Bittorrent Inc. announced today that it has begin to collaborate with the Google-funded Measurement Lab (M-Lab) to test ISP connections and home networking related issues that could impact a user's connection speed. From Bittorrent's blog:

"M-Lab is supporting important research into how our Internet is actually performing and informing the debate on how this shared resource should be managed."

utorrent mountain view

At the core of this collaboration is a tool that was integrated into uTorrent ever since its 2.0 beta launch last summer: uTorrent users are now given the option to test their connection speed upon starting the application for the first time. The client then tests a user's connection and suggests various connection settings based on this test.

However, BitTorrent isn't relying on it's own server for these speed test. Instead, it is using a service supplied by M-Lab that is also aggregating the anonymized test results to get a better sense of how fast the average DSL or cable connection is, what kind of problems users are facing as part of their home set-up and related issues. All of this data is available under the Creative Commons Zero license, which means it's essentially part of the public domain, free to use by anyone for any purpose. Bittorrent's blog post elaborates:

"Given µTorrent’s substantial user-base, we are hopeful that this data will stimulate new research into the state of the Internet and support the public debate with unbiased measurement data."

Bittorrent plans to include related M-Lab tools in the future. One that could be particularly interesting is Glasnost - a tool developed to detect ISP interference with P2P file transfers.

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