Welcome to NutPile
This document is a work in progress. It is our intention to continually update this FAQ in order to keep up with the work that is being done by NutPile developers. If you find any inaccuracies or omissions, we ask that you please take a moment to contact us so that we can update.
The NutPile Team
Support Tickets: Support tickets available when logged into your NCP (NutPile Control Panel).
Web form: Use the Contact form on our web site if you wish to contact us about anything else.
There may be other options for getting help which will be posted on the NutPile site/s.
A few things to help you get started.
Date/time and time zone: A time zone can be set for each agent installed. This allows members and Partners to monitor Internet services in different geographical locations. Setting the time zone ensures that your reports for each agent will have the correct date/time. By default, all agents function using UTC date/time. Please be sure to set the time zone for each of your agents to ensure that you see the correct details.
Software or preconfigured agent: The agent can be installed on Windows 7/8/10, some Linux flavors and some embedded devices. A preconfigured agent is also available and is dedicated solely to monitoring your Internet performance. It automatically updates itself and runs 24/7 without any user intervention required. It also uses less than half an amp of power making it much more economical than running a PC.
Free and extra details: NutPile can be used at no cost and includes a number of features such as Dynamic DNS (DDNS / DynDNS) and a remote security scan.
DDNS can be used to reach home cameras and other devices using an easy to remember word rather than needing to find your current IP.
A remote security scan lets you know which ports are open on your network to help you secure yourself.
You can enable more details on an ‘as needed’ basis with no contracts or obligations. Simply subscribe for as long as needed to find problems then cancel any time.
NutPile monitoring: The process of maintaining a connection between two or more points over the Internet, gathering network protocol statistics from one or more locations to determine connection reliability.
You will see at least three different classifications in outages reports. The NutPile algorithm will try to determine where your Internet problems are so that you will know how and where to get help.
(LAN) On your local network – This means a problem on your LAN, in your building, etc.
(ISP) With your Internet provider – This means a problem with your provider, on their own network.
(NSP) Beyond your Internet provider – This means a problem beyond your Internet provider.
Using the details provided by NutPile, you should be able to find and fix problems on your own network. If the problems are with your provider, they may or may not know about the problem and or may not even want to admit knowing. Your reports will show exactly where the problem was or is and perhaps by reaching the right people, you and others in your area can get help.
The more people who take part in your neighborhood, town or city, the better the statistics will be for everyone. You can even share your reports on social media as explained later in this document.
Please note that no personal information is ever gathered during the monitoring process. NutPile Networks does not engage in the practice of profiling personal information. Only the connection is monitored, not the traffic.
NutPile provides details about your Internet services which can be used by the average non technical consumer yet provides enough information for those who want to dig a little deeper.
Most people don’t have the time or the tools to gather Internet performance statistics. The tools offered by your Internet provider may not be the most accurate because they are monitoring their overall network to ensure that everything is up.
Using bandwidth test sites give you some idea of bandwidth but even when the results are good, you could still be experiencing slow, sluggish connections and outages.
There is only one sure way of knowing how your services are performing and that is by conducting non stop, 24/7, ultra low resource use testing from inside your own location. NutPile was created specifically to offer anyone the capability of monitoring their services in order to get help when it is needed. Users get a near real-time view of what is going on with their Internet connections, plus an ongoing historic view of it: hourly, daily, weekly and more.
The more eyes, the better! When neighbors also monitor their Internet services, the details become even more interesting for everyone in that area. Not only can you share your reports but by comparing, you’ll know if problems are yours alone or if they are affecting others in the area.
As more people take part, NutPile can not only better fine-tune the algorithms but it also helps in the development of new features that give everyone greater power in getting help while helping providers to better their services. It’s a win win for everyone.
Broadband Internet can become somewhat less reliable as it moves outward from city cores and into subdivisions and older neighborhoods. Providers are getting better at making things right but repairs are often stop-gap fixes and the problems just keep showing up. It is possible that you could suffer reliability issues for a long time if your provider is not able to find the source or worse, is not motivated to invest in upgrading your area.
Not all issues are the provider’s fault, but wouldn’t it nice to know this and have details so you can get help? A service technician should be able to tell you within minutes if the problem is between the street and your location, but if the problems are not easily found, you may suffer them for a very long time until they are. Providers don’t always know when their customers are experiencing difficulties until the calls start pouring in. When you and others in your area begin monitoring your services, the data can help everyone get the problems fixed.
As an individual, it may be difficult to gather performance details when you can’t compare them with anyone else. NutPile Networks gives everyone the ability to share reports on social sites so that you can compare reports with others in your area. The more people that get involved, the bigger the picture gets for everyone.
There is power in numbers and NutPile is here to help you.
Having a basic understanding of what to expect is key to making NutPile work for you. For a fairly non technical primer on how TCP/IP works, please take a moment to read this short article which explains the nature of TCP/IP or Internet communications.
Your NutPile reports are made up of several major components outages, average times of those outages, pings, speed testing and hops. Each section is explained further in this document. What is important to keep in mind when looking at your reports is what is actually affecting use of your Internet and whom is responsible.
While your NutPile monitoring agent gathers details about your Internet provider and their own upstream providers, the most important information for you will be your local LAN (your house, building) and your Internet provider. The providers responsibility typically ends in your buildings equipment room if you live in an apartment or at your modem/router in your home or apartment. Your LAN is your responsibility and your provider is from your router out to the street and beyond.
Internet connectivity works by hops. In most situations, your router, also known as your gateway, is hop 1. The next one or several hops will be your providers network. Again, assuming that you have a typical setup, you can often tell by knowing where your network ends and where your providers starts.
The following are the private IP ranges which your network and some of your providers network/s might use.
10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255
When you mouse over each outage event, details about the outage will be displayed. The first few hops will be using one of the IPs in the ranges above and your providers company name will be shown depending on the IP they are using. There could also be a mix of private and public IPs depending on your service and if you have a static IP. If you or the NutPile algorithm cannot determine your network topology, please feel free to use the support option and we’ll be happy to help you.
Once you know which hops are yours and which are your providers, the rest becomes easier. Your reports will help you to determine where the problems are. If inside at your own location, it will be something you can usually take care of or have your support person help. If the problems are with the provider, you will have information that could help you get the problem solved. If issues are beyond your provider, there isn’t much you can do unless the problems are severe and costing you in some way.
The biggest mystery for most consumers is never knowing if problems are affecting them only or others in the area. By motivating neighbors to monitor their Internet services and correlating reports, you can soon discover more than ever before. Our theory is that one person complaining can easily be dismissed but many experiencing the same things and sharing their reports on Facebook for example, simply cannot.
Finally, in Internet (TCP/IP) communications there always needs to be a source and a destination. The agent maintains a test between your location and one or more destinations across the Internet. It is very important to understand that when your reports show problems beyond your provider, those are mainly informational since you will have little control over that unless you file a complaint with that company directly.
When you register, you create an account. An account is required so that you can assign software or hardware agents to your account and view the resulting monitoring reports. Your information is used only by NutPile Support to contact you or to ship hardware agents or other materials to you if you order something.
Our top page gives you information on how to sign up. Once you have filled out the registration form, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you used while registering. Click on the link shown to be redirected back to our site and this will confirm your new account. You can then log into your control panel to add your first agent.
Note: If you do not use a proper email address, the system cannot send you a confirmation email.
An agent is the software which monitors your Internet connection performance.
Agents comes in two formats. Software that you can install on any Windows 7/8/10, Linux and embedded devices that you keep powered on or a preconfigured dedicated device that runs 24/7. For some, keeping a PC/Server running 24/7 is not economical while the NutPile preconfigured devices can be left on continually, using very little power. The monitoring is the same no matter which agent type you pick.
One agent is needed for each Internet connection you would like to monitor. Your control panel allows you to install as many agents as you like and you can mix and match, having a combination of software and hardware agents.
Most members will only need one agent but if you have more than one Internet provider at one or more locations, you can monitor all of them. You can mix and match, having a combination of software and hardware agents.
For example, if you have a computer that is on 24/7 at one location, you could use the Windows/Linux software. If you have a location which doesn’t have leave the computer on all the time, you could install a hardware agent. The hardware agent is always the best choice because it uses very little power and runs continually without interaction. No accidental monitoring losses because someone turned a computer off.
You can install as many agents as you need. All agents will be listed in your control panel along with individual statuses and reports for each. You can also have a mix of features which are explained in another section of this FAQ.
Use NutPile for free
Use NutPile at no cost what so ever for as long as you like. If all you need is our free DDNS and/or security scan or to know when outages happen then simply install an agent to monitor.
You may want more information about the performance of your Internet if you work from home, are a remote worker, have a SoHo or anything else which requires that your Internet be very reliable. This is especially true when problems are ongoing and intermittent where only longer term monitoring will give you the information you need to get help.
Having the ability to turn up the details as needed is an option that comes without contracts or obligations. Go month to month or take advantage of longer term offers. The longer you let your agent monitor your Internet, the more details it can put together for you including historical.
Whether you order a preconfigured hardware agent or download and install the software agent, your first agent (and host monitoring) will always come with all features enabled to give you a chance to try things out.
NutPile is constantly developing the reports and some features could be added or omitted which may or may not be reflected in this list. However, we do try hard to keep all documentation up to date which is also why we make it available on this site and not as downloadable media which could become outdated.
If you would like to see an agent running in real time, please visit our demo page and log in.
Internally known as classifying the network, this means assigning an easy to understand detail which will help members to more easily spot where problems are. The algorithm will try to figure out where the problem is and show it as the ‘Problem Location’. There are three possible classifications.
LAN – This is the local area network in your home or building.
ISP – This is your Internet Service Provider network which usually starts outside, on your street.
Beyond ISP – This means any network which is beyond your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
When the algorithm cannot determine where the problem was, you will still be able to determine this by looking at the details.
If the issue is on your Local Area Network (LAN) or with your ISP, you should be able to fix the problem or get help. If the problem is Beyond your ISP, there is little that can be done and is for informational purposes only. However, if the problem is affecting many others then perhaps contacting the provider to let them know prompt an investigation.
Software and Hardware agents monitor in the exact same manner. The best way to choose is to see which option fits the way you use your Internet connection.
NutPile hardware agent
The NutPile hardware agent is a small plug and play device that you connect to a free Ethernet port on your router or modem. Preconfigured agents are ordered for a one-time fee, prepared, configured and shipped to you. Upon receiving it, the user heads for the NCP Once it arrives, simply connect it to your router or modem and a wall plug for the small amount of power it uses. It will begin monitoring your Internet connection immediately, providing nonstop, highly reliable statistics.
The NutPile hardware agent is not dependent on your computer running the monitoring software. The agent does all the work. As long as your modem or router is running, it will monitor your connection. The hardware agent is the best way of receiving detailed, reliable information to help you troubleshoot connection problems or even get you better services by showing your provider your outage reports.
NutPile Software Agent
The NutPile software agent is a piece of software that you download from the NutPile website and install on a computer running Windows 7/8/10, Linux and certain embedded devices. We currently do not have a Mac version. Ideally, your computer is running 24/7 at the location where you would like to monitor the Internet connection.
The NutPile software agent requires that you install it on a computer that is always on and connected to the Internet. Or keep the computer on for as long as you want the NutPile connection monitoring to function. The most accurate statistics will be captured if you run the software 24/7, which means that you need to keep your computer turned on and connected to the Internet.
If you use a computer that you turn off at night or while at work, you will not be able to receive accurate details, but you can still use the software. Instead, you will get some very basic averages. However, even basic averages can be useful if you find that your connection is down even more often than you realized.
Which options should I choose?
When you buy a hardware agent and/or subscribe for more details, you are not only getting better information about your services but you are also helping NutPile to continue development. The software is constantly under development and the NutPile goal is to give Internet consumers a simple way to monitor a service that most were previously unable to.
In terms of using hardware or software, you can use either depending on your needs. For example, you might want a hardware agent for your office or business, where having reliable Internet services is more critical, and use the software agent to monitor your home connection.
You can also choose between which level of reporting is shown to you on a per-agent basis. You can have as many agents as you wish. However, having more than one at the same location is of little value because of the nature of TCP/IP, which takes a different path each time you connect to something on the Internet.
If you are running a software agent on your personal computer or laptop, sleep mode and closing the laptop cover will prevent the software from running until the condition is changed–you lift the laptop cover back up or move/click on the PC to get out of sleep mode.
On a PC, you can usually disable this mode by changing your power settings to never sleep. This may be called the “High Performance” mode on your PC. You can find more information on this by searching for information about your particular operating system version.
Typically, when a laptop cover is closed, most running software is also put to sleep. Some laptops may not have any settings to prevent this and therefore would not be good candidates for running your agent software. Check Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Power Options for ‘Choose what closing the lid does’. Change all ‘Plugged in’ settings to ‘Do nothing’ to prevent your laptop from sleeping.
In all cases, either ensure that your PC/Laptop is constantly running or consider purchasing a hardware agent at a low, one-time fee to receive the best reports possible.
Are you seeing the wrong time in your reports? The most common reasons for ‘inactive agent‘ and/or incorrect dates and times in your reports are usually simple to fix.
The two main reasons
1: The correct time zone has not been set for the particular agent.
2: If running the software agent on your own hardware, make sure that the machine has the correct time.
All agents are factory configured to send their reports using UTC time zone. Reports are converted to the correct time zone that the agent is installed in by ensuring that the time zone is correctly set in the agent settings. If a time zone is not correctly set or if the local router is blocking outgoing Internet time server requests, your reports will display the wrong date/time.
Each agent being monitored requires that its time zone be set correctly in the Settings section. By simply entering the full address where the agent is installed, the system will pre-fill all columns along with a time zone for you. Note that street addresses, while shown in your settings, will never be displayed in any reports. Setting the time zone will allow the agent to display your reports in the time zone that it is actually installed in.
For example, perhaps you have an agent installed in Minnesota and another in California. You would want to know when events have occurred in their own respective time zones otherwise, you would only see UTC time. Contacting a provider and telling them about UTC times will not help them while being able to give them specific dates/times would.
Another example where the wrong date/time might be confusing is when you share or compare reports with someone nearby to see if you’ve both suffered similar problems. There could be a date/time difference making it harder to compare. When the date/times are synced up, it becomes easier to compare results to see if they affected only one location or others as well.
PC/Server date/time settings
Agents installed on your own hardware require that the machine has the correct time zone, date and time. You can find information specific to your operating system to learn how to ensure your clock is set and functioning correctly. All agents, hardware or software, depend on reaching time servers over the Internet which are called NTP services.
We suggest using ntp.org as one of your primary time servers. For most Linux machines, you will need to look into installing NTP. Please be sure to enable the NTP service to automatically start and keep running when you start your operating system.
Is your router/firewall blocking outgoing NTP?
If your router blocks UDP port 123 (NTP), your reports will show UTC time rather than the correct date/time and/or may never update, showing the same date repeatedly until you allow port 123 out to the Internet. You must ensure that your router is not blocking outgoing NTP, port UDP 123 services regardless if you are using hardware or software agents.
Note that data which has already been stored cannot be updated but once you fix this problem, the agent will begin to show correct date/time.
Starting, stopping, restarting
The installer should automatically start the agent and set it to auto start each time your machine is turned on. In some cases, the task icon (tiny monitor) may or may not control the agent correctly. if needed. you must control from the Services control.
Go to Control Panel \ System and Security \ Administration Tools \ Services.
Right click on the NutPile Networks service and start or restart it.
There are at least two reasons where installing the agent could fail on certain Windows 7 machines.
First, you should have at minimum Service Pack one (SP1) installed.
The second is that if SP1 is not available for your machine, you may be able to complete the installation by enabling compatibility mode.
If either of these methods still fail, you may have to use a new operating system or seek out help through search engines and or finding Windows related forums.
The NutPile Control Panel (NCP) is the starting point for all NutPile services and applications. For most, this will mean it is where you will find your agents list, dashboard, reports and settings.
The NCP is the starting point of monitoring your Internet services and is where you can create software agents and/or order and activate hardware agents.
Notice that your control panel is at https://ncp.nutpile.com while our main site where you can find help, articles and other information is at https://www.nutpile.com.
The dashboard view for an agent is where you will find its reports, stats and configuration controls.
The heartbeat is a near real time display of the agent communicating with the NutPile network. This not only helps you to know that the agent is communicating properly but gives a visual cue that everything is running as it should.In most cases, the agent should automatically restart itself every 24hrs. The restart time is set to approximately 3am UTC and is shown just below the graph along with how long the agent has been running for.
If your agent has restarted multiple times inside of a 24hr period, this could be indicative of some sort of problem either with the PC that is running your agent or the hardware agent if that is what you are running. Perhaps there is some power cycling going on or something else causing the agent to keep restarting.
One of the heartbeat items is a ping test which is run regularly and averaged out. In the example below, we can see that at one point, ping latency jumped up momentarily then went back to normal.
Recent events are outages, updates and other communications between your agent and the NutPile network. Event notices help you to see and understand what is happening as it happens. Event messages are meant for those who are mainly interested in knowing about the events but who do not require the details of those events.
For those that need the additional information, an agent can be upgraded with a month to month subscription at any time. The additional details can help when trying to find ongoing problems. Once you have found the problems, simply cancel your subscription and keep using the service at no cost. Simply upgrade on an ‘as needed’ basis unless you would prefer to have ongoing data about your connection. If the service is critical, continued monitoring is a good practice so that nothing is ever missed.
Outages Cumulative Stats
The cumulative stats show how many outages your connection has experienced along with time frames. When mousing over each bar, accumulated details for that period will be displayed. .For example, you can see the total number of outages for the past 7 days, 30 days, etc can be seen in the Total count section. Likewise, you can also see the total accumulated amount of time that outages have taken your Internet connection offline under the Total time section.
These statistics are run on a daily basis and your outages graph will always the most current number of outages.
Security Scan Report (moved to right hand column)
Included at no cost is an Internet sided scan of your network to help protect you and your network. By keeping an eye on open ports, you can take action if a port becomes accessible which you either forgot to close or which may have been left open by someone else.
During testing or when installing a new router or firewall, a port could be accidentally left open which should have been closed. NutPile will periodically scan your IP, listing any open ports on your network. The scan shows the port number along with the port/service name to help you look it up. For example, port 25, an SMTP mail server, port 80, an HTTP/S web server.
Scanning shows your IP, any open port found, the port service name and port status. The Last Seen column shows when the port was last seen, current or some time in the past. The count show how many times your IP has been scanned since enabling the feature.
Security scan and other settings can be found in the Update Settings menu from the dashboard. If enabled, results of the security scan will be shown here. If not enabled, you will see ‘Security scan not enabled’.
This section offers overall statistics about the performance of your Internet service and where most of the problems might be. MOD means ‘most often down’.
% Affected networks – Percentage of Internet problems with your LAN, ISP or beyond.
Top MOD hops – Top most problematic hops showing where, LAN, ISP or beyond.
Top MOD orgs – Organizations experiencing the most problems relating to your connection.
Overall performance – Compares uptimes to number of outages/downtime.
Combined – Coming soon
Important – All references to ‘Beyond ISP’ are informational only. The most important information is how your ISP is performing. Anything beyond your ISP is not only informational but is a test point that NutPile is using to monitor the performance of your service. In some cases, some of these could have affected your services but the main point is to monitor your Internet service provider.
The ISP Stats are related to your ISP only. LAN and beyond ISP are not included in these stats.
Here you can enter your billing times and monthly cost in order to get a running total of theoretical credits owed to you. By entering the day that you are billed and the cost, the system to calculate at any given time a total that the ISP could owe you if you were looking for credits on services which may have been particularly bad during a month or months.
This stat is provided mainly as ‘interesting’ because the agent cannot test all of the ISPs connection points meaning you could have suffered a large number of additional outages but because the agent is testing only one path at a time, this stat cannot include other outages which you could have suffered.
For the most part, the amount of credit will not add up to much unless you have had significant problems during a certain billing period. In that case, the fact that this stat could show a significant amount and keeping in mind that you are not seeing all of the outages which affected you indicates that your ISP could probably be owe sort of credit.
Although provided as interesting only, this is an early version which will eventually give you correct totals including what your ISP could owe you if you wanted to ask for credits on your bill. The fact that other NutPile users would see similar results would make it difficult for an honest ISP not to offer credits.
Play around with this and we hope you’ll find it useful.
At a glance, Right hand column information
The At a glance section gives you a quick view of everything you have enabled, disabled along with providing direct links to those settings where possible.
At a glance – Brief view of important settings and options. See Configure menu for more
ID – Unique agent identifier.
Nickname – Nickname to identify your agent if you are running multiples.
DDNS – Dynamic DNS / DynDNS. If enabled, shows the URL and provides clickable link to destination.
Device – Shows operating system or hardware/OS type.
Time Zone – Time zone that agent is in. Each agent can have its own time zone.
Created On or Activated On – Shows when SW agent was created or hardware agent activated on.
Comms – Status of this agent, allowed or denied communications with NutPile.
Included at no cost – Anything shown in this list are included with a subscription
Enable DDNS – Gives you an easy to remember URL to reach home or office network.
Enable Security Scan – Shows if security scans are enabled or disabled. (Reports below)
Subscription based – Additional features enabled via subscription
Enable Speed Test – Allows for automated speed testing based on connectivity issues.
Extended Notifications – Allows for critical and other ongoing notifications.
NutPile enabled devices – Available only on select devices for specific members
Enable Data Usage – Connected in-line, shows total amount of data usage.to compare with provider claims.
Enable VPN Service – To securely reach servers on your network without opening a firewall port.
My Public IP – Your public IP provided by your Internet provider. Static or dynamic.
LAN IP Your local network IP for this device.
DNS Used (first) – The DNS server being used for this agent.
DNS Used (second) – The secondary if supplied.
Security scan report – Shows security scan reports if enabled
OTM Ver. – Internal – monitoring software version.
SW Ver. – Internal – installed version.
FW Ver. – Internal – for NutPile support.
FW Build Date – Internal – for NutPile support.
Status – Shows status of current or previous subscription including free time given by support.
Last Payment Date – Not set if you have never subscribed otherwise, shows last payment date.
Expires/Expired – Shows subscription expiry date or when it already expired, whether free or paid.
The outages graph, the most important of all of the statistics shown, is a quick and easy way of knowing if something went wrong with the connection. View between 1 week and 1 year of outages.
You can view the details of any outage event by mousing over the outage bar. Information such as the date/time of the outage, how long it lasted and other information will be shown. These details will help you to know where the problems are.
Average time of day when outages occur
This graph shows when most of your outages happen over a selected period of time. When you change the date range selector, this will also update the averages graph so that you can compare. over the course of X number of days. The X (horizontal) axis shows a 24 hour range while the Y (vertical) axis shows how many outages have occurred on or around that time slice.
Each bar can have up to three colors which allow you to know how long most of the outages are for that time frame.
Bar colors show when there were multiple outages on the same days at different times. The Y axis gives you a quick visual of how many outages there were on or around a certain time. Mouse over bars to display more details.
For example, you might see a peak around noon time for the past week but when you average it out over 4 weeks, you might notice that the trend changes to another time frame.
Over time, you’ll be able to see that you might experience most of your outages at certain times of day, perhaps in the mornings or in the evening when all of your neighbors get home from work.
If you want to learn more about ping results, there are countless explanations on the net about TCP/IP, packets and the network tools used to measure performance. In a nutshell, ping results show you if your connection is suffering from high latency, which means experiencing long delays.
No matter what bandwidth plan you have, if your connection has long latency times, then its quality will be degraded and you will experience sluggish performance, decreasing effective bandwidth. The ping results show you ongoing averages and min/max ping times by conducting regular ping tests on your connection.
The graphs give more details to help illustrate what is happening with your connection. The results show average, minimum and maximum ping times. When you are having problems, you could look at your ping times to instantly visualize important clues which might help explain performance issues.
For example, if your connection is experiencing signal loss or low signal levels, there could be something wrong with the connection to your home. If neighbors seem to be affected as well, it could mean something else in your neighborhood. If ping times are always high at a certain time of day, this tells you that your provider is probably unable to meet the total amount of throughput being sold to customers in your area. If ping times are high at random times of day, this may indicate other issues with your provider.
By keeping watch of your ping times, you can gain clues which might help you request better services or encourage your provider to improve the service quality in your area for everyone. When you suffer outages (see outage graph), you can click on any of the outage bars and ping times one hour before the outage and one hour after the outage (assuming it’s been at least one hour since you checked) will be displayed in the ping graph. The graph will instantly change to show these details. A refresh of the page will return you back to the default views. As you will see, ping times can give you insight on connection health and overall performance.
Bandwidth testing is an interesting topic which many misunderstand because it isn’t only about bandwidth. A consumer can have a lot of bandwidth and yet find themselves barely able to reach things on the Internet occasionally.
Commercial speed testing sites saturate your connection but because bandwidth is shared, this is often an exercise in futility because speed testing will not show you what is actually going on with your connection.
If large numbers of consumers were doing this all day long it would take the Internet down or more bandwidth would have to be added at countless locations just to sustain such testing. No one, providers or consumers can afford the costs of running speed tests non stop.
In addition, if you were running these tests continuously, you would be using up all your bandwidth just testing it. Speed testing alone is not of much use without additional data and, if the test is being optimized to be as close as possible to your providers edge network, you are in effect testing under the best conditions possible which is not real world testing.
These articles try to explain speed testing in easy to understand terms
Are Internet speed tests for real?
Some extreme Internet speed testing that we’ve tried
Speed testing to get actual results in shared environments such as consumer grade Internet services is a very difficult problem to solve. Shared Internet bandwidth speeds can and do constantly change and in seconds. By the time a speed test is started and ended, the result is based on that duration only and slowdowns may have already passed.
The speed test graph
Your monitoring agent will trigger speed testing based on a variety of fluctuations, trying to test at the best possible moment. This will help to better visualize how speeds (bandwidth) and in fact, throughput are doing on your connection in a way that a human being trying to test at the right moment could not do.
Our solution tries to show you ongoing averages (baseline) and when speeds become lower. The result is a graph which gives you a visual representation of how your speeds are doing and which tests were conducted. You can mouse over the graph to view dates/times and types of tests. Different tests are shown in different colors to help visualize the overall report so that you can more easily compare with outages and pings reports.
Colors and meanings
Various colors help to visualize which tests are baseline and which are triggered based on certain events.
Green – Baseline test. The agent software is running a speed test on a regular basis in order to establish a baseline or average.
Blue – Latency trigger. This test is triggered when the latency of the connection begins to fluctuate outside of the measured averages.
Orange – Slowdown trigger. This test is triggered when short burst speed tests are run and the results show slower than usual speeds.
Black – Outage trigger. This test is run moments after an outage to determine if your speed is back to normal or if it remained slower than the calculated average.
This feature is experimental, the algorithm continues to be in development. For more information, please review the Speed Test graph and settings section of the NutPile FAQ.
Speed vs throughput: Internet ‘speed’ is technically bandwidth. Bandwidth is the max amount of data your connection will allow based on the plan you have purchased.
Throughput is the amount of data you can actually move at any given time. Bandwidth and throughput are very different things.
Monthly data plan vs Unlimited plans: Speed testing uses your data. If you have an unlimited or large data plan, this may not be an issue but if you have a capped data plan you may want to enable speed testing conservatively. NutPile understands capped plans and tries to optimize this test to make it useful without wasting data.
Data plans and bandwidth – do you get what you pay for?
Many waste money on plans they will never be able to use or need. These articles help explain why you should be aware when picking a plan.
We conducted extreme speed testing and found it somewhat useless
Is speed testing for real? Does it have all that much value? Not without more data was our result.
Disable all speed testing (default setting)
No speed testing will be done by your agent.
Allow speed testing
Your agent will run speed tests to determine if bandwidth has fallen below a certain threshold. An algorithm controls this function based on a variety of conditions.
A speed limit may be imposed to conserve bandwidth. The test is trying to determine when bandwidth drops considerably and not what your full speed is. The agents job is to try and report when speeds fall below average or even usefulness which is difficult because it cannot know when you are actually using your bandwidth, watching movies, downloading files, etc. The speed limit may or may not be useful to you and is still in development.
The Configure menu is where you can make changes to the behavior of your agent.
Address and Geo location tab
This section allows you to change the location of your agent. Simply enter the full or part address then click on ‘Auto Fill Address Details Below’ to save time and ensure the correct location.
Note that while you can enter the house number to allow the map to be correctly set, this information will never be shown in public. In fact, the house number is not used at all in your reports but is used internally to provide additional information if others in your area are also using NutPile to monitor their Internet services.
This section is where you’ll find most of your agents configurable settings.
Here you can enable and disable features, fine tune them to your liking and so on.
Speed test tab
Here you can enable fully automated speed testing.
The details menu displays information about your agent including some which is also shown in the dashboard itself. Note that if you are running your own hardware device, web user, password and some other details will not be shown. These are used for preconfigured devices purchased directly from NutPile.
The notifications function is where you can control email notifications. The notifications are sent for a certain number of events then disabled to prevent spamming you. The final email will show that it is the LAST email along with a link to your dashboard where you can reset notifications again. Not only do we not want to spam you but we do not want the NutPile mail server to appear to be spamming either.
NOTICE Please DO NOT flag NutPile as spam in your mailbox as this could not only affect future delivery to yourself but to others who are using the service. You have full control over notifications and can always fully disable them.
NutPile assumes that since you installed an agent to monitor your Internet, you probably want to know when it cannot communicate.
Email notifications are to let you know of potential problems as quickly as possible. If your agent becomes inactive, NutPile sends you a notification so that you can take any necessary action. Your agent is deemed inactive when it is no longer communicating with the NutPile network. This could be indicative of an outage or that the agent has been disabled or disconnected.
The manage agent menu allows you to reset, re-install and delete this agent.
Reset may be used if you have moved and wish to continue using the same agent but with all new reports.
Re-install allows you to re-install the NutPile agent on your PC. Note that this is used for Windows installations only because the Windows installer needs to be in sync with the NutPile network. If you remove the agent from your PC, your reports will remain on NutPile but will no longer be updated. If you wish to re-install and keep your current reports, you must use this option to ensure that your reports remain intact and continue once the agent is installed.
Delete allows you to remove this agent from your control panel. Note that if you remove the agent here but do not remove the software from your PC or stop the hardware agent, it will no longer be able to communicate with NutPile. Conversely, if you remove the software from your PC or disconnect your hardware agent, these reports will be removed when you use this option.
Providers typically charge around $10 to $15 per month per static IP. If you use a DDNS service, you need a router that communicates with a DDNS service in order to update your IP as it changes.
Why bother with complicated configurations? Simply install the NutPile agent, then from your NutPile Control Panel under “Agent Settings” you can enable or disable the DDNS function.
Your URL will be ‘id.nutpile.com‘, the ID of the agent you have installed combined with NutPile.com. (Super easy to remember!)
If you want a reminder of what the URL is, just look at your reports for this agent and you’ll see the fixed URL as the first item in the Agent Details (right hand image).
From then on, you’ll be able to reach your home or office router and any services behind it–web, email, data storage–using an easy to remember name. The URL will continue to exist for as long as you keep your agent running so that it can constantly update our DNS servers.
Dynamic DNS is included at no cost and as a bonus, you can always use the rest of our basic services at no cost too.
Need a fixed URL for multiple locations?
If you have more than one location you would like to reach, simply install an agent at each location, enable the DDNS function and you’ll have a fixed URL for each location. Agents and their settings are managed from your NutPile Control Panel (NCP).
Also included as part of your Internet monitoring service is an Internet sided scan of your network to help you know when something has changed. By keeping an eye on open ports, including a history, it will be easier for you to know if you are susceptible to someone hacking into your home or office network.
Sometimes, while testing something, it is easy to overlook a previous setting or accidentally leaving a port open which should have been closed. Our scan lets you know about it and explain what the port is used for, letting you decide if it should remain open or closed. (For example, port 25, an SMTP mail server, port 80, an HTTP/S web server.) Members simply enable the scan in their NCP and the reports will start showing up after the first scan. Reports show open ports, recently closed ports and other information.
Note: This feature is in beta testing with some work left on how the reports can be displayed in the clearest, most useful way.
Some specific models of the hardware agent shipped by NutPile have at least two ports which allows users to monitor the total amount of data usage on any Internet connection. This feature is in alpha testing only at this time.
Every now and then, you may see a noticeable increase of outages. These could be just a few or in some cases up to hundreds per hour. But, what to they mean?
These events are reported because the NutPile agent is very sensitive and is able to detect interruptions as short as milliseconds. The agent has a minimum setting of 1+ seconds in order to be useful to the average Internet user.
Short outages are very normal in IP based communications but ongoing excessive outages are indicative or a problem, either temporary or which needs to be addressed. There are many reasons for short outages but most are related to hardware failure, programming errors, wires failing, cut or disconnected momentarily and countless other things. Here is an article which explains in non technical terms what happens when you are using Internet services.
Short outages typically do not affect most people and are often not even noticed unless using Voice over IP phones, video conferencing and other real time services where services could begin to degrade.
When using services such as video streaming which buffer data in advance, then you may not notice short outages and your movies will continue playing just fine even as short outages happen. If you do see buffering, this typically means that your Internet connection is having problems.
So, what about those short outages in my reports?
You may not care to know about the very short outages unless they are very frequent in which case, the reports can help you to determine where and with whom the problems are.
Your reports will show if the problems are in your building, on the street, with your ISP and so on. In many cases, a bad cable at your location simply needs to be replaced.
However, if you do not want to see outages of a certain length, you can change what is displayed in your graphs by using the Minimum Outage in your agents Settings tab. Here, you can can set the minimum you’d like to see in your Outages graph. When set to 3+ seconds for example, your graphic outage report will only show outages of 3+ seconds.
Keep in mind that textual reports will always show all events, no matter the settings. This is because the agent is always reporting any and all outages to be correlated with others in your area.
Note: If you are monitoring from a country which has poor Internet services or where we do not have a network close enough to you, you could also see many short outages. If you know that we do not cover your area and you believe that enough people would be interested in using NutPile, please have someone contact us.
The tickets function allows you to enter notes when you contact the provider for help and support. It can be difficult trying to keep track of connection issues and this feature allows you to keep, update and later search through tickets to keep track of issues.
As some NutPile users will have multiple agents with different providers, tickets are associated with each agent.
Available fields include:
- Network Provider – The company providing this connection
- Support Email Address – Your provider’s support email contact
- Support Number – Your provider’s support contact number
- Billing Number – Your billing number (if any)
- Account Number – Your account number (if any)
When you contact support, you can usually ask for a ticket number. Your provider may call it something else so if they tell you that there is no ticket number, ask them to give you a number which is associated to this particular call and notes on your account.
Once you have a unique number, you can create a new ticket by clicking on Add Ticket.
- Ticket Number – Enter your unique support call in number here for reference
- Ticket Time – Enter the time you called or the time of the issue if you know it
- Problem – Enter some notes about the problem
- Support Solution – Note what your provider told you, suggested, how they worked on and/or fixed the issue.
By keeping good notes about issues, you will have not only a way to refer back to issues which have not been taken care of but ongoing details and information to help you fix any unresolved problems.
Part of the magic of using the NutPile service comes in the form of having the ability to share and compare with others. The more neighbors you have monitoring their services, the bigger the picture gets for everyone. By sharing, you can discover if an outage affected only your location or if others in your area suffered the same problem.
In the more detailed version of the reports, you’ll see a Share button on the upper right hand side of the highlighted graph you have displayed. Click on this button and this will pop up the Facebook share function. Note that the preview image may or may not show but it will show on Facebook. More social networks will be added as we continue development.
The power of social media becomes yours to use and as we introduce new reports and features in the near future, Internet services become transparent and everyone has details when contacting their provider for help.
No personal data is collected or shared in any way, shape or form. We share only some statistics collected which is always anonymous and stripped of any personal data. NutPile Networks, its software and/or hardware agents do not and cannot collect personal information such as Internet locations visited, search results etc. Our agents monitor only your Internet connection and not the data flowing over it.
Please see our Privacy Statement for more details.