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The Internet Communications

Netflix Launches Fast.com To Show How Fast Your Internet Connection Really Is (venturebeat.com) 172

Paul Sawers, writing for VentureBeat (condensed): Netflix really wants to show you how fast (or slow) your Internet connection is, and to do so it has launched a new website at Fast.com that conveys the real-time speed of your connection to the Web. It's designed to give people "greater insight and control of their Internet service." Netflix said it was for: Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user's Internet connection, as well as downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user's Internet connection.Compared to Speedtest.net, Fast.com doesn't offer any details on how fast is your upload speeds, what's the ping time, and any detail on location and ISP. However, it's seemingly faster, and automatically detects your download speeds when you visit the website.
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Netflix Launches Fast.com To Show How Fast Your Internet Connection Really Is

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Got my connections DL speed correct in about 3 seconds.

    • by Rob MacDonald ( 3394145 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:25AM (#52135821)
      Your burst speed means nothing. I was going well beyond my DSL cap if I only cared about burst speed, the EFFECTIVE speed is considerably lower. Any speed test site is only as good as the infrastructure, and once it's popular, ISPs will unthrottle connections to that service, much like they have agreed to do with netflix, and it becomes speedtest.net version 2. If you want to test your speed to the internet, reliably, you have 1 choice. Host a webserver yourself somewhere, and upload files to it. That's literally the only test you can trust.
      • "... once it's popular, ISPs will unthrottle connections to that service..."

        That's my experience. SpeedTest shows users what the internet providers want them to see.

        Businesses in the U.S. amaze me. Dishonesty, sneakiness, and other abuse of customers has become common. A HUGE example: Microsoft Adding More Ads To Windows 10 Start Menu. [slashdot.org]
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I got 180Mbs via https://www.voipreview.org/speedtest
        and 171Mbs via https://fast.com/

        from Xfinity here in Massachusetts

      • "That's literally the only test you can trust."

        i find speedof.me to be very reliable. It tests differently then the other tests, trying to simulate actual traffic.

        http://speedof.me/ [speedof.me]

    • Their claim that they are giving CDN representative speeds but they aren't doing this properly.

      It gives me what my typical US>UK transfer rate is (70MBs) for most speedtest nodes in the USA so I'm guessing that's where their server is testing from.
      However my typical speed across most of Europe will get near to my ISP rated speed of 140MBs with speedtest and I have seen game downloads etc actually hit this speed so this is only telling me what my speed to the US is and not what my *actual* speed to most C

      • It gives me what my typical US>UK transfer rate is (70MBs) for most speedtest nodes in the USA [...]

        You're getting 70 Megabytes per second???

        • I'm getting that too, and sometimes above it, provided my HDD can keep up.
          Downloading to SSD reaches the maximum theoretical throughput of an Gigabit connection.
          And all that in what's perceived as being a third world country, where my Gigabit Internet, bundled with basic TV (65 channels) and a free uncapped 3G dongle costs 20 bucks a month.

        • oops that should be 70Mb/s to the states and 140 Mb/s across Europe... I blame my crappy phone touch keyboard and autocorrect for caps issues :)

          But i've got FTTC Cable and there is way more capacity there if my ISP felt they could/should offer it...

          My ISP offers upto 200Mb/s (and are rumoured to be beta testing 350Mb/s) but I don't see the point as I'm already past the point where it makes much noticeable difference for anything...

    • Eh, no. I have Google Fiber. I've performed about 10 tests in a row now. First, it measured my speed in the mid 20 and mid 50 Mbps a few times, and now it's showing my speed as a nearly rock-solid 100Mbps for most subsequent tests. There should be more variation, and It should be showing 4-10x faster speeds (based on speedtest.net and google's speed tester). This thing isn't accurate.

      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        Last night around 8pm, I ran the test 30 times back-to-back, and each time I got between 90 and 92, most of the time, 91. Mind you, my 100Mb network is also doing other stuff. But this morning, I ran it and got only 73. Not expected to get a worse value at 7am.
        • To clarify, I'm saying that fast.com keeps saying that my Internet speed is *exactly* 100Mbps. And I have a 1,000Mbps connection anyway.
          Fast.com won't report my connection as any higher than 100Mbps but occasionally reports that it's slower. I checked my settings and performed some tests; my NIC is at gigabit speed. My switch is showing a gigabit connection, I can xfer files between PCs on my lan well above 700Mbps and most other (gigabit capable) Internet speed tests show I have 300-700Mbps.

          Fast.com fails!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...start to provide better speed to all requests for just this site and game the results?

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I've always wondered to what extent bandwidth measurement sites worked to defeat ISPs gaming their sites.

      When I would do this the old fashioned way with FTP, I would always use a test file built from garbage from /dev/random, run through DES a couple of times, and then run through gzip, trimmed to the size file I was willing work with. I wanted to make sure there was no possible redundancy in the data anywhere.

      Do measurement sites even do this with their measurement data?

      You would think they would want to

  • Works great (Score:5, Informative)

    by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @10:28AM (#52135269)

    No Flash, no Silverlight, got my cable download speed accurately.

    • Re:Works great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by whipslash ( 4433507 ) Works for Slashdot on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:36AM (#52135923) Homepage Journal
      Here's another good one that doesn't require Flash or Silverlight but gives a lot more details: https://www.voipreview.org/spe... [voipreview.org]
  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @10:29AM (#52135279) Homepage
    NF: "See, we TOOOLLLDDD you it was your ISP!
    • Fast.com reported > 30% faster speed than speedtest.net for me (18 versus 22) so I don't think they are sandbagging this. On the other hand it's not prime movie watch time of day either.

      But for me, amazon is able to stream shows in HD better than Netflix is. My neflix connection rarely acheives HD quality even though I have it set to request that. Since this is on all my idevices it's not a matter of the computer or client software.

      So either netflix has shitty servers or they get throttled at some pee

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        Every evening around 8 - 10pm, my internet becomes unstable. HBO go, netflix, even when i was trying to order something from Walmart...
        comcast...
      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        When I watch Netflix at 8-10pm, they cram 1Gb/s down my pipe, but that's the most I can measure with my 1Gb Ethernet port. And no, my ISP does not have Open Connect, all over transit.
      • Interesting... Speedtest.net consistently reports a speed ~20% faster than my subscribed Comcast tier (180Mbit actual vs 150Mbit advertised). I'd always assumed they just prioritize traffic to speedtest et. al., and that they'd just add fast.com to the "fast lane" now. It would be easy to test by assigning a secondary IP and domain name to a speedtest server and comparing results.

  • Selective throttling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @10:36AM (#52135351)

    I've long held a theory that my ISP (Cox) is limiting bandwidth selectively by site, and that they make all the benchmark sites wide open, but throttle others, like netflix.
    It seems they have already added fast.com to their "Do not throttle" list but not added Netflix.

    • You've got it backward. They haven't "already added fast.com" to the whitelist, they just haven't added it to the "throttle list." Netflix gets throttled, bittorrent gets throttled, speed test sites and most other sites don't get put on the "throttle list."

      That said, I have Cox on the 100 MB/sec down plan and have not had any throttling issues, even when well above their soft data cap.

    • I have the same ISP (Cox) and I have never had any issues with their Netflix bandwidth speeds. Previously I had Charter, and would occasionally see issues there, but nothing like what Verizon did to Netflix.

    • The new fast.com site test seems too short. Cox will give you more bandwidth than you're paying for for a few seconds (I'm on Cox) - to speed up bursty use like general web browsing, but slow down large downloads. You can see this on the speedtest.net tests. I'm on a 100 Mbps plan and it initially starts at around 160 Mbps, then gradually decreases, usually finishing around 110 Mbps. So fast.com is reporting your burst speed, not your sustained speed.

      I've started using internethealthtest.org [internethealthtest.org] more. I
      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        internethealthtest.org doesn't work for me in any of my browsers. It always gives me 70Mb down and 20Mb all the time to all of the servers. At least it's consistent to within 0.5Mb/s on every run. I have 100/100.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      A little bit of digging through Fast.com's traffic and it appears that the traffic test is against Netflix's CDNs. This means that the IP address is the same for the video as well as for the speedtest. Also the fast.com traffic to the CDN is over SSL which makes it very difficult to distinguish between test data and movie data.

      I suspect that it would be very difficult for ISPs to distinguish between the fast.com's speed test and actual movie traffic. And simple whitelisting isn't going to cut it.

    • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

      I've long held a theory that my ISP (Cox) is limiting bandwidth selectively by site, and that they make all the benchmark sites wide open, but throttle others, like netflix.
      It seems they have already added fast.com to their "Do not throttle" list but not added Netflix.

      So... do you have any evidence for your theory? Or is this just a theory? Outside of emergency/defensive purposes, ISPs only "care" to the extent that there's a financial reason to care and, depending on the site, it makes far more sense to host a local caching server for a high-volume service (eg, Netflix) than throttle it in a way that anyone will notice.

      This all depends on ISP size and connectivity, of course, but FWIW I've had Cox for 15 years in San Diego, worked at ISPs here in the city from 2000-2008

    • by JcMorin ( 930466 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:34AM (#52135907)
      I did a quick lookup and the download are made from: https://ipv4_1-cxl0-c273.1.nyc... [nflxvideo.net].... I believe this is the same domain as the real video so that would make it harder to block on "fast.com" since data are not downloaded from that domain name.
  • Some company is using this to collect information about your computer and network and then attempt to sell you something based on the information they collect.
    • Then don't buy anything.
      Problem solved.

      Seriously, I would never buy from a company that came to me, that goes for online or offline. I do my research, find the product that is best fit and price I can afford.

    • The horror

    • They're already selling me that thing, and giving me a tool to tell my ISP that they are interfering with that sale.

      Netflix wins, I win, the ISP loses through their customer base having another data point to how they are being screwed. I see no problem with this.

      • Netflix wins, I win, the ISP loses through their customer base having another data point to how they are being screwed. I see no problem with this.

        How do you win when you can't get your ISP to change who/what they throttle and there is no competition for ISPs?

  • Just tried it and it reported 5.0 Mbps. Wow! Doubt that! Have a somewhat slow DSL connection here and from experience when I download a file, the best speeds I get are around 600 kbps.
    • by bruce_the_loon ( 856617 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:26AM (#52135833) Homepage

      Browsers and Bittorrent clients report download speeds in kilobytes or megabytes per second, this site reports download speed in megabits per second. 1 megabyte per second is around 8 to 9 megabits per second given overheads. Your 5 megabit/s line will reflect in the browser as 600 kilobytes per second, so the site is confirming your experiences.

  • Downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user’s Internet connection.
    There is no word on any downloadable software yet, but the website is certainly now live and it’s a fairly straightforward offering.

    Anyone find the downloadable version, maybe a beta? It's not mentioned in their weirdly styled "?" help section.

  • The site hasn't crashed yet, what happened to the /. effect? It gave me 56, the Speedtest that it linked to gave me 57, but that one took much longer, I'm getting 50, so I think for a really quick check of your speed it's not a bad thing. I'm going to check again around 9PM, things always bog down between 8 and 10.. Just ran it again, still came back with 56, so it's consistent.
    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      I got 47 from fast.com and 65 from speedtest.net. Charter cable.
      (Tried it several times and still got a significant discrepancy.)

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I'll blame this one on netflix being used to handling several million people streaming video at 5 Mbps.

      On at&t u-verse ADSL2+ it shows 11 Mbps that's pretty close considering it's on a 12 mbps plan.

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        25 meg plan here (TELUS) showed 27 meg which is what I get when downloading files and matches speedtest.net, unfortunately when I ran it a second time it showed 6 meg, and now refuses to go higher, but speedtest.net and actual downloads from various sites still show 27 meg.
        So something isn't right here.

    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      The Slashdot effect doesn't work so well on sites deployed to Akamai.

    • As we all get older, there's less and less people adding into the "slashdot effect" yearly...

  • I got 30+ mbps but everyone's at work or school right now. I'll be curious what it shows at 8pm tonight.
  • 89, what what! At home on Comcast/XFINITY with their cheapo plan.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:16AM (#52135725)

    Could not reach our servers to perform the test. You may not be connected to the internet

    If I wasn't connected to the internet, I wouldn't see the page indicating I may not be connected to the internet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Could not reach our servers to perform the test. You may not be connected to the internet

      If I wasn't connected to the internet, I wouldn't see the page indicating I may not be connected to the internet.

      Keyboard error. Press F1 to continue.

    • Rendering that html may trigger an exploit which fries the RJ45
    • by Ulric ( 531205 )

      Could not reach our servers to perform the test. You may not be connected to the internet

      Abort, Retry, Fail?

  • So fast.com says my download speed through T-Mobile is 14 megabits. Speedtest.net say 60 megabits while speedof.me gives me 5.7 Mbps. This is using my phone as a hotspot. Hopping all around the internet and randomly downloading very large files including the .iso files for Ubuntu and Slackware and with the case of Slackware I hit up multiple servers around the world I can safely infer the 60 Mbps is a close approximation as an average. Don't get me wrong, I know how the internet works, but still. Oh well, I
  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:21AM (#52135775) Homepage Journal
    If this is primarily intended for Netflix users, then why not just have the client measure the speed of actual live use cases? Some games have an option to show frames per second; your streaming player could have an option that shows bits per second.
  • by ZeroNullVoid ( 886675 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:23AM (#52135793)

    With this using Netflix's servers and their VPN blocking, I get the following error when testing via various VPNs.

    * Could not reach our servers to perform the test. You may not be connected to the internet

  • My connection is nominally 250/25.

    Speedtest.net gives me 238/28 to another ISP across the state from me (http://www.speedtest.net/result/5335405259.png). Amusingly I actually get a bit worse, 220/28, to my ISP's own Speedtest server (http://www.speedtest.net/result/5335408660.png)

    My usenet and Steam downloads agree, I can easily max out my connection with either.

    Fast.com gets me between 35 and 45 Mbit/sec down.

    • Then your ISP is likely throttling netflix connections, or there is a bottleneck between your ISP and Netflix. That is the entire point of this site. Some ISPs throttle Netflix connections. This is to find out if yours does. Mine (Comcast, SF Bay area) tests at 170 mbit. Speedtest.net is the same. I pay for 150/10.

      • Throttling Netflix to a number that's well over any rate they actually stream at doesn't really make sense. Netflix says 25mbit/sec for 4K and 5mbit/sec for 1080p, so if it's actually being throttled the only way that would ever affect me is if I tried to stream two 4K movies at the same time. I'm not even sure if that's allowed by Netflix on a normal plan, I'm pretty sure I pay extra to be able to stream two things at once even in 1080p.

  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:39AM (#52135951)

    Since we are discussing fast.com does anyone know the story behind slow.com it says Welcome to Comcast! in google search results but it says Welcome to Time Warner Cable! if you visit it.

    Did they set that up or was it someone's idea of a joke to redirect that domain?

  • I'm on Gigabit FTTH. Speedtest.net gives me anywhere between 500mbps up/down to 850mbps depending on time of day and testing server selected. Fast.com is consistently giving me 20-25mbps results.

    Oh also as a note: fast.com at least from my location, is resolving to Akamai Technologies servers. It is also resolving to a server in San Jose when I'm in Seattle. So the link speed anywhere in between could explain the extremely slow connection compared to the local Seattle based servers that Speedtest.net gives

  • The speed reported on fast.com is less than 30% what I'm recording on my own network monitor while running the test.

    • by Rashkae ( 59673 )

      Arrrgh, what I meant to say, is that the speed reported is 30% Lower than what I measure. *sigh*

  • That link to the article is seriously messed up. I canâ(TM)t scroll down, because whenever I try to, something causes it to jump back to the top of the page.

  • 55 Mbps, which is close enough to what I pay Charter for (60Mbps). YMMV

  • I've been using speedof.me (flashless, javaless) as it presents a real time graph of all variables.
  • My connection says 75Mbps even though a Speedtest says ~200Mbps and another test says ~400Mbps (this is a business line) so I think they may be a bit overloaded.

  • This tests how fast your connection is with Netflix servers. Not your "real" speed if there is such a thing.
    I have gibabit fiber, with Speedtest.net I get 900+ Mbps, which is my real speed when there is no bottleneck.

    In reality it depends on what's on the other side. Fast.com tells me I have 320 Mbps, YouTube gives me less and Steam gives me more. They should call it the Netflix speed test instead of presenting it like some universal truth.

  • People have a right of privacy.

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