Is broadband quality a subject of interest only to urban top-of-the ladder users?
Not necessarily. With the latest developments in telecom services broadband access is increasingly becoming a reality to rural populations as well, even in developing countries. The penetration levels might not be the same but should that mean quality should be compromised for rural users?
Broadband quality is critical for telecenters where a link is usually shared.
LIRNEasia introduces its AT-Tester software application for any users to find out how far the operators keep their promises for quality broadband. This is developed using open source software by a group of researchers from IIT Madras and available freely for download from www.broadbandasia.info.
The tests can be conducted by any user, with least effort and within few minutes. No more than basic computer literacy is required. All you need is a PC running Windows XP connected to Internet. (Other operating systems will be supported in near future).
AT-Tester is different from popular broadband performance testing tools (speedtest.net, for example) because:
• It is more accurate: AT-Tester measures the throughput rates while actually downloading/uploading files. It does not calculate them using empirical formulae and ping data.
• It is more comprehensive: Unlike most other tools, AT-Tester does not confine testing to an end server. It tests the throughput to three servers, namely (a) the local ISP; (b) another server within the same country and (c) a server in US. This helps pinpointing the bandwidth bottlenecks.
• It tests more parameters namely,
i. Download speed (kbps/Mbps)
ii. Upload Speed (kbps/Mbps)
iii. RTT (milli seconds)
iv. Jitter (milli seconds)
v. Packet-Loss (%)
vi. Availability (%)
The software is developed in such a manner that minimal configuration is required by the user.
The software is already customized to be used by the telecenter operators in Sri Lanka. They can report the performance results district-wise. (For example, a telecenter operator in Panamura can report under Ratnapura, not Colombo) Our objective is to develop a more descriptive picture of broadband performance instead of depending solely on testing in major cities.
Telecenter operator in any country can use this but needs a prior customization. (We will ask you some fundamental information like your ISP, promised speeds of the package and location) Unlike incase of speedtest.net we need this information as we go deeper in our testing. It can be done with least hassle for any country on request.
For more information Please write to: chanuka [at] gmail [dot] com
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