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I live in an apartment complex which advertises a "free high-speed internet connection"... but it's really not high-speed at all, and often not even a connection. That is, it's frequently the case that I can't access anything on the internet from my computer. I can still get to my router's admin page so I know it's not a case of my computer dropping its network connection entirely; the problem definitely appears to be out of my control.

I'd like to complain to the management about it (they're probably not going to do anything, but still, couldn't hurt), and it'd be nice to take some statistics about the internet connectivity to back up my case. I did put together a little script to collect some data by pinging a known IP address every 5 minutes, but I'm curious, is there a more full-featured program out there that's designed for this? I use KDE on Linux primarily, but not exclusively, so answers for any OS are welcome.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Your current plan of pinging every 5 minutes is a pretty good one. I'd take it one step further and look into making pretty graphs with something like Munin. Munin runs every 5 minutes and collects stats on your system, then plots them with RRDTool. Adding a plugin to ping a known site should be a trivial task (my Munin instance even tracks my cable modem).

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Clever idea, actually - I already use Munin on my server but I never thought of applying it to my laptop. Thanks! –  David Z Jul 28 '09 at 4:21

I think a good method would be to run a command line tool like tracert (traceroute) which is available on Linux, Mac, and Windows if I recall correctly. You can feed the program a web address or an IP and it will tell you how many hops it took to get there, and the latency between each one. If the problem resides in your building as you say, the high latency values will reflect this.

Running WireShark in promiscuous mode will also allow you to view others traffic dependent on where they reside on the network in accordance to you. This can help in your analysis.

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Thanks for the advice... I just ran traceroute but it didn't display any particularly long hops. The speed problem I'm having is low bandwidth, not high latency. And anyway, my main concern is the amount of time that the net connection is completely unavailable; speed (or the lack thereof) is a secondary issue. When the internet connection is down, traceroute does seem to show that packets are not making it out of the local network. –  David Z Jul 28 '09 at 4:31

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