Do you have suspicions that your ISP may be throttling (a.k.a. traffic shaping) some of your Internet traffic? It’s easy to tell if your ISP is blocking something, such as BitTorrent traffic, since nothing will get through, but it is more difficult to tell whether they are just restricting your download/upload speeds. That’s where the free Glasnost service comes into play.
Glasnost is a Java-powered web service that lets you run various tests for checking whether your P2P, email, or web traffic is being throttled by your ISP. Here’s a quick list of the 9 different tests you can run as well as a brief description of what gets tested with each of them:
- BitTorrent – Filesharing with BitTorrent.
- HTTP – A file download from a webserver using HTTP.
- IMAP – A download of an email with a large attachment from an IMAP email server.
- POP – A download of an email with a large attachment from a POP email server.
- Flash Video – Flash video over HTTP, as used by, e.g., YouTube.
- SSH – A file transfer over the SSH protocol, as done by the SCP utility.
- Gnutella – Filesharing with Gnutella.
- eMule – Filesharing with eMule.
- Usenet – Sharing Binary Files using Usenet Server (NNTP protocol).
I use Comcast for my ISP and I was happy to see that the couple tests I ran all came back saying that my traffic wasn’t being throttled. Of course this isn’t a definitive answer as to whether it is actually being done since they may only do it at specific times (e.g. during peak traffic periods), but it is a little more reassuring.