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Internet speed tests

So you’re online and you wonder how your network is doing. How do you measure it? I’m here for you.

  • is my go-to for quick checks. It measures using only Netflix connections so bypasses some ISP fuckery with DPI and slowdowns. Elegant UI.
  • is the best by a long shot. Detailed and capable of saturating my 400mbit downlink.
  • is decent but uglier.
  • is ad laden.
  • is ok and used to be my favorite. Lots of ads now.

As explained in my series of gigabit posts, making a fast, reliable network takes time and effort, and these sites don’t magically make it happen. However, having a way to measure your changes is super helpful, and I probably use these weekly.


iPhone or iPad on Ethernet

This falls between stupid party trick or total clutch move. Two apple dongles plus a lightning cable and your iDevice is online at 100megabits.

Part numbers are A1277 (usb Ethernet) and A1619 (lightning to usb). I’ve heard of sysadmin uses for this, you could combine with the Prompt app for ssh for example.

Computer science Random

Ten gigabit home networking

This will be a series of posts. I upgraded my NAS to a model with dual 10G ports, and the compute server already had 10G so I had an excuse.

Old setup – 4-bay Synology DS416play and a USB3 drive caddy for a temporary backup solution. TP-Link 16 port switch, all ports in use.

After some searching, I found this Mikrotik switch for $142 on Amazon. 28 ports of 1G plus two 10G ports. Most switches with 10g are either $100 per port or have fans – this one is 19 watts, no fans, and cheap. Note the “sfp+” notation – it means you need more pricy bits to finish the job, but you can use other media like fiber optic links. So total cost of almost 2x.

Switch in and waiting for NAS backup to complete:

Power usage went down by 20 or 30 watts. Always something I pay close attention to. Here’s semi-final:

Next week I get the SFP+ transceivers and rewire a bit. Trunked dual 1G links for now. Power usage is back to where it was, maybe down a watt or two. The new switch is only 19W (the old was around 30) but the larger NAS uses more power, so even under heavy load with 5 disks going.


Gigabit internet, the WiFi link

So now that I’ve got “Gigabit” home Internet I’m doing reading about WiFi, because my WiFi tops out around 400ish megabits (45MB/sec) of usable throughput. While researching, I found more bandwidth-testing sites as linked above. The site is something Netflix made, which is a great idea since that’s there core business and they can refer customers there for a quick test. I don’t actually have 1.3gigabit, but it’s a flattering screenshot. 😉

On Wifi, I get

Screenshot 2018-09-16 10.08.50

That’s an Apple Airport Extreme (A1521) and MacBook Pro (Retina, 13″, early 2015, A1502) using 802.11ac, on a 5GHz/80MHz channel. From what I’ve read so far, maximum WiFi usable (ie HTTP) goodput is around 650Mbits, so I’m not far from best-case. Our house is around 1800 square feet, so a single access point provides great coverage, the issue right now is that a gigabit ‘net drop is just plain faster than the wifi you can buy right now. 😉 First world problems

The Airport Extreme is and has been an excellent choice. It does 3×3 MIMO, according to the wonderful Mactracker. From opening System Information/WiFi on the laptop, I appear to have the Broadcom BCM43xx. I know from the Ars Technica article that some MacBooks have the BCM94360CS with 3×3 MIMO; if I do that’d explain my good speed results.

One of the advantages gained by spending more on Apple hardware; it’s lasted well and is better engineered. I bought them in 2014 and 2015 respectively, so this is not new.


I’m going to hold fast and not buy anything for now. For my friend Tom, whose laptop is older, I’d recommend a ‘600Mbit USB AC WiFi’ off of Amazon for $15. The Airport Extreme was discontinued this year, but they can be found used easily and its 3×3 with 6 antennas really has been superb.

For gigabit in general, see my other posts – you really need to be thorough choosing modem, router and switch before you try to do WiFi.

Learn More

via Internet Speed Test |

Computer science

New details released on Huawei’s intent-based network

Intent-Driven Network software. CampusInsight 2.0 is an upgrade to Huawei’s network insight engine and should be considered the intelligence that powers the intent. Network and application data is collected and turned into telemetry information in real time. Machine learning is then applied to monitor the network and predict problems. The network insight engine uses a digital twin of the network, so analysis can be applied and changes tested without affecting the production network. A digital twin is a virtual copy of the original item and allows companies to conduct real-time simulations

Fascinating. I usually see ‘intent’ used to describe ‘extracting meaning from customer input’, so this is a new usage. I’m used to deterministic networking protocols like BGP, so the idea of ML analytics and prediction makes me both interested and wary.

Make that ‘very interested and very wary.’ The prediction system seems like a way to address the worries though.

via New details released on Huawei’s intent-based network

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Gigabit two

Bad snaps of the new modem and router:

Now to figure out max throughput on WiFi!