Find out if your ISP is a bad ISP with Glasnost

Last week I posted “Is Your ISP a Bad ISP?” pointing to a wiki with a list of Internet service providers who throttle P2P traffic. One person submitted a comment saying that the list is outdated. Now, you can find out for yourself if indeed, your ISP is playing funny games with your connection. I tested Glasnost on my Comcast Internet service in San Francisco and they passed the test.

Simply go to Glasnost (appropriate name as it refers to a period in the 1980s in the USSR when there was a bit more openness and transparency). Glasnost is but one weapon in your arsenal for finding out the TRUTH about your broadband connection and your ISP. It is a product of Measurement Lab, founded by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, Google Inc. and academic researchers: “M-Lab was developed in 2008 after Vint Cerf and others at Google initiated conversations with network researchers to learn more about challenges to the effective study of broadband networks.”

Since you are in the mood for the TRUTH, might as well get the whole truth about your broadband connection and go to the Network Diagnostic Tool provides a speed and diagnostic test: “NDT test reports more than just the upload and download speeds — it also attempts to determine what, if any, problems limited these speeds, differentiating between computer configuration and network infrastructure problems. While the diagnostic messages are most useful for expert users, they can also help novice users by allowing them to provide detailed trouble reports to their network administrator.”

All of these goodies are now available at Measurement Lab:

I applaud the people who launched Measurement Lab for giving us the tools to force ISPs to come clean and be more transparent about how they are shaping traffic, throttling P2P traffic and other measures they are taking behind our backs. Can we hold them accountable and make them change? Yes, we can!

– – – – – – – –

*Advertise now on Download our 2009 Media Kit and contact us.

*Join the MuniWireless / Muni WiMAX Linked In Group for networking and discussions.

*Sign up for the MuniWireless / WiMAX newsletter.

*Register now for the Muniwireless – Freedom to Connect Event, March 30-31, 2009 Washington DC


  1. Brett Glass says

    There are very few “bad” ISPs, but Glasnost is a very bad application. It doesn’t work on many ISPs’ networks, especially ones that are reasonably secure against hackers and P2P pirates. NDT likewise underreports bandwidth, locks up, and reports inaccurate results.

    These aren’t scientific measurement tools; they’re propaganda tools — designed to find fault with ISPs’ networks as an excuse for the imposition of regulation of the Internet. Google is in favor of such regulation; that’s why it’s promoting these faulty tools.

  2. Brett,

    You have not stated exactly how Glasnost is “bad” and why it’s a propaganda tool. I distrust ISPs. I distrust them because for years they’ve been lying to us. They don’t tell us they’re doing funny things to our bits so here comes Glasnost with a tool to bring all these nefarious practices to light and suddenly you call them propaganda. Well, I’m afraid the ISPs have been feeding us with their version of propaganda for so long.

    Note please: there are a number of good, honest ISPs. I don’t want to paint the entire ISP world as bad. I have had very good experiences with some ISPs in Amsterdam and they’ve been wonderful.

  3. Brett,

    Here’s how to get the source Code for the Glastnos application:

    You can download the source code of our testing tool as a tarball or via anonymous SVN:

    * You can download the latest version of Glasnost here: glasnost-1.2.tgz
    * The latest version of our Glasnost tool is always available from anonymous SVN. You can check it out using the following command:

    svn checkout

    This will create a directory called glasnost and fill it with the Glasnost source code.

    We are interested in your feedback. If you want to report a bug or contribute a patch, please contact us.


    All tools on the platform are open source — we want people to be able to look under the hood, make improvements and add functionality. For detractors who state that they are in some way biased, we want them to be able to see for themselves how they work.

    Bret, I very much doubt you will find anything to back up your wild claims. But if you’re calling Glastnos a “faulty tool” how about you back that up with some real feedback?

  4. wildbluecustomer says

    You left out wildblue sattelite internet.
    I’ve been a customer for going on a year now and i knew from the start i was gettin sc#%@!*. I purchased a brand new emachine (don’t laugh) and signed a contract with wildblue for their
    silver package $50.00 month (512kb download & 128
    upload) and i noticed almost immediately there was something wrong. The downloads start out around 100kb and quickly drop to around 30. I filed a complaint with Dishnetwork (the people i recieve wildblue through) and they sent someone to examine the prob and he noticed my claim was true. To make a long story short, several calls and a BBB complaint later, they accuse my BRAND NEW computer to be the problem. Since i didn’t purchase service directly from wildblue they (wildblue) wouldn’t return my calls. I know what you’re thinking why didn’t i just go with another ISP? THERE IS NO FREAKING OTHER ISP IN MY AREA! MEANWHILE, i’m stuck with a 18 month contract. no viruses…no malware…no spyware…just a really slow connection that i’m overpaying for.