Glasnost to Test If Your ISP is Shaping Your Internet

You’ve paid for your Internet service and you wanted to get what you’ve paid for. But the question is how you would know if that’s the case. What if your ISP is limiting your download speed, blocking certain type of traffic, or engaging in what is called “traffic shaping“? You can only guess, or suspect if you don’t have the proper tool to find it out. Brought to you by Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Glasnost is one such a tool that helps you test and find out if your ISP is shaping your traffic.

How Glasnost works?

It’s a web-based service that you can run right from your browser to make your ISP’s traffic shaping policies transparent to you. In short, Glasnost tests work by measuring and comparing the performance of different application flows between your host and our measurement servers. The tests can detect traffic shaping in both upstream and downstream directions separately. The tests can also detect whether application flows are shaped based on their port numbers or their packets’ payload. If you are interested in knowing more, feel free to read their NSDI 2010 white paper.

How to test?

First of all, you will need to install Java on your computer. Right, it’s unfortunate that it’s built in Java but back to when it’s originally built, Java didn’t have that much revealed vulnerabilities.

Once installed, you can then pick one of the tests on Glasnost website, and click Start Testing button to start testing. You can pick one of the following services to test:

P2P apps

  • BitTorrent
  • eMule
  • Gnutella

Standard apps

  • POP3
  • IMAP4
  • HTTP transfer
  • SSH transfer
  • Usenet

Video-on-Demand

  • Flash videos

Glasnost - test options

The testing will take about a few minus to process. The result will show up right after the test.

Glasnost - result

It looks fine to me. At least, my ISP didn’t do anything shaping my traffic. You can also click the Detailed measurement results link for more details.

Glasnost - result details

Verdict

Glasnost will be a very useful tool when you have any suspicion about your Internet provider. It could become your weapon to fight for your rights to get what you are paying for.

/thanks to freewaregenius for the tip/

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

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