Are You Getting The Data Speeds You Pay For?

written by Harry - Leave a reply

5/11/2011 – In the USA there is currently much fuss is being made over the level of data connection speeds being advertised by internet service providers and level that is actually being delivered.

In some instances the cost of upgrading your internet connection from a maximum download of 15Mbps to a maximum download of 50Mbps service can be as much as $55/month.  That’s a serious difference in price, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

Well known and free web-based applications like Speed Test already show you exactly what download and upload speeds you’re getting at your property.  If your ISP is not delivering anywhere near what you pay for, you have a right to be annoyed.  But now, with the release of new information regarding data caps being imposed by some of the big broadband players, a group of Georgia Tech researchers have developed an app to help the consumer fight back.

Named Kermit, it is a browser-based application that visually shows members of a household or network what level of data speed is being delivered into their property and which devices are taking up the most resource.  As an internet management tool it opens up a window to the public about which internet-based activities take up the most bandwidth and whether their service supplier is keeping to their side of the bargain.

Associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing and Kermit team member, Beki Grinter, commented, “It’s widely recognized now, and the FCC is [aware], that people are not getting the speeds that are sometimes advertised.  What Kermit does is it makes that very visible to people in their homes”.

Kermit is said to have been designed for simple use and understanding.  It’s objective is to allow users to view all their internet-connected devices – PCs, Macs, iPhones, Xbox360, Playstation 3 etc – and allocate certain bandwidth resources where appropriate.  For example, if you were a work-at-home professional you can allocate more bandwidth to your laptop to ensure you experience minimal connection speed slow downs and allocate less to your kid’s Xbox online gaming habits etc.  While the application is not yet commercially available, the researchers are searching for financial input under the chance of a possible future market release.

While the development of applications like Kermit are obviously great for exposing the shortcomings of large scale organisations, there is an undeniable worry that it is just a further step in the consumer’s unknowing acceptance towards a tiered internet system. If thus is the case, it could be just another step towards corporation gain and consumer-loss.

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