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Researchers Latch Onto BitTorrent To Spot Connection Problems

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the like-a-nice-drink-of-barium dept.

The Internet 87

alphadogg writes "Northwestern University researchers have developed a system that gives a heads up about traffic problems on the Internet, where there is no central management system. Their Network Early Warning System (NEWS), which latches on to a popular BitTorrent client, is designed to spot problems by encouraging feedback from end users who are experiencing problems. 'You can think of it as crowd sourcing network monitoring,' said associate professor Fabián Bustamante. He has a track record with BitTorrent users, having developed the popular Ono plug-in for speeding up P2P interactions."

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Fine but you have to use Azureus (3, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887159)

As per the Ono plugin. Not everybody's cup of Java.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887345)

Pron:
http://mrfriendly.freehostia.com

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887431)

What's wrong with Azureus? Is there a better open-source client out there that I'm not aware of?

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (0)

jfarina (1194441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887501)

Yes.

how about a name or some links smartass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887565)

Aiming for a +5 funny are you?

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (1)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888219)

utorrent seems to be one of the most popular.

azureus used to be my favorite until I saw how big of a footprint it was on my system. didn't matter if you were grabbing a few gigs for a linux ISO or a game like wolf: enemy territory [free, by the way!] still chugged.

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (3, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888469)

utorrent seems to be one of the most popular.

utorrent isn't open-source. And I'm not brave enough to use a closed-source client from a company that has signed agreements with the RIAA and MPAA, particularly when open-source alternatives are available.

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (0, Troll)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888877)

utorrent isn't open-source. And I'm not brave enough to use a closed-source client from a company that has signed agreements with the RIAA and MPAA

I hear ya there brother who knows what kind of schemes they are hatching in that 263kb install file! Such poor reasoning...

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25889005)

I hear ya there brother who knows what kind of schemes they are hatching in that 263kb install file! Such poor reasoning...

That's the whole point. Who knows. This guy [slashdot.org] said it [slashdot.org] better than I can: "If I'm going to be using a program for traffic that's as controversial these days as bittorrent it had better be able to demonstrate what it's doing under the hood."

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25892451)

And... did you actually audit the code of your open source torrent program? Or do you know someone who has?

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (1)

anaxim (1403833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912363)

I like to think that the community as a whole can be counted on in that regard. Some tinfoil equipped fellow with proper expertise can sound the gong for the rest of us.

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25889897)

I hear ya there brother who knows what kind of schemes they are hatching in that 263kb install file! Such poor reasoning...

Yes, because we all know it's impossible to put a 4 byte IP address and a call to existing download or tracking code somewhere into 263,000 bytes of unknown binary.

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (2, Informative)

chammy (1096007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888899)

Deluge [deluge-torrent.org] is opensource, and has almost every feature uTorrent has. If I'm going to be using a program for traffic that's as controversial these days as bittorrent it had better be able to demonstrate what it's doing under the hood.

Re:how about a name or some links smartass? (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888475)

According to their FAQ [utorrent.com] , utorrent is not open source and likely never will be, which the GGP states as a requirement.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887517)

I prefer Deluge and Transmission, myself.

Azureus is waaaaay too bloated for my needs.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887579)

Well, if bloat is your issue then I've found the Linux command line client rTorrent [rakshasa.no] to be my personal favorite. When I'm going to be seeding something for the long term (like the new Fedora version that just came out) I'm usually doing so in rTorrent running in a detached screen. That way I don't have to keep my Windows box running 24/7 just to seed something.

As far as GUI clients though I've always been partial to Azureus. To each their own I guess.....

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887965)

Azureus was great until they pushed Vuze down. Fuck that shit.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888007)

I agree there. I am still running version 2.X.X.X because vuze is a POS.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888103)

I concur. I'm going to ignore the majority of the junk that's on it, so why force it on us? Anyone feel like forking it?

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888489)

Azureus was great until they pushed Vuze down.

It takes less than 10 seconds to disable Vuze and verison 2.x is still supported in any event.....

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888703)

You might take a look at the new vuze 4. They've changed things up some to make it more like the 2.X series and it seems to be far more lightweight than the 3 series (Kinda like comparing firefox 2 to firefox 3). I've seen 3.X versions sometimes use over 200MB of RAM. 4.0 currently taking 45MB with 14 seeds up. not exactly utorrent's runs-on-a-486-with-14MB-ram trick, but it works fine for a relatively modern system.

http://azureus.sourceforge.net/upgrade.php [sourceforge.net]

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25889243)

The problem is that I don't want a content management system at all. All I want is a flexible torrent application with all the advanced configuration etc. I don't want any of that multimedia stuff.

In the same way, I want a media player that plays media. Nothing. Else. Things like rhythmbox and amarok drive me nuts as well... back in windows, the old "classic" winamp was perfect, foobar2000 was perfect, and in linux xmms was perfect.

Lately, it seems that there is a disturbing trend of feature bloat. Every program can do everything. I like lightweight functional applications, and always have.

Torrents are no exception.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25890579)

Mod up!

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Insightful)

benow (671946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892107)

You kids! Get off my lawn. Kitchen sink apps are a great, if often bloated, showcase of ideas. In a perfect world the good ideas stick around in new versions or interpretations and the cruft dies out.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25893851)

The problem is that I don't want a content management system at all. All I want is a flexible torrent application with all the advanced configuration etc. I don't want any of that multimedia stuff.

In the same way, I want a media player that plays media. Nothing. Else. Things like rhythmbox and amarok drive me nuts as well... back in windows, the old "classic" winamp was perfect, foobar2000 was perfect, and in linux xmms was perfect.

Lately, it seems that there is a disturbing trend of feature bloat. Every program can do everything. I like lightweight functional applications, and always have.

Torrents are no exception.

QFT. Also, it seems like with feature bloat comes the lack of usability (ie: jack of all trades, master of none").

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896819)

Check out KTorrent. I used to use Azureus because of the advanced features, but got tired of the bloat.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25897523)

deluge and transmission may also be options...

light weight media player under linux (1)

Breetai (14095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896905)

If you look for a light weight audio player under Linux, Audacious might do the trick. It's a successor of the old xmms.

For media I like to use mplayer. Also light weight and able to play anything.

Re:light weight media player under linux (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899879)

Yep, I use both. Sometimes I just use mplayer, it does the job well enough with plain audio. If you give it wildcards or multiple files, it plays them in a playlist:

mplayer -vo null /my/media/*

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25897539)

i blame itunes...

when it hit windows, it became almost a fad to use it, even if one didnt own a ipod.

so to "keep up", more and more players started adding media library features, ripping features and info downloading features.

me, im so "old school" that my concept of "media library" is to pile my files into different dirs, and aim the players playlist at the top dir, then setting playback to random...

that is, unless i just fire up a stream off shoutcast or icecast and leave it at that. right now i seem to have a preference for "the eagle".

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Informative)

Terminus32 (968892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25897753)

I love XMMS, think i'll stick with it for a loooong time.....can't stand the thought of Windows Media Player or iTunes, yuck!

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887545)

rtorrent + rtgui?

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

Xentalion (1005477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888413)

Hear hear

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888403)

Yes. It's called Deluge.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

ubercam (1025540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888451)

There is nothing wrong with Deluge [deluge-torrent.org] . It's the best drop in replacement for uTorrent on Linux I've ever come across. Beats Transmission by a mile (and uTorrent in Wine). They have binaries for a few flavours of Linux, Windows and OS X.

The source code for all releases is available here [deluge-torrent.org] .

I found it in Add/Remove in Ubuntu Hardy. It's got just as many, if not more configuration options as uTorrent, which all other clients I've tried lacked. It's very quick and I'm entirely pleased with it. Even comes with a web GUI if that's your thing.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888687)

"Better" might be a strong word, but I prefer rTorrent, since I can run it with screen and check up on it occasionally via ssh. Plus the system requirements are very low.

It's not without its negatives though. My biggest issue is that, because it uses mmap to write to files, it's incompatible with filesystems that do not support shared-writable mmaps (e.g., ntfs-3g, or anything else involving FUSE).

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888795)

I do like rTorrent a lot. Especially for something that I want to seed for a good long while -- my Linux box runs 24/7 whereas my Windows box is only turned on when I need to use it.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Informative)

szaka (1061180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899645)

NTFS-3G and all FUSE based file systems support shared-writable mmap
since kernel 2.6.26:
http://ntfs-3g.org/support.html#wine [ntfs-3g.org]
http://ntfs-3g.org/support.html#vmware [ntfs-3g.org]

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902481)

Interesting!! Thanks for letting me know. Kubuntu Hardy -- which I'm using -- ships with a 2.6.24 kernel, but Intrepid comes with 2.6.27 -- so I'll get this when I get around to doing a distro upgrade. Nice!

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25888727)

ktorrent? yes, you need qt libs. but it has an integrated html engine to make searchs,so you can do all in one app. besides, it comes with a few plugings that can be very usefull (like scheduling prioritys or automatic blacklisting)

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25890773)

What's wrong with Azureus? Is there a better open-source client out there that I'm not aware of?

Well, 'better' will always lead to a fight. But personally, I prefer Transmision.

http://transmission.m0k.org/ [m0k.org]

You can also try Deluge.

http://deluge-torrent.org/ [deluge-torrent.org]

YMMV

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887695)

Azureus is OK...for a Java app...but Vuze sucks....
Constantly clicking HELL NO! on the:
  "Do you want to update? OK? Oh Come on! do ya do ya? you REALLY wanna update now doncha? Ok?
    button(s) every single use is old....
  I do not use plug-ins in Torrent Clients, Firefox or anything else because you CONSTANTLY spend time maintaining them: "Client XYZ needs to restart to use the new thingy do you wanna do that thing now later, never, when hell freezes over, or when you are in a total rush to use this app so I can spend that 5 minutes updating?

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887837)

Excuse me? What version are you using?

Every once in a while, I'll get an update prompt because I have the configuration set to check on startup and check periodically. You can disable both of these, and it will never prompt you to update anything.

And, "Vuze" is really just Azureus with an optional UI. The executable is still named "Azureus.exe", and if you choos the old UI in options, it basically works exactly as before. I'm running version the latest 4.0.x release, and it really isn't any different from version 2.x if you use the old UI...just a few more new features.

As for the restart problem, just let the update happen and restart when it's convenient for you.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888055)

That's too rational for him. Stop using logic where it shouldn't apply. It just like when OO.o takes more than 10 seconds to load. It's unbearable for these people for some reason. I mean, he could have won an internet in the time OO.o opened a Writer document.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (2, Funny)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888061)

sorry, but.. pebkac

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899321)

Agreed about Vuze, but in all fairness, you can run it with the "classic" interface. The Vuze UI blows shared balls. You can also turn off auto-updates, or reduce the frequency of their checks. I personally have auto-updates turned off because some *ahem* sites I frequent disallow Azurues above a certain version number until that version's been vetted by the community.

Re:Fine but you have to use Azureus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25901845)

How do I report "HEY COMCAST, UN-CENSOR MY INTERNET" using this thing?

I thought they stopped censoring bittorrent traffic when the EFF called them out on it, but apparently not at my house! After pulling a small torrent down at a rate of fifty BYTES per second over the course of a week or so my internet connection magically stopped working for two days.

How is internet censorship of this type even legal in the US? wth!

What a Horrid Infestation! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887165)

Researchers Latch Onto BitTorrent

That's a shame, once you get researchers underneath the floor boards, nothing will get rid of them.

There goes any funding you ever hoped for.

To What End? (3, Insightful)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887175)

From TFA:

The main goal of this plugin is to reliably find problems in the network and raise alerts about them. As a user, you want to be sure that you are getting the service that you're paying for and be notified quickly about network problems, especially those that can lead to compensation for service interruption.

As a user, so what if I know what the problem with my ISP's network is? I still have to call their crappy support lines, and wait the hours it takes their idiot technicians to fix the fucking problem.

Re:To What End? (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887427)

How do you know that it's a legitimate bad connection and not just throttling by your ISP?

Re:To What End? (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887689)

I was going to say, "We'll be filtering out all feedback from email coming from @comcast.net".

Re:To What End? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887729)

How do you know that it's a legitimate bad connection and not just throttling by your ISP?

The difference? Who cares?!? It's bad either way and your isp is to blame in both cases.

Re:To What End? (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887877)

You are implying there is a difference.

Re:To What End? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25889585)

For many people there is [azureuswiki.com] .

Re:To What End? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887429)

With a large lump of data like that a class action could gradually become viable.

Especially if patterns can be found.

Re:To What End? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887489)

As a user, so what if I know what the problem with my ISP's network is? I still have to call their crappy support lines, and wait the hours it takes their idiot technicians to fix the fucking problem.

At least your ISP fixes things. I was with BT (which I believe is short for Bastard Telecom). They fix nothing. Your call goes to India. A rep there, whom you can barely understand, promises you everything and proceeds to completely ignore anything you say. I gave up after daily, hour-long calls for three weeks -- just switched ISP, it was easier.

Re:To What End? (1)

LackThereof (916566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25893723)

You mean when you call your ISP's support line, they actually make someone try and fix the problem?

My ISP's answer is always "we'll open a ticket and get back to you by e-mail". Then, a few hours later, an E-mail comes saying they're closing my support ticket and denying a problem exists. And the problem will continue for days.

That, or they'll give some answer acknowledging a problem exists, but refusing to do anything about it. Only pulling 300kbps over your 5Mbps connection? Sorry, we sold you bandwidth, not throughput.

Can you... (1)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887183)

plug it into your Garmin?

Still no cure for spellcheck fails. (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887193)

Onto? is that like Goto?

Re:Still no cure for spellcheck fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887363)

no, more like surjective

Re:Still no cure for spellcheck fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25888615)

Goto main;

New layout (-1, Offtopic)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887201)

Totally unrelated to the article, but wtf is up with the new userpage? I just want it the way it was, with easy access to my comments right up front when I click on my own username. I don't need a stupid stylesheet based on idle with fifteen useless widgets cluttering things up! Does anyone know how to get rid of that crap? (Since the slashdocumentation is years out of date...)

Re:New layout (0, Offtopic)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887265)

Agreed 100%. /. should also have a forum for these issues so we don't have to post OT and we can provide user feedback.

Re:New layout (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892307)

Why not put this on your bookmark bar and be done with it? http://slashdot.org/my/comments [slashdot.org]

Re:New layout (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899345)

Because i don't want yet another bookmark cluttering up my bookmark folder/bar, when there already is (was) a perfectly good link right there on the page that had long since been committed to muscle memory.

Something like this c/would be awesome (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887211)

When the smiling AT&T cable sales people come knocking on my door, I'd like to show them a website or printed graph of how badly their Internet service really sucks. I'm starting to get a couple of options for ISP now, and it would just be so awesome to hold up a graph and smile the entire time I tell them how badly their service/product sucks!

Re:Something like this c/would be awesome (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25887653)

I'm starting to get a couple of options for ISP now, and it would just be so awesome to hold up a graph and smile the entire time I tell them how badly their service/product sucks!

Call them up, complain, and ask for compensations.

More often than not, they'll credit your monthly bill just to keep you happy.

Re:Something like this c/would be awesome (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888761)

cron job with a ping in it works for basic on/off, then draw it in excel.

Re:Something like this c/would be awesome (2, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888865)

Yes, but when 37% of their clients show the same poor service it's much more convincing than one person's tale of woes. There are plenty of ways to monitor your own ISP, but when it's not your ISP, where do you go for the information? That's why this would be brilliant.

Re:Something like this (c|w)ould be awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25890547)

Fixed

Wrong question (3, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887305)

Unfortunately this answers the wrong question. It doesn't tell me about network performance, it tells me about bittorrent application network performance. Big difference.

Re:Wrong question (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887459)

And a test using TCP tells you about TCP performance, a test using UDP tells you about UDP performance, a test using ftp tells you about ftp performance.
Can't be helped if ISP's happen to intentionally cripple their networks for the protocols I care about.

Wrong flight. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887677)

"Can't be helped if ISP's happen to intentionally cripple their networks for the protocols I care about."

What do carrier pigeons have to do with anything?

Re:Wrong question (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887925)

You mean people use the internet for things other than bittorrent? ;-)

Re:Wrong question (1)

Yacoby (1295064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887993)

Everyone know The Internet Is For Porn

Re:Wrong question (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25889029)

Well, since BT traffic stresses a network's resources more than any other, and is the subject of aggressive filtering and other control methods, I'd have to say it's as good a baseline as any. It's easy enough to do performance testing in a laboratory where all conditions are controlled, but when you start running packets through dozens of administrative domains each with their own configurations, equipment, etc., what you have is a very organic problem that it nearly impossible to diagnose.

To use the obligatory car analogies we heart so much on slashdot, this is like your real world week to week gas mileage, whereas the laboratory testing is like the EPA rated gas mileage. As your car gets older, gets stuck in traffic, etc., it's going to fall short of that rating -- but because it all averages out in the end it's a more reliable metric. But like any other statistic, it needs to be taken with others; Getting 40 miles to the gallon sounds great until you find out the car only has a briggs and straton engine and does zero to sixty in about a minute. Or as I call them Saturns.

I've been wanting something like this for ages (4, Interesting)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887385)

Finally a tool that will allow end users to objectively compare ISP networks!

I've switch service providers several time because of network outages and performance issues. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be on the phone with tech support, insisting that I need to reboot windows one more time (though it's funny as hell to tell them it's a linux box) and after 45 minutes holding and 4 or 5 technical support reps I finally talk to a tech that admits network issues. It will be nice to see how my current provider compares against the local competition.

But I wonder how much bittorrent "traffic shaping" (blocking) will effect ISP scores?

Re:I've been wanting something like this for ages (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25887773)

But I wonder how much bittorrent "traffic shaping" (blocking) will effect ISP scores?

That is a good thing: combining network performance with how much the ISP fucks with your traffic into one easy score.

Bittorrent is a pretty good benchmarking system: it checks upload, download, making tons of connections, bulk data transfer, and is considered by some people to be "evil". That really is a fairly good combination of network parameters.

Re:I've been wanting something like this for ages (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888335)

1: Create ISP performance benchmark using metrics based on p2P functionality
2: Popularise metric so that customers use it in order to choose between ISPs
3: ISP are placed in a position where subscriber numbers are directly affected by p2p service levels.
4: ?
5: Profit!

Re:I've been wanting something like this for ages (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899411)

I've switch service providers several time because of network outages and performance issues. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be on the phone with tech support, insisting that I need to reboot windows one more time (though it's funny as hell to tell them it's a linux box) and after 45 minutes holding and 4 or 5 technical support reps I finally talk to a tech that admits network issues. It will be nice to see how my current provider compares against the local competition.

While this is an excellent point and a fucking annoyance, I don't think this plug-in will help you. You'll get the first level tech, you'll tell them "There's a network outage at points X, Y, Z because of A, B, C". You'll still get back the same canned response. "Thank you for calling support, sir. Today we will need being to reset your computer. Click the Start, then the Shutdown, then the Restart, which is the button that looks like...."

If you really want to get a hold of the second level tech, you can try the bullheaded rush. Just respond to every question with "I appreciate your help, but this is really matter for a second level support. Can I speak to a second level technician please. Second level tech, please." Most times you'll get through.

Re:I've been wanting something like this for ages (1)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901341)

I don't think this plug-in will help you.

I agree with you that it will not help me with tech support. However, it will let me circumvent tech support in a few instances. It will point me in 1 of 3 directions:
1. My LAN is FUBAR'ed
2. The local ISP is SNAFU
3. The wider internet backbone is having problems(anchors [slashdot.org] on pipes [slashdot.org] )
If it's local or internet issue, then pestering my ISP won't do much. If it is my ISP, I can ask if they are doing maintenance, throttling my connection, or if there is other network issues. Unfortunately, none of these things are a level one tech question.

Anyway, it's nice to know the breadth of a problem before convincing the first level rep that rebooting the pc the fourth time didn't correct the issue. I'm almost convinced that they tell you to reboot the PC when they're thumbing through their answers book for your particular problem.

This seems useful for anyone troubleshooting (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25888151)

This will be great for those of us who are stuck trying to blindly diagnose network issues since most everyone drops ping packets.

Currently the best I can do to tell if users of my web app are experiencing network issues is to log the timing between SYN and the first ACK packet on incoming connections, which gives me a passive variant of a ping time.

Excuse me, but WTF?!? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25892453)

From the NEWS link in TFA:

For each potential anomaly locally detected, NEWS publishes its information to distributed storage. NEWS then corroborates the potential anomaly by reading anomaly reports from the same distributed store. If a sufficient number of reports indicate the same problem at the same time, the anomaly is considered confirmed and an "alarm" is raised for the user/operator.

Now - is it just me, or aren't a whole lot of people going ape over Safari (and others) phoning home information?? http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/25/1813241 [slashdot.org]

Doesn't "publishing info to a distributed store" mean phoning home? Doesn't that include routing info - from sites you might not want to have published as associated with your torrent activities??

I do not think the biggest issue that this raises has Thing One to do with which torrent client you're using. I think it has more to do with Your Rights Online.

Re:Excuse me, but WTF?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896001)

no information about sites you visit or the actual contents of what you are publishing is shared/put in the distributed table. the project is open source, feel free to examine it for yourself. all the information that is saved is related to the suspected network anomaly and doing is so is only to corroborate that there was in deed an error.

Is this system based on a false premise? (1)

Brett Glass (98525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25895331)

It seems to me that this system is based on a false premise: that throttling or blocking of BitTorrent traffic means that something is wrong. In fact, the ISP could be doing P2P mitigation, which improves the overall performance of the network by preventing kiddies who are doing illegal downloads via BitTorrent from degrading legitimate users' performance.

Re:Is this system based on a false premise? (1)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896861)

Yes, It's completely irrational to expect an ISP to deliver the promised XMbit/s as mush as a paying customer desires as it is clearly documented in Section 5, subsection two, paragraph three that "we reserve the right to throttle, inject, or alter any traffic subject to our own (and secret) fair usage policy." Of course we can't expect these poor ISPs to reasonable provision their networks to the capacity they have sold. If you feel this sounds correct I have a unlimited hosting package that would be perfect for you.
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