Maybe, maybe not. Now, as the nation’s largest providers prepare to implement usage-based pricing plans, a tool created by Georgia Tech researchers could empower consumers to ensure they are getting the service they are paying for.
Developed by Beki Grinter, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, and her team, Kermit is an easy-to-use application that allows users to monitor and control network usage within their home environment, including measuring the actual network speed made available by their Internet service providers (ISPs) and tracking bandwidth usage over time.
“I think it’s widely recognized now, and the FCC is [aware], that people are not getting the speeds that are sometimes advertised,” Grinter said. “What Kermit does is it makes that very visible to people in their homes.”
Kermit is being presented Wednesday, May 11, at the CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing, held in Vancouver. The paper it is based on, “Why Is My Internet Slow? Making Network Speeds Visible,” was one of 13 to be awarded CHI 2011 Best Paper.
Kermit works by showing the user a simple view of all the home’s devices connected to the Internet: computers, mobile devices, digital video recorders, game systems or anything else that’s networked. Users can rename their devices, or label them with photos to show what they are. At any moment, Kermit can not only show who’s using the Internet, whether through a desktop or mobile device, but it can also limit a device’s speed. The user can even limit or prioritize a specific machine’s traffic.
To test the system, researchers recruited a select number of users, most of whom were not overly savvy with computers or networking technology, to take Kermit home and try it out.
“Even people who were not Internet gurus tried to do this,” said Kermit developer Marshini Chetty, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech and first author of the CHI paper. “With one husband-and-wife couple, the wife actually limited her husband’s machine because she worked from home. Before, she wouldn’t have gone to the router Web interface to do that, but because Kermit made it easier for her, she was feeling more comfortable to do it. Of course, her husband didn’t really like that.”
In addition to providing real-time information, Kermit allows users to view historical data on their Internet connection such as how much bandwidth different machines use over time, making it easier to spot patterns
“After we gave them Kermit, they were able to see the speeds over time,” Chetty said. “So, by the end of the study, they started to question: ‘Am I getting what I paid for?’ Or they knew a little bit more about it and realized, yes, they were actually getting what they paid for. I think Kermit was successful in actually making them more informed about these issues, which is one of our goals.”
Study participants also had some of their own ideas for Kermit.
“A lot of parents said that they would like to use Kermit to schedule access for their kids,” Chetty said. “In one household, for example, a mom and dad talked about how their son always used the Xbox past midnight, and they didn’t want to stay up to make sure he stopped because they had to get up for work the next day. So they saw a use for Kermit to basically set up a time restriction so that their son would automatically be cut off at midnight.”
For the next study, the researchers plan to implement some of the suggestions participants made such as the ability to cut off specific users’ access completely. They also plan to develop more tools to help users track and manage their bandwidth usage – a feature that’s increasingly more important as ISPs introduce data caps on home Internet connections.
Article written by David Terraso.
Liz Klipp | Newswise Science News
New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Seeing the next dimension of computer chips
11.10.2017 | Osaka University
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy