Wholesale/transport services

Traffic Tracker Project Is Ready to Roll

A Light Reading project aimed at delivering ground-breaking analysis of traffic trends on the Internet has entered its second phase, with the mailing out of invitations to more than 150 companies that have already signaled an interest in participating in the scheme.

The invitations call on these companies -- and any other that care to join them -- to take the next step towards getting a six-month free trial of a service that normally costs $1,500 a year. The next step involves participants making a small change to the configuration of their access routers, so traffic statistics can be picked up by Light Reading's secure Web servers, which are now fully operational.

The free monitoring service will enable participants to see at a glance what's happening on their access lines -- in a way that should help them solve immediate problems as well as plan ahead and keep track on whether their service provider is delivering value for money.

At the same time, participants will be helping to advance Light Reading's pioneering survey to establish what's really happening to business traffic volumes on the Internet. This involves aggregating statistics from all access routers and then slicing and dicing the data to provide continuous analysis of traffic trends on Light Reading.

This is markedly different from the usual efforts to deduce Internet traffic trends from historical data provided by carriers, which is sometimes of dubious origin (see Did WorldCom Puff Up the Internet Too?). Light Reading's scheme measures the actual traffic going on and off the Internet from business users -- not smoke and mirrors -- and it does so every three minutes (see Track Your Traffic).

“This is the first attempt to properly measure traffic,” says Richard Thomas, managing director of Net Evidence, the service monitoring company teaming with Light Reading on this project. “We're going to be giving hard evidence of how companies actually use the Internet.”

Participating in the scheme is a breeze and is open to any company with a permanent connection to the Internet. Click here to register. It only takes a couple of minutes to make the minor modification to the configuration of access routers, and Net Evidence is on hand to help if necessary. The process of collecting statistics is secure and puts negligible load (around a thousandth of a percent) on circuits.

"The more companies that participate in the scheme, the better our analysis will be," says Peter Heywood, a founding editor of Light Reading. "We're hoping hundreds will take the opportunity of helping themselves and the telecom industry as a whole."

Net Evidence is already providing the service that will be offered free of charge by Light Reading. It's called "Highlight" and is sold by WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM), PSINet Inc., and Energis plc to their customers in Europe.

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Light Reading
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