View Full Version : What is monitored and how often - all the details!

27-02-2012, 08:49 AM

Here is a PDF from Sam Knows that is PUBLIC (despite what it says on page 3), describing what is monitored and when. It is a bit heavy on techno-babble, but a few of you have asked for the gory detail.

It is available on the Sam Knows website here (http://www.samknows.com/broadband/uploads/Methodology_White_Paper_20111206.pdf), and replicated below for your convenience.


28-02-2012, 10:16 PM
Hi Rob

Can I just confirm, that on the detail pages of each test:
On all BUT Latency, the column 'Number of tests' reads 1.
On the Latency detail, the number of tests per hour run into the 500's??... is that right?
There is nothing in the .pdf above to state this...

29-02-2012, 07:53 AM

From the PDF ...

3.5 UDP Latency and Packet Loss
Measures the round trip time of small UDP packets between the Whitebox and a target test node. Each packet contains consists of an 8-byte sequence number and an 8-byte timestamp. If a packet is not received back within three seconds of sending, it is treated as lost. The test records the number of packets sent each hour, the average round trip time of these and the total number of packets lost. The test will use the 99th percentile when calculating the summarised minimum, maximum and average results.
As with the availability test, the test operates continuously in the background. It is configured to randomly distribute the sending of the echo requests over a fixed interval, reporting the summarised results once the interval has elapsed.

So, it "randomly" tests, taking the 99th percentile (throws away the 1% of results that are least commonly occurring). It doesn't explicitly say how many, although the count is "per hour". Given that these are 8 byte packets and responses, it isn't a big deal - I wouldn't worry about it. 500 seems high. Are you able to confirm this number on your home network? I know I don't see this level of traffic outbound. You'll get far more disruptive traffic hitting your firewall from script kiddies looking for SMB shares and open SSH ports.


29-02-2012, 08:09 AM
Ah ha ...

I think I see what is confusing you Tracy. If you look at the "Advanced" part of the "Latency" graph after logging in to reporting.samknows.com, the left hand column is "Hour". This is the hour of the day during which a test conducted earlier will contribute to the results. The period (day, week, month, year to date, etc.) for the graph will determine how many of these results will be used.

E.g. if the period selected is "1 week" then all the tests run between 6:30pm and 7:30pm (say) on each of the last 7 days will contribute to the "Number of tests" value and the Minimum, Maximum, Average results. for the row representing "Hour 7". After a year or so, the "Number of Tests" value could indeed get VERY high!

Lies, damned lies, and statistics ... a quote oft attributed to Benjamin Disraeli.

Does this help?

01-03-2012, 08:31 PM
Hi Rob, Well, that's interesting...on reading your reply, I assumed you'd be right and that the advanced selection would have been as you explained above.
I just checked, altering the advanced settings to see what happened. When selecting the veiw as you say above the 'number of tests' suddenly warped up to anything between 3 & 6k !!
As an example, now I have put the settings back as they were, the columns read like this:

Date Minimum (Ms) Maximum (Ms) Average (Ms) Number of Tests

2012-03-01 19:00:00 30.40 147.01 36.81 565

I would assume, that this means the number of tests performed on the 1st March 2012 at, or around 7pm are 565..?

More than happy to IM you my SamKnows Login details for you to have a look - is that allowed?


01-04-2012, 01:02 AM
Please check out the article just published here:


Not quite the interactive Google Map (yet), but we've published the output of the Whitebox initiative for all 54 units that are currently monitoring and contributing to the statistics. It's clear to see that "something" happened around February 26th which caused Lawrence and a few others to "have words" with BT, successfully!

I'll post here when the GoogleMap goes up, so you can see where the whiteboxes are (postcode resolution), and how they're performing.


10-09-2012, 12:09 AM
... and here are their reported speeds:

Unit ID
Downstream Mbps







Here they are on a GoogleMap so you can see where the ADSL2+ upgrade benefits are being felt. If you click on the red dots, you'll see the download and upload speeds and the Unit ID, which will let you know if it's YOUR unit! Of course, if you join the forum, you can ask the whitebox community who's got Unit X and find out what they're doing to get speeds you think you should be getting. Information is power, when you want to have that chat with your ISP explaining that others are getting a far better service than you.

embedviz?viz=MAP&q=select+col1+from+1GWEls_RaILP7R7PQ3W10kV3JMl7PgM 0QWvdxRdo&h=false&lat=51.13092524305783&lng=0.21639006085207413&z=15&t=1&l=col1

We're very close to producing this data for ALL whiteboxes, every 24 hours or so which will let everyone see what's available across the parish. What fun! This will also show us all how unpredictable the ADSL/VDSL technology is, both now and in the future.


10-09-2012, 08:00 AM
This is a great start to seeing the broadband picture for the Parish.

10-09-2012, 04:28 PM
This is a great start to seeing the broadband picture for the Parish.

I just took it up a peg Lawrence - I've plotted all the whiteboxes and anonymised the data so addresses aren't available, but provided unit numbers and downstream/upstream data for the last 7 day average.

Took me half an hour, so I'm keen to automate this as soon as practical. Volunteer? [SMILE].


11-09-2012, 07:50 AM
Once it is set up I don't mind taking a look at what needs doing.

Paul W
11-09-2012, 08:10 AM
Just taken a look at the Map. My White Box (Serial No ends with 2664) does not appear? Good news this morning following an email last week from BT Retail regarding Langton exchange up-grade. My Download speed has gone up from 6.7Mbps to 16.38Mbs at 0830 h today.
Paul W

11-09-2012, 01:07 PM
Just taken a look at the Map. My White Box (Serial No ends with 2664) does not appear? Good news this morning following an email last week from BT Retail regarding Langton exchange up-grade. My Download speed has gone up from 6.7Mbps to 16.38Mbs at 0830 h today.
Paul W

Your white box might be "underneath" another Paul. GoogleMaps doesn't separate them if that happens. I'll check tonight.

16.38 will seem like heaven after 6.7. Imagine what 1000 would feel like!


12-09-2012, 01:25 PM
I've just updated the main article GoogleMap here (http://www.b4rs.org.uk/content.php?190-Speldhurst-Parish-Council-Whiteboxes-GoogleMap) which has all the Whiteboxes plotted with 7 day average speeds up to September 10th.

It now displays both the Unit Number (a Sam Knows assigned thingy), and the serial number, which a user can identify on their box. Only a very few boxes had the unit number written on them, which Lawrence and Paul pointed out to me.

So - enjoy the virtual wandering around the parish to see who's getting what!