Measurement Lab introduces a new, hardware-based tool

Over the past two and a half years, more than 40 million consumers have accessed Measurement Lab tools to better understand their broadband performance. Nearly 400 terabytes of broadband performance data are now publicly available. Now, researchers have developed a new tool that will help take M-Lab measurement to the next level.

BISMark (the Broadband Internet Service BenchMARK), a project being led by Georgia Tech and the University of Napoli, aims to measure Internet performance continuously over time. Unlike the many existing tools that run from a user’s computer, BISMark runs on a user’s home router itself. As a result, BISMark can not only measure Internet performance continuously over time, but also help differentiate any performance problems caused by a user’s ISP from those caused by a user’s home network setup.

If you’re interested in better understanding your broadband performance, you can sign up today to receive a free BISMark measurement router. Working with SamKnows and the FCC, the BISMark team will be selecting participants in the coming weeks, and routers will be shipped shortly thereafter. (If you’re especially eager and tech-savvy, you can skip the sign-up and try out an early version of the BISMark package on any OpenWRT-capable device; the project page has information about planned upcoming releases.)

Once you connect your BISMark router to your modem, the tool will run tests throughout the day, including measurement latency, packet loss, jitter, throughput, and network capacity. The BISMark team is also developing a network dashboard, which will allow users to access a detailed view of their ISP’s historical performance.

Like all M-Lab tools, BISMark is fully open-source, and all data collected on M-Lab servers will be placed in the public domain.