Skip to content


Folders and files

Last commit message
Last commit date

Latest commit



26 Commits

Repository files navigation

| GLASNOST: Test if your ISP is shaping your traffic |

The goal of our Glasnost project is to make access networks, such as 
residential cable, DSL, and cellular broadband networks, more transparent 
to their customers.

ISPs are increasingly deploying a variety of middleboxes (e.g., firewalls,
traffic shapers, censors, and redirectors) to monitor and to manipulate 
the performance of user applications. Most ISPs do not reveal the details 
of their network deployments to their customers. We believe that this 
knowledge is important to help users make a more informed choice of their 
ISP. Further, such knowledge is also useful for researchers designing 
protocols and systems that run on top of these networks.

To improve network transparency, we are building online tools that are 
easy to use and publishing them on this web page. Currently, there are two
tools you could use to test your ISP. We will release more tools as we 
develop them in the future. To download the tools, please go to the Source 
tab and check out the sources from git. The tools are in the bin folder.

The Glasnost data have been analyzed by "The network is aware" project 
( to identify deep packet inspection techniques. You 
can find more information about the DPI project at 
and more information about the DPI data at the Wiki of this github project. 

Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. How to build Glasnost
3. How Glasnost works
4. Files included in this distribution
5. Who we are

1. Introduction
Glasnost is a tool to detect traffic shaping by ISPs, in particular blocking
and throttling of application traffic.
Glasnost enables lay users to easily test their broadband links for
manipulation by just visiting a testing website. No setup is needed on the
users' side.

We built this tool as a part of our research activity to make the edge of
the Internet more transparent. If you consider contributing your resources
we appreciate this. This project's webpage can be found at

More information about Glasnost can be found in our NSDI 2010 paper, which is
linked from the webpage mentioned above.

If you set up your own Glasnost test server, we ask you to obey the Glasnost
license you can find in the COPYING file. Thank you.

2. How to build and deplopy Glasnost

Copy all the files included in this distribution to the web-server
directory you want Glasnost to run from.
Then, use the included Makefile to build and configure Glasnost. 
Typing 'make' will build the server part of the testing tool and set
all the necessary file permissions.

The server part of the testing tool is written in C++ for Linux OS.
Compiling it on other platforms might require modifications of the code.
To zip some of the logfiles, we use zlib (-lz).
Furthermore, libpcap (>0.8) is used to dump captured packets to disk,
libmicrohttpd to implement a simple HTTP webserver, and curl to retrieve
remote script files.
You might need to install the development package of these libraries to
have the necessary header files available.

The server part 'gserver' has to run as root because it uses raw sockets to 
capture packets. Hence, the suid bit has to be set if you want to run it as
a normal user.
The output directory 'logs' has to be set world-writable to allow the
web-server to dump log files and traces in there.

We do not recommend compiling the Java sources yourself, as a special
version for Mac-Java is needed. The Mac version of Java does not allow 
opening a Selector in a Java Applet, thus this call has to request 
privileges. However, this requires that the jar file is signed and then 
trusted by the user.
This distribution always contains a pre-built jar for PC and Mac of the 
latest version of the applet.

If you nevertheless want to build the applet yourself, you can type
	make applet
for the PC version and
	make applet-mac
for the Mac version (the output of make will tell you how to sign the jar 

The Java applet was tested with Java 1.6 on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X.

On the server, you have to start gserver. Three parameters might be 
of interest to you:
  -i <iface>  Gives the name of the network interface. The default is 
	      'eth0' which should be correct for most Linux users.
  -d <logDir> Defines the directory Glasnost logs should be stored to.
	      Default is '.'
  -s <scriptFile> A file containing pre-defined Glasnost tests. You should
		  point to the included protocols.spec file

Next, adjust the variables in the head of glasnost.php. The file contains
comments that explain the configure variables you need to adjust. Here, you
can configure the log file directory and an alternative start page for the
test. More, you can add multiple servers to run the test from to load
balance tests.

After this, you can run Glasnost tests from your own server by calling
glasnost.php from your deployment.

3. How Glasnost works
Please refer to our NSDI 2010 paper on Glasnost. You can find the paper on
our webpage:

4. Files included in this distribution
GlasnostReplayer.jar: The compiled PC version of the testing applet
GlasnostReplayerMac.jar: A signed Mac version of the testing applet The source code of the Java Applet The server part of the testing tool
glasnost_replayer.{cc,h}: Server part that executes measurements Built-in webserver to distribute applet and retrieve test 
glasnost_parser.{cc,h}: Parser for the Glasnost test description files
tools.{cc,h}: Auxiliary functions used in Glasnost Translate Glasnost test description to an intermediate
glb.php: Glasnost test startpage
glasnost.php: The testing web-page that steers the test and displays testing
glasnost-analysis2.php: Parse results and display them to the user
protocols.spec: Sample tests that are bundled with Glasnost
mpi.css: CSS file for the displayed HTML pages
COPYING: The license for the Glasnost tool
README: This file

5. Who we are
This tool is developed at the Max Planck Institute for Softwaresystems,

If you have any questions or problems regarding our research or this tool,
please to not hesitate to contact us via email:

Our project page can be found at

Peoples involved in this project can be found on
Please also refer to the COPYING file.