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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 27 June 2002

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Bahu
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Weights and Measures

Good point, but a question that impacts on this is how much
data have I sent as opposed to how much I thought or can
prove I sent/received.

MIME, BinHex and UUEncoding and such like, the methods used
so that we can send/receive attachments from our modern
(8bits to a byte) PC's and systems over the 30 year old
(7bit to a byte) internet, makes most files larger.

The difficulty is that you have to be able to prove that
you got what you paid for or have been short changed.

From: paul
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: ADSL Usage meters

Interesting article.

Since June 20 I have been comparing the Xtra Jetstart web
based usage with a program call DU Meter that I have on my
PC at home.  I find that the Xtra usage is always higher
that what DU reports. DU reports all traffic in and out of
the PC even LAN printer traffic.

I am watching it with interest.

From: Matt
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Jetstart usage monitoring

I've just got Jetstart at home. I run Smoothwall firewall
software to isolate my internal home LAN from the ADSL
router modem/internet. Smoothwall has fantastic traffic
analysis and graphing tools, and I will use them to compare
with what Telecom says I use via their usage meter.

Smoothwall is free (its GPL), runs on a dedicated machine
(requires a 486 or above), is easy to install and supports
both dial up modems and ADSL via USB or ethernet.

From: Jon Dean
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: ADSL Metering

What exactly is being measured by Telecom. Is it IP traffic?
or PPP packets? or ATM packets? Where exactly is it
measured? Maybe at the DSLAM at the local exchange or maybe
somewhere closer to Telecom international IP gateway.

I realise that Jetstart/Jetstream Starter traffic is
routed/managed/billed by the ISP, but with this type of
account international traffic differs from national. How?
What is the definition of national?

Most of us don't have a clue what we are actually
purchasing, because Telecom sees fit not to tell us.How many
people actually understand the difference between Jetstart
and Jetstream... ie. who is ultimately providing the
internet connectivity?

From: Steve
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Usage Metering

One of the main problems with traffic metering for billing
purposes is that the end user does not always understand
how the billing is done and how it relates to the data that
has been sent/received over their link.

There have been a few articles on this subject on the DSL
mailing list, one highlighting why what you see with
programs such as DU Meter and what the ISP bills you for
are different.

Telecom giving people traffic metering programs is not
really going to help things much, the problem if anything
will simply get worse, especially where there is traffic
shaping involved, as more and more people will think that
what the little program tells them is 100% accurate.

While it would be good for an organisation to step in and
prove that ISP metering is done correctly, this also is not
usually an option simply because most corporations like
this also don't understand the technology. Were there to be
such an organisation that were capable of doing this then
you would probably find the ISP's would want to get
certified as this would help them prove to customers that
they ARE infact being billed correctly without spending
weeks in some cases, tieing up technical staff simply to
prove that a user did actually do their 20.5Gig worth of

(to add to the problems, if you have ever seen the output
of a netflow report broken down to individual flow lines,
and put into CSV format, its not nice, and there ain't many
programs out there that can actually process it :-) )

From: Steve
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Useage Meters

I note that the new Telecom useage meter will likely only
access the same meter you can now see on the internet to
get the results. It looks like it does not itself calculate
useage at all, only display Telecom's figures on your

This gives the user a false impression that it is somehow
counting differently and lull the user into thinking that
the Telecom Useage Meter is correct, when in fact it is
only reading the same meter.

It is also, itself, adding to the amount of bandwidth that
can be charged to you. I admit that it should be
neglegable, but with potential for abuse.

From: Keith
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Weights & Measures

"Why should IP data be exempt from the rigorous scrutiny of
the people at the Weights and Measures department of the
Ministry of Consumer Affairs?"

The short answer is that data isn't covered by the Weights
and Measures Act.

The long answer is that the science of metrology is based
on tracability. The weights that a W&M inspector uses for
checking a butcher's scales are calibrated against their
department's standard which in turn is calibrated against
NZ's national standard which in turn is calibrated against
the international standard which is a 1 kg lump of platinum
which sits in an air conditioned  vault in Paris. There are
simply no such *metrology* standards for data.

A better remedy for consumers (but not business) is perhaps
the current bill in Parliament which will bring
telecommunications and software into the coverage of the
Consumers Guarantee Act.

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