What Do You Know About Your Internet Connection And Home Network Security? – Free ICSI Netalyzr Fills In The Blanks

No matter how much one might want to keep up with all the available tech resources on the Internet – it’s a battle that just can’t be won. The sheer volume of information is simply overwhelming.

Regular reader Christopher A. (thank you Christopher), recently directed my attention to a superb free application (which, I was unaware of) – designed for those you have a need to checkout network performance and security – all of us, I should think.

ICSI Netalyzr is a small Java based application developed by The International Computer Science Institute – a leading center for research in computer science and one of the few independent, non-profit research institutes in the United States. Since its inauguration in 1988, ICSI has maintained an affiliation with the University of California at Berkeley.

ICSI Netalyzr can be run directly from the applications home page, which is hosted by USC.

A brief walkthrough.

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Following the “Start analysis” command, the service jumps right into the testing process. You’ll notice the advisory – “the test may take several minutes”. It does indeed – even on a very fast connection. So, be patient – it’s worth the wait.

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In the following screen capture, you’ll see a very small portion of the test results. The report is extensive and  chock full of confidential information – which you will not see here – for obvious reasons.

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I highly recommend that all users run this test from time to time.

There’s still more to come   Smile.

HomeNet Profiler:

HomeNet Profiler ( a downloadable application rather than a browser driven applet), is an additional service which collects performance, configuration, and security data related to your home network.

A quick walkthrough –

Download the executable from the homepage.

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Following the application launch, you will have the option to select various measurements – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Once the application has developed the relevant information, you may choose to go directly to the report by following the link provided………..

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Alternatively, you may chose to have the report delivered by email.

Home Profiler

The following graphic references only a small portion of the full report. I’d like to share but, confidential information in the report will not allow this. Sorry  Smile.

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A full sample report is available here. I recommend that you take a peek at this.

Note: In addition, a HomeNet Profiler execution – includes a Netalyzr run as well.

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9 Comments

Filed under Connected Devices, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Network Tools, System Utilities

9 responses to “What Do You Know About Your Internet Connection And Home Network Security? – Free ICSI Netalyzr Fills In The Blanks

  1. John

    Hi Bill,
    I actually ran ICSI Netalyzr yesterday after sighting it in your Tech Thoughts. Interestingly for me was that I ran the test at several different times of the day and received quite different results with lots of red sometimes, and then others not at all, but the most notable comment was…………..
    “Your ISP’s DNS resolver requires 1100 msec to conduct an external lookup. It takes 200 msec for your ISP’s DNS resolver to lookup a name on our server.
    This is particularly slow, and you may see significant performance degradation as a result.”

    Time to change ISP’s I think even though I have been with them for about ten years.

    I also found the ICSI’s HomeNet Profiler to be of interest although I did miss it completely yesterday.

    I have just run that test but for whatever reason it was not able to collect information about the WiFi networks around my home, or get the channel information for my platform, or also gather the power of neighboring WiFis.

    This may be a good thing in that my security set-up is doing as it is meant to, at least I’m hoping that is what it means. :-)

    All up both of those tools have shown up some important information which I will have to look further into.

    Cheers,
    John

    • Hi John,

      You’re one step ahead – I like that. :)

      When I blocked out this article initially, the focus was on – are you getting what you paid for from your ISP? The reason being – just this week, the largest ISP here in Canada was hauled over the coals by the Feds for throttling traffic (hugely impacting online gamers, and others). This, despite specific directions not to do so. This application then, can be used to ensure your ISP is delivering as promised. Had I gone this way, I have no doubt that the article would have generated much more interest. (Is your ISP Screwing You? – sort of).

      On consideration though (and, a complete rewrite), since security is the gig here, I focused instead on the security benefits of the application. You’ve experienced those benefits – you know your Wi-Fi connection is secure (as best as can be determined), and you’ll no doubt find, on further investigation, a number of ports that you might consider closing (but, I’m being a wee bit presumptuous).

      As for the DNS thing – you might consider dropping the ISP’s and substituting – take a look at Steve Gibson’s Domain Name Speed Benchmark, first.

      You should expect to see variations in throughput throughout the day – depending on connecting type. Cable, for example is built around nodes – the more users on a particular node (which will vary depending on the hour), there could be a drop off in throughput.

      For now, I’ll leave you to dissect all the info gathered. We’ll talk again.

      Best,

      Bill

    • lucas

      Hi John,
      I’m the student who coded HomeNet Profiler. HomeNet Profiler is not from ICSI, but we know Netalyzr folks well :).
      Regarding the missing WiFi data. Some operating system / WiFi card/driver may become problematic for HomeNet Profiler. Hence, some users see an informative message instead of figures. These messages are not related to your security settings.
      A good practice with WiFi settings is to make sure you enabled WPA-2 (or, at least WPA). If your WiFi access point can only make WEP, it’s time to change it :).
      Regarding your slow DNS, you may change the DNS settings while keeping the same ISP. The procedure to change this setting depends on your Operating System. An example of alternative, free-to-use DNS servers is Google public DNS http://code.google.com/intl/fr/speed/public-dns/ .
      Bill, thanks for referring to us :).

  2. Grr

    Thanks Bill & Christopher.

    I’ll give it a shot.

    Thanks, Grr

    • Hey Grr,

      There’s definitely a bag full of info that’s generated by these apps. I’m still working my way through all of the data.

      I’m hoping there are no surprises – fingers crossed! :)

      Best,

      Bill

  3. Nicholas Weaver

    Thank you for your complementary post.

    I’m one of the authors of Netalyzr (but not the HomeNet Profiler, that project, as mentioned by Lucas, is written by Lucas Di Cioccio (UPMC Sorbonne Universités / Technicolor), Renata Teixeira (CNRS / UPMC Sorbonne Universités), Catherine Rosenberg), but we do collaborate (thus the link on our page to their excellent tool, which I personally used when setting up my multiple-AP home network).

    If you have questions about Netalyzr etc, feel free to ask: I have notifications set for followup comments so I should see them.

    • Hey Nicholas,

      Thank you for your hard work. A terrific application which I found quite useful – as do most users, I’m sure.

      I found the “tool tips” very use while reviewing the report, and again – I expect most users will as well.

      Good to hear from you and, I may well yet take you up on your “questions” offer. :)

      Bill