So i received this email from windstream my ISP.. does anyone have any experience with this equipment that they send to you?
Dear Valued Internet Customer,
As part of the National Broadband plan, the FCC has begun a project to establish a standard test for measuring broadband performance. This test will cover every aspect of an Internet connection, from the speed of downloading a large file to the quality of video streaming or making a VOIP call. The purpose of the project is to provide consumers with much more information about broadband performance.
As one of the leading service providers in the United States, Windstream is working with the FCC to ensure that the performance measurement tests are as comprehensive and accurate as possible.
We are reaching out to you, because the FCC is looking for volunteers to help in the project. If you're interested in knowing more about the performance of your Internet service, please visit the FCC sign-up page at www.testmyisp.com. If selected, you will be sent a Whitebox device that will run SamKnows performance measurement software.
To reassure you, the software only measures the performance of your Internet connection, and gives you access to the kinds of data that was only previously available with very expensive network monitoring tools. Also, your personal information will be strictly protected and at no time will any personal information be shared or made available without your consent.
Once your router is up and running, you will be able to view all of your performance data via a secure online reporting system. Over the next few months the FCC will work towards releasing a report describing the performance of broadband in the United States.
To find out more, please go to www.testmyisp.com.
I would approach that thing the exact same way as a "free" "smart meter" from the power company.... i.e. with a 12 gauge.
It is a real thing, and it supposedly only monitors throughput without logging content, but then again it is run by the FCC. I'd place that solidly in the 'do not want' category, especially because they're not offering you anything in compensation.
Tag for replies. I personally wouldn't want a device sending any kind of data to the FCC. The fact that the FCC is partnering with a UK company makes it that much odder in my mind.
The requirements we ask our volunteers to meet are as follows:
You have a fixed line broadband Internet connection to your residence.
You use a standalone device to connect to your broadband service - i.e not a USB ADSL modem.
You have a stable broadband connection (i.e. it doesn't disconnect frequently). Note that this is just referring to the connection - not the speed.
You are not a heavy downloader. Our tests can only run when your line is below a certain traffic threshold, therefore we would not be able to run any tests if your line is in constant use
.that knocks out anyone that surfs the web
You have a spare power socket near your existing router (or wherever you plan to connect the unit. Keep in mind that a network cable must run between the unit and your router though! We supply a 1m cable).
You need to be on one of the ISPs that we're measuring.
You are not an employee or a family member of an employee of one of the ISPs being monitored.
In addition to the above we ask that volunteers agree to a set of terms and conditions that are broadly summarised by the points below:
Not to unplug the unit or your ISP's router unless I'm away for an extended period of time.
Not attempt to reverse engineer or alter the unit.
To notify Samknows if and when I choose to change ISPs.
To return the unit to Samknows should I no longer wish to be involved (Samknows to pay reasonable postage costs).
To connect the unit in the way described in the documentation.
pretty much says you can't have other devices plugged on your network...
To keep Samknows updated with valid contact detail
Though I can't figure out the exact angle, that email sets off all kinds of alarm bells in my head.
I'd discard it and forget about it.
ISPs leaning on you to use a certain measure system for if they aren't defrauding you on your speed shouldn't be trusted.
Any device, someone offers up to put on your network, shouldn't be trusted.
They can monitor everything they want, and then some with the equipment on the head end and up stream, they don't need a little box on your network. They can loop back to get to your modem and see if the line is good or not.
Which means, the little box may have something to do with restricting your network, or seeing what goes on there.
It could be a proxy that would make your web browsing SEEM faster. But, then, who wants to get served old information that may have changed?
Lastly, the infrastructure that is required to select and send free equipment to end users is expensive. Most ISPs run on a very slim margin, they do NOTHING that they aren't forced to for some reason, and do NOTHING that doesn't make a profit.
I have been in the IT / internet industry for 15 years and never once heard of anything like this happening. They upgrade modems sometimes but that's about it.
Maybe get one and figure out what it is. Might be an interesting project. I'd never hook it up though.
Sounds like some social engineering to get a backdoor into someone's network to do some shady shit(Mass proxy network anyone?)
As said before an ISP can check bandwidth and line quality from the nodes and headend. There is no reason for them to put a device on a "private" network do this type of testing.