Product development at SamKnows
SamKnows started as a small, highly-skilled team where everyone knew what was going on. Communication was easy, and we scaled fast. But to ensure our rate of change was sustainable, we decided to adapt our internal workflows. Particularly since we're still scaling! Here's what we've learned so far.
Learn the basics2019-03-07
Why is SamKnows more accurate than other tests?
At SamKnows, we place great emphasis on the importance of accuracy. A key element to achieving such high levels of accuracy is that we avoid running tests when you're using the internet - we call this cross-traffic detection. Today, we're telling you all about cross traffic, why its important, and how it contributes to your scientific dataset.
It takes a village to raise a child
Little Village are a small organisation doing great things. By providing second-hand baby clothes and equipment to families experiencing hardship, they aim to ensure that no child in London starts life without the essentials. We're excited to support Little Village, and encourage you to support them too.
The speedy way to build national performance apps
The Rapid Build Framework is a system for launching internet performance apps very quickly. Designed for long-term national measurement studies, the app is a cost-effective solution for regulators facing strict budgets and limited technical resources. It's easy to adapt, maintain, and can be ready for testing within a single day.
ARRIS and Virgin Media test new 10Gbps speeds
In September 2018, Virgin Media contacted us about trialling their new 10Gbps FTTH product, testing both the access technology and in-home connectivity. We were delighted to assist Virgin Media and Arris measure these super-fast speeds, using our new 10Gbps Whitebox prototype that we had developed the year before.
The SamKnows Cloudflare Platform
We're excited to be expanding our fully-managed test server platform, with the help of Cloudflare's clever Workers. Cloudflare's Workers allow us to run code directly on their network, and incorporate them as part of our internet measurement platform. All the while, we maintain accurate measurement results without breaking the bank.
Wondering who we are? Meet the Sammies.
We asked the Sammies a bunch of questions about what it's like to work at SamKnows. Learn more about what we do, why we do it, and what they had to say… And if you spot one of our job openings, we'd love to hear from you! With offices in the UK and USA, we're a company with a global reach and international reputation.
SamKnows web test for super-fast speeds
A behind-the-scenes look at how we develop new measurements. Here's our response to traditional web tests struggling to keep up with faster internet speeds. Read all about how we ensured the new SamKnows Web Test consistently provides accurate results for any speed tier on any browser - laying the groundwork for speeds greater than 1Gbps.
Be the first to know with automated alerts
Using the SamKnows alerting feature, we spotted a significant drop in YouTube tests across North America, Europe, and Asia. It's rare to see failures on this scale so we assessed its impact on customer experience using the data we generated. We also monitor other critical services, and can even spot minor performance degradation.
Upscaling our big data platform
Very, very large-scale internet measurements generate a lot of data. Two years ago, we prepared ourselves for a sudden increase of SamKnows measurement agents in the world - from thousands to millions. Meaning a huge increase in data. So, we built an entirely new cloud-based platform to handle our measurement results: SamKnows One.
Connect America Fund reporting requirements
In July 2018, the USA's FCC released an updated order, detailing the auditing requirements for ISPs participating in the Connect America Fund (CAF). In this post, we summarise the CAF measurement requirements and how ISPs can meet them. SamKnows also has a solution to help ISP's prove they comply - read on to learn more.
Restoring internet with the Cell Survey app
The Cell Survey app is designed for surveying cellular performance in a particular area, such as disaster zones. For Android only, the app runs tests in a continuous cycle, checking for signal availability and collecting environmental data from connected cell towers. Track performance levels by time and location and identify damaged cell towers.
Benchmarking Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft
In this article, we put three online storage services — Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office 365 Sharepoint — to the test and compare how they perform on different UK broadband providers. All the online storage measurements we reference are available on our Whiteboxes and Router SDK right now.
SamKnows sponsors the London Vue Conference
We’re excited to sponsor this September’s Vue conference in London, running 20th - 21st. Come and join us at the SamKnows stand on the 21st — we’d love to talk to you about our upcoming projects and celebrate all things Vue! Vue is integral to what we do because it’s the main driving force behind our flagship, SamKnows One.
Beyond speed tests: Steam performance
Zen and the art of your Steam library maintenance. Today we’re taking a look at how well the UK’s largest ISPs perform when users download games from Steam. Using our measurement client for Steam, that runs on SamKnows Whiteboxes and the Router SDK, we generated data for analysis in SamKnows One. Here's what we found.
Reporting on the state of Australia's internet
The ACCC is using SamKnows One to measure the quality of Australia's internet and encourage reform. Find out how Australia's internet is faring in their latest report. Following the Initial Findings Report of March 2018, this second instalment gives a more granular analysis on the performance of Australia's internet services.
Solving poor Netflix performance
Speed tests don't always tell the whole story. An unhappy user contacted us about their poor Netflix performance, despite their 100 Mbps connection. Turns out the problem extended far beyond this user! Using SamKnows One, we discovered a routing issue spanning two continents. We quickly alerted the ISPs so they could deploy a quick fix.
Beyond speed tests: CDN performance
In this article, we're taking a look at the technologies used to deliver live TV streams over the internet by the BBC and ITV - the UK’s two largest terrestrial broadcasters. To do this, we ran performance measurements from nearly 700 UK homes during prime time, and then took a look at how the broadcasters, ISPs, and CDNs faired in SamKnows One.
Updating internet regulation in the UK
Ofcom are updating their Voluntary Codes of Practice to benefit home and business internet users in the UK. The aim of VCOP is to aid and protect internet users when buying broadband products. ISPs volunteer to follow the codes and need a measurement solution to prove their performance levels. Here's a guide to VCOP how we can help.
Dishing the DIRK - your open source dashboard
Your new open source dashboard. We’re open sourcing a library for you to build customisable dashboards, called DIRK. We built DIRK for the Enterprise dashboard in SamKnows One. DIRK provides an intuitive drag and drop interface, using Vue.js and the HTML5 Drag and Drop API. Let us know what you think!
Oh hello Oceania... let's measure your internet
We're proud to announce two new internet measurement projects with the Australian and New Zealand regulators! Both projects aim to better the internet for everyone. And both projects are using SamKnows data to help increase transparency, direct policies, and update infrastructure. Find out how you can get involved.
Improving customer care with SamKnows
We've had an epiphany about how we can help your internet experience. SamKnows creates measurement tools to help ISPs and regulators improve internet performance and customer care. And while we've dramatically improved the richness and accuracy of internet performance intel, we believe we can do more. Time to think differently.
Intelligent page preloading with Futurelink
This article was written by one of our front-end web developers, Callum Macrae, about a website performance project he’s been working on recently. Frustrated with images taking a long time to download on the SamKnows website, Callum carried out some research and focused his efforts on finding the perfect solution.
We're celebrating all things Kotlin
Celebrating all things Kotlin in honour of our Android team (who really love it). We've been using Kotlin as our language of choice for the prototype of our internet performance app for Android. Kotlin suits our needs because it allows us to rapidly model, build, and release our applications, and much more. We couldn't recommend it highly enough!
Creating the ultimate performance app for Ofcom
Last year we launched a home Wi-Fi checker for the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom. Since then, we collaborated with Ofcom and UK ISPs to build the ultimate performance app that's great for all technologies. And today, we're thrilled to launch an update that adds way more features. Read this article to read all about it. And download the app - it's free!
Fixing annoying home Wi-Fi with Bell
We built a web test for Bell. We love it. It shows Bell users what's affecting their internet speeds. And it's as accurate as can be! This test discounts all in-home factors, like an under-performing PC or a bad in-home Wi-Fi connection - showing you whether there's a problem with Bell's provisioning or an issue inside the home.
Measuring Broadband America's 2016 report
We're proud to announce that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published its Measuring Broadband America report, which is entirely based on SamKnows data. The USA saw internet speeds increase in 2016 - but with plenty of exceptions. In this article, we give you a quick overview of the report's key findings.
SamKnows releases router manufacturer SDK
Mega update! You can now embed our full suite of internet performance tests directly inside your CPE. Conduct millions of tests from customer homes and analyse the results in SamKnows One. Popular with ISPs and equipment manufacturers, the SDK is suitable for anyone who wants to install our software inside their products.
BBC and SamKnows join forces for better internet
We were on BBC Watchdog last night. This week’s episode asked the all-important question: are you getting value for money when it comes to your internet? BBC Watchdog found that 35% of those who contacted their ISP with their SamKnows speed test results, saw an improvement. And 13% were offered a discount.