellent customer service to have optimal connectivity to the most relevant IP Backbones. We call the degree and quality of this interlinking with other relevant Internet IP Networks Connectivity. It is our goal to optimize the connectivity of our Internet Backbone to meet the needs of European customers.
A geographic region with Internet users with similar viewing preferences. We have defined 8 key markets grouping the principle Internet. We have associated 100 URLs with each of these markets which represent the URLs most frequently viewed by Internet users in that market.
The URLs users in each market look at have been classified into 10 content types or categories. There are 80 URLs in each category representing the most often viewed URLs in the category from the 8 different markets.
A group of routing devices configured to act as a single autonomous system, i.e. as an Internet network facing the public, multiple networks from the Internet. 'sAS1273 is such a network.
a service level agreement defines the minimal acceptable performance level and provides credit guarantees that are claimed, if it is not met. This minimum guarantee level differs from the actual performance level.
http get
HTTP GET is the request that any browser sends to receive a web page. The scanning engines for this reporting tool use the same request and therefore reflect the experience of the actual Internet users in their measurement.

What are the key concepts underlying this service?

An IP network cannot solely support the customer access needs to the broadest range of Internet content and communication. It needs to be connected to the other networks that form a part of the Internet. But Internet networks are not all the same - they may have different capacities, customer bases, resilience, geographical coverage, etc. As a customer of one of these networks it is important that your network is connected to the other networks, which host the content or users you are most interested in viewing.

What assurance do I have that the URLs chosen are representative of the top sites in each category of each market?

The URLs are based on a classification of independently ranked sites. We currently use Nielsen Net Ratings rankings.

What does this mean being an enterprise customer?

You can see the level of performance your users can expect according to the type of content (category) they view.

E.g. regarding finances: Time is money. So your users do not want to wait for information from whatever financial market they are interested in. They might choose to have the reassurance that comes from having a guaranteed level of performance of finance sites across the markets that make up 70% of the world's Internet.

What does this mean being an Internet service provider customer?

You can see and be assured of the minimal acceptable performance level, for 's performance as the Internet backbone for your end users. This applies to all users, whether they are consumers or business users, and it covers each of the markets that you serve. In addition, you can see, how performs at any time of day according to your user's base - for example, during evenings at weekends for consumers or during working days for business users.

What does this mean being a mobile service provider with IP services?

It means good interconnection between 's GRX and IP networks. You can also monitor the performance to your preferred mobile content providers.

What does this mean being a content provider?

There is one category - ISP - which reflects our connectivity to the major consumer networks in the different markets. This category reflects the connectivity to the potential audience for your content. We also define a SLA against it.

What is the definition of a content type category?

The ten categories provide a framework covering the wide range of sites viewed by Internet users within each of the eight markets at work and at home.

FinanceFinance, banking and insurance
SearchSearch engines, Internet navigation and 'ask me'
Consumer PortalSites with content aimed at being the consumer's portal for the
Internet Service ProviderThe main site of consumer and business Internet service
IT & Other Service ProviderInformation technology, software download and Internet sites not being ISP
Retail & IndustryTrading and business sites aimed at either home or work users that are not travel, media or finance
MediaNews, TV and radio related
Consumer InterestSites aimed at all or particular home user groups, for example only for children or over
TravelTravel portals, airline, road and rail
Government & SocietyPublic sector or related sites including government, education and religious

What is the definition of a market (grouping of countries)?

This is based on independent surveys of users in individual countries around Europe and the rest of the world. The individual web sites are those with the highest page views for each category from users within that market.

UKThe top ten sites in each of ten categories that at home and work users are looking at, irrespective of host location 
United StatesThe top ten sites in each of ten categories that at home and work users are looking at, irrespective of host location 
NordicDenmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden. Russian sites are based on local evaluation of top sites. Ten categories based on at home and work users 
ItalyThe top ten sites in each of ten categories that at home users are looking at, irrespective of host location 
BeneluxBelgium, Netherland and Luxemborg users at home users 
FranceFrench at home users. Ten categories based on at home users 
GASGermany, Austria and Switzerland. Ten categories based on at home users 
IberiaSpain and Portugal. Ten categories based on at home and work users 

How do you ensure the independent selection of this sites?

We use listings from independent rankings of unique audience and total page views from Nielsen Net Ratings. This information, sorted by country, is based on "at home" and "at work" user panels of 8000 or more. Such survey results are not currently available in Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Russia. In these countries alternative survey data verified with local expertise has been obtained.

How often are sites updated?

The site listings are reviewed every 3 months, in general with other aspects of our IP-Access SLAs.

Which compensations are paid and when?

In general, compensations against the network guarantees (availability, latency and packet loss), connectivity guarantees (availability, server response and web page download speed) are available on a monthly basis. Customers must claim compensations within 60 days after the month, when we failed to meet the SLA.

Is the listing of sites shown in rank order?

We show the performance of the top ten sites in each category (based on most page views reagarding the market they belong to). We do not republish the lists in this order. This avoids republishing copyright data. Complete lists can be purchased from Nielsen Net Ratings.

Which purpose do the scrolling messages have?

The box on the left of the page provides brief text messages to help users evaluate, what is presented. This includes definitions, brief explanations, the location of supporting information and comments on key Internet events.

What can you tell me about benchmarks to help me understand, what I see in the tables?

is certainly not responsible for the operation of the majority of the web sites and their servers, however we endeavour to ensure direct connectivity to networks with significant unique audiences to ensure the customer's needs are met. The benchmarks set the expectation of a minimal performance level - for and our customers. For each URL we define benchmarks for monthly availability, average server response time and average site download speed. The SLA for a certain market or category is met if at least 95% of the benchmark values for the relevant URLs are met.

What happens, if individual sites go down or are withdrawn? How are they treated in the SLA offering?

Web sites and portals change location and are withdrawn as part of the dynamic nature of the Internet. We allow for this in offering performance guarantees in the following way: if a site is unavailable for 48 hours, then it will be deemed to have been withdrawn from normal use.

Why introduce this new service?

IP transit and Internet access is increasingly treated as a commodity - from any provider. However, quality of service varies. We want to demonstrate the quality of our service not only on our network level, but also on the user's application level. It is an added value to reassure customers of long-term quality.

Why are other providers not doing this?

is first to market in this space, other companies are using 'http get' to provide reporting. Other organisations, especially search engines, maintain listings of top sites as per content category.

Why can I not add new URLs myself - being an enhanced customer?

We offer SLA and payback against URLs, so we must control application of URLs.

Why do you not offer daily reports by hour?

Hourly reports would show too few data points as scans are performed every fifteen minutes. We do offer an average of daily profile, which includes enough data points to be statistically representative.

Why are you tracking http and not the larger traffic volume P2P traffic?

Browsing traffic profiles is more meaningful and mainstream, to both business and the average customer and is therefore our first priority. Additionally, this is, where users experience a wide performance variety. P2P involves a smaller user group and some applications that have commercial issues to be addressed before we can begin such a monitoring service.

Why do you offer this type of performance guarantee, even when you do not manage the web site or network the URL is located?

This is not only about a web site server or an isolated network's performance, but about, how to reach your end users. It is a matter of, how end users in companies or ISPs get to the Internet content they want to get to. This involves multiple networks.

When was the reporting service first introduced?

The standard version of this service was launched as part of the AS1273 IP-Access service on AS1273 in July 2004. However, scanning of individual sites has taken place since December 2003.

When will the standard reporting service be available?

Available since July 2004

When can I download the information into Excel or other applications?

Currently there is no way of exporting SLA report data into other applications. If you need such a feature, please send us feedback.

When will I receive e-mail summary reports on Connectivity and Network SLA performance?

Available from July 2004. You can set the e-mail address for your e-mail reporting in the Customer Support Environment.

How does the reporting service work?

The 'http get' request is sent out every 15 minutes to all 800 monitored URLs. This is the same request that your browser sends, when you request a web page. The scanning process will determine the availability of each URL, and if it is available, it will measure the server response time and the average throughput from each URL.

How are the markets chosen?

Markets were chosen to give maximum coverage of the European and US markets initially. Scope has been built into the system to cover additional markets.

How are the content categories chosen?

The content categories were chosen in a way to assure the following: a comprehensive coverage of the actual usage of web site by 'at home' and 'at work' users in all countries. These categories also represent a wide variety of customer's interests.

How are the top web sites chosen?

They are based on independent Internet rating data from Nielsen Net Ratings. If rating panels are not available, we have consulted local language net users for their evaluation of top sites. There is explicitly no bias towards network content.

How will I know when to claim compensations?

Check at the end of each month or check the opt-in user e-mail at the end of each month.

How do I claim compensations, if I am entitled to them?

You have to claim your compensations by either contacting your account team or opening a trouble ticket within 60 days after the month, when we failed to deliver the SLA.

If I am an enhanced service user, how often can I change the 20 URLs I have chosen to be reported against?

A maximum of 4 times during a 12 month contract period.

How often are the URLs updated?

The URLs are reviewed quarterly.

How often is the SLA updated?

Quarterly review.