NPT Online Broadband Test Tool
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Many broadband subscribers suspect that they do not receive the data rate they are paying for. In order to verify that the broadband connection is compliant with the product purchased, subscribers can go on-line and choose between a myriad of available on-line broadband test tools with variable degree of precision. Today there exist no standardized methods to perform broadband evaluation for private subscribers. We review and benchmark a selection of the available broadband test tools to reveal their strengths and weaknesses. Different tools have different approaches in their evaluation of network performance. Our studies show that most of the tools achieve acceptable accuracy for common Internet access data rates in Norway today. But when the data rate is increasing, the results from the different tools start to deviate. This is apparent for the upload rates in particular. The test methodology and the implementation technology are crucial for high bandwidth measurements. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority will develop and release an on-line tool for evaluation of the end-users' Internet connections. We present the planned service and elaborate its possibilities and limitations. Network neutrality is a concept that is quite ambiguous, and there exist many different interpretations. Based on the principles of network neutrality, developed by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority, we evaluate if the planned service is able to reveal breaches of network neutrality. We conclude that this is not possible with the planned service, mainly because of the limitations in the planned architecture combined with the complexity of network neutrality. A broadband test tool should evaluate the quality of a broadband connection in context of its usage. We suggest a user profile scheme based on relevant services for different groups of users. Different services have requirements to different network characteristics, and this consequently determine what characteristics should be evaluated for each profile. Lastly, we make use of our gained knowledge and recommend possible extensions and future applications for broadband evaluation.