SiliconFilter


Google-Backed Measurement Lab to Distribute Free Routers for Broadband Testing

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Measurement Lab is a Google-backed project that brings together industry and academic researchers who are interested in measuring broadband speed, doing network diagnostics and researching how ISPs throttle and block certain applications and services. The project launched in 2009 and has since released a number of tools for measuring your Internet connection. Now, with the BISMark (the Broadband Internet Service BenchMARK) project, Measurement Lab is taking its efforts one step further by distributing a large number of free routers to users all across the country. Currently, the project gathers data every time a user runs a test on its website. This new project, however, will give researchers a better idea of how networks perform, as the measurements are done at the router level and hence shielded from problems on a user’s computer and home network setup.

The project is led by Georgia Tech and the University of Napoli, but the organization is also working with broadband measurement company SamKnows and the FCC. SamKnows, of course, already has a network of routers installed all across the U.S. and UK (I’ve been using one for the last 9 months or so), making the company an ideal partner for this project.

The routers will then run tests throughout the day. These tests measure latency, packet loss, jitter, throughput, and network capacity. The results will be available for researchers, but the users themselves will also get access to a dashboard where they can take a look at their own data.

Apply

To apply for a free router and to become part of the project, just fill out this form here. The primary router used in this test will be a NetGear WNDR3700. Advanced users with an OpenWRT-capable router can also download the software package themselves and install it on their own routers.



3:28 pm


Why One Egyptian ISP is Still Online (Updated)

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For all intents and purposes, Egypt is currently cut off from the Internet. Even today, though, the Noor Group’s DSL service in Egypt remains available (though it experienced some downtime earlier today). Why is Noor, which has about an 8% market share in Egypt, allowed to continue to operate while the rest of the country’s ISPs went dark days ago?

While it would be nice to be able to write a story about how one ISP defied the government’s orders in Egypt to provide its users with an essential service, the reality seems to be far more mundane.

[notification type=”standard”] Update (Monday 3:00pm PT): According to the latest reports, the Noor networks is now also offline and the government plans to shut down all mobile phone networks as well. [/notification]

According to France’s Le Monde, Noor provides essential services to the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo. Thanks to this, the stock exchange’s site is one of the few Egyptian sites still available online. In addition, Le Monde also writes, Noor provides services to large multi-national corporations, including Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Exxon Mobile. Domestically, Noor also provides network services to Egypt Air. Because of this, Noor is likely considered to be an important economic asset and will probably continue operating throughout this crisis. We have to wonder, though, why the company wasn’t able to keep these business services up and running and cut its regular subscribers off at the same time.

Noor’s own website makes absolutely no mention of the current unrest in the country. Instead, the site’s news ticker proudly announces the network’s support for IPv6 and the availability of Linux hosting services.

noor_service_map.jpg



7:04 pm