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Broadband Tools for Advanced Surfers

October 19th, 2010 by Jordan Usdan - Acting Director, Public-Private Initiatives

The demand for the beta version of the FCC fixed and mobile broadband tests have exceeded expectations with over 1.5 million tests taken since March.  While we ready the next versions, we wanted to inform users of other network testing tools available on the Internet.


These tools, which aren’t managed or approved by the FCC, allow users to do such things as test Internet Protocol Version 6 connectivity, determine whether traffic from certain applications is being throttled, and run an advanced overall network health diagnostic test.  And users can do all of this while contributing valuable and anonymous data to the academic research community.  Here are some advanced tools you might find useful and interesting:


IPv6 tests (accessible here and here)
These Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) tests allow you to determine whether your network connection is IPv6 capable.  Internet Protocol (IP) is the packet-switching and routing system for the Internet.  The current IP version (IPv4) was created in 1981 and is limited to around 4 billion unique addresses, most of which have already been assigned.  IPv6 allows for 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique IP addresses, which should last for a good while.  IPv6 also allows for better security and support for advanced applications.  The White House has released a memo to government agencies about the deployment and use of IPv6, which you can read here; for more information about IPv6 and what you need to know, see IPv6 Act Now.


Glasnost application throttling tool
The Glasnost test is managed by the Max Planck Institute and enables users to check whether traffic from an application is being rate-limited (i.e., throttled) or blocked.  Glasnost works by testing and comparing users’ connection speed for different application flows to determine if a network provider is limiting the traffic for a particular type of traffic.  The tests can also detect whether application flows are shaped based on their port numbers or their packets’ payload.  For those short on patience, be aware that this advanced tool takes approximately 8 minutes to test a connection.


Netalyzr
Netalyzr is a National Science Foundation funded project that tests a wide range of network characteristics, such as TCP and UDP connectivity, buffer measurements, and DNS policy.  Netalyzr is designed for users with sophisticated knowledge of network technology and runs an advanced test on your Internet connection with an attendant detailed report.  The New Scientist magazine has published a guide to help users understand their Netalyzr results.


We encourage users of the FCC Consumer Broadband Tests to also consider these advanced tools.  As a reminder, the FCC does not manage or control any of these tools.


What do you think of the advanced tools blogged about above?  What other tools do you find useful around the Internet?  We’re always interested in hearing from readers so let us know what you think.

3 Responses to “Broadband Tools for Advanced Surfers”

  1. Guest says:

    There is a test file on Netalyzr does a false positive on Nod32 Anti Virus

  2. twenty something says:

    you could have included:

    Web100 based Network Diagnostic Tool


    but that tool is not for "everyone".

  3. twenty something says:

    Netalyzr does not correctly diagnose verizon's fios Westell 9100 interfering with SIP traffic.

    This can't be legal can it?

    It seems the westell 9100 provided to verizon FIOS customers is designed to break SIP communication. Un damaged SIP communication is essential to VoIP [phone calls]. That's very anti-competitive of them isn't it?

    hmmm

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