If the Internet is a series of digital arteries, veins and capillaries, then Radar Live is the X-ray machine that reveals how well information is moving through those vessels and their intersection points all around the world.
Unveiled today by Cedexis , Radar Live offers what its developer claims is an unprecedented look at real-time Internet performance as measured across major ISP, cloud and content delivery networks around the world. The resulting view of the Internet is freely available to anyone via the Cedexis Radar Portal, which enables users to analyze performance anomalies by region, network, CDN platform and more.
It's hard to overstate how important the Cedexis tool could be. Until now there's been very little visibility into where and when Internet performance degradation is taking place. However, by building up a community of participants including 800+ enterprises (think Tumblr, LinkedIn and Bloomberg), more than 130 Internet service providers, and every major CDN and cloud provider across the globe, Cedexis is now able to pinpoint performance problems as they happen.
The homepage for Radar Live shows a real-time interactive map with color-coded beacons illustrating minor, medium and major Internet service disruptions. For example, the map showed a cluster of red that highlighted several major disruptions in Europe Monday. Drilling down deeper, it was possible to determine that network performance issues at Liberty Global Europe BV were contributing to those disruptions: Latency had increased from a median value of 45ms across five countries to a high of 3,000ms in at least one region.
But that wasn't all Radar revealed. It also showed that the performance problems were linked to Liberty Global's connection with the Hibernia Networks CDN. Closer inspection on the Radar Portal showed an erratic trend line illustrating average latency rates for Liberty Global over a 24-hour period. More importantly, however, when specific information from the Hibernia CDN was filtered in, that trend line curved up in a hockey stick just after Noon Eastern Time. That means that any content being delivered by the Hibernia CDN to Liberty Global subscribers at that time was being slowed down dramatically.
The Radar portal can also show trends over time, such as how one ISP performs in terms of latency, availability or throughput compared to another. Or it can offer comparisons of performance across different regions -- outlining, for example, when a CDN performs well in one part of the world, but not in another part.
Radar is unique both because of the amount of data it collects, but also because of the way it relies on real user measurement (RUM) information for reporting. When any Internet user goes to one of the websites or mobile apps operated by any one of the 800+ Radar community members, that user automatically downloads a piece of code that then becomes an agent in the Radar system. If Cedexis needs a measurement from the user's ISP, it has the user's browser request a packet of data from a CDN or cloud data center to measure and record performance.
By turning every community member into a sensor node, Radar collects between 4 billion and 6 billion measurements every day. And unlike other Internet performance trackers, it measures activity across a multitude of network providers -- not only in the middle mile of the Internet, but also in the last mile.
"It's the most reliable and accurate data I know of in the market, at this time," says Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn. "No one else collects as much info as they do, in RUM, from all the major CDNs, clouds and ISPs, let alone shares it for free."
There are other analyses of Internet performance. Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM), for example, regularly publishes its State of the Internet report, but it is specific to the company's customer audience and the traffic that runs over its own CDN. Tools like the Internet Traffic Report also exist, but use synthetic measurements with test servers placed around the globe rather than real user measurements.
Cedexis has used its data measurement model for some time in France already, publishing a quarterly report on how the top 20 media companies perform across different ISPs. It's also shared its data with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , which is now looking into network interconnection agreements and what they signify more closely. (See Hey, FCC: Cedexis Has That Peering Data You Need and Interconnect Deals Bear Net Neutrality's Stamp.)
For the first time, however, Cedexis performance measurement data is available for free to the public. Users can visit live.cedexis.com to view the Radar map, and click through to the Radar portal to create a free user account.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading