Some already classify the Internet as a basic human need. Other still see it as a luxury. Whichever of the two views you subscribe to, when you’re paying good money for one, you deserve, or are even legally entitled, to get what you pay for. ISPs, however, are not perfect, and all of them have their fair share of dissatisfied, sometimes even irate, customers. One customer from Comcast, however, made a rather ingenious, if not creative, way to call the ISPs attention when the quality of his connection goes down: by tweeting from a Raspberry Pi.
The little computing board has been used for so many things that this doesn’t really surprise us. In fact, this is probably one of the more normal uses of the RPi: monitoring. Still, the way it was used is interesting in itself. Redditor AlexeyP revealed that he used a Raspberry Pi to run Internet speedtests every hour and when his connection goes below 50 Mb/s, it sends a tweet, using an “anonymous” @A_Comcast_User account, to Comcast’s Twitter account, reporting the situation.
Why 50 Mb/s? That just happens to be the lowest reasonable speed AlekseyP considers acceptable. After all, he pays for a subscription that advertises 150 Mb/s down and 10 Mb/s up. While those are, of course, just near perfect numbers, a third of that speed is definitely bordering on irritating, especially when the connection does perform at its best at other times of the day.
AlekseyP does clarify a few things about his setup. The Raspberry Pi’s Ethernet port maxes at 100 Mb/s, so he isn’t really able to measure the max that he is getting from Comcast. However, since he is only interested in finding out when his connection drops, that point is moot. He also claims that network usage in the house when monitoring is within reasonable bounds, meaning streaming video and online games. Furthermore, he says that even when using Netflix at 1080p or downloading Steam games, the RPi still registers the 90 Mb/s max, so usage is not the issue.
And how does Comcast respond? It just does the usual inquiry for the user’s account number and address, you know, for verification purposes. AlekseyP says he provides neither, because he doesn’t want to get special treatment and wants Comcast to fix its service for everyone. Curiously, he observed that the connection quality improves hours after the tweet was sent. Now that the cat is out of the bag, however, who knows if that magic will still happen. Or if it has any connection at all anyway.