In this paper, we perform a detailed analysis of point-to-point packet delay in an operational tier-1 network. The point-to-point delay is the time experienced by a packet from an ingress to an egress point in an ISP, and it provides the most basic information regarding the delay performance of the ISP's network. Using packet traces captured in the operational network, we obtain precise point-to-point packet delay measurements and analyze the various factors affecting them. Through a simple, step-by-step, systematic methodology and careful data analysis, we identify the major network factors that contribute to point-to-point packet delay and characterize their effect on the network delay performance. Our findings are: (1) delay distributions vary greatly in shape, depending on the path and link utilization; (2) after constant factors dependent only on the path and packet size are removed, the 99th percentile variable delay remains under 1 ms over several hops and under link utilization below 90% on a bottleneck; (3) a very small number of packets experience very large delay in short bursts. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.