The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) released this week an iPhone and Android Speed Test app which measures your mobile broadband performance, and displays results of download and upload speeds, latency, and packet loss.
The apps were developed in collaboration with SamKnows, as part of the FCC Measuring Broadband America program, to get an accurate measurement of mobile broadband usage, and technical data relating to the quality of the connection and general network strength in the US.
MeasureBroadbandAmerica.com says the iOS and Android Speed Test apps are slightly differently. On Android, the app runs continuously in the background, periodically waking up to perform measurements. On the iPhone, the user must run manual tests to initiate the performance measurements. According to the site, here’s how the measurement tests work:
When starting a measurement cycle, the application runs a brief latency test to all measurement servers hosted by SamKnows. This process allows us to determine the nearest measurement server (in terms of latency). The measurement server with the lowest round-trip latency is selected as the target for all subsequent measurements (throughput, latency and packet loss).
The information we collect about broadband performance is anonymous. We collect no personally identifiable information about the consumer or the consumer’s device. The Android app is configured by default not to use more than 100MB per month, and you can adjust this data cap up or down to suit your individual data plan. The iPhone app also has a default data cap but if you can choose to exceed this if you wish.
The FCC collects user data anonymously, and both apps explain in detail the information that is collected and the privacy and terms of usage of the app. To prevent the app from running tests, users simply need to delete the app from their device.