Feeds

ISP reporting network to pierce bandwidth smokescreens

Your broadband needs you

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.