You fire up Netflix and watch an episode of your favorite show. You switch over to Hulu and the quality is terrible. Same with YouTube but Amazon Prime Video seems to be ok.
What is going on?
Why do some apps work while others don’t? Do you really need to upgrade your Internet speed? Again…
STOP. Watch this first:
Before you hand over more money to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you might want to check if your ISP is throttling your internet speed; a practice known as Bandwidth Throttling
What is Bandwidth Throttling?
ISPs are supposed to adhere to “Net Neutrality”. This essentially means that “(ISPs) must treat all Internet communications equally, and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, source address, destination address, or method of communication.” – wikipedia
In other words, your ISP needs to treat all internet traffic the same. It should not give preferences to some apps or services over others. You Netflix should not get more bandwidth over Hulu. Spotify should not be better than Apple Music. Every app and service should be identical.
But is it?
The problem is that it is really difficult to know for sure if your ISP is intentionally slowing down your internet speed. If you ever try to complain to your ISP, they have so much wiggle room – they can say its the app, or your wifi, or your router, or the time of day etc. etc. Amazingly but not surprisingly, the solution is “we can upgrade your lines at only blah blah blah”
What we need is a system to tell us if our ISP is deliberately slowing down our internet in the hope that we will simply upgrade our speed. This is where WeHe comes into play.
What is WeHe?
Researchers at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts — Amherst and Stony Brook University developed WeHe.
WeHe an Android and an iOS app that makes it seem like your device is trying to access popular apps like YouTube, Netflix, Skype, etc. The app monitors how the ISP handles that traffic and takes a reading. The app then repeats the same test but this time it sends randomized data which prevents the ISP from classifying the traffic as belonging to the Netflix or Skype.
Technically there should be no difference in the way the ISP handles both of these tests. In both cases, the ISP should see a bunch of data and should respond in the same way. However, if your ISP is throttling your speed, and gives priority to one app over another, then there will be a difference.
Is your Internet Service Provider slowing down your apps? Let me know in the comments.
To see how you can double your internet speed with just a couple of steps, check this out