How would you know if your ISP is limiting your download speed, blocking certain traffic, such as Torrent, Usenet, or other traffic, or generally engaging in what is called ‘traffic shaping’? The answer: Glasnost, not the Russian kind, but rather a project of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems which provides a range of tests designed to find this out, and report back within a relatively very short time.
Glasnost if a free web app with a very sparse interface and a lot of information on the subject of traffic shaping. I will admit that my primary motivation for doing these tests was merely curiosity; however, if you’ve had reason to wonder whether your ISP is shaping your traffic (and cannot get a simple answer), then these tests are for you.
How it works:
Once on the Glasnost site, scroll down the page where you can select from a number of tests, ranging from P2P traffic to Usenet to video-on-demand (i.e. flash video used on most video sharing sites).
Once you start a test, it is best to limit any other usage of the internet connection (on your PC or other devices that use the same connection). This will limit the amount of ‘noise’ that can make the results inaccurate (the web app will tell you if this was indeed the case when the test is done). You will need to have JAVA installed on your browser to run the test. It will take approximately 500 seconds (just over 8 minutes) for any single test to run.
The results look like the screenshot below:
In a world were the single individual has so little recourse in the face of unelected corporations that seem to only get more and more powerful, tools like Glasnost deserve kudos and a lot of credit, credit as well for helping to keep the internet transparent.
[Thanks go to reader Panzer for the tip about this service].