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Monitoring network uptime

I stumbled onto Simon while searching for a tool to monitor how well my ISP is keeping me on the internet. My connection has been flakey recently and I am looking for a tool to check every so many minutes to see if my connection to the internet is live or not. I'm interested specifically when it is not live so I can complain to my ISP.

So far over the last 45 minutes I can see that checking Apple Hot News, the Dejal blog, etc. seem to do this. I have a couple of questions about Simon though:

- How does Simon check the site? In particular will this annoy the site manager, say at google.com?

- Any recommendations on which sites to use to verify my internet connection? I don't want to be a nuisance.

- My internet connection seems to disappear every hour or two. How obnoxious is it if I were to check a connection every minute for a few days?

I would happily pay for a Simon that monitored how well my internet connection does if it logged loss of connectivity well (which I think Simon Free is doing now as I write this). And I think quite a few other people would as well. I'd buy one of the "real" versions although I'm not sure I really need it.

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Eight hours later I can see that Simon is not doing what I thought it was. My service went out at least once last night and Simon saw that. With the current settings though it did not test when service can back on.

Any suggestions?

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Hello,

I have a strategy in mind for your ISP problem, although it does not involve Simon.

I suggest that you:

a) subscribe to a free dynamic dns service (i.e. http://www.dyndns.com/services/dns/dyndns/)
b) configure the dyndns account created at a) on your router
c) subscribe to a free external monitoring service (i.e. http://mon.itor.us/index.jsp)
d) start monitoring your public IP address from outside.

One of the advantages of the above solution is that your Mac is not required to remain on all day, and if you report a problem to your ISP eventually they will not blame your Mac.

Simon is a great tool and I love it, but I do not think it was designed with a case like yours in mind.

Regards,

opensoft

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Thanks @tmeadow for your interest in Simon, and thanks @opensoft for your alternative suggestion.

Simon isn't really designed to monitor your own internet connection, and in fact will try to ignore local outages. Every time it checks a test, it first checks if it can reach one of two popular sites that are likely to be up (Google and Apple). If it can't reach either, it assumes your internet connection is down, and puts the test in an offline state (with a flashing lightning bolt) until a subsequent check attempt succeeds.

You can avoid this behavior (and thus use a test to check your internet connection) by turning on the test option to check when offline.

Simon's Web (HTTP) service works by fetching the specified web page (but without any graphics etc), so will have some impact on web logs, in the same way as checking it in a web browser with images turned off.

Alternatively you could use the Ping service to just see if you can contact the server, without fetching a web page.

So yes, you can use Simon to monitor your own connection, but there are likely better solutions.

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I will give them a try.

David - I think there is a need for a simple app to help people deal with their ISPs...

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Hi David,
I have Simon version 3.1.1 running under OSX 10.6.8.

Lately I've noticed that, after operating for a day or two, many of my tests are marked "Offline". Simply re-checking fixes the problem and they continue per their schedules. This may result from some sort of Internet connection issue, but seems unlikely that I'm getting such outages so often. But when my Internet connection is back up, why don't the tests resume?

This behavior seems to have started either with my upgrade to 10.6.8 or to Simon 3.1.1 (although I'm not sure of this).

Have you any thoughts about how to address this?

Thanks,

Jim

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring network uptime

A few people have experienced Simon becoming unresponsive after a while, which I've attempted to address in version 3.2. But what you describe sounds different. A status of "Offline" does indeed mean that it couldn't find an internet connection when checking... but yes, it should go back to normal once your connection returns. So I'm not sure what's going on.

I suggest trying version 3.2 (currently in beta) to see if that helps. If not, let me know, and I might be able to add some diagnostics or something to help trace the issue.

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Thanks David. I downloaded the beta and will let you know if it happens again.

Enjoy!

Jim

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Hi David,
An update, Version 3.2b4 (3012b) is working just fine! The issue seems to be gone now.

Thanks,

Jim

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Excellent! Please let me know if the problem recurs.

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Oops - spoke too soon!

Running Version 3.2b4 (3012b).

Tonight my ISP had an issue, and my Internet connection went down. I was pleased that Simon reflected what was happening.

An hour later the Internet came back online. But Simon did NOT show any change. All the Internet services still show the "offline" status icon. I let it go for many minutes with no change. Tapping "Check Now" had the desired effect.

Enjoy,

Jim

Re: Monitoring network uptime

One more thing... I notice that, despite the fact that the Internet was down, Simon did NOT mark any of these tests as "failures". So even if they were marked back online after the failure, when I examine the logs I have no indication that there ever was a failure!

Enjoy,

Jim

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring network uptime

If you want Simon to treat a loss of your internet connection as a failure, you need to turn on the option to check when offline. Otherwise, Simon will go into the offline state when there's no internet connection. rather than treating as a failure.

With that on, the failure will be logged.

Re: Monitoring network uptime

Hi David,
Thanks for the feedback. For now, I've marked the tests as you suggested - check when offline.

Of course that will log a large number of failures if the Internet does go down for any length of time.

May I suggest that Simon could log a single failure (for each service) when first marking the Internet as "down"? That way every service which depends upon the Internet would show one and only one failure, and I would leave the "check when offline" as UN-checked.

Thanks,

Jim

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring network uptime

In the future I plan to add a groups feature, that could do as you wish.

In the meantime, you could just have one or two tests with "check when offline" enabled, to get your internet-offline logging, and leave the rest with that off. There's no real benefit in having more than one or two checking when offline to detect internet issues.