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Google and Friends Release Net Neutrality Measuring Tools

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the which-packet-how-fast dept.

The Internet 126

angry tapir writes "Google and a group of partners have released a set of tools designed to help broadband customers and researchers measure performance of Internet connections. The set of tools, at MeasurementLab.net, includes a network diagnostic tool, a network path diagnostic tool and a tool to measure whether the user's broadband provider is slowing BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P-to-P) traffic. Coming soon to the M-Lab applications is a tool to determine whether a broadband provider is giving some traffic a lower priority than other traffic, and a tool to determine whether a provider is degrading certain users or applications. 'Transparency is our goal,' said Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google and a co-developer of TCP/IP. 'Our intent is to make more [information] visible for all who are interested in the way the network is functioning at all layers.'"

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26647107)

Only if the net is truly neutral

God bless em (5, Interesting)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647133)

This is great, I'm sending this link around to friends and family on different networks now.

Not because I want to know, but because I want them to read it, see their problems in b&w, and be aware of what their ISP's are doing... without me preaching to the deaf.

Re:God bless em (5, Insightful)

Zartan the Great (1418773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647405)

Who posts a Bandwidth Tester on Slashdot and then expects us all to be able to use it at once... Cheers

Re:God bless em (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647511)

After RTFS, my first thought is that all the major ISP's will reverse engineer the tools, such that their traffic 'bandwidth shaping' methods will actually prioritize these packets, so that end users wind up getting lied to (that their network traffic isn't being slowed down AND that they are getting a faster internet connection than they actually are).

Not likely (2, Interesting)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648511)

Developing a system to fool the tools would cost money. Traffic shaping seems to be more a problem with Cable ISPs, and for almost free, they can flood TV with the gripping and compelling story of "HOW CABLE IS FASTAR!!® THAN DSL BECAUSE OF THE TRAFFIC SHAPING!!!" (disclaimer: this movie may or may not be a work of fiction)

Way to preach to the choir, google.

Re:God bless em (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649529)

After RTFS, my first thought is that all the major ISP's will reverse engineer the tools, such that their traffic 'bandwidth shaping' methods will actually prioritize these packets, so that end users wind up getting lied to (that their network traffic isn't being slowed down AND that they are getting a faster internet connection than they actually are).

Yes, exactly. So the next step is for the users to start making their traffic look like these tools. The final solution for the user is for the test tool to be as much like file transfer tools that the ISP can't tell the difference, so must either play fair or be detected.

Re:God bless em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26647559)

SDRTFA! (Someone didn't...)

Re:God bless em (2, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648475)

SDRTFA! (Someone didn't...)

You want SDNRTFA so as to not be confused with Someone did ...

Re:God bless em (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26649257)

you should use the apostrophized contraction "didn't" to save letters. so what you really want is SD'ntRTFA.

Re:God bless em (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26649523)

You should use the apostrophy in the correct place, so what you really want is SDn'tRTFA.

Re:God bless em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26650077)

No no no... SDi'nt'"RTFA

Re:God bless em (3, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647755)

those tools seem pretty useful, but i don't know how user-friendly some of them are. personally, i'm looking for a tool to see if our ISP (at the office) is hijacking our DNS errors, or all of our computers are just infected with malware.

also, is anyone else seeing a bunch of "" characters on the Network Diagnostic Tester [internet2.edu] homepage? is my browser/system screwed up, or are there a bunch of a little boxes with "FF FD" in them scattered all over the page?

Re:God bless em (1)

YayaY (837729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648459)

If your DNS results are not clean, you can always run your own DNS server. With a Linux Box, it's quite easy.

Re:God bless em (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648639)

Sure, unless the ISP is picking up all DNS packets and answering them itself.

That only works if they are your only route out at that point, but...

Re:God bless em (0, Offtopic)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648811)

well, we do have an aging file server at the office that needs to be re-purposed. it used to house two 120GB hard drives in firmware RAID 1, but one of the drives died recently and the other is about to kick the bucket (they're both about 7-years-old). and with external hard drives costing less and less these days, it seems more practical and cost-efficient to simply use a few pairs of external hard drives for back-ups. also, ever since we switched to wireless, working over the network (with 20~100MB hi-res images) has become a pain in the ass--though maybe Adobe Drive/Version Cue [adobe.com] will help in that regard.

i only hesitate to set up a Linux server because i'm not familiar with the OS. i've only run SUSE and RedHat briefly on the desktop, and that was ages ago in high school (i also never got my sound card to work). i'd be more willing to go through the trouble if there was a possibility of using the linux box as a wireless router and somehow speed up our WLAN speeds. we have a Linksys Wireless G router, but using Windows XP file sharing is pitiful. it's almost impossible to get a 2GB transfer to complete without an error. it usually takes several tries and 6-7 hrs or more.

Re:God bless em (0, Offtopic)

rtechie (244489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648945)

use a few pairs of external hard drives for back-ups.

Get an external enclosure that does RAID and use that. Preferably a NAS device so you can leverage it a little. Not very expensive and that way your backup will actually be more reliable than the source. "Backing up" data to unreliable external storage like USB hard drives and flash drives is a bad idea.

ever since we switched to wireless, working over the network (with 20~100MB hi-res images) has become a pain in the ass

Wait for n or switch back. I recommend the latter. The practical limitations on wireless are serious an they're not changing anytime soon.

Re:God bless em (0, Offtopic)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649001)

Well wireless is perfect for normal traffic, but if your moving files around then keep a cable handy.

Thats what I do at work.
At home I have gigabit ethernet everywhere so the benefits of wireless disappear.

Re:God bless em (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26650709)

if your moving

you're

Re:God bless em (0, Offtopic)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649671)

why would a USB external hard drive be any less reliable than an internal SATA drive?

we're a small indie label, so i'm not sure the cost of an external RAID enclosure is justified. we do have a lot of hi-res graphics to back up, such as album artwork, print layouts, poster/sticker/clothing designs, etc., as well as e-mails, invoices, and our retail & radio mailing/contact lists. but i think weekly backups onto one or two 750GB~1TB drives should be sufficient.

and as you said, consumer wireless technology is severely limited. so being able to just plug the USB hard drive into a workstation to perform backups is pretty handy. i'd prefer if they were FireWire, but it's still a heck of a lot better than trying to do backups over the network.

though perhaps we should wire up the workstations in the office, and just leave the wireless for the laptops and TiVos. in that case we may be able to work directly off of the file server again, which we'll keep an external USB or FireWire hard drive plugged into for nightly backups.

Re:God bless em (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650213)

is anyone else seeing a bunch of "" characters on the Network Diagnostic Tester homepage? is my browser/system screwed up, or are there a bunch of a little boxes with "FF FD" in them scattered all over the page?

Actually, the entire content you're getting from what you think is "the web", comes from malware installed in all computers in your company.

This message, for example, was generated by worm4421__slashdot_replier, installed in the coffee machine.

Re:God bless em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26650431)

your browser is not detecting the charset correctly or the server is providing the wrong one; the document is iso-8859-1 for some reason. you can change character encoding in firefox view->character encoding->western (iso-8859-1)

Re:God bless em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26650465)

The character encoding specified in the HTTP header (utf-8) is different from the value in the element (iso-8859-1). The admin for that site is an idiot.

Re:God bless em (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652271)

i'm looking for a tool to see if our ISP (at the office) is hijacking our DNS errors, or all of our computers are just infected with malware.

They already have a tool for that. It's called a Linux Live CD.

Re:God bless em (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652819)

i'm looking for a tool to see if our ISP (at the office) is hijacking our DNS errors, or all of our computers are just infected with malware.

They already have a tool for that. It's called a Linux Live CD.

Details, please!

Re:God bless em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652753)

It's not just your system-- I see them too.

Vint Cerf has a posse (0, Offtopic)

InspectorxGadget (1230170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647139)

6'1"
185 lbs.
7.5% tissue replaced with CAT6 cable

Comcast (5, Funny)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647147)

As a Comcast customer, I heartily look forward to trying out these tools on my Comcastic(tm) connection at home!

On another note, I also look forward to carrier-grade NAT in the near future, when Comcast decides they want to stay with IPv4 forever!

Re:Comcast (2, Informative)

brainfsck (1078697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647993)

I'm not sure you will be happy; the results of the test may lessen your opportunities to be snarky. According to Glasnost [mpi-sws.org] , Comcast is currently throttling 0% of torrent uploads and downloads.

Re:Comcast (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648353)

When it comes to IPv6, Comcast appears to be ahead of other broadband ISPs; Comcast is leading development of Dual Stack Lite while other ISPs are basically saying nothing.

Define slowing (4, Interesting)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647167)

What do they mean by slowing? You can "slow" Bittorrent by shaping or by giving it less priority? Again, is this being confused on purpose? To what end? From my post on the Cox story:

One issue is over subscription. Unless a company is large enough to have lots and lots of peer connections, your ISP is probably over subscribes their upstream connections. This is fine, because on average traffic goes in bursts. The problem is that everything starts to break down once you have a small pool of people running P2P 24/7. These people are just as greedy as the ISP's they complain about. They want a huge "dedicated" pipe, but have others subsidize it. I have no issue with someone like Cox de-prioritizing their traffic so that the people that just want their Vonage to work don't get squashed out. This is a temporary solution because the ISP will eventually have to up their pipe speed.

The other issue is granting certain companies privileges on a network and penalizing other companies they don't like (e.g. penalize Vonage and prioritize a VoIP partner). This should be illegal. This is a clear case of violation of neutrality. At the same time, the company should be able to directly peer with a company (say a VoIP provider) without violating the law. This may seem unfair, but peering has been a perfectly valid way of reducing traffic on a transit connection.

The last issue is traffic caps. I don't think there should be a law against it as long as the company is upfront about it. Putting caps on traffic allows ISP's to maximize their over subscription and cater to people that want low cost Internet service. We *want* people to afford Internet services. The market chooses. If you are a big user of P2P, then you will have to go with another ISP that does not have caps. You may have to pay more for this privilege... sorry, but that is how things go. The market must have a way to manage scarcity of resources. If you want more of a resource, you will have to pay for it even it if looks the same (e.g. 5mbit from Cox versus 5mbit from FiOS).

Don't confuse QoS with net neutrality. As long as the QoS is applied equally, then it should be perfectly fine.

Re:Define slowing (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647249)

"Putting caps on traffic allows ISP's to maximize their over subscription and cater to people that want low cost Internet service."

I realize you're talking in theory.

But now that Comcast has capped traffic, have they provided a new, inexpensive tier of service? Or has their prices gone up? Can you name any company that capped traffic and then lowered prices?

Seems to me capping traffic is simply a way to stay revenue neutral, and reduce costs. Let's not pretend it's for any other reason.

Re:Define slowing (0)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647427)

So what? Yes, they want to manage costs. So does everyone. They have a business model, if you don't like it, go with someone else. If you think you have a better idea, then build out your own ISP and compete with them.

Re:Define slowing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26647513)

"Go with someone else"

Because that is *totally* possible in Comcast markets.

Re:Define slowing (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647587)

You have choices. How much are you willing to spend? I bet you a T1 provider won't cap you, but you have to pay for that privilege.

You could go with:

o Dial up (blazing 56kbps)
o DSL
o ISDN BRI (128kbps baby!)
o T1
o Satellite

Re:Define slowing (2, Insightful)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648053)

Only if you have all of them available. In my area with cable modem service, it is only dial-up (3 KB/sec average, baby!!) no DSL, no FIOS, ISDN, IDSL (144Kb/sec both ways), and satellite. :(

Re:Define slowing (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648079)

You can get a T1. Everyone can get a T1. Yes, it's pricey, but you can pick and choose where your transit comes from.

Re:Define slowing (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648161)

How much do T1s cost these days? Isn't it still in the hundreds?

Re:Define slowing (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648247)

How much do T1s cost these days? Isn't it still in the hundreds?

Yup.

Re:Define slowing (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648319)

I will wait. $56.95 for cable is expensive enough. :P

Re:Define slowing (2, Informative)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649105)

Data pipes are like realty, location location location. I'm in a rural area and a large part of the cost of a T1 is the local loop. The next factor is your type of upstream provider - Tier 1, etc. I can get a Tier 2 T1 for 595. If I was in a city it'd be cheaper but still expensive compared to cable or DSL. Also 1.5Mbps isn't what it used to be.

I just came up for contract renewal on my Sprint T1. One year is about a grand a month, a 3 year term drops it to 895. Do a NxT1 deal and it gets a little cheaper but not much. Still a decent deal compared to the pricing of other Tier 1s out there. In the decade I've had T1s the price has dropped by about 1/3. Local loop has stayed about the same - the ILECs (Verizon in my case) really are out to screw everyone.

So yes you may have some minor choices but telephone and cable are legislated monopolies. It's a losing game to try to compete against a company that you have to use along some point in your delivery to clients. There are obvious exemptions to this but there's a reason there aren't many local ISPs around. Last mile data connection has turned into a monopoly controlled commodity in the US.

Re:Define slowing (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648129)

FTTH is an option. A lovely option at that. ;)

Around here FTTH is offered at speeds up to 1000/1000, but rare people could afford the price tag so most of us go with either 10/10 or 20/20 depending on which ISP we choose.

FTTH (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650267)

I got ftth at home some months ago.

After a month trying to solve the tiny little problem of having a packet loss between 5 and 25%, the ISP simply didn't know what was happening and they politely told me to find another ISP and retry in a year or two, when the technology was more stable.

Re:FTTH (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650765)

I got FTTH at home some months ago and I also get television and telephone via that cable. Telephone and internet have worked _flawlessly_ the whole time. No packet loss, no speed loss, just perfect. Television seems to skip a frame or two every once in a while though.

Then again, this is the ISP that for a long while resisted FTTH and only adopted it after all its competitors did. So I guess they wanted to make a really good service so as not to lose any more customers.

Re:Define slowing (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648007)

I live in a pretty typical suburban area and I can choose from the following residential ISPs:

Comcast (up to 16/2)
Verizon DSL (Up to 6/1)
Covad DSL (up to 10/1)
Wireless 2.4Ghz (up to 3/1.5)
Wi-Max (up to 3/3)
Satellite (up to 3/384)

So while I don't have any perfect substitutes to cable broadband, it's hardly accurate to say that I'm stuck with cable if they do anything to seriously anger me.

Re:Define slowing (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647607)

I didn't criticize them, I'm simply trying to push aside the B.S. about helping customers and get down to brass tacks.

It's a cost saving measure.

Re:Define slowing (4, Interesting)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647983)

The ISPs have large areas where they are the only high-speed Internet providers, besides expensive and high-ping satellite connections. You know just as well as I that there's no feasible way to build your own ISP. Caps are only possible because of the ISPs' anti-competitive behavior. What you're saying is, "Hey, DeBeers has a business model of 'managing costs'. They can do what they want. If you don't like it, find another player (never mind that DeBeers controls 90%+ of the market) or make your own diamond mining corporation."

Re:Define slowing (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648011)

As far as I know, you can get a T1 anywhere. Get a few and setup your own wireless ISP for your neighbors.

Re:Define slowing (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648407)

But then when he saturated the T1s with P2P the neighbors would all quit in disgust and go back to Comcast.

Re:Define slowing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26649407)

A T1 is too slow. You'd need 10 or more, but that would be expensive because you'd be paying retail price for the T1s while trying to operate a commercial scale network.

Re:Define slowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26649171)

The last time I checked T1 is still only 1.544 mbit of sync bandwidth. Not really all that impressive and not really much of an option. Which of the ISPs do you work for again?

Re:Define slowing (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648281)

Can you name any company that capped traffic and then lowered prices?

Do you mean immediately? I'm not sure you should expect to, most companies would implement the cap at a position which is sufficient to avoid annoying 99% of their existing customers, ie it won't reduce their immediate costs much at all, rather it will give them a control mechanism going forward.

That said caps don't bring much to consumers if there is just a one-size fits all cap. For there to be any consumer benefit a set of tiered caps need to be offered so the customer can choose a price point that meets their needs and not pay for what they don't use.

Re:Define slowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26648449)

"Do you mean immediately?"

Let's take it out the realm of timeliness and reduce to "ever". Has a cable company ever cut service levels and then lowered price.

Re:Define slowing (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648779)

Maybe things are different in the US. When I first got ADSL, it cost me GBP25 per month for 512k down/256k up uncapped. When my ISP introduced 2M down/512k up plans with tiered capping, I initially stuck with my old 512k plan because it was going to cost GBP40 per month to get an uncapped 2M connection. Then one day I discovered the usage meter buried in their control panel and saw that I was well under the cap for a GBP20 2M connection. Today I get 6Mbps down/600k at GBP18 per month and still only use half the bandwidth I'm capped at, and for really light users there are plans starting at about GBP12 per month (or even less from some of the more oversubscribed ISPs). So for many users, the price has gotten cheaper. Only the heaviest users have seen price rises as tiered caps have become more widespread.

Re:Define slowing (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649615)

But now that Comcast has capped traffic, have they provided a new, inexpensive tier of service? Or has their prices gone up? Can you name any company that capped traffic and then lowered prices?

First, let me say that I do not know a heck of a lot about the business side of this. But, let me play Devil's advocate. Just because prices haven't changed or cheaper plans are not being sold doesn't mean they aren't doing this to profit. What if by capping traffic, we create a larger pool of available bandwidth. And what if we sold this bandwidth in larger pipes. More expensive premium plans made possible by the degradation of service elsewhere.

Metered Service (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647495)

> The last issue is traffic caps. I don't think there should be a law against it as long
> as the company is upfront about it. Putting caps on traffic allows ISP's to maximize
> their over subscription and cater to people that want low cost Internet service.

I don't think that caps should be illegal either but metered service would be much better.

Re:Metered Service (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647935)

Agreed, it's the best way to go. Probably rather thorny to implement, however, not to mention sell.

Re:Metered Service (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647967)

Metered service makes sense, but only if there's a significant minimum charge. If an ISP charges, say, $1 GB, that wouldn't make sense because most users would end up paying $5 to $10 a month even though the ISP's cost to simply maintain the physical plant and support system for a minimal usage customer is at least $15 or $20 a month.

Re:Metered Service (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648255)

> Metered service makes sense, but only if there's a significant minimum charge.

Yes, of course: that's obvious.

Re:Metered Service (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648141)

> The last issue is traffic caps. I don't think there should be a law against it as long
> as the company is upfront about it. Putting caps on traffic allows ISP's to maximize
> their over subscription and cater to people that want low cost Internet service.

I don't think that caps should be illegal either but metered service would be much better.

You think they're going to cut do something that would cut the monthly bills of 80% of their subscribers? All the Joe Sixpacks and grandmas that check their email and visit CNN.com once a day? No, for them, metered service would mean $5/month (or $20 perhaps). That's down from the $50/mo they already pay.

Re:Metered Service (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648301)

> No, for them, metered service would mean $5/month (or $20 perhaps). That's down from the
> $50/mo they already pay.

That doesn't follow at all. An ISP can calculate a revenue-neutral combination of minimum monthly fee and per-GB rate.

Re:Define slowing (3, Insightful)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647589)

I think the more sane of those arguing against throttling are those who point to the ISPs' advertising, which is often at best misleading and at worst fraudulent.

Re:Define slowing (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647669)

I have no issue with someone like Cox de-prioritizing their traffic so that the people that just want their Vonage to work don't get squashed out.

Why deprioritize at all? Give everyone using the pipe at a given moment an equal portion of the available bandwidth. Divide it up evenly by customer, not by application. One person doing p2p shouldn't affect another person's Vonage phone call or vice-versa.

Re:Define slowing (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647819)

My understanding is that, currently, routers don't work this way. They pass each packet more or less equally (some ToS bits) as it comes in. A single customer running P2P can monopolize the traffic on a router. The P2P customer gets 90 out 100 packets coming in and the VoIP customer gets 10 of the 100. ToS change things up a bit, but not enough to balance out how much point to point traffic a P2P program can generate.

What you are talking about is a router that looks at all the IP's or customers (if a customer has more than one IP) and gives each customer an equal slice. The effect could be that the P2P traffic would be slowed down. Do the Google tools point out a "fair" slowing down or all slowing down?

Define slowing.

Re:Define slowing (1)

mixmatch (957776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648629)

QoS allows the router to drop packets coming in for a particular ip/port (your client) if they exceed a certain rate (normal and/or burst). TCP will automatically renegotiate the transfer speed to accommodate the loss of packets. In this way users hogging bandwidth can be contained. The real powers of QoS are in prioritizing outgoing packets in the queue, allowing protocols that require low latency (VoIP) to go out before those that have no latency requirements (torrent), but the outgoing queue can also be shaped so each user gets a fair share of outgoing traffic.

Re:Define slowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26650579)

and have the customers discover they only really have {fibre backbone}/{#customers} ~= 128Kbps connections?

Re:Define slowing (2, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647765)

Don't confuse QoS with net neutrality. As long as the QoS is applied equally, then it should be perfectly fine.

I fully agree with your first sentence. QoS is a necessary part of any network management plan, and it deserves to be seen as a tool like any other.

But it doesn't follow that QoS is always good if applied without prejudice. For example: A network that doesn't give adequate priority to anyone's VOIP is no more desirable than a network that gives priority to one VOIP supplier. (If you want VOIP services that is.)

QoS and Net Neutrality are two different things, but both affect consumers in a particular way. The nice thing is that, where available, market forces do a lot to mitigate against bad QoS policies. Net Neutrality, on the other hand, usually implies collusion between telcos and other industry allies.

This means that when someone creates an undesirable QoS scheme, we can (theoretically) vote with our wallets. But when Net Neutrality is challenged, we usually have no recourse but the force of law and regulation.

It's true that QoS can be used as the mechanism by which Net Neutrality is thwarted, but the problem is not the filtering per se; the problem is collusion between industry allies to limit choice and undermine the end-to-end network [wikipedia.org] model.

Re:Define slowing (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648499)

These people are just as greedy as the ISP's they complain about. They want a huge "dedicated" pipe, but have others subsidize it.

No, they don't. They want the bandwidth that was advertised when they made their decision about whom to pay for internet provision. If ISPs are not prepared to provide that bandwidth at that price, let them be honest about it.

Re:Define slowing (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648581)

so it's greedy to expect an ISP to deliver to you the service they advertised and that you've paid for? don't confuse your own solipsism & selfishness with other people's being greed. right now you're saying that VoIP should have priority over P2P because presumably "ordinary" people like you use VoIP but don't use P2P (a rather questionable assumption). so just because someone else's internet usage patterns are different from yours, your traffic should be given priority over theirs, even though you both pay the same monthly rate?

you also seem to be the one confusing the issue of file-sharing with so-called "bandwidth hogs." first of all, congratulations on buying into (or trying to perpetuate) the ISP's scapegoating of power users and file-sharers for their poor service--i'm sure all those Asian countries with cheap, symmetric high-speed broadband connections don't have file sharers or power users. secondly, even if we assume that a broadband provider has to oversell in order to remain profitable (an unlikely case), why could a simple bandwidth cap be implemented regardless of the type of traffic one has? protocol discrimination and deep packet analysis (which simply adds more network overhead) is not necessary even if you're trying to perform damage control after having over-sold by too much.

at our office i use BitTorrent maybe once a month to download 30-40 MB Photoshop brush sets, or an 18 MB Ad-Aware install file (the LavaSoft site requires you to sign up for Trialplay, and give out your personal information and CC# to get the Anniversary edition), and only very occasionally an up-to-date Windows XP disc image (700~800MB). on average, our monthly BitTorrent traffic totals less than 100MB on a 10Mbps connection.

on the other hand, we're a record label so we listen to band demos all day long, and these days most of it is done via MySpace, which is very convenient; we can see how many plays each artist has received that day, what shows they've played recently, and just gauge their popularity more easily. it also cuts down on the demo CDs being pressed/burnt/shipped, which is good for the environment. however, this means we're streaming music all day long (from 9 AM to 5 PM). assuming the average audio quality frm myspace is 96kbps, that's about 330MB of traffic from streaming audio alone, not to mention all the banners, photos, and other graphics on these bands' MySpace pages.

so if 2 people each consume, say, 500~600MB of network bandwidth each day, but one person uses it solely for BitTorrent while the other uses it solely for sending large files via e-mail, why should the BitTorrent user's network packets have lower priority than the e-mail user? how is he being greedy or asking others to subsidize his bandwidth?

ISPs have no business dictating how a broadband subscriber uses his internet connection. if they want to throttle people's connections after a bandwidth cap is exceeded, fine--don't advertise the service as unlimited, make the cap clear to your customers, and apply it equally to everyone regardless of whether they're an old grandma who's watching the Food Network in HD on her cable TV, or if it's a teenager downloading the latest Slackware ISO via BitTorrent.

lastly, if an ISP cannot meet the demands of their customers, they need to do one of two things: a.) upgrade their infrastructure to increase network capacity, or b.) don't oversell so much. the basic concept of overselling is sound. on average not everyone is going to use 100% of their pipe 100% of the time. but it's up to the ISP to calculate what their average network usage is going to be, and provide enough total network bandwidth so that the network doesn't become saturated during peak hours. what you don't do is try to scapegoat power users for your own miscalculations and continue to oversell while trying to dictate how the public uses the internet.

most countries are offering faster broadband at lower costs, following the usage trends that are shifting towards high bandwidth applications, such as P2P file-sharing, VoIP/VVoIP (Video and Voice over IP), streaming HD video, etc. and, like most industries, ISPs are increasing the supply to meet the growing demand. but in the U.S. things are in reverse. instead of increases in demand driving similar increases in supply, it's the supply-side ISPs who are trying to dictate demand by artificially suppressing internet usage. so here we are fussing over people saturating 3Mbps DSL asymmetric connections while Europe is rolling out 24Mbps DSL2, and countries like Japan and South Korea are making 1 Gbps symmetric FttH residential broadband connections a standard.

Re:Define slowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26651451)

You don't really have a clue how an ISP works, do you?

Re:Define slowing (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650967)

I have no issue with someone like Cox de-prioritizing their [P2P] traffic so that the people that just want their Vonage to work don't get squashed out.

I have a problem with my ISP giving my traffic lower priority based on the meaning of the bytes I'm communicating. All they should worry about is packet lengths and (maybe) QoS fields.

I'm fine with my bulk transfer being delayed during sparse bursts of interactive traffic from my neighbors: they get fast HTTP, I get all the pipe when they're reading the page (as opposed to downloading a new one).

That is, as long as we over time each get a fair share of the pipe up to the amount we're using individually: if they do a bulk transfer via HTTP, it should have the same priority as my bulk transfer via $PROTOCOL.

If they do a long-running VoIP stream, they better limit the bandwidth of that such that there's also room for my traffic.

Re:Define slowing (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652709)

These people are just as greedy as the ISP's they complain about. They want a huge "dedicated" pipe, but have others subsidize it.

No they want a dedicated pipe of the size they paid for, hell most people wouldnt even care if they used QOS properly and just slowed down their torrents, but the if my isp detects that im torrenting all my packets are slowed down, pings take 4s.

Net Neutrality makes me cry (0, Offtopic)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647189)

And this guy too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FIfu7B3sZY [youtube.com]

While I don't really think this is talking about neutrality per se, I figured I should post this because it makes me ROFL.

Sincere-O-meter (4, Funny)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647243)

The set of tools, at MeasurementLab.net, includes a network diagnostic tool, a network path diagnostic tool and a tool to measure whether the user's broadband provider is slowing BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P-to-P) traffic.

Will there be a tool to tell me if Digital Max [cox.com] is really my friend in the digital world, or if he's just bullshitting me?

Abreve-O-meter (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648023)

"...BitTorrent Peer-to-Peer (P-to-P) (P2P) (PPP) (P^3) traffic"

I 3 the internet (0)

rtconner (544309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647275)

It's the great equalizer. No one can control this thing. The rules are enforced by the people: give us quality or get out.

Useful to both p2p users and network admins. (4, Interesting)

fenix849 (1009013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647301)

These tools are no doubt going to be very useful to everyone that uses p2p software for _any_ purpose.

The flipside is that as an administrator of a workplace network i can also use these tools to ascertain whether or not the traffic managment and qos i've put in place on the corporate network is working.

It doesn't really matter so much on this particular network as p2p protocols are blocked (infact every outgoing port is blocked from the internal lan, some https sites are whitelisted, and all non-ssl web access is proxied.

But it will allow me to ensure the qos for our voip trunks is effective.

This Glastnost thing ain't gonna work (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647341)

It got Slashdotted:

caused by: java.io.IOException: open HTTP connection failed.
        at sun.applet.AppletClassLoader.getBytes(AppletClassLoader.java:265)
        at sun.applet.AppletClassLoader.access$100(AppletClassLoader.java:43)
        at sun.applet.AppletClassLoader$1.run(AppletClassLoader.java:152)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at sun.applet.AppletClassLoader.findClass(AppletClassLoader.java:149) ... 9 more

Re:This Glastnost thing ain't gonna work (2, Interesting)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647731)

Yeah I just tried the Bittorrent test and got a message indicating the service was busy.

I wonder if the worst offending ISPs would consider blocking these site's IP addresses. I can imagine their response now "Oh we're not 'traffic shaping' or blocking those sites... we're just 'data molding' or 'idea shaping'."

Re:This Glastnost thing ain't gonna work (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648859)

You're not missing out on much - this is what it says when it doesn't throw an exception:

Another client is currently being served, your test will begin within 22635 seconds

Comcast has gotten better (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26647451)

I know everyone hates Comcast and all, and I can't say I've forgiven them for Sandvine, but using Comcast in my area is a dream now. Honestly, during the Sandvine days it took a week of seeding to seed back what I could download in 3 hours; since they ditched it last year it immediately got better, but it seems to be getting better yet. I literally am seeding torrents at 300+ when I choose to seed; now I mainly do this overnight while I'm in bed and usage is low, but I can pull torrents down even when I'm awake, and the seeding doesn't seem that much slower. Out of compassion for neighbours also trying to use the network at prime time I usually pause after I get the file until bedtime so I don't have that much prime time up experience.

So, basically, yeah Comcast sucked, they sucked bad, but I'm not one to harp on good work when they do it, and in my area they have done an awesome job, seemingly, in the last couple months.

ComObjectCast and Friends Fire Back (5, Funny)

Raystonn (1463901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26647485)

"ComObjectCast and a group of partners have released a set of tools designed to help broadband providers and researchers determine the algorithms used by Net Neutrality Measuring Tools. The set of tools, at MeasurementLabSucks.net, includes an enduser diagnostic tool, an enduser pathfinding diagnostic tool, and a tool to determine is the enduser is measuring whether the user's broadband provider is slowing BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P-to-P) traffic. Coming soon to the M-Lab-Sucks applications is a tool to determine whether an enduser is using a tool to determine that a broadband provider is giving some traffic a lower priority than other traffic, and a tool to determine if an enduser is using a tool to determine whether a provider is degrading certain users or applications. 'Obfuscation is our goal,' said Argle-bargle GlypfpGlopf, Chief obfuscation evangelist at ComObjectCast and a co-developer of ROFL/MAO. 'Our intent is to make more [information] visible for all who are interested in keeping customers from using what they paid for.'"

Dundle Linux and Google (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26647667)

Isn't Dundle Linux doing something with this?

About time... (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648071)

...it's nice to finally have an automated way of testing this, particularly a method that shows aggregate statistics.

Tried using all tools under Linux with Firefox 3.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26648221)

I am on comcast in SF and no dice right now, nothing seems to work maybe its overloaded. Everything is timing out.

Where's the irony tag? (1, Informative)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648265)

We now have a metric to measure neutrality? Isn't that like having a metric to measure fairness?

"Well, objectively speaking, this deal is ten times more fair for me than it is for you."

Re:Where's the irony tag? (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648531)

This would be ironic if we weren't expecting Google to do it. I guess I wasn't, so it is a bit ironic.

Re:Where's the irony tag? (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648939)

Why is it difficult to believe that neutrality can be measured? Is the bias against p2p packets 5% stronger than other packets or 500% stronger. That is a measure of neutrality. One can argue whether neutrality is a good thing or not but I don't think it is reasonable to suggest it can't be measured.

What about Glasnost (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26648441)

The Max Planck Institute for Software Systems has been developing a similar tool. Glasnost: Test if your ISP is manipulating BitTorrent traffic.

Re:What about Glasnost (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26648467)

Hmm. Never heard of it. When I go to the Measurement Labs website I get sent to something called Glasnost. Not sure if it's the same thing or not. You said your was developed at the Max Planck Institute? Huh, so is this one. Man, I don't know what's up. Maybe you should email the MLabs folks and let them know.

douche

Mickey Mouse (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26648995)

I'm surprised that Google put it's name on this. First, all the servers are down. Second, the very first test on the main page is hosted on IP named servers. That is just tacky and makes me think of rogue servers hosted by a guy in Romania. Finally, all the tests point to separate pages, on different servers with no consistent look and feel.

It is like this was put together by a high school computer club in 2002--not the premier web based company in 2009. WTF?

W_00T Fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26649341)

WebSite Third, 7ou Some intelligent

Redundant, sorry (2, Insightful)

Damn The Torpedoes (1279448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26649587)

I think it's great to measure connection speeds and all, but isn't it a little redundant? We already know Internet Providers are limiting and degrading certain types of traffic. The question isn't IF they are, it's how we get them to stop doing it. Incidentally, that might just happen if Obama, a supporter [youtube.com] pushes legislation through holding ISPs accountable for non-neutral networks.

Who is this Meth Labs anyway? (0, Redundant)

The Real Tachyon (1332153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650763)

And don't they know speed kills?

Surely... (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26650971)

Any ISP that is interfering with traffic is going to exclude the IPs for bandwidth testing sites from its traffic management policies? At least they will in a market where customers care about this kind of thing, and have a choice of ISP.

The BitTorrent test works great! (1)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651499)

But they should improve the way they report the results, I mean, this says I'm blocked, doesn't it?

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_CONSTANT_ENCAPSED_STRING, expecting ')' in /var/www/bb/bittorrent-blocking.php on line 30

Java?! (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651987)

And how are they going to differentiate tiny differences in network latency from the huge sluggishness anything running in java experiences?

Add to that the ultimate irony of java - it was intended as something that would run on anything anywhere, yet in order to make it run on whatever you happen to have you usually have to find, download, and install huge sets of libraries and compilers, find you've got the wrong version, download another huge set, and find it still doesnt work becuase of some bogus assumptions made by the original developer about what would be available. And (as already noted) even if you do manage to get it working, it runs like you've got an old 486 with 8M of ram.

java - no thanks.

Great To Know.... (0, Troll)

ccdoshi (1422803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652419)

I Am Happy To Read It "Google and Friends Release Net Neutrality Measuring Tools" And It's Really Help Broadband Customers & Internet connections Performance Also.... http://www.directaircraft.com/ [directaircraft.com] http://www.minijetplanes.com/ [minijetplanes.com] http://www.flypowerjet.com/ [flypowerjet.com] http://www.airplanejunction.com/ [airplanejunction.com]

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26653229)

Comcast is blocking the site.

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