ISPs are increasingly deploying a variety of middleboxes (e.g., firewalls, traffic shapers, censors, and redirectors) to monitor and to manipulate the performance of applications like peer-to-peer and Torrents. Most ISPs do not reveal the details of their network deployments to their customers. This knowledge is important to help users make a more informed choice of their ISP. Further, such knowledge is also useful for researchers designing protocols and systems that run on top of these networks.
To improve network transparency, Prof Krishna Gummadi, along with four of his students has come out with an online tool which tests if your ISP is manipulating/throttling BitTorrent traffic called Glasnost.
There are 2 online tools developed as part of this project, one, to Test for BitTorrent traffic manipulation and the other to test for Broadband link characteristics. The second tool measures certain characteristics of your broadband link, like link bandwidths and potential router queuing delays.
Glasnost tests work by measuring and comparing the performance of different application flows between your host and our measurement servers. The tests can detect traffic shaping in both upstream and downstream directions separately. The tests can also detect whether application flows are shaped based on their port numbers or their packets’ payload.
It’s not just the downloading of illegal movies and applications that utilizes BitTorrent traffic; there is plenty of legitimate services out there, such as Valve’s Steam game distribution platform which uses P2P technology. Glasnost comes to the rescue of those users who are facing interference from ISPs, and helps them switch the services if required.