Feeds

ISP reporting network to pierce bandwidth smokescreens

Your broadband needs you

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

ISP watchers have launched a bid to get to the bottom of what's going on with UK broadband by recruiting people to install specially-adapted network gear on their line, to collect reams of independent performance data.

The initiative to improve the transparency of ISP packages is being led by Samknows.com. The site is aiming to attract 200 volunteers who'll be sent a free tweaked Linksys router that will measure and report download speeds for HTTP and non-HTTP traffic, latency, packet loss, DNS response, and website loading times.

It comes as consumer anger against ISPs over tricksy marketing campaigns, opaque traffic management policies and low investment in infrastrucure continues to ferment.

Software based speed testers are already widely available, but it's hoped that a single, controllable and statistically sampled network will act as a high quality reference dataset. A hardware system allows for numerous other checks as well as 24-hour reporting.

It's hoped that the system will reveal exactly who is shaping what traffic, when and how. More data is needed to confirm the patterns, but very early data from a very small sample we've seen suggests some of the UK's largest ISPs might face some uncomfortable questions.

Sam Crawford, the man behind Samknows.com, said: "Is it right for us to expect a free broadband connection to perform as well as a £25 per month one?

"That's just the problem. We simply do not know how well one performs with respect to the other. All we have is anecdotal evidence from consumers, combined with some speed tester results. These have their place, granted, but it's hardly the basis to make informed statistical comparisons."

He promised that it was not part of a plan to launch yet another commercial broadband comparison site. Such operations make their money by referring users the providers they recommend. The boxes are being funded by Samknows.com's main business to business data operations and an investment from LX Capital Ltd.

There's a stack more info in the Samknows FAQ here. The ambition is to eventually have several thousand boxes reporting the state of the UK's broadband networks. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Brit celebs' homes VANISH from Google's Street View
Tony Blair's digs now a Tone-y Blur
Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife
ISP refuses to comment on why outages keep happening
10Gbps over crumbling COPPER: Boffins cram bits down telco wire
XG-FAST tech could finesse fiber connections
What the world needs now is... a Bluetooth-enabled baby's dummy
Oh NO! Temp-sensor pacifier just got dunked in my tea
BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies
Ad watchdog tells one-time state monopoly to behave
Islamic terror peril hits US giants' phone wallets
'We have made the decision to rebrand' says ISIS Isis
BlackBerry knocks Google's KNOX LOCK PICK for Android
John Chen disses Samsung's security solution
Silent Circle takes on Skype, Viber, mobile telcos with crypto-VoIP
But, hey ... we cut the roaming charges, mumble mobile carriers
TalkTalk talks itself into trouble with budget broadband package fibs
ASA places cheap-as-chips telco on the naughty step
FCC OKs $5 BEEELLION Wi-Fi cash splash in schools, libraries
Keep taking the tablets, says comms watchdog
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization
Virtualization continues to be one of the most effective ways to consolidate, reduce cost, and make data centers more efficient.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.