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I recently moved two blocks south. That move moved me from Comcast to Broadstripe (high-speed internet cable providers). Comcast was pretty good. Broadstripe sucks. I called them on the phone, and they basically brushed me off (politely). I want to come to them with some numbers, so I can say more than just "it's really slow".

I still have access to my old Comcast service, so I can run the tests using both providers.

Here's what I'm seeing with my new Broadstripe service:

  1. When I browse to most sites, there is a long delay (5-10 seconds) before the page starts loading in my browser
  2. The speed test tell me I have 12 megs down (bullshit)
  3. I have a server at my office. I just downloaded some files (using scp on the command line). It said I'm getting 3.5 KB/s

I'm an experienced programmer and spend most of my days on the command line and in vim. Networking, however is not a strong point. I've played around with traceroute, but I'm not sure if that's the right tool to use.

I have access to servers all over the country (I would just use Amazon EC2 to set up a test server), and I prefer to use Ubuntu for my testing.

How can I come up with some hard numbers to show Broadstripe how crappy their service is?

EDIT: Above is my original question. I'm going to specify a little more what I'm looking for.

How can I tell where the latency in is happening. I was trying to scp a file from my desktop to a server hosted in the same city. It took a very long time (~2KB/s with some pretty long periods of inactivity). How can I figure out what is causing this?

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Have you checked the round-trip latency? just traceroute somewhere on the internet and see how long it takes for packets to get there and back. Your internet might suck because you have plenty of speed but way too much latency (this really messes with protocols like SCP). –  jcrawfordor Jan 17 '11 at 5:29
    
It takes a long time for packets to get there and back. I clocked it with a stopwatch. Here's what I ran $ traceroute -m100 newegg.com. It took 25, 13, 13, 8, 8, 8, ... seconds for each line to come back. I'm not clear what this is telling me, however. –  three-cups Jan 17 '11 at 6:07
    
did you solve it or conformed? i heard about a trick on windows 7 to get a better ping. it functions for me... what is your OS? –  kokbira Jul 25 '11 at 14:07
    
ICSI Netalyzr is a great broad-based network troubleshooting solution. It gives you a lot of info, so if you know how to use it, it can be very powerful. I don't think you're going to get anywhere by trying to debug things using traceroute; most common sources of awful slowness like this originate in (a) the cable modem; (b) physically damaged or defective cable line or ISP-side networking equipment; (c) bad WiFi transceiver in the modem/router, or poorly configured- just AS A START, the chosen wifi channel, GHz band, and frag threshold are a few to check –  allquixotic Aug 20 '12 at 18:35
    
I know this is old, but the fact that you were able to use a stopwatch to measure the latency of the packets, means that the latency wasn't good at all. –  KronoS Mar 7 '13 at 15:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

in general: ping some sites / hosts and see, if packets are dropped, it might indicate broken hardware (modem, router). i once was able to push icmp into the net but nothing (or only some percentage) came back: broken modem.

  1. could be dns, do you use a dns-server from your old provider? especially if your traceroute needs as long as it does (it resolves ips to names, your browser normally does the same and page loading can happen only after it found a valid ip for the domain you are aiming at)
  2. http://www.speedtest.net/ and ...
  3. could be your server as well. try different servers, try downloading bigger stuff from bigger sites (lets say .iso files from microsoft.com or bigger .dmg from apple.com).
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The speed test you ran is not necessarily lying to you, bandwidth and latency are two different things. Tools like SCP will suffer because of the nature of the underlying protocol. If you have high latency, TCP connections will make this even more apparent because of the wait time between acknowledgements.

A latency issue is better measured on a site like PingTest.

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good to follow the speedtest.net :) –  akira Jan 17 '11 at 7:33
    
I did PingTest, and it seems to be a pretty good resource. It was not able to run the packet loss test, and I don't know why. I do have Java enabled in my browser (Chrome on OS X in this case). The FAQ (pingtest.net/help.php#q6) says it's either because Java is not installed or "your firewall must allow the test to communicate to the Pingtest.net servers (specifically outbound port 5060 for both TCP and UDP".... –  three-cups Jan 17 '11 at 22:24
    
There have been a number of articles written recently about bufferbloat and its effect on Internet performance. This article notes near the bottom that measurements of bandwidth and latency can each appear good when performed separately, but that latency can be much worse when measured at the same time as bandwidth. –  garyjohn Jan 18 '11 at 0:46

traceroute is a unix command that tells you how long it takes between each router. The default output is "Then we have one line for each system or router in the path between me and the target system. Each line shows the name of the system (as determined from DNS), the system's IP address, and three round trip times in milliseconds." When I did this on google it tells me I am 21ms away from my ISP and 33ms away from Google.

I'm saying it even though you commented on it because even without any of its flags it tells you how good your isp at getting to you or getting around. What is pretty likely though, is that traceroute isn't at all filtered but a lot is. Try asking Broadstripe what their fair use is, what they will slow down to offer a fair service to all (ask in those words or dumber so they don't think you're trying to get round it).

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Thank you for your explanation and suggestions. –  three-cups Jan 18 '11 at 8:22

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