NetForecast continuously monitors meter accuracy to help proactively detect and correct meter system accuracy problems. We have been validating the accuracy of Internet data usage meter for ten years. We have certified data usage meter accuracy for ISPs serving 80% of the US wireline Internet subscribers, and currently analyze millions of meter accuracy data records per month.
Using specially-instrumented routers, we collect precise counts of down and upstream traffic, analyze the results, and compare our independently-measured traffic counts with the corresponding counts generated by the ISP’s meter system for the same traffic. This enables us to determine whether the meter system’s counts match our validated counts within a target accuracy range. Accuracy audit reports are delivered monthly, and discussed during a monthly conference call.
Ongoing accuracy validation is achieved by continuously performing passive measurements of real-user traffic in subscriber homes. We analyze the data and compare ISP meter records with our usage counts. If meter records register more traffic than NetForecast passed over the connection, the meter is over-reporting, which results in overcharging. If meter records register less traffic, the meter is under-reporting, which can cause an ISP to miss revenue.
An Internet data usage meter is a complex system that integrates data from multiple subsystems. Your meter may have more or fewer subsystems with different names than shown here but the general approach is for the meter system to count usage at the network edge. The counter data is then passed through several processing stages, which convert raw counts into meaningful usage data associated with a particular subscriber for a time period. The usage data is then stored in a database as “formal” meter records for an account. These records are used for billing and accessed by a web server to present usage information to the subscriber.
NetForecast documents validation results in a monthly report that provides actionable information. We also provide a year-end meter status review, and we document the accuracy results in a public audit report once each year.