To gauge the quality of a user's broadband connection, the SamKnows measurement agents need to measure network performance from the user's home to a measurement target on the internet, and vice versa. SamKnows maintains a variety of high-capacity test servers across the globe for precisely this purpose, and ISPs are able to deploy their own test servers within their network for use as additional test targets. When a Test is initiated the SamKnows backend will provide a list of candidate Test Servers to the Test Agent, and the Test Agent will determine the best server to use via a short latency check to each.
Test servers can be deployed “off-net”, which means outside of an ISP’s network, or “on-net”, which means inside an ISP’s network. No measurement data is stored on the test servers; they simply act as endpoints to generate and receive traffic.
Real applications and content providers
The agents also perform measurements against real applications and content providers. These include services for video streaming, gaming, CDNs, websites, social media, voice over IP and video conferencing services.