The Measurement Lab (M-Lab) — an open platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools — is celebrating the deployment of 100 measurement servers worldwide. After launching three servers in California in 2009, M-Lab has grown to provide a robust measurement platform throughout North America, Europe, parts of Asia, and Australia. This broad coverage means that M-Lab’s open measurement can provide a unique and invaluable picture of the global Internet as a whole.
"M-Lab's continuing expansion is essential to keep up with increasing demand for the platform's resources and ensuring ever more accurate measurement data," said Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute (OTI), which founded M-Lab, along with the PlanetLab Consortium, Google Inc. and academic researchers. "M-Lab has collected nearly 700TB of data, and our open data set is currently growing by over 500GB a day — providing one of the best resources on the planet for Internet researchers and engineers, scientists, policy-makers, and the general public."
One hundred servers wasn’t reached by fiat — this achievement represents the collaboration and partnership of a diverse constituency: research institutions, policy makers, civil society, and private industry all of which understand the necessity of shared, open-source of information about the way the global Internet works.
In order for the servers to run measurements, they use tools written and maintained by researchers from MIT, Georgia Tech, Princeton, and other partnering institutions. Each tool provides end users real-time information about their network connection. Each time a user runs a test using an M-Lab tool — nearly 200,000 times daily — M-Lab collects data about the way the network is performing. All of this data is put into the public domain, making it by far the largest source of open, publicly available data about the state of the Internet available.
While it may be the largest source of open data, OTI hopes to continue to expand and deploy servers in Africa, India, and other regions.