Determine Your Bandwidth Speed With Mr.T.

Description

“Mr. T1” is a bandwidth meter detector that runs as a standalone, cross-platform (OSX, Linux, Windows) application. The project constantly checks the current speed of the connected network and if it reaches that of a standard T1 line (1.5mbit/sec) or higher then a Mr.T sound sample is triggered in the form of “I Pity The Fool” or one of Mr.T’s other various sayings. The project playfully examines the metaphorical connection between fictional characters from mainstream entertainment media and the naming conventions of modern communication systems such as the Internet.


Screenshot of OSX version

Impetus

The project looks at how shared Internet connections often lose their purported speed when many users join them. In the case of a T1 connection, this often happens at large institutions where many machines are using a single connection or access point. The project examines how these speed changes are effecting us as users and if we expect the speed to remain constant even though we are throttling them by connecting too many personal and shared devices.

Credits

Jonah Brucker-Cohen – (Design/Concept) Thanks to Jeff Crouse.

Press/Media:

Open-source Bandwidth Speed-Tracker: The Truth of Connectivity Finally RevealedArt Threat, July 19, 2007

MAKE Blog, July 16, 2007.

CrunchGear, “Pretty Much The Greatest Application Ever”, July 16, 2007.

DIGG, July 16, 2007. Science Buzz,

“Mr.T Tells it Like it is”, July 17, 2007. Nerd Arts, July 17, 2007.

The “Mr. T1” project was created in response to my experience of working in many different lab environments where bandwidth speed has always been an issue concerning researchers and artists using shared Internet resources. The project examines this use and provides a constant sense of “background awareness” as to how fast the current connection is and if this standard is being met. Unlike other ambient network speed detectors such as “PinWheels” or “Live Wire“, “Mr.T1” bases its detection on the exact speed of the connection, not only the frequency or current activity levels of network usage. This ensures that the top speed is being met every time rather than just reflecting general activity.

Download the Mr. T1 Application:

You can download the application here for:

  1. Windows, OSX, and Linux. Mr.T1 V.1.1 (OSX)
  2. Windows: Mr.T1 V.1.1 (Windows XP/Vista/7)

System

The “Mr. T1” system is an open source application that continually downloads a file from a remote server and calculates the average speed of data returning to the client. It times this connection and measures the data throughput to detect the current speed of the network and then parses the collected speed and compares it to that of a typical T1’s speed. If a speed is detected that reflects that of a T1, the system then plays one of five random samples from Mr.T’s world famous repertoire such as “I Pity The Fool!” or “Don’t Give Me No Backtalk Sucka!“, and more etc… These cues alert the user when they are using a fast network and the test can be run multiple times to ensure that the speed of the network is still responsive when more users are connected. This is particularly important in public spaces that have shared wired or wireless access that many people are using and whose speed can be clogged with bandwidth-intense use such as people downloading large files, etc… With “Mr.T1” they can maintain a steady background monitor to check if the network speed is being maintained to fast enough standards.