Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feeling diabolical? But your the good guy? Your ISP won't think so.

MLAB is attempting to provide users with the tools to test their broadband connections by briefly communicating with a server elsewhere on the Internet.

I could have a lab like Dexter if it wasn't for the high cost of maintenance and power. Besides I don't have a basement.

Ping testing doesn't really tell you that much about your connection. You get your response time and whether your packets made it or not. The ISP world treats ICMP packets (PING) with very low priority. Also routers do more than route these days. High speed routers forward packets in hardware with very little processing required allowing them to handle more data faster.

Your packets are queued, buffered, and prioritized based on many factors. In many ways its like a first class ticket on a plane. The more you pay the better your treated. But imagine if the plane was loosing fuel and they needed to loose weight or they will crash. Imagine if they decided to throw third class passengers out the door.

The plane analogy doesn't describe the Internet very well. Its more like a highway with a HOV lane for the rich, When traffic is flowing good everyone is treated the same. When traffic is congested the HOV cars get through. The reason I like the plane analogy because in the HOV analogy all cars make it to the destination. In reality on the Internet your packets get tossed out to prevent the situation from getting worse for everyone.

Now you have the tools to see if your being treated like a customer or a criminal.

Network Diagnostic Tool
Test your connection speed and receive sophisticated diagnosis of problems limiting speed.
Test whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled.
Network Path and Application Diagnosis
Diagnose common problems that impact last-mile broadband networks.
DiffProbe (coming soon)
Determine whether an ISP is giving some traffic a lower priority than other traffic.
NANO (coming soon)
Determine whether an ISP is degrading the performance of a certain subset of users, applications, or destinations.

The PlanetLab Consortium joins Google and the Open Technology Institute in creating Measurement Lab (M-Lab), a distributed server platform for deploying Internet measurement tools. M-Lab is designed to empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections.

Don't let the ISPs run away with your re-concatenator/assembler high speed compression port adaptor.

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