Guide: Is Your ISP Throttling Your Internet Connection?
Think your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is messing with your connection performance? Now you can find out, with Google's new online tools that will diagnose your network connection. Here's a quick walkthrough on how to make the best of them.
Google's broadband test tools are located at Measurementlab.net. On that page, you'll see an first icon that says "Users: Test Your Internet Connection". Click that, and then you'll be taken to a page where there are three tests available, and two more listed as coming soon. However, out of the three available tests, only one of them is fully automated and easy to use.
Glasnost, second on the list, will check whether your ISP is slowing down (like Comcast) or blocking Peer2Peer (P2P) downloads from software such as BitTorrent. P2P apps are commonly used for downloading illegal software and media content like movies and music, but also are used for legal purposes as well, such as distributing large software packages to many users at once.
To use the measurement tool, you will be redirected to the Glasnost site. You'll need the latest version of Java installed, and you should stop any large downloads that you may have running before you begin the test. If you're on a Mac, a popup message will prompt you to trust the site's Java applet.
When you're ready to start, you can choose whether you want to run a full test (approximately 7 minutes long) or a simple test (4 minutes long). When I tried to test my connection, Glasnost's measurement servers were overloaded and an alternative server was offered, but that was overloaded as well. After a short while I was able to run the test.
In the tests of my connection (my provider is Vodafone At Home, in the UK) all results indicated that BitTorrent traffic is not blocked or throttled. But I'm looking forward to hearing from you in the comments how your ISP performed in Glasnost's diagnostics.
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Seems like a fairly comprehensive test, but in reality bears no resemblence to actual broadband speed.
It told me I have an average of around 1900Kbps download speed and around 377Kbps upload speed. This is just madness as I have never even seen speeds close to these!!! So what is that test actually proving??
I would be interested to see if anyone gets a true relflection of there actual connection speed.
You probably already know this, but just a reminder for anyone who comes looking here. 1900 kbps is 1900 kilobits per second, not 1900 kilobytes per second. A lower-case 'b' is typically used to represent bits while an upper-case 'B' is used for bytes. Most user application report speeds in bytes per second, but network orientated applications often use bits per second.
There are technically 8 bits per byte, but due to protocol overhead, using factors of ten to convert often yields more realisitic results (as far as the end user is concerned).
So 1900 kbps is only approximately 190 kBps (technically 237.5 kBps) and 377 kbps is 37.7 kBps (technically 47.1 kBps).
thankfully the providers in germany donīt throttle the speed ...
When it comes to bittorrent or online gaming, there can be so many other factors slowing you down at "your end" which makes solving problems a nightmare. My last ISP suddenly introduced traffic shaping, and I didnt notice for weeks becuase I only had torrents seeding.
When I tried to download new ones I noticed the speed loss, and I also started having problems finding matches in xbox live at the same time.
I took days investigating my firewall, re-doing all the port mapping in the router, and only when I took my laptop, and plugged it directly into the modem with routing completely disabled and bittorrent downloads were still slow, I realised maybe its not me, and phoned my ISP. They confirmed they had introduced traffic shaping for all customers gave me my MAC number in the same phone call.
These are some neat tools. The best alternative used to be hack a modem and listen through the modem for these things. Also, the people at sbhacker have found that pretty much every isp isn't providing what they promise.
To be honest, you guys should be proud of your overall ISP services up north... Here in Chile, since there no legislation nor control over IPS, the level of thievery and hiprocey is giganormous... A simple example:
On a 4Mb connection, the $Mb is only "valid" is you surf whithin national webs and servers, but upon connecting to international servers, speeds descend down to app 1Mb or 512 Kb...
If that isn't robbery, I really don't know what is...
thanks for the guide. i'm still at work and i tried the glasnost diagnostic and it said that our isp is not manipulating bit torrent traffic. it'll be interesting to see when i try this at home tho because i've noticed that i lose connection a lot when i'm in the middle of using bittorrent.
not sure if this is my ISP or my router, but i usually have to do a power cycle with my modem and my router to get the connection back.
anyone else experience anything like this? i will let post again when i get home and use the glasnost test at home.
Great guide! Thanks for taking the time. I've been meaning to look into this myself.