M-Lab Detects Download Speed Decrease Caused by ISP Bandwidth Throttling
Article by George Norman
On 30 Jan 2009
Google Inc, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, the PlantLab Consortium and academic researchers have joined hands in creating M-Lab (Measurement Lab), an open platform that you can use to detect if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is limiting your BitTorrent downloads. The simple truth of the matter is that most ISPs do this for a while now, so it pays to check and make sure.

File sharing by means of torrent sites has been greatly criticized, and there have been even some innovative ways of stopping people to access them. One of the dangers of downloading from torrent sites is related to security – which was recently emphasized when it turned out that pirated versions of iWork contained malware. There is a simple way to detect if a torrent file contains malware or password protected files, and that is Vertor.

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Getting back to the issue at hand, it must be said that M-Lab currently provides a total of 4 tools for users: Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT), Glasnost, Network Path and Application Diagnosis (NPAD), DiffProbe, and NANO. The last two are labeled as “coming soon”. The tools that you should focus on are NDT, which puts your connection speed to the test and diagnoses any potential problems, and Glasnost, which tests your connection speed to determine whether your ISP is actively limiting, or even worse, blocking your BitTorrent downloads.

“Over the course of early 2009, Google will provide researchers with 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe. All data collected via M-Lab will be made publicly available for other researchers to build on. M-Lab is intended to be a truly community-based effort, and we welcome the support of other companies, institutions, researchers, and users that want to provide servers, tools, or other resources that can help the platform flourish, says Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist with Google, company that has actively supported the fight for net neutrality.

If you would like to put the M-Lab tools to the test, you can do so here.



Tags: M-Lab, Google, ISP, BitTorrent
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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