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FCC giving out free Wireless-N routers as part of broadband test

Posted by on 29/03/2011

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be giving away 10,000 Wireless-N routers as part of their program to perform a number of broadband tests, for the benefit of a better connection in the future.

They are striving to work on improving a number of issues including latency, packet loss, connection speeds and much more. Obviously the Internet is not all about just how fast you can download at. As mentioned on the site, many factors along the whole routing process can make a fast connection feel very slow. The main areas of focus include:

    • Multi-threaded HTTP download speed test
    • Multi-threaded HTTP based upload speed test
    • Availability of the connection
    • Jitter
    • Latency (both ICMP and UDP)
    • Packet loss (both ICMP and UDP)
    • DNS query resolution time
    • DNS query failure rate
    • Web page loading time
    • Web page loading failure rate
    • Video streaming performance

    They have extended their research efforts to the public, but there are some minor requirements which need to be met. For example, your connection must be consistent (suffer very few disconnections), users must be considered average Internet browsers and not heavy downloaders, and that you currently use a standalone device to connect to the web.

    Most users may be eligible for one of 10,000 Netgear WNR3500L wireless routers, for use during the trial, and they will get to keep it one the test period is over, obviously for the time and effort invested.

    You can find out more about the offer at the FCC Test My ISP website.

      • Asdfasdf

        government router to spy on my internets? no thainks!

      • Asdfasdf

        government router to spy on my internets? no thainks!

      • Sadrgf


      • Asdf

        Government router. Ill pass too.

      • Joe

        I’ve been participating in this program for a couple months. No problems so far and no performance issues for me.

      • Andy

        If you read the fine print on the samknows website (the company actually supplying the routers and testing technology), you’ll see that they explicitly *do not* track any of your internet activity. Their results are limited to their own tests running on the router when your connection is idle. Additionally, all of your daily test results are completely visible to you on their site.

        I’ve been enrolled in this test for a few months now. I even had some technical problems with the samknows custom build of the netgear router firmware which samknows resolved with a newer build.

      • Bradley Wint

        Have they provided you with a wifi router or did you already have your own?

        On a general note, I think the government has better things to do than to spy on people’s browsing patterns. It would be really hard to judge an entire nation from a small percentage of users. Where I work, I have access to pretty much the entire school server and network. There are so many files to look through yet, it barely interests me to look at their stuff. I think the same applies.

      • Bill C

        It’s not a “Government Router”

        It’s just a router with software called “SamKnow’s Secret Sauce”
        It’s been used in the UK and you can already buy NetGear routers with this installed.

      • Mouse

        You can keep the unit after the testing is complete. The FAQ states the ‘initial’ test period will be *3* years .

      • Bradley Wint


      • Anonymous

        Been using it for a few months. SamKnows (The company which handles the software/routers/monitoring) insists that they store no records of what router is attached to which name and address.

        The monitor is actually really nice and you can see all of the connection statistics yourself which is useful if you ever need to call your ISP about outages etc. You’re literally getting the Sam Knows line monitoring service that you would otherwise have to pay for, for free.

        The router itself has worked great, no complaints. Perhaps even better than my old Wi-fi N router.

      • Anonymous

        Mhmm! Nothing like a FREE router from the gov’t that I can FLASH to DD-WRT and get a fully working awesome $100+ router that I can run a root linux shell on!

      • Bradley Wint

        I am pretty sure they would take it back as fast as they gave it to you lol.

      • FreeMan

        Why are my spidey senses ringing? The FCC, the people that want to control your use of the net are now giving away free routers??

        Like when the soviet union in a show of friendship gave the American embassy in Moscow a hand carved wall hanging of an Eagle. Turns out it had a passive bug built into it used to spy on the Americans.

        But heck, why not, does not cost the government anything, just those poor slobs that work for a living and pay taxes. Nothing like spending money that is not yours.

        No thanks, Ill buy my own Router thank you very much.

      • FreeMan

        Im sure there is nothing to worry about, not like a government agency would actually lie to us or spy on its own citizens, thats just crazy thinking. Right?.

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