I'm searching for a utility that monitors the speed of an internet connection from a hospital on this side of town to one on that side of town. There is a special consideration. (I didn't think it would be so special when I started looking, but apparently it is.)
The radiologists who read our xrays are a partnership that also reads for the other hospital in town. At each hospital they have one one XP-based reading station with a DSL connection and a vpn to the other hospital, in case they need to look at a particular study that wasn't done at the hospital where they're physically sitting. Lately they have been telling me that the response time for opening one of our studies on the PC at the other hospital has become unusably slow in the evenings, roughly 8pm to 10pm.
The rads know enough to turn the vpn off and test the system with one of the internet measure-your-DSL-speed sites, and they say all these sites say their connection speed is fine. But that only tests the speed over the internet path between that hospital and the test-your-speed site. If there were a slowdown at some node that isn't on that path (but is
on the path packets take when they travel between the two hospitals) that kind of test won't find it. I am not a network engineer but it seems to me that this is a job for a continuous traceroute (or some alternative like pathping
or Layer Four Traceroute
) left running for a couple of days.
There are tons of programs that do this kind of thing. I've looked at examples like pingplotter
and Path Analyzer Pro
and even some hard-to-find abandonware like Neotrace. But the special ability that seems (surprisingly) to be uncommon is not just to average the speed over the time a program is collecting data but also to preserve the ups and downs so that after running, say, from 6PM today to 6PM tomorrow I could look and say, "well, it's fast enough at 6 and at 7 but hey whoops it really slowed down at 8 and didn't get well until after midnight." The only program I've seen that may
do this is pingplotter--there are a couple of screen captures on their site that show what looks like a smallish graph of latency and dropped packets over time. But I can't be sure, the downloadable evaluation version is feature-limited and definitely doesn't do this. The eval version of Path Analyzer Pro is time-limited and has all the (very many, and cool) features of the full version but if it preserves and displays speed-vs.time data I can't find it.
At this point I'm reluctantly tempted to do this the mouthbreathing way, by writing a batch file that runs a command-line tracert to our site a few times and appends the output to a file, and then firing this batch file off every fifteen minutes for 24 hours with the scheduler. That makes a really ugly text file of data that I would have to clean up and parse with win32 sed and then import into excel to graph it up all pretty.
Can anyone point me to a better solution than that? Neither hospital will pay to solve this, each says it's the other one's problem. If there isn't any likely freeware for the job I could probably put 20-30 bucks of my own into it, but there's no use telling me how great SolarWinds is.
Thanks very much!