Say some customers are complaining about your web site speed. It’s a common problem and it’s why you use monitoring software. Yet you check your tools and you can’t figure out the problem. When everything looks fine you might want to consider another angle, such as maybe the customer’s ISP is throttling their connection and violating net neutrality rules in the process.
What do you do, if you do in fact you suspect it may be the customer’s ISP, and not a problem with your web site (or even the customer’s equipment)? A new open source tool could help.
Andy Greenberg writing on Forbes’ The Firewall blog reported last week from The Black Hat Conference about a new open source tool developed by researcher Dan Kaminsky called N00ter (or neutral router) that can detect when ISPs are playing fast and loose with Net Neutrality rules, and it’s probably a tool that every monitoring department should have in its arsenal.
“How do you detect subtle violations in network neutrality? How do you detect biased networks?” Kaminksy asks. “I’m here as an engineer to tell you that we will find you out. And we will find out in a way that’s incontrovertible,” Greenberg quoted Kaminsky in his Forbes blog.
While Kaminsky claims he doesn’t have an opinion on net neutrality, his tool could help companies figure out when the problem comes from the ISP and not your systems or your customer’s hardware/software configuration and that could be very useful. If nothing else, a tool like this could help you rule out an external problem, and that in itself has value from a monitoring perspective.
Kaminsky claims that he’s not out to nail anyone with this tool, as he explains in this CRN article. He’s only trying to give engineers the tools they need to do their jobs under the current rules.
That’s fair enough, but his own beliefs matter little here. What matters is that he appears to have come up with a tool that can detect beyond a shadow of a doubt when an ISP is favoring one site or user over another.
Armed with this information, you can better understand the nature of your web site’s problems, and any tools you can bring to bear on the monitoring of your web site, especially targeted ones that are free like this one are worth having.
Because sometimes the problem really is something that’s beyond your control and it’s nice to be able to figure it out when that’s the case.