Internet speeds are important to users, especially when users aren’t getting the Internet speeds their Internet service provider is charging them for. It can be frustrating when you’re streaming a movie and you’re suddenly plagued by the dreaded “loading” circle. Most of us either deal with it or get on the phone with our ISP who then goes through their textbook checklist. You know, reset the router, unplug and plugin the gateway, run a speedtest and make sure you’re logged in. All the things you already did before you called them. One reddit user decided to go a little further than most of us by setting up a Raspberry Pi to auto tweet to Comcast anytime their speeds dropped below a certain number, it’s a brilliant troll really!
UPDATE: 1/31/16 – A Comcast representative has responded to the original Reddit post challenging the validity of the posters testing. The response is very extensive, below is the first few sentences but you should head over to the Reddit post to check it out in detail.
Your test probe is only capable of 100 Mbps and more realistically to around 90 – 95 Mbps. So your test design already has a major flaw insofar as your measurement device is only capable of measuring up to 60% of your connection speed. As a first step you would need to replace it with a device that had a gigabit ethernet interface. In addition you have not detailed what your Pi is plugged into (pics would be great, but a diagram or description works too).
I pay for 150mbps down and 10mbps up. The raspberry pi runs a series of speedtests every hour and stores the data. Whenever the downspeed is below 50mbps the Pi uses a twitter API to send an automatic tweet to Comcast listing the speeds. I know some people might say I should not be complaining about 50mpbs down, but when they advertise 150 and I get 10-30 I am unsatisfied. I am aware that the Pi that I have is limited to ~100mbps on its Ethernet port (but seems to top out at 90) so when I get 90 I assume it is also higher and possibly up to 150. Comcast has noticed and every time I tweet they will reply asking for my account number and address…usually hours after the speeds have returned to normal values. I have chosen not to provide them my account or address because I do not want to singled out as a customer; all their customers deserve the speeds they advertise, not just the ones who are able to call them out on their BS.
Tweets by @A_Comcast_User
The Pi also runs a website server local to our network where with a graphing library I can see the speeds over different periods of time. EDIT: A lot of folks have pointed out that the results are possibly skewed by our own network usage. We do not torrent in our house; we use the network to mainly stream TV services and play PC and Xbone live games. I set the speedtest and graph portion of this up (without the tweeting part) earlier last year when the service was so constatly bad that Netflix wouldn’t go above 480p and I would have >500ms latencies in CSGO. I service was constantly below 10mbps down. I only added the Twitter portion of it recently and yes, admittedly the service has been better. Plenty of the drops were during hours when we were not home or everyone was asleep, and I am able to download steam games or stream Netflix at 1080p and still have the speedtest registers its near its maximum of ~90mbps down, so when we gets speeds on the order of 10mpbs down and we are not heavily using the internet we know the problem is not on our end.
Whether or not this is going to help this user get the Internet speeds they’re paying for is up for debate, but at least there’s some measure of satisfaction in exposing Comcast’s slow speeds. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.