Speed Test Results

Alex Brooks askoorb+nanog at gmail.com
Fri Dec 23 16:31:42 UTC 2011


On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM, Octavio Alvarez
<alvarezp at alvarezp.ods.org> wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Dec 2011 01:18:40 -0800, jacob miller <mmzinyi at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Am having a debate on the results of speed tests sites.
>> Am interested in knowing the thoughts of different individuals in regards to this.
> They are just a measurement, which need to be correctly used and
> interpreted (that's the difficult part).
> Reading bad numbers is not necessarily an indication of a link problem.
> Reading "good enough" numbers is only meaningful for the duration of the
> test.
> To me, the big problem is that they don't state all the details of the
> tests (for example, how exactly to they do the transfer). Geographical
> location is good, but sometimes not enough. Do they use http, https, ftp
> or their own JS implementation of whatever weird protocol they though of?
> How do I know if I'm hitting my firewall, web cache or ALG?

I agree.  But one that is fairly clear in what (and how) it tests (but
to be fair isn't really a 'speed test') that I've come across is ICSI
Netalyzr.  It's pretty useful to give a first impression to a tech of
what's going on with a link.

Take a look at an example report (from a dodgy connection) I dug up:

More info and examples are at http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu/

I also think that sometimes having a 'speed test' or similar hosted on
a network you are trying to connect to can be useful to find out if a
link is congested, or other problems getting from you to that network.
 An example of this is The BBC's iPlayer diagnostic at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/diagnostics (think Hulu, but in the UK).
It tests to all their CDNs (Akami, Limelight etc) using different
streaming methods and gives the results.  Only useful as an overview,
but a decent first guide nevertheless
> I only use them to get a generic overview of the link.

Heck yes!


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