Cisco Webex ‘highest latency’ in Aussie video conferencing

Cisco Webex ‘highest latency’ in Aussie video conferencing

Google Meet, Skype and Microsoft Teams have the lowest latency, according to ACCC

Credit: Cisco

Cisco’s video conferencing platform, Webex, has the highest latency in the Australian market compared to its rivals, the competition watchdog has found.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the networking giant’s platform has a daily average lag time of above 300 milliseconds (ms) across the country.

Like its competitors in the unified communications space, Cisco Webex has seen a huge surge in usage since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, increasing by as much as 600 per cent at one point.

However, this is not necessarily a fault of the vendor itself but instead the way different telecommunications carriers connect to the platform, the ACCC said.

On a single day, retail service providers (RSPs) such as Optus and Vodafone may have Webex latency of above 325ms, while Aussie Broadband carries a range from 275ms to as low as 50ms.

Following behind Webex in terms of high latency was Zoom, with an average of 225ms and GoToMeeting with around 175ms on average.

The higher numbers also stem from Zoom, Webex and GoToMeeting using servers based in the United States, the Netherlands and Singapore respectively and not inside Australia, according to the report.

At the same time, Google Meet, Skype and Teams exhibited significantly lower latency than the other services measured for the period between 8 and 31 May, with the ACCC noting these services use servers located in Australia. 

However, Cisco has disputed the ACCC's findings and described them as inaccurate. In a subsequent statement to ARN, a Cisco spokesperson said: "The latency data in the report does not reflect the Webex performance in Australia. 

"The report appears to claim that Australian Webex users use a server based in the Netherlands (page 14). This is not the case."

Cisco claimed the  report overlooks the fact that Cisco has invested in a Webex data centre in Sydney and said the latency from it is "significantly less than what is claimed in the report". 

Cisco also claimed they were not consulted for the report. 

Zoom also disputed the findings, saying it has two data centres in Australia and that it also was not consulted by the ACCC for the report. 

The ACCC’s Critical Services report also looked the RSPs’ performance across video streaming services between 1 May and 31 May.

According to the report Netflix performance consistently above its February baseline figure andended the month over one per cent higher. 

The ACCC claimed this is most likely due to NBN Co permitting RSPs to acquire up to 40 per cent additional network capacity at no additional charge to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 lock downs.

YouTube also broadly performed above its February baseline although the increase in performance was less pronounced than for Netflix, the report claimed.

In terms of telco performance, MyRepublic displayed the most erratic tendencies in terms of download speed, particularly for YouTube, with the report suggesting this was likely to stem from the telco’s own network.

In addition, all YouTube traffic for MyRepublic is served from Google's central YouTube servers in Sydney, while other carriers host YouTube servers within their own network and in multiple locations.

Meanwhile, Vodafone displayed the most significant improvement on three-to-four per cent in its download speed for YouTube compared to its February baseline.

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