Tool from EFF tests whether your Internet is being throttled

Just hours before the FCC slapped Comcast on the wrist for its BitTorrent throttling practices, the Electronic Frontier Foundation unveiled an open source tool for users to test their high-speed Internet connections.

Developers have said that up until now, tests for interference had been narrow and for specific categories, often very difficult to use. Now, the EFF's Switzerland tool aims to be easier -- at least at some point in its development -- while at the same time testing for a broader set of techniques employed by ISPs.

Switzerland tests for various software tools aimed at throttling connections, including Sandvine and Audible Magic. In addition, the organization says, its software is able to test for the presence of advertising systems and methods of censorship used by ISPs.

In order to figure out whether there is suspicious activity, it compares "pcap" packets from the beginning and end of a communication. It then alerts the user when it detects a packet being dropped or spoofed along its route.

EFF developers based Switzerland on an earlier tool called "pcapdiff.

The initial version of the tool is targeted towards those who have significant technical experience. For now, it's launched from the command line, though the EFF plans to make the tool easy to use in subsequent versions.

The software is part of a larger project by the Foundaqtion called "Test Your ISP," which consists of a list of testing applications whose results may be pooled together to help users figure out whether or not their provider is throttling.

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