Track Your Traffic

If your organization has a permanent connection to the Internet, then Light Reading would like to offer you an opportunity to do yourself a good turn while taking part in a pioneering telecom project.

Under this scheme, you'll get a free six-month trial of a service that usually costs US$1,500 a year – with no strings attached. It will enable you to monitor what your organization is doing with its Internet connection, in terms of how much traffic is being handled and whether your service provider is giving you value for money.

This data will be presented on a secure Website, using easy-to-understand color graphics. It will be updated every three minutes, enabling you to investigate problems as they arise, rather than after the event:

It will also provide a historical perspective, enabling you to spot trends and see at a glance whether you're overloading (or under-utilizing) your access line:

Pioneering Project

In doing this, you will be collaborating with hundreds of your peers to help Light Reading nail down the facts on the growth of business traffic on the Internet. It will also enable us to demonstrate key differences in the quality of service offered by different operators around the world.

We'll do this by aggregating the statistics that we collect from all of the enterprise users participating in this trial. We'll collect this data automatically from your access router. Setting this up is very simple – it'll only take a couple of minutes of your time – and after that, no further work is necessary. Within 24 hours, you'll be able to log on to our server and see what's happening on your access line.

Light Reading is partnering with a U.K. company called Net Evidence to conduct this exercise, which is likely to be continued indefinitely if it proves successful.

Net Evidence is already providing the service that will be offered free of charge by Light Reading. It's called "Highlight" and is also offered by WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM), PSINet Inc., and Energis PLC to their customers in Europe. While these service providers use Highlight for customer retention and traffic planning, we'll be using it to watch the Internet on a larger scale.

The process of collecting statistics is secure and puts negligible load (around a thousandth of a percent) on the circuit. The service is fully administrated by Net Evidence, so the ongoing workload for you and your organization is precisely nil. You’ll have your own username and password to a secure Web server where you can view the results for your own circuit. And you will be able to use a fictitious company name for display on the reports so that no one knows who you are except us.

For a demonstration of Highlight, or to download PDFs giving more information, click here. Register Your Interest

We’re currently recruiting participants for the Traffic Tracker project. If you are responsible for your organization's Internet service, and we’ve piqued your interest, let us have your email address, and we’ll keep you posted on developments.

There’s absolutely no obligation at this stage: You’re simply registering an interest, and we’ll update you as the project develops. We’d appreciate a little background information on you and your company, though. Just click on the link below and fill in the form, and you’ll hear from us shortly confirming your registration. We’ll also send you more details on the project.

Receive more information about the Traffic Tracker program.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 10:16:28 PM
re: Track Your Traffic I have a question - How do you differentiate the
traffic that is really business versus employees
web surfing, downloading music etc.?
RazorDude 12/4/2012 | 10:16:26 PM
re: Track Your Traffic Filter="Porn"
NetEvidence 12/4/2012 | 10:16:24 PM
re: Track Your Traffic We're not trying to go this deep with Highlight : it's a high-level tool that collects key stats from your router and presents them in a really easy-to-read way. A little like checking your own pulse or weight regularly - it's only if you see an anomaly that you'd go to see a doctor and get a more detailed diagnosis.

Getting a by-traffic-type or by-site breakdown is not practical without putting extra hardware on the end of the line, or getting a lot more complex (for example, pulling it out of Cisco NetFlow tables, or firewalls). One of Highlight's design rules was to stay simple, so people bother to use it...
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 10:15:33 PM
re: Track Your Traffic Light Reading's main goal with this project is to deliver some reliable statistics on the growth of business traffic on the Internet.

We think this will do everybody a good turn - bearing in mind that folk continue to make wild assertions on how fast (or slow) traffic is growing, based on very little actual evidence, and those wild assertions end up causing a lot of volatility in stock markets and general sentiment about the telecom industry.

We plan to collect data, analyze it and present it in graphical form.

This isn't your usual "Internet map" that's typically based on measuring delays. We'll be measuring traffic volumes, not delays.

Question: do you know of anybody else doing anything like this? .

I know there are ways for carriers to monitor traffic characteristics on their own backbones, with probes from the likes of Narus. But what we're planning is different in 3 key respects:

1. It'll almost real time. We'll be collecting data, analyzing it and presenting the results as a continuous process. So the graphics will show what's happening now - enabling folk to troubleshoot problems on occasions.

2. It'll be easy to understand. Narus probes, for instance, produce masses of information that requires expert analysis. We're at the other end of the scale - high level stuff that's understable by everybody, but doesn't go into a lot of depth.

3. It's not just measuring traffic on 1 service provider backbone. It's measuring traffic on access lines across multiple service providers. The bottom line is that we'll be able to slice and dice the data to show how traffic trends vary by business types, and also how different service providers handle traffic.

Peter Heywood

zweisel 12/4/2012 | 10:04:17 PM
re: Track Your Traffic You forgot to mention that the real goal is to obtain $1,500 a year...
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 10:04:16 PM
re: Track Your Traffic ... but like you said they monitor delay and not traffic.
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 10:04:16 PM
re: Track Your Traffic Question: do you know of anybody else doing anything like this?

Well, there's the Internet Traffic Report...

Physical_Layer 12/4/2012 | 10:03:46 PM
re: Track Your Traffic Peter /NetEvidence,

I understand your goal of trying to measure traffic volume rather than latency. Makes perfect sense to me.

Will you have any way to know if the router that you are monitoring within any given enterprise is serving a growing / shrinking or constant employee base? Seems to me that you want to somehow know if net traffic is growing as a result of increased useage per person, or as a result of increased connectivity to more and more people within the organization.

Technically I imagine that this should be possible, right? Shouldn't you simply be able to ask the router how many IP addresses it is talking to on the downstream?

Great idea you guys have come up with. Very innovative. More than just journalism...I like it.

jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 10:03:43 PM
re: Track Your Traffic
Technically I imagine that this should be possible, right? Shouldn't you simply be able to ask the router how many IP addresses it is talking to on the downstream?


Routers don't do this (AFAIK). it would have
to keep flow based stats or just count
how many unique IP addresses it has seen. To
make sure IP address is unique is expensive
operation per packet.

Instead of going to router, would it not
be better to go to DHCP Server (if they
are using one) and access number of IP
addresses dished out (if there is a
programmatic way to do this).
can be
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