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The story of Sam.

There really is a guy called Sam who started the company, and yes he regrets calling the company after himself every single day.

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Company

We’re building next-generation performance tests to help build a better, faster, smoother future internet for everyone. Our products are used by internet users, service providers, government regulators, hardware manufacturers, and content providers.

For more information contact: hello@samknows.com

History

2020

It's been a challenging year so far, with serious threats to global health, but we're still determined to support our clients and volunteers during these difficult times.

Critical Services Reports

We’re keeping a close eye on how COVID-19 is impacting internet performance around the world. With millions of people living in lockdown, this pandemic has sparked the world’s largest working-from-home experiment and put home broadband under enormous pressure. To help understand how internet service providers are performing during these challenging times, we’re releasing regular Critical Services Reports.

Brand new crowdsourcing app 

Government regulators started using the Rapid Build Framework app, which is a system for launching performance measurement apps very quickly. 

2019

This year we launched brand new products for measuring in-home Wi-Fi, website performance, and to significantly reduce support costs for internet service providers (ISPs).

RealSpeed

RealSpeed is an exciting product to help people better understand their home broadband performance. We initially developed RealSpeed for Virgin Media’s 1Gbps customers, and then created more advanced features to help people optimise their in-home Wi-Fi.

New products for installation engineers 

We also enhanced the SamKnows Router SDK to help internet service providers (ISPs) speed up in-home installations, clear customer confusion caused by conventional speed tests, and reduce truck rolls with SamKnows Easy Install.

Coverage maps for the United States 

Over in the United States, we were proud to assist the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) create new national coverage maps.

New website performance test

Using the engine of a real web browser to measure how long a web page takes to render from a real person’s home, we challenge you to find a more detailed performance test than this! 

Oh, and Sam ran the Western States 100-mile endurance run, and survived (phew!). 

2018

This year we improved our products and launched exciting new projects and got a dog called Sausage.

Oh hello Oceania

We proudly opened two new internet measurement projects with the Australian and New Zealand regulators. Both projects are set to continue for the next three years, with the regulators using the data to increase transparency, direct policies, and invest in internet infrastructure.

An even faster Whitebox

Our SamKnows engineers designed a prototype Whitebox capable of measuring 10Gbps.

File storage metrics

We developed metrics for three online storage services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint – and put them to the test to see how well they performed.

New SDKs

We’re always improving our products. This time, we tightened our test scheduling and trigger tests so that an ISP can run any test at any time, created specifically to help ISPs improve their customer care.

New Disaster Recovery app

The SamKnows Android team also developed a short-term solution to help emergency response teams track and restore internet infrastructure quickly and efficiently in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

2017

Continuing with the theme of the “new”, we engaged in new project collaborations, regulator projects, and hired even more employees.

Finding solutions with Broadcom and Qualcomm 

We entered some exciting integrations with Broadcom and Qualcomm to leverage hardware acceleration and create tests that could measure speeds greater than 1Gbps.

The Middle East

Our Client Services team opened Meqyas, the first SamKnows project in the Middle East, measuring fixed and mobile internet services.

eero integration into SamKnows One

eero, the world’s leading company to deliver fast and secure Wi-Fi throughout your home, worked with us to integrate all their performance data into SamKnows One.

New hires

It goes without saying that building the best internet performance measurement platform available requires the very best team of developers. Our development and engineering teams are seriously strong. But the hires haven’t stopped there – our Creative, Customer Service, Client Service, and Finance teams also welcomed new team members to the office as well, to great effect.

2016

...was all about the “new” – a new office, a new Whitebox, and a new data and analytics platform. Phew.

New Whitebox

Another major development: we launched the Whitebox 8.0, measuring up to 1Gbps speeds. Less expensive but still providing accurate results, the new Whitebox was a hit.

New platform

Our data storage was fit to burst. We were speedily embedding our Router SDK into the routers of some very large ISPs, along with the wireless access points of major mesh network vendors. And did we mention the data collected by our new mobile SDKs and Rapid Build Framework apps for Android and iOS?!

With the expansion of the number of measurement agents rising from between 2,000 and 15,000 per account, to millions, it was time to scale-up our data platform. Say hello to SamKnows One. 

Video-streaming metrics

With box-set binges dominating the internet, we developed a suite of video-streaming metrics. We started out with YouTube, closely followed by BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Netflix.

New office

Anticipating even more hires, we moved to a larger office on the South Bank of London. Beautiful.

2015

Client services racked up their air miles in 2015, securing new government contracts in the far-flung corners of the globe.

Mongolia measures up

SamKnows opened a project with Mongolia’s CRC to monitor network performance, on fixed and mobile internet.

Brunei was next on the radar

SamKnows kept a handy tally of Brunei’s fixed internet speeds.

G’day Australia!

Australia launched its pilot study, focusing on fixed-line internet performance as well.

The Canadian Code of Conduct

Leading Canadian ISPs gathered together and pledged to support SamKnows’ efforts to measure their internet performance.

2014

Further collaboration with regulators and ISPs worldwide.

Redefining internet performance standards in the UK

We started working with leading UK ISPs to create the Quality of Experience benchmark.

Hong Kong calling

Hong Kong regulator, OFCA, used a reference-number system that meant consumers could check their specific speeds. SamKnows could now check network performance against the Quality of Experience benchmarks.

Canada’s eagle eye

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) produced a broadband national standard, and looked to publish a consumer report on the state of Canada’s internet.

Router SDK rapidly expands

A large European ISP accepted the Router SDK and the proof of concept was approved.

2013

SamKnows develops a range of products and testing agents.

Are you being served?

Level3 provided SamKnows with access to many servers around the world to test against.

Bucket loads of data

By now, we were generating a huge amount of data. In fact, the immortal words ‘Big data’ didn’t nearly do justice – we were talking about absolutely massive data.

Smartphone app for the FCC

The FCC expanded Measuring Broadband America to include mobile performance testing. US citizens could now track their mobile and fixed internet performance.

More brains

SamKnows hired more developers and account managers to cater for the fast-growing list of clients and performance results.

2012

SamKnows develops a range of products and testing agents.

Bespoke dashboards

SamKnows launched operational dashboards that were tailored to ISP requirements, and visualised all their performance data in charts and summary tables for meaningful analysis.

SamKnows smartphone app

Available for iOS and Android – it was now possible to measure your smartphone’s internet connection.

Mobile Whitebox and Web-based speed test

SamKnows launched the Mobile Whitebox to measure mobile broadband via a dongle. We also released the new SamKnows web-based speed test. 

Turning routers into smart boxes

But we weren’t done yet… another major addition to the SamKnows toolbox was the Router SDK, available for ISPs to embed directly into their existing in-home routers.  This was a big step towards fulfilling our dream to record performance levels from every router, in every home, helping to improve the internet for every user. 

Olá Brasil!

SamKnows became the standard for measuring broadband in Brazil. Toca aqui!

2011

A world-leading measurement solution.

200Mbps Whitebox

SamKnows launched its new Whitebox, capable of measuring speeds up to 200Mbps.

Whiteboxes spread across Europe

The European Commission appointed SamKnows to start measuring fixed internet across the European Union. 

Singapore’s regulator joins the party

The IMDA hired SamKnows to measure their fixed-line internet. Ap Kabar! Welcome!

World leader

SamKnows was now considered the world-leading authority on measuring the internet. 

2010

SamKnows expands internationally

First office

SamKnows opened its first office and gathered like-minded people for the mission ahead.

Second Whitebox

The second-generation Whitebox was released, in partnership with Netgear. No more duct tape; more technical innovation.

The FCC commissions a national measurement project

The Federal Communications Commission launch Measuring Broadband America in the United States.

M-Lab and SamKnows teamed up

M-Lab, supporters of an open internet for all, provided Measuring Broadband America with independent test servers, free of charge. 

Industry interest

Pretty soon, other regulators and ISPs from all over the world came knocking, seeking SamKnows’ help to measure their internet performance. The company continued to grow.

2009

A popular idea

UK’s first ever census of internet performance

Ofcom, the UK’s internet regulator, were thrilled – “We’ve been trying to do this for years” they said. For the first time, Ofcom could easily and accurately measure and compare the performance of UK ISPs. 

Call for volunteers

Sam published a notice on The Register to ask if anyone would like to help him conduct a national study of the UK’s internet performance. The response was staggering. “Might be on to something here!”, he thought.

2008

Sam Crawford, a young software developer, dissatisfied with the available web-based speed tests, set about building the most accurate internet measurement solution in the world.

Reinventing in-home measurements

Sam quickly realised that the only way to accurately measure internet performance is from inside the home, using hardware that’s connected directly to the router, running tests 24/7. This would remove any interfering factors, such as cross-traffic and weak Wi-Fi, that would otherwise degrade the accuracy of the measurements.  

The first Whitebox

Armed with a soldering iron, a roll of duct tape, and a bunch of electronic bits and bobs he bought on eBay, Sam set about building his first proto-type router, which he embedded with his first network tests. He then published his first internet performance report and shared the data with the world. 

Sam incorporates SamKnows as a company 

The industry took notice. ISPs were excited to use accurate, third-party data to help them see what was going on, both inside and outside of their networks. Alex Salter (CEO), and Neil Campbell (COO) joined the fold and helped Sam turn his idea into a successful business.  

What’s next?

Find out the latest in the SamKnows story over on the SamKnows Megablog.