Internet performance -- as measured by the speed at which a Web page can be downloaded and accessed -- increased 60% over the last two months from the same period last year, according to a study by Keynote Systems.
The finding is a result of an ongoing measurement system used by Keynote. Every 15 minutes, Keynote records the access and download time of 40 major Web sites, such as Microsoft, IBM, Federal Express , Yahoo and The New York Times.
In February 1997, it took on average 42.89 seconds to access and download the pages tracked in its Keynote Business 40 Internet Performance Index. That fell to 24.39 seconds last month. The connections are made through a T1 line.
Keynote says the Internet performance gains are likely because of improvements by the backbone providers. "All the backbone providers have been significantly upgrading their capacity over the last year," said Gene Shklar, director of marketing at the San Mateo, California-based firm.
Despite the improvements, congestion problems still occur. Four weeks during the past two months saw major Internet outages that hurt performance. News and special events can also affect response times. On Jan. 22, the day after the news regarding U.S. President Clinton's alleged relations with a White House intern broke, major news sites had performance problems.