Working Toward Broadband Transparency

January 28, 2009

Google, New America and PlanetLab have joined with academia to launch Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools. Computing faculty Nick Feamster and
Constantine Dovrolis are on the steering committee and are developing tools for the site.

M-Lab was announced during a panel discussion yesterday on “Broadband
Transparency: Network Research, Empowered Users, and Sound Policy” at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C. The
platform, which promises “Tools for Users, an Open Platform for
Researchers and Better Open Data for Everyone,” can be found at
http://www.measurementlab.net/.

Initially three tools will be available, running on three servers at
one location, and they will be able to support only a limited number of
simultaneous users. M-Lab organizers say the program will expand
quickly, however, and promise a total of 36 servers to be deployed
across 12 locations early in 2009.

Feamster and computing Professor Mostafa Ammar are developing a tool
for the site. Nano will help users automatically detect
discrimination/neutrality violations in their access ISPs. Dovrolis is
working on DiffProbe, a tool that tries to detect if an Internet access
provider is classifying certain kinds of traffic as "low priority,"
providing it with an inferior level of service. Both Nano and DiffProbe
will be available on the M-Lab site soon.