Speedtest.net developer Ookla confirms Myce’s ISP speed test manipulation article

vbimport

#1

We’ve just posted the following news: Ookla contacts Myce regarding inflated ISP speed test results article[newsimage]http://www.myce.com/wp-content/images_posts/2016/01/Ookla-logo-95x75.png[/newsimage]

Ookla has issued a statement in response to our article on the manipulation of its Speedtest results and what how seriously they combat it.

            Read the full article here: [http://www.myce.com/news/ookla-contacts-myce-regarding-inflated-isp-speed-test-results-article-78473/](http://www.myce.com/news/ookla-contacts-myce-regarding-inflated-isp-speed-test-results-article-78473/)

            Please note that the reactions from the complete site will be synched below.

#2

:clap: Good to see Ookla take the matter serious and wanting to take part in combating false results from ISPs trying to alter the real results. :flower:


#4

That’s good news

Great work Sean


#5

That’s not much more than publicity spinning. It’s a misleading speed test under any circumstances.


#6

[QUOTE=CDan;2767346]That’s not much more than publicity spinning. It’s a misleading speed test under any circumstances.[/QUOTE]

Unless you run a speedtest on a dedicated line to your own dedicated server, all test providers will be misleading in that it all comes down to server speed, congested routers along the way, even physical line quality. My test in the original test thread did show that all too clearly using their U.K server. Then I managed to get good results switching manually to their DE server.

However, in this case, we do not need any sinister ISP to inflate the results and the fact that Ookla have intentions of participating in fighting such fraudulent behavior is at least something I would like to applaud :clap:


#7

The main issue now is their continued use of port 8080 and I still wonder why they chose in the first place over the default HTTP like what most websites use and TestMy has no problem using. Even Ookla’s new HTML5 beta uses port 8080, which leaves it open to traffic prioritisation abuse, i.e. Had they used port 80, this would present a significant challenge for the ISP to manipulate speed test traffic as it would no longer be as simple as giving traffic priority over a certain port number.

Even if the affected ISPs in the article stop prioritising port 8080, who knows what other ISPs are affected and how long the affected ISPs got away with delivering inflated test results, particularly when we identified 4 ISPs (two broadband and two 4G mobile operators) that gave significantly quicker throughput over port 8080 compared to port 80.

Finally, even without any traffic prioritisation or throttling between port numbers, there is one other thing to watch out for - If your ISP hosts a Speedtest server, then there is a good chance it will use that by default unless you manually choose a server to use, in which case the speed test traffic never meets the Internet. Whoops. :wink:

On the other hand, it does make a pretty effective tool to see roughly how fast your link is between your network and the ISP itself, particularly if you don’t have access to the link status (e.g. ISP DSL router bridged to the WAN port of another router.) For example, if speedtest.net gives an unusually low result, then there’s a good chance there’s a problem with your router or the link to the ISP, whereas a slow result with TestMy or your own test server indicates one or more congested/slow routers along the route as Xercus pointed out.


#8

What would also be stand up is if ookla and other speedtest sites actually called out the isp’s that appear to be cheating.


#9

Seriously, I don’t think there is any real merit in this story! Okay some countries can do it without explaining to a judge?

Here in OZ ISP’s have a short life lying about speed hence no one is doing it - not even Telstra the biggest ISP in Ostraya!


#10

[QUOTE=Millennium12;2767379]Seriously, I don’t think there is any real merit in this story! Okay some countries can do it without explaining to a judge?

Here in OZ ISP’s have a short life lying about speed hence no one is doing it - not even Telstra the biggest ISP in Ostraya![/QUOTE]

It might be more widespread than you think though and some ISPs are maybe more subtle about it than others as they can set the degree of traffic prioritisation to whatever they want.

Plus it’s not an obvious thing that people would routinely check. After all, how many people would normally go to the trouble that we had to do to be able to measure this?

It’s great to see these results confirmed elsewhere though. :cool:

[B]Wombler[/B]


#11

I stopped in Donegal town today where I get a strong Vodafone 4G signal, so repeated the tests to see had the network made any change. Apparently not…

TestMy HTTP vs port 8080 - Standard test:

Speedtest.net App - port 8080 blocked on left:

I wasn’t in a Three 4G area today, but interestingly the test results over 3G were matching up and usually there’s a clear difference even on 3G. Either way, its network speed is slow as usual around here, http vs port 8080 result:


#12

[QUOTE=Wombler;2767382]…
Plus it’s not an obvious thing that people would routinely check. After all, how many people would normally go to the trouble that we had to do to be able to measure this?
…[/QUOTE]

Every time you download something from somewhere it shows your download speed hence you see it every day, no?


#13

[QUOTE=Millennium12;2767405]Every time you download something from somewhere it shows your download speed hence you see it every day, no?[/QUOTE]That isn’t the point.
If you complain to an ISP about your download speeds, or video streaming is poor, they will direct you to their ‘speed checker’. If that speed checker has been manipulated by the ISP to saturate your connection by means of using multiple threads, and using a port that normal net traffic rarely uses, then they will simply move the blame away from themselves, and most likely blame the server where the file or video stream is coming from.

In other words, they are using their speed checker to fool you into thinking your ‘real world’ connection is better than it actually is.


#14

Thanks, Dee, now I understand this issue completely new to me as such. What a bunch of bastards!


#15

I was only getting 6mb down last night. I called my provider once again. There idea of a speed test was how long does it take to come up when I open my browser. I getting similar results with ookla and dlsreports. My speeds during the day are great, but in the evening when everyone is home it suffers. At least with DSL reports it records your history. I have TWC coming out Friday evening so hopefully they will see it and get some to do a load balance on the node. As for seeing the speed every time I download, this is correct and I have noticed the fluctuation with this as well. I expect fluctuation, but when it fluctuates from 50mbps during the day to 6 mbps at night then my provider is not doing their job by increasing the bandwidth on the node. Unlike many countries, in the United States this will become an issue and ISP’s will have to answer eventually. So once a regular consumer is made aware and given simple tools to help them identify this then you will hear many squeaks rather than just the us smarter and some IT guys squeaking. If ookla and other testing websites had away for the regular consumer to identify this, it would speed it up even more. I pay $80 a month for 50/5 and I expect to see that on a regular basis if not more.


#16

It’s good that Ookla cares about dishonest ISPs, but it doesn’t seem to me that there’s much they can do about it. After all, if an ISP wants to manipulate tests, they can and will find other ways to do so. After all, speedtest.net isn’t the only speed testing website that lets users use port 8080. Sean’s previous article mentions one that anyone can use.

That said, if I were Ookla, I would do two things to prevent speedtest.net from becoming the method these dishonest ISPs use:

  1. I would allow the user to directly manipulate which ports are used, so that one could experiment to see if one port is faster than another (gee, I wonder where I got that idea).

  2. Program the test to automatically repeat itself on multiple tests, so as to rule out any port manipulation on an ISP’s part (unless the user specifies at least one particular port to use).