This week Google released a new toolkit for measuring the performance of your broadband connection. This suit aims to give you an idea of your total bandwidth and offer tools that attempt to discern whether your ISP is throttling specific traffic types such as bittorrent.
Ok so I started my testing of the new toolkit with “Users: Test Your Internet Connection“. I had to scroll up to the top of the page to find the tool itself, but I pressed start and nothing happened. Actually I got a protocol error, but either way the tool didn’t work. So I thought maybe it was my computer and so I tried one of their other tests. The test I chose is actually not one of their tests but instead it was “www.speedtest.net“. This test ran flawlessly which leads me to believe that the M-lab tests are not entirely functional yet. Though to be fair Google’s tools are still in beta.
Next I tested the Glasnost tool. I chose the short test which ran smoothly on my XP machine but did not run at all on my Vista box. The tool is pretty simple to use although I found I could not run it from the m-lab site. Instead I had to go to the Glasnost site at http://broadband.mpi-sws.org/transparency/bttest.php
The same sort of story also played out with the Network Path and Application Diagnosis (NPAD) tool. When I attempted to test this tool I found that the servers were overloaded and that the tool itself was unresponsive. And unfortunately I was not able to resolve the problem by going directly to site at http://www.psc.edu/networking/projects/pathdiag/ .
I give Google credit for trying to make / keep the ISP’s honest about their provisioning of bandwidth and not filtering any types of traffic. Though right now their toolkit isn’t very useful. I expect that the problems I’m seeing using their tools are because they are new and there are a large number of people who are interested to find out what their ISP’s are doing to their traffic. But despite the toolkit being in beta, I really expected that Google would have the hardware resources to be able to handle the traffic, and was disappointed to find the opposite.