(Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that this is the same question as Quick way to check my broadband speed, please read it through. Also I am looking for more comprehensive and detailed data than the poster in this question.)
Many years ago I used to use a tool called Line Speed Meter (or Monitor) by TCPIQ. This was a brilliant piece of software that would sit quietly in the background and several times a day (according to a selectable frequency) would reach out and test internet line performance against servers all over the world. In the course of a week (or more), thousands of servers would be tested and enough data would accumulate that one could analyze performance according to time of day, day of week, location of server, etc. Drill-down was possible to the point where you could see every server that was tested.
This data was invaluable in determining if one really was getting the performance being paid for. It was also infinitely more valuable than spot checks you perform at sites like http://speedtest.net or even the better-regarded ones like http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest or http://TestMy.net (both of which, incidentally, are biased toward USA users - which I am not one of anymore).
Unfortunately Line Speed Meter is no longer supported and the company that made it now has instead a tool called isposure that is nowhere near as flexible or transparent - it is geared to supplying data to ISPs rather than to the consumers. For example, according to their FAQ, it usually runs only once a day automatically - I'd like to start with running it every couple of hours for a week or two - and scale back once I have a good basis so that I can notice when performance changes. Also, the details of the tests are no longer visible to the consumer-user.
My question: is there a (preferably free) tool/service available today to automatically collect comprehensive line speed metrics so I can map out and analyze the performance I am getting on my Broadband internet connection?
EDIT 2012-02-13: I left something out of the above. In my country, each ISP sells a package that implies performance beyond the borders of my small country. They own (or lease) the lines going across the ocean. They have full control of the bandwidth leading from their servers to the backbones in the USA and EU. Peformance through the cloud is very much relevant and although not entirely, certainly largely under the local ISP's control, since traditionally, the bottleneck has been traffic out of the country. As an example, at the moment, my ISP is advertising widely their new transatlantic cable and how their performance now outstrips everyone else's. I haven't "felt" it - so I want a tool to quantify it.
Performance within my country is usually good. The problem is that almost all my work involves access to the Internet in North America, Europe, Pacific Rim and others. So I care about and want to document the end-to-end performance I am getting from my ISP - and if I switch, compare to what I get at a new ISP.
EDIT 2013-03-07: As @harrymc pointed out I neglected to mention OS. All the machines on my home LAN are (sadly) Windows (XP or 7). If A tool requires *nix, I have a couple ancient machines in storage I could probably re-purpose - but my preference is for a Windows-based tool. Thanks.
EDIT 2013-03-10: As a further clarification - a method to monitor speeds achieved during regular work provides half of what I'm looking for. What was nice about TCPIQ is that it would ferret out thousands of sites around the world and do brief d/l & u/l tests against them to check speed and then log the results. This gave a valuable statistical database for analysis of speed overall, as well as during times of day, days of week and according to geographical targets. That's the sort of functionality I'd like to achieve (again).