January 29, 2009 Google, the PlanetLab consortium and the Open Technology Institute today launched the Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open platform for Internet measurement tools, along with three tools for users to test their Internet connections - including Glasnost, which tests whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled.
Vint Cerf, a Measurement Lab committee member also widely known as the father of the Internet, asked "When an Internet application doesn't work as expected or your connection seems flaky, how can you tell whether there is a problem caused by your broadband ISP (Internet service provider), the application, your PC (personal computer), or something else?" (full text)
While researchers have been tackling this problem for a while, access to high-bandwidth servers all over the world has been an issue. Google has provided 36 servers in 12 locations across the US and Europe for researchers to use, and all data collected will be publically available for other researchers to use.
The M-Lab launch is aptly timed, with Cox Communications, the third-largest cable provider in the US, set to start a new "conjestion management" scheme that will give less priority to "less time sensitive" traffic such as peer-to-peer traffic and file uploads - a scary thought for Gizmag, with so many of our employees completely reliant on moving large files around the web on a daily basis.