Measuring home networks with BISMark

The Broadband Internet Service BenchMARK is an open source initiative to put tools in the hands of the common Internet user that will make measurement and analyzation of home network traffic easier. It targets LAN and WAN network utilization by measuring latency, packet loss, jitter, upstream throughput, and downstream throughput. Of course gathering data isn’t worth anything unless you have a way to present it, and to that end the Project BISMark team has been developing a web interface where you can view the usage of anyone who’s running the firmware.

The project builds on top of OpenWRT, which means that you should be able to run it on any router that’s OpenWRT compatible. This includes the ubiquitous WRT54G routers and many others. We remember when DD-WRT added bandwidth monitoring as part of the standard release, which really came in handy when the stories about ISP bandwidth capping started to hit. We’re glad to see even more functionality with this package as it can be hard to really understand what is going on in your network. After the break you’ll find a video detailing the features of BISMark.

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SMS gateway lets you Twitter by text message

[GuySoft] threw together a cellphone-based SMS gateway that allows him to push text messages to Twitter. Once up and running, it can be used by multiple people, either with shared or individual Twitter accounts. At its core, this setup uses the cellphone as a tethered modem on a Linux box. The open source software package, Gammu SMSD, provides hardware hooks for phones running in modem mode. The package is already in the Ubuntu repositories but it runs cross-platform and can be downloaded from the project site. This gave [GuySoft] the ability to script a framework that checks for received SMS messages, compares the incoming phone number for a match on a saved list, then pushes the message from a confirmed number to Twitter via their API.

A web interface is used to register new numbers and associate them with Twitter accounts. On the back-end, [GuySoft’s] own Python script handles the translation of the message. You can download all of the code, and get more insight on setup from the readme file, over at the GitHub repository.

On Air light parses webpage data wirelessly without a computer

[Matt Richardson] built this on-air light to indicate whether a Make streaming show is currently in progress. Despite the obvious cord leaving the bottom of the base (it’s a power cord) his creation is pulling data from the Internet wirelessly. He’s using an Xbee module along with an Arduino to pull this off.

In addition to the light itself there’s a base station that we haven’t seen before. The hardware is a Digi ConnectPort Zigbee-to-Internet Gateway. That’s a mouthful but it’s just a box that acts as an Xbee node and facilitates communication between its own Ethernet port and other Xbee devices in the network. So no, you don’t need a computer but you do need an Ethernet connection somewhere for the base station. [Matt] is running an open source software package on the ConnectPort call Xbee Internet Gateway (xig). Watch the video after the break to see the configuration for this package. It’s a snap, and if you’ve never used an Xbee module before this gives you a good idea of how easy it really is.

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