This website is a place to find open source shareware written by Tom Evslin to measure the quality of IP connections. Tom has been programming since 1963 and is happy to join the ranks of those contributing code for others to use and build on. His code is built on the contributions of many other in the open source community.
blog: Fractals of Change
The pandemic made it clear how dependent we all are on the ability to teleconference whether for work-from-home, remote schooling, keeping in touch with family and friends, or telemedicine, Those without any broadband have been at an enormous disadvantage; others have found that the broadband connection they have, while perhaps adequate for email or even streaming entertainment, is not good enough for teleconferencing. The most frequent symptom is the dreaded "you're frozen", often followed by a disconnect.
While internet service providers (ISPs) sell their product based on bandwidth - sometimes just download bandwidth, successful teleconferencing requires more than just bandwidth. It is also dependent on latency - the time it takes to send a packet out to the Internet and get it back. That's why connections through traditional geocentric satellites like HughesNet are simply not usable for teleconferencing; even at the speed of light, it takes too long for a radio signal to go 22,500 miles up to them and back.
The quality of teleconferencing is also affected by jitter - roughly how consistent the latency is. High jitter means a poor teleconferencing experience.
Because people need to know whether their connections are good enough for teleconferencing and whether they are getting the quality of service that their ISPs have provided, speed tests are available from a number of sources. The best of these measure not just upload and download speed (bandwidth) but also latency and jitter. However, the speed tests only show the quality of service at the moment that they're run. Many internet connections vary widely in quality at different times of day.
The tools here, along with many others written by the open source community, are meant to be used either as standalone applications like zoomready or as building blogs for other who are developing software to help users monitor the quality of their Internet connections. In particular, these tools focus on making it feasible to monitor performance over time. There is a special concentration on Starlink because it has the promise to bring broadband much more quickly to many rural and remote areas than fiber buildouts; but there are questions about how well and how consistently it performs.
There is now a flood of federal money available to bring broadband to underserved parts of the US. This investment is badly needed, but we also need to be able to determine whether recipients of that federal money are providing the service which they have promised. Open source software has a large role to play in assuring people get the reliable broadband they need to fully participate in society now and post pandemic.