I need to document the quality of an internet connection (it's crap). Download speeds frequently jump between 12kbps and 3mbps, and packet loss usually sits around 20%, though blackouts lasting up to an hour are a nearly daily occurrence.

I know how to run a simple speed test, but I'd like to run one for 24 hours straight, preferably taking down logs every few seconds detailing current upload speed, download speed, and ping time (or "network unavailable," as the case may be). It would need to be able to resume testing immediately after an extended blackout (as in, don't stop trying or throttle back just because the network connection is clearly down: keep hammering).

I'd like the data in as raw a form as possible, so I can play with it and visualize it as I see fit. I would be doing the test over a wireless network (everyone else accesses the network wirelessly) from a laptop running Ubuntu 12.04. Obviously, I'm able to provide an external server with a fast and reliable connection to ping/upload/download, and can install anything on that end that's needed.

What sort of solutions are out there to provide me with data like this? A CLI-based application or a fancy GUI are both fine; I'm comfortable with either.

  • First off, if you are going to be using this as evidence for any reason, you need to not be over wireless and not even through a router, unless it was supplied by your ISP. If you are going to be controlling both ends, then it is easiest to just setup SNMP monitoring. – MaQleod Jan 25 '13 at 0:38

Take a look at Measurement Lab webiste. It's a collective effort by Google, a bunch of colleges and other researchers and organizations created to give users/consumers tools to see what is happening with their connection. They have a bunch of tools to measure various aspects of your connection. Most of their tools are open source, so you should be able to run your own instance.

Alternatively, the simplest solution I can think of is get tcpdump logging into a file(possibly in both locations) and in parallel run wget in a loop with output to dev/null. Then with that tcpdump you can use any number of visualization/analytic tools to check out what was happening during your test.


LThere are many root causes to abrupt network performance issues. To rule out LAN issues, conduct a test on your LAN 1st. Running a streaming HD video is a good test. For WAN a YouTube video is a good test other than www.speedtest.net

If you are using wireless, please rule out these 1st to save time.

  • 1) There are No Cordless telephones or base stations active on the same WLAN channel

  • 2) THere are no deadspot from reflections on WIFI and your laptop is close to the router within 50 ft for now.**

/// When free of obstructions 300 ft is possible and much more. { These are called Rician Fading where the radio signal cancel each other out from being 180 deg out of phase and similar amplitude. A 1mm movement or angular shift often moves out of a deadspot.}

  • At the moment, I haven't been tasked with fixing the issue. The wireless network is far enough from anything else (surrounded by parking lots and fields on all sides) that we can rule out interference from other networks, save for the occasional mobile hotspot. I currently don't have proper permission to actually fix the issue, so the first step is documenting the problem to present to someone else. – Dan Jan 25 '13 at 1:21
  • The bigesst source of interference is the RF signal itself (Rican Fading) I would use Netstumbler and measure signal level on Windows and demand/expect > -70dBm for all positions of interest. You will see dropouts by slowly moving the laptop position over a 10 cm range. – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Jan 25 '13 at 3:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.