Contest shines light on broadband providers' tactics

The FCC awarded three teams for work that will help users see what they are actually getting in their broadband service

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given awards to three computer science teams for application development or research that helps broadband customers measure the speed and performance of their service.

Teams from the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan and Microsoft Research won the FCC's Open Internet Challenge, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Friday. The FCC announced the competition for apps and research to protect net neutrality in December.

"This challenge was designed to provide the public -- researchers, policymakers, consumers and the Internet community -- with useful tools and information on the Internet, data that would help consumers make informed choices in picking broadband service," Genachowski said during a press conference. "Shining a light on network management practices will ... help deter improper conduct, helping to ensure that consumers and the marketplace pick winners and losers online and that websites or applications aren't improperly blocked or slowed."

The team from the University of Michigan and Microsoft Research won the FCC's award for best open Internet app. The team developed MobiPerf, a tool for measuring the performance of mobile broadband networks. MobiPerf runs on Android, iOS and Windows Mobile devices, and it measures mobile broadband speeds, port blocking by mobile networks and several other factors affecting mobile broadband performance.

The teams from ICSI and the Georgia Institute of Technology were co-winners of the FCC's open Internet research award.

The team from Georgia's computer science school proposed methods for broadband users to detect network management by broadband providers. The team's paper proposed an active probing method called "differential probing" or DiffProbe, to detect whether a broadband provider is delaying some of its customers' traffic.

The paper also describes ShaperProbe, a tool that allows users to detect whether their providers are shaping traffic. ShaperProbe is an open-source tool available free.

The ICSI team's paper described Netalyzr, a network measurement and debugging service that evaluates the functionality provided by people's Internet connectivity. Netalyzr is a signed Java applet accessed through Web browsers and measures several network management practices. The team presented a study of 130,000 Netalyzr measurement sessions that the service recorded between June 2009 and September 2010.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITtelecommunicationGeorgia Institute of TechnologyJulius GenachowskiMicrosoftInternational Computer Science InstituteUniversity of MichiganU.S. Federal Communications Commissiongovernmentbroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?