2002 November 29 Friday
Musical Tone To Monitor Internet Connection Quality

Want to make it easy to monitor the quality of an internet connection? Convert test packet travel times into a scale of musical notes and play that sound in the background.

The time a pulse took to make the round trip depended on the state of the network. Say a pulse arrived at one end every 10 milliseconds. When fed into a loudspeaker and if the connection was good, this would emit a synthesised note of about 100 hertz - around an octave-and-a-half below middle C. The longer the transmission time, the lower the pitch of the note produced.

This gives a qualitative way of monitoring an internet connection. Sudden loss of sound can reveal a break in the network connection or missing packets of data. "It's like having your CD player hiccup, or an MP3 player that stalls," says Chafe. Most important, the sound accurately reveals the jitter. If the latency varies over time, so does the pitch. "Musically speaking that would be like pitch bends, or vibrato," he says.

Posted by Randall Parker at November 29, 2002 09:39 AM
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