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.


18 thoughts on “Measuring Home Networks With BISMark

  1. @Aaron +1 – the single biggest improvement that the HaD staff could make to the blog is to proofread each post. Surely there are spelling- and grammar-checking plugins for WordPress that can at least catch the simple stuff!

  2. I installed it on my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH. Bandwidth graphs aren’t working for me. The images don’t load. Their documentation on how to set it up isn’t very clear.

  3. @Aaron +1 – I think the media (blogs, news sites, radio, TV, etc.) in general need to take a couple of English language courses. Nothing like watching the news and having the anchor mispronounce words or use poor English. On the other hand what else am I going to rant about?

  4. @rusty: brouhaha + ∞ I totally agree with you. i have dyslexia and i don’t even see the mistakes in the post i get the same type of info and what they are trying to get across.

    on to the post.
    i was looking for something like this.

  5. Doesnt DD-WRT & Tomato firmwares already have bandwidth speed usage and total transfers per month?

    This firmware already has a bunch of extra features they dont but I doubt that normal users will want/need such abilities.

  6. This is interesting. It seems this is based on OpenFlow & NOX (correct me if I’m wrong just taking a cursory look), which seem to be alive at post-time. Unfortunately, IMO the choice of OpenWrt and (especially) the Netgear WNDR3700 hardware is not good. The WNDR3700 (like the WNDR3500L) seems to have NO external antenna connection (STUPID for what is supposed to be an “Open” router). See (a Netgear site). Also, when I looked at the WNDR3500L it seems there was no fool-proof way to “unbrick” the router after hacking. The ASUS WL-520GU has a button for this (brilliant feature!). But the WL-520GU is getting hard to find these days, and is old-in-the tooth when it comes to memory, etc. (plus the USB connect is dicey, see Tomato-USB). Hmmm… seems like you could do this yourself with the likes of Iperf plus a sprinkling of scripts (Perl Melikes) and the likes of RRDTool and/or MRTG (yeah, old-school perhaps).

  7. If you don’t have a Service Level Agreement (sla) your ISP hasn’t guaranteed anything. There were two phrases I had to learn working in the Telecom and Cable industries, “Best Effort Service” which is all you’re getting if you aren’t paying for an SLA, and Not Technically Feasible (NTF).

    Best Effort Service means we’ll try to provide the highest advertised speed for your service plan through our equipment, but the ISP can’t promise anything once you get past that to the open internet.

    Not Technically Feasible means what you think it means, The service you want can’t be provided because of something beyond the companies ability to resolve.

    This isn’t anything against this technology, I just hope you guys put a disclaimer somewhere so hundreds of entitled “power users” don’t run to their ISP’s thinking their getting ripped off when that may not be the case.

  8. I generally try not to feed the trolls, but here I go again.

    Yes, I proofread my posts. Yes, we have spell checking software (actually both in browser and in the WYSIWYG editor). ‘Analyzation’ was flagged by both but the suggested replacement was not ‘analysis’ and for some reason I didn’t come up with it myself.

    But I did take the time to look up a definition of ‘Analyzation’, it is a word.

  9. Is there something like this that is simple-ish to set up on a linux box that is a router?

    By simple, I mean no more than drop some pages in a dir served by my http server, give it access to postgresql, add a canned iptables rule, and away it goes.

  10. Free router or not, the thought of swapping my heavily-tweaked DD-WRT router, for the mysterious Bismark router, is a show-stopper.

    I encourage Bismark to implement an “transparent” mode so their service can just quietly sit between modem and existing router.

    If they really want participation, they should develop a downloadable firmware, so we can flash it onto our spare OpenWRT capable equipment.

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