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New Measurement Lab Provides Open Facilities For Network Researchers to Deploy Internet Measurement Tools

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 by Doug Howell
Tags: imported, Network Diagnostic Tool, Network Performance, Performance Monitoring, Performance Tools, Products & Services

Internet2 Community's Network Diagnostic Tool Key Part of M-Lab Launch

Washington D.C. - January 29, 2009 - On Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at a special conference held in Washington D.C., Google, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, and the PlanetLab Consortium, together with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Internet2, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Northwestern University and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center launched Measurement Lab (M-Lab).

M-Lab is an open platform that provides network researchers with international facilities to deploy and test network measurement tools on the commercial Internet. The project hopes to support researchers in their efforts to analyze Internet usage trends and provide consumers with greater transparency in the services they are receiving from their Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

As part of its initial development phase, M-Lab will make available three network measurement tools that provide users the ability to test their network connection speed and diagnose network performance problems - including whether specific applications like BitTorrent are being blocked or adversely impacted by throttled bandwidth. These tools include: Network Path and Applications Diagnosis (NPAD), developed by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center; Glasnost, developed by the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems; and the Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT), developed by Argonne National Laboratory and Internet2.

NDT, now under active development by the Internet2 community, is an open-source network performance testing system designed to identify computer configuration and network infrastructure problems that degrade a user's broadband experience. NDT provides network performance information directly to an end user by running a short diagnostic test between a Web browser on the user's computer and one of several NDT servers deployed around the country. Google is supporting the deployment of 36 new NDT servers throughout the U.S. and Europe as part of the M-Lab project.

"M-Lab welcomes the participation of Internet2 members to use the platform and help us make it flourish," said Rich Carlson Internet2 network engineer, a developer of NDT, and founding member of M-Lab. "This week's announcement is only the beginning. By further engaging the research and education community, M-Lab hopes to enable many more researchers to test new network measurement tools and analyze data critical to understanding Internet performance that will be key to its continued growth."

NDT and NPAD servers will be registered in the global Information Service used by the perfSONAR performance monitoring system, which allows researchers around the world to easily discover a server appropriate to their physical location. The data these servers collect will also be discoverable, allowing researchers to easily generate new insights into how the global Internet is operating. M-Lab complements the work of the Internet2 Observatory, which provides facilities on the nationwide Internet2 Network for researchers to test and analyze data of high performance research networks.

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Media Contact:

Lauren Rotman