Why run Differentiation Detector?

Have you ever wondered if your ISP is slowing down certain traffic relative to others? Unfortunately, you mobile device and carriers currently give you little or no way to tell if this is the case. In fact, with the recently passed FCC rules for net neutrality, it is possibly illegal for mobile carriers to block, shape or modify nearly any kind of network traffic. With Differentiation Detector, we give you a way to test if this is happening to your traffic.

What does Differentiation Detector do?

Differentiation Detector uses your device to exchange traffic recorded from real, popular apps like YouTube and Spotify---effectively making it look as if you are using those apps. As a result, if an ISP tries to slow down an YouTube, our app would see the same behavior. We then send the same app traffic, but using a VPN tunnel, which hides the traffic content from ISPs. Our hypothesis is that traffic in a VPN tunnel will not see application-specific shaping, but traffic outside the VPN tunnel will see it. We repeat these tests several times to rule out noise from bad network conditions, and tell you at the end whether your ISP is shaping your traffic.

For more details about our methodology, please check out our technical details page, written both for non-technical and technical audiences.

How do I start?

Differentiation Detector currently works for Android (4.0+). It is beta software, so there are some limitations and we appreciate your patience and help with fixing them. To install, follow this link:
Install on Android

Screen shots

  • Select apps

  • Start test

  • Test results

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (CNS-1617728) and by a Google Faculty Research Award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Google.

© Copyright 2012-2017 by David Choffnes, Northeastern University.