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Re: Speed Test Results
From: Alex Brooks <askoorb+nanog () gmail com>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:31:42 +0000

Hello,

On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM, Octavio Alvarez
<alvarezp () alvarezp ods org> wrote:

On Fri, 23 Dec 2011 01:18:40 -0800, jacob miller <mmzinyi () 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:
http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu/restore/id=43ca208a-28820-e88f1efc-a129-4c92-8968

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!

Alex


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