For the Triangle, ranking at the top of surveys – from best places for jobs to education to life and to work – is pretty routine. But not for people wanting wireless service at RDU.

Travelers passing through Raleigh-Durham International Airport are getting far less than the fastest and most reliable wireless Internet and phone service as they get at other airports, according to a new report.

RDU dropped to No. 40 from No. 14 among 50 major airports where testing is conducted by independent research firm Root Metrics over the second half of 2014. The company routinely tests metro areas and the largest airports twice annually.

On a scale measuring a variety of different data points (reliability, speed, others), RDU’s “RootScore” score came in at 87.8.

Charlotte’s Douglas International improved its performance a bit to rank 23rd with a score of 92.5. That’s up one place from the previous report.

Memphis came in No. 1 with a 98.4 score, climbing from the No. 4 spot.

Pittsburgh International took second at 96.6, vaulting from No. 10.

Chicago’s O’Hare was next at 96.5, falling from No. 1.

RDU’s scores

The most recent RDU survey results:

  • “Verizon won the Data RootScore Award at RDU for the fourth consecutive time.
  • “AT&T’s median download speed decreased from 11.0 Mbps to 5.8 Mbps since March testing, and AT&T’s median upload speed decreased from 5.8 Mbps to 1.9 Mbps.
  • “Sprint’s median download speed increased from 2.7 Mbps to 10.6 Mbps since March.
  • “Verizon’s median download speed decreased from 20.2 Mbps to 11.1 Mbps since March, and Verizon’s median upload speed decreased from 7.6 Mbps to 3.3 Mbps.”

So how does the survey work?

About the surveys

“At each airport, we test data performance, including internet browsing, upload and download speeds, and email, at the 50 airports with the most traffic, according to Federal Aviation Administration enplanement figures. The airports tested in the second half of 2014 were selected based on FAA numbers from 2012, the most recent full year available before testing began,” RootMetrics explains.

“We distill the results of our testing into RootScores for each network that can give you a gauge of network performance at a glance. Networks with the highest RootScores in a particular airport are awarded a first-place RootScore Award.”

The data reflects “[H]ow well individual networks perform at airports, and how airports compare with each other in general performance.”

Verizon ranks as the No. 1 wireless provider at RDU, according to the report.

A new survey of RDU is “scheduled,” according to the RootMetrics website.

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