If you’re “lucky” enough to work in the Technical Support Dept. for an ISP, I would hope you already have a host of tools as your disposal to help you do your job. That being said, if you’ve worked for an ISP you have probably happened across a few occasions the tools-at-hand didn’t cut it, and you were left searching Google for answers; I know I have! This is why I’ve compiled a list of web-tools and sites that help me get through my day.
- Codeflux.com: Internet Tools Gateway
Codeflux.com offers several standard unix tools (such as whois, nslookup, dig, etc..), but with a web-based interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate.
- MX Tool Box
This site allows you to perform many common email diagnostics such as MX record lookup, check to see if an IP is blacklisted, check SPF records, and diagnose problems with mail servers. Worth a look!
- DNS Blacklist Information
This site allows you to check a mail server IP address against over a hundred spammer blacklist databases.
- Internet Backbone Map
This is not particularly useful when troubleshooting an internet connection, but this map allows you ro see how the internet is really connected. You can definitely see why it’s called a the “World Wide Web.” You may also check out maps here and here
Location & Mapping Tools
I work for a company who supports satellite internet customers, so figuring out exactly where a customer is geographically helps a great deal with troubleshooting certain type of problems, namely weather-related issues.
- Google Maps
A simple but powerful, free mapping web application.
- Google Earth
Like Google Maps on crack, Google Earth is a robust mapping utility filled with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips. If you haven’t already checked this out, I’d suggest downloading it now.
No matter how much bandwidth you provide, customers always want to go faster; I think speed-related complains are the most common tickets I deal with. Here are a few decent sites you can direct customers to check their speeds.
A very fancy speed test site. It has numerous speed test servers to pick from all over the globe.
- Speakeasy.net’s Speed Test
I believe Speakeasy’s speed test servers are powered by SpeedTest.Net, but Speakeasy test site offers a less busy interface which may be easier for customers to navigate.
A relatively easy-to-use speed testing site that is the bane of my existence. This site gives you an up-to 5-star rating on your speed depending on test results from other users of the same ISP; this can turn out terribly for a Tech if a satellite customer’s speed is compared to those customers who are on a wired connection.
Satellite Internet Tools
Satellite internet is a finicky thing; from rain and snow to solar flares, anything can get in the way of a constant internet connection with a 2-way satellite system.
- Satellite Radar Imagery: USA & Canada
Satellite radar imagery is the best way to measure percipitation in an area, which just happens to biggest problem when it comes to satellite internet service dropping its connection.
- Live Real-Time Satellite Tracking
This is a pretty cool Google Maps mash-up. It actively tracks satellites in orbit of the earth, and plots them on a Google map. Very cool.
- Look Angle Calculator
Knowing the proper look angle for a satellite is crucial when pointing a satellite dish. This calculator will give you the elevation, azimuth, and skew needed for pointing a dish at nearly any satllite. If you don’t like this calculator, try another one!