New Tool Can Measure Internet Backbone Performance for ISPs

Netcom Systems Inc. Tuesday
unveiled a new system that enables Internet service
providers to test performance levels of their backbone networks.

SmartISP, the company’s first product to be used in an online environment, looks to set a new industry standard for measuring live Internet backbone
performance by providing accurate, reproducible measurements.

SmartISP works by sending small amounts of test traffic onto the network.
While recording key measurements such as TCP transfer rates, packet loss,
timeouts and jitter, the application runs on a live network without
disturbing normal network operations.

“This robust package allowed us to run tests every hour on the hour, 24 by
7, for 30 days straight, logging more than 61,000 sessions which equates to
roughly 6 million packets and acknowledgments with 100-nanosecond
accuracy,” said Bob Mandeville, director of European Networking Laboratories.

“Using these scripts, we were able to determine key performance
characteristics that Net managers can use whenever they’re trying to
evaluate ISPs including backbone uptime, forwarding rate, TCP timeouts,
packet loss and jitter,” Mandeville said.

“SmartISP gives users intelligent insight on how effectively the Internet
is handling real traffic so they can take steps to improve performance,”
said Roberta Parker, Netcom’s product marketing manager.

“Ensuring quality of service is a key competitive issue for both providers
and users of bandwidth. SmartISP provides a precise tool for quantifying
the behavior of the backbone.”

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