Net neutrality

Open Internet

Arcep launches a new version of the Wehe application, to detect internet traffic throttling and port blocking


Europe’s Open Internet Regulation lays down measures to ensure that internet service providers (ISP) treat all internet traffic equally and without discrimination. As the body responsible for enforcing the obligations set forth in this regulation, Arcep analyses ISPs’ online traffic management practices.

Wehe, a tool available to users since 2018 to verify compliance with net neutrality rules

Since November 2018, Arcep has made tool called Wehe available to consumers, for detecting potential traffic throttling on the internet. Available for Android and iOS, this data-driven regulation tool gives users the ability to become actors in the regulatory process by actively contributing to potential traffic throttling practices.

Developed by Northeastern University in Boston using an Open Source code, Wehe analyses internet traffic to determine whether an ISP may be throttling or prioritising certain services. The test is performed in two stages. First, the tool simulates using a service on an ISP’s network, to see how that ISP treats actual traffic generated by that online service. Second, the tool then simulates (“replays”) that same traffic, but this time replacing it with encrypted content that is invisible to the ISP. If a disparity is found between the two simulations, there is cause to suspect that the ISP is using some traffic management measure.

Since it first launched, close to 145,000 tests have been run in France using the Wehe tool and, to date, no differentiation has been detected through the application.

The new version of Wehe provides the ability to test new services and detect port blocking

A new version of the Wehe app was developed in 2020 thanks to ongoing close cooperation between Arcep teams and the research team headed by Dave Choffnes, Associated professor at Northeastern University. A full year’s work that resulted in the integration of two major additions to this tool.

The list of the services that can be tested by the app’s traffic differentiation test was expanded to include several videoconferencing services and different French video streaming platforms, and so more closely reflecting how people in France use the internet.

The application also enables users to test ports, whose blocking, throttling or prioritisation could affect how users are able to access certain online services. Users now have the ability to test 12 of the most frequently used ports. From a technical standpoint, the port test compares https traffic for each of the ports chosen by the user with port 443 traffic, which serves as the baseline. Should a disparity between the two be found, users are invited to report their issues directly via the “J’alerte l’Arcep” platform, so that Arcep can examine any incompatibilities with the Open Internet Regulation on a case-by-case basis.

Arcep also invites ecosystem’s players to share their feedbacks on this additional feature via the “J’alerte l’Arcep” platform.”

 

Download the new version of Wehe

This application is available for Android and iOS:

• iOS App: https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/wehe/id1309242023

• Google Play App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mobi.meddle.wehe&hl=fr

• See all of the statistics from tests performed in France: https://dd.meddle.mobi/StatsFrance.html

 

Associated documents:

Report on the State of the Internet in France in 2020

Tools employed by Arcep to ensure net neutrality