Top tools to check the quality of your ISP

Broadband speedometerI recently read an interesting article on MSNBC about a non-profit organisation that has released software designed to monitor whether your ISP is giving you a bum deal on your connection. Virtually everyone I talk to has had problems with their internet connection at some stage. Whether it’s fluctuating speeds, dropped or blocked connections, wherever you go, it seems you never get the service you were sold.

I’ve always found it incredibly annoying that my own ISP advertises speeds of “up to” 20MB per second when in actual fact, most of the time (like now) I’m lucky to be getting more than 5MB per second. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about this. The ISP’s customer service drones simply tell you that “the advertised speed is a maximum and the average can vary depending on the amount of traffic at any one time.” They’ll also blame any problems on everything else including your equipment, the number of people on your connection, the setup of your router and generally you as a person for being so technologically inept. Anyway, with this in mind, here’s a collection of tools to help you monitor the state and speed of your ISP – not they’ll give a damn if you show them the results.

  • BitMeter II – Simple tool to see how your connection is being used
  • BWMeter – Analyse the activity and performance of data packets sent and received
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