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Old 03-30-2012, 12:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

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I tried out speedtest.net and pingtest.net using the wireless hotspot to see how it performed under 7.1.0.342. I noticed something strange.

It appears that both sites think I'm located in northern manitoba, on the shore of hudson bay. On one attempt, speedtest ran from a server in yellowknife. After that it ran from a server in saskatoon and pingtest ran from a server in edmonton. In both cases, the servers were determined by ping speed. Anyone have an idea why this is the case? I would have thought that since I'm in metro vancouver, one of the servers here would have been chosen.



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Old 03-30-2012, 06:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Yes, it's because of the reverse DNS /IP lookup that the server does. It routes you to the closest server based on IP location, which in this case, it believed to emanate from that location. You're on wireless, so technically, that IP can follow you around anywhere in the country.

Example: my residential DSL is provided to me through a reseller in Ontario, but I'm in Quebec. Their IP address blocks are assigned to their physical address by the provider they buy from, so when I perform the same speedtest as you, it chooses a server in Ontario, some 300 miles away from me.

This is all normal behavior.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

This happens all the time on mobile devices. I notice it most often when I post to Facebook whilst tethered because Facebook will think I'm somewhere else in the country entirely.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

That's what I initially thought. However, when you run speedtest and pingtest, it says the servers are chosen based on ping speed. It seems strange that irrespective of the ip address, the ping speed would result in a server in yellowknife being the fastest when I am located in on the west coast.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

It's about the routing and amount of hops in between...physical distance in a given area means very little when it comes to routing and hops. Each hop in the route can add latency depending on the ISP and equipment.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Exactly, and using reverse DNS will also help them find the best route, but wireless devices use NAT, so the server is picking up the public IP of the router that provided the NAT address to your device, which could be somewhere way different from where you are.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Thanks for the replies. I understand what you mean, but both speedtest and pingtest use ping speed to determine the best server. It's very strange that speedtest picked a server in yellowknife, considering there are so many other servers that are closer to vancouver. It makes me wonder where Bell connects the service to the internet. One would think that they would at least have connections in the major metro areas, but I guess that would be too logical.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Routing and hops!
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

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Originally Posted by bimmerdriver View Post
Thanks for the replies. I understand what you mean, but both speedtest and pingtest use ping speed to determine the best server. It's very strange that speedtest picked a server in yellowknife, considering there are so many other servers that are closer to vancouver. It makes me wonder where Bell connects the service to the internet. One would think that they would at least have connections in the major metro areas, but I guess that would be too logical.
I promise you that ping latency is not the only way that that those sites determines the best server. For example: if I use speedtest from my handset directly, it will usually find a local server because it uses my aGPS and GPS location in addition to ping time and the reverse DNS lookup. Then, from the same location I attempt a speedtest from a tethered laptop, it could be all the way across the country because my routing changed when I tethered and my laptop does not have geolocation capability.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

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Originally Posted by dc/dc View Post
I promise you that ping latency is not the only way that that those sites determines the best server. For example: if I use speedtest from my handset directly, it will usually find a local server because it uses my aGPS and GPS location in addition to ping time and the reverse DNS lookup. Then, from the same location I attempt a speedtest from a tethered laptop, it could be all the way across the country because my routing changed when I tethered and my laptop does not have geolocation capability.
I have no doubt that there is more to it than ping latency. I've used speedtest all around the world and it's clear that routing has a lot to do with it. Normally when I run it from my laptop, servers in the reasonable vicinity are chosen. I've never seen it so far off as when I was tethered, which begs the question how Bell routes tethered connections. I'm sure it isn't a coincidence that servers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories are being selected, even though I'm located in Vancouver. I'll try running tracert when I get a chance. It would be interesting to compare routing from Vancouver with routing from Montreal.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Generally, the server used will be the closest one (geographically) to your ISP location - from a wired connection. That's the way those sites work. 1st hop would normally be the closest to your network, which would be closest to your ISP. I have seen this forever on wired networks. If I go through say our VPN tunnel, which uses Fibre Noire (Fiber), their NOC will be the 1st hop, since they also happen to host one of the test sites for speedtest.net. If I go through my DSL connection, which is hosted in Ontario, the 1st hope will be right around them, and I'm in Quebec, but my IP block is assigned to the ISP in Toronto. If I go through my cable connection (Montreal based), it will hit a server in Montreal, which is where I'm closest to.

Ping latency is bullshit, since they're generally pinging only one NOC, the one closest to the IP block you fall under.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

I tried another round of speedtest and ping test.

Both sites still think I'm located on the west side of hudson bay.





I ran a tracert to bell.ca.

C:\Users\XXXXX>tracert bell.ca

Tracing route to bell.ca [198.235.69.32]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 55 ms 60 ms 49 ms 10.253.82.41
2 46 ms 49 ms 49 ms 172.25.16.90
3 106 ms 59 ms 59 ms 172.25.16.2
4 106 ms 69 ms 69 ms 204.101.4.153
5 1434 ms 664 ms 543 ms dis4-torontodc_Vlan81.net.bell.ca [64.230.206.114]
6 * * * Request timed out.
[deleted]
30 * * * Request timed out.

Trace complete.

C:\Users\XXXXX>

I'm very curious where the first four routers are located.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

1st 3 are deep in the US could not get a precise hit but got a physical location, 4th one is in Ottawa. Use this tool to see the location of the servers...

204.101.4.153 IP Address Location, City: Ottawa, Country: Canada | Whois
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange Wireless Hotspot Behaviour

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevew View Post
1st 3 are deep in the US could not get a precise hit but got a physical location, 4th one is in Ottawa. Use this tool to see the location of the servers...

204.101.4.153 IP Address Location, City: Ottawa, Country: Canada | Whois
I saw the map of Alabama. I think that was for an ad. For the first three ip addresses, it didn't show any location. I suspect they are inside Bell's network somewhere.
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