User-level ISP performance measurement

John R Levine johnl at
Mon Dec 1 19:50:29 UTC 1997

I hope I'm not reopening a huge can of worms here, but ...

Some of my relatives have started a small ISP in western Vermont.  (They
already run the local telco.) They're wondering how to compare the
performance that their users see to the ISPs in the adjacent town.  I told
them that there isn't anything published that'll be of much use, since the
stuff I've seen tries to measure backbone performance and for the most part
does so ineptly. 

For user level stuff, it seems to me that you could pick a representative set
of actions (visit large and small web sites, download e-mail, scan
newsgroups), dial in via PPP every hour for a week being sure to flush out
caches and otherwise start from a consistent user state, do the actions, time
them all, and make some simple stats.  This would be miserable to do
manually, but pretty straightforward to do automatically.  Is there anything
available, either as a product or service, that does this sort of analysis? 

One of the other hats I wear is as a director of a software testing tools
company, and we could certainly whip up this kind of stuff in no time using
our existing products if there were a demand for it. 

John Levine, johnl at, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be,, Sewer Commissioner
Finger for PGP key, f'print = 3A 5B D0 3F D9 A0 6A A4  2D AC 1E 9E A6 36 A3 47 

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