Testing a 1 Gb Internet circuit

Wed 26 April 2017

Have you ever needed to prove a gigabit Internet circuit? It's more of a headache than you'd think. I had to prove one recently - we were seeing some errors which seemed to happen every time the bandwidth went over about 400mbps outbound, so we needed to prove we could push more. We could ask the ISP to run some tests - but I'm an untrusting kinda person. Plus, those tests wouldn't include some of the internal infrastructure which we also wanted to prove.

Download is easy. Get a bunch of users to download the CentOS Everything ISO (or anything else that's a few gig), and watch it get hammered.

Upload is trickier. It's hard to push that much data, without somewhere to push it to - you need to know the remote end can handle a gig, and also the throughput is affected by latency (it is on the download too, but that's easier to max out by just getting more users to download).

So, I stood up 10 servers on Digital Ocean. I installed CentOS, and configured vsftpd - plenty of guides on the internet. I then downloaded the CentOS ISO to 10 laptops or servers in the organisation (see - Download is easy :o)), and shouted 3, 2, 1, GO and everyone clicked upload in FileZilla.

It worked really well - we smashed the Internet, and whilst we didn't quite hit a gig, we got close - close enough to be confident we could push it more than we do day to day.

And....it cost me.... \$0.10. Ten...cents...even with the crappy exchange rate today, I can stretch to that. As soon as we finished I destroyed the servers - they were up for less than an hour.

So - we can definitely get more throughput than we thought (sorry for the blame, ISP!). Best we go figure out what the real problem is then.

PS: I have no ties or links to Digital Ocean - I just picked them because they had a DC in the UK and it was simple and cheap. I also did check their ToS - I'm not a lawyer, but as I wasn't out to break their service I don't think I did anything wrong - if I did and anyone at Digital Ocean is upset then I'm very, very sorry and I'll gladly delete my account and star out your name in this post! :o)

PPS: To be transparent...the two Digital Ocean links above are referral links, which give you ten dollars free credit, and earn me 25 dollars credit if you spend 25 dollars with them. If you don't like referral stuff, here's a plain link: https://www.digitalocean.com/

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