Is your ISP interfering with your downloading and your bandwidth? If you are legitimately using a torrent service, is your ISP interfering with your connections by doing some peer-to-peer busting? Or, maybe, is your ISP is limiting or even disconnecting your VoIP calls, such as if you use Vonage, or even Skype? Put another way, is your ISP discriminating against the type of Internet traffic that you generate, or against Internet services or applications which you use?
How would you know?
Welcome to Switzerland. No, not the country, although the name is a too-cutesy play on words. No, the Switzerland we’re talking about is a new software program just announced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which will allow you to test whether your ISP is interfering with your unfettered use and free enjoyment of the Internet – all of which would fly in the face of the ideals behind Net Neutrality.
Ironically, the peer-to-peer busting buster that is Switzerland itself uses what the EFF calls a “semi-P2P” (semi peer-to-peer) technology.
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As the EFF explains, “The software uses a semi-P2P, server-and-many-clients architecture. Whenever the clients send packets to each other, the server will attempt to determine if any of them were dropped, forged, or modified (if you’re interested in how it does that, you can read the design document here – we’ll try to continually revise that document so that it accurately describes the code, though inevitably it may lag a little behind).”
They go on to say that “One advantage this architecture has over other network testing tools is that it can spot arbitrary kinds of packet modifications in any protocol – it doesn’t assume that the interference comes in the form of TCP reset packets or web page modifications, and it isn’t limited to BitTorrent or any other specific application. In the future we expect it to offer a good platform for collecting statistics on bandwidth, bidirectional latency, jitter and other traffic performance characteristics that might be signs of prioritization of some applications over others.”
You can download Switzerland here.
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