Feeds

ISP reporting network to pierce bandwidth smokescreens

Your broadband needs you

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.