While bandwidth prices are slowly declining, it is still quite common that some Internet Providers try to influence the traffic consumption of their customers by manipulating transfer speeds. The most common form of this is adding artificial limits, for instance to make certain transfers, P2P for instance, slower than others.
Up until recently customers had little possibilities to detect traffic shaping. The Internet connection speed analysis that is part of the tool collection at M-Lab Measurement Lab gives consumers the tools to identify these types of connection problems.
Measurement Lab was founded by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, Google Inc., and academic researchers.
It provides access to onlinetools, some of which have been mentioned earlier on Ghacks. The tools that are provided on the MLAB website are (crossed out tools are no longer available. Make sure you read the update below):
Only three of the tools are currently accessible on the M-Lab website. The Internet connection speed analysis can be run directly on the website without having to install third party software programs.
The only requirement is the latest Java Runtime Environment to be able to run the diagnostics.
Each analysis provides results and the means to interpret those results. To achieve best results a server closest to you should be selected when you run the test. The only situation where this should not be done is if you need to analyze the connection to a specific region. The speed analysis provides the means to identify problems with the connection or certain protocols.
Update: You now find additional network related tools available on the M-Lab website. The tools don't rely any longer on plugins such as Java or Flash. You can run them in any modern browser directly.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.