What to do w/ a bitchin' fast internet connection.
September 7, 2005 12:18 PM   Subscribe

My new apartment in New York City came equipped with a built-in ethernet internet connection. So far, I've maxed out at just over 1 meg a second, though that's only happened a few times. Besides downloading media via bittorrent and p2p, what recreational net activities should I take advantage of? What's the best way that I can 'speed test' my top d/l speed? Also, any guesses on what type of connection I likely have? T1? T3? How would I find this out without bothering my landlord?

I live in housing owned by Columbia University, in case anyone's wondering, and the connection's included with our rent.

I'll stop bragging now.
posted by item to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I'd like to know how to get smudges off of my solid gold house.

Other net activities: Massive Multiplayer Games, launch.yahoo.com has a great music streaming capability, Ifilm.com, Webcams with your friends, general porn (a given), etc.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2005

Broadband speed test seems to work pretty well and should tell you what speed you have - T1 or T3.
posted by cushie at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2005

I strongly doubt that you have any kind of T3. Connections like that involve running fiber optic cable straight to your location, are insanely expensive to the general consumer, and would provide way more bandwidth than you could ever use.

Just over 1M a second top speed, only occasionally, sounds like a shared medium-speed connection, maybe RCN cable modem which can be 3, 5, or 10 mbit. You might also have business DSL at a speed in that range, or a couple of T1s, though that would be needlessly expensive.
posted by autojack at 12:30 PM on September 7, 2005

Oh, try firing up a DOS window (I assume you're running Windows) and doing a little 'tracert google.com' action. That'll show you all the router hops between you and Google. The first couple should have obvious names/domains within your ISP's IP range that will make it obvious to you who's providing the service. Here's my first 3 hops:

1 ( 2.460 ms 1.131 ms 1.218 ms
2 ( 7.281 ms 7.136 ms 6.891 ms
3 vl200.aggr1.sbo.ma.rcn.net ( 13.283 ms 9.098 ms 44.658 ms

First one is my router, the second one is probably some random router at a POP in my neighborhood. The third is the aggregate router for my region on RCN's network. They're my ISP.
posted by autojack at 12:33 PM on September 7, 2005

I've just now tried a few online speed tests. I had no idea they existed. Neat.

Intel's says I'm at 1.5 mbps for download, which it equates to a T1 line.
posted by item at 12:53 PM on September 7, 2005

Earlier (but similar) post about what to do with all of your new found zoomy-ness here .
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2005

It's likely that you have much more than a T1 at your disposal; Columbia has been ripping the shit out of the streets around campus, running fiber to almost every building that they serve and supporting full 100 Mbit/sec connections throughout the buildings at the end of the fiber connections. (The list of Columbia off-campus residential buildings that are being upgraded is here, and a semi-detailed campus network map is here. Looking in the mid-left of the map, you'll see that a bunch of the buildings around the Watson center have full 1 Gbit/sec fiber going to their doors, for example.) Check both of those to get the definitive word on what kind of connection you have.

And note that there is likely to be a throttle on the core Cisco routers that sit in your apartment building; Columbia is pretty proactive about setting per-port bandwidth limits, since (as you've already discovered) you have a pretty amazing network connection that's part of your rent and that feeds directly into the main Columbia University network. So that 1.5 Mbit/sec download speed might be a throttle, and not the real capacity of your line to the main Columbia campus.
posted by delfuego at 1:10 PM on September 7, 2005

I like the UI of Speakeasy's speed test. The one thing it's missing is a lack of reference to other speeds.
posted by jeremias at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2005

game like you've never gamed before.
posted by dazed_one at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2005

You sound like you're throttled, but you might try downloading stuff from other universities; then you might be routed through Internet2 and... hooboy.

A couple months ago, I downloaded openoffice (~80MB IIRC) through my hardwired office pc in about 10 seconds, no shit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:40 PM on September 7, 2005

As someone who caused a server to be shut down at the University of Chicago for torrenting, I would advise you not to download HBO programs on a university network. It's very easy to find out what individual user is downloading files, and HBO is being really insane.
posted by scazza at 4:15 PM on September 7, 2005

posted by blag at 4:27 PM on September 7, 2005

try downloading a large file (OpenOffice as suggested above or maybe a linux iso) from a mirror at your university or one nearby. Even if external traffic is throttled (likely!), that will probably not be.
posted by polyglot at 5:34 PM on September 7, 2005

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