Do I qualify for a FREE Whitebox?

To ensure fair representation and accuracy in our data, we need to have volunteers from all over New Zealand on different technologies, providers and plans. If you fit our needs, we will send you a Whitebox for FREE! All you need to do is plug it in and get tracking.

Find out if you qualify for a FREE Whitebox by clicking Sign Up.

What's in it for me?

Volunteers have access to their own personal broadband performance information in real time through a personalised online performance dashboard. This information can help diagnose problems and improve home broadband performance. Volunteers will also be able to bask in the glory of knowing they are helping make the internet better for all Kiwis.

How do I participate?

It’s simple:

  • Sign up for a free Whitebox on the Measuring Broadband New Zealand website.
  • If you’re selected, you will receive an email from SamKnows asking to confirm your interest and to provide your delivery address.*
  • You’ll be sent a Whitebox to connect to your router at home.
  • If you sign up, please look out for an email from SamKnows asking you to complete the process. If you are selected to participate, you should receive a Whitebox within approximately three weeks of confirming your interest and providing your delivery address.

*Not everyone who signs up will be selected, as we need to make sure we have the right mix of volunteers from all parts of New Zealand using different technologies, plans, and providers. However, we are looking for 3,000 volunteers so we encourage you to sign up!

How can you ensure the Whitebox will not collect browsing history or personal information?

The Whiteboxes are programmed to run a series of tests that simulate the sorts of things an internet user might want to do, like surfing websites, downloading files and watching videos. The Whitebox checks that your internet connection isn’t too busy before running its tests, to make sure the tests fairly reflect the internet connection’s performance. The Whiteboxes don’t collect any information on how you use the internet or what you are using it for. All test results are encrypted before they are uploaded, and no personal information is transmitted by the Whitebox. We have absolutely no intention of doing anything that may adversely affect your privacy or security. If you have any concerns please feel free to contact us to discuss them.

What will you do with the information?

Your Whitebox helps contribute to quarterly monitoring results and reports which are released publicly. This helps incentivize providers to compete on performance and also provides independent advice to consumers to help them choose the best broadband for their homes. Read the latest reports here.

What tests does the Whitebox run?

The SamKnows Whitebox focuses on your internet performance metrics only. It runs tests on a regular schedule and is not affected by outside factors.

All of the test results from your Whitebox can be viewed on your personalised SamKnows One dashboard. On SamKnows One, you can analyse your results, customise your charts, monitor performance over time, export reports to share, and so much more.

Each month, you will receive a personalised e-report card, which gives you an update on your internet performance results over time as well as internet performance-related news and updates.

Measuring Broadband New Zealand runs the following SamKnows Whitebox tests:

  • Download and upload speeds
  • Website loading time
  • Latency
  • Packet loss
  • Jitter
  • Netflix
  • YouTube

Want to learn more about the engineering behind the SamKnows tests? Check out our Technology page.

What are download and upload speeds?

The download speed is the speed at which data can be transferred from the internet to your computer. The upload speed is the speed at which data can be transferred from your computer to the internet. They are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

The download and upload speeds correspond to the package your internet provider listed when you purchased your broadband service. You'll have a figure for your download speed (e.g. up to 20Mbps) and one for your upload speed (e.g. up to 5Mbps). These can be the same or different. Upload speed is generally lower than download speed.

What is latency and packet loss?

When your data is sent over a network it is broken down into little ”packets”. Latency is the total amount of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from your computer to the test server and back to your computer. The lower the latency the better.

Packet loss is the number of packets sent over a network that were unsuccessful reaching their destination. It is like sending over a document composed of several pages, one page at a time. If you don’t receive all the pages, you won’t understand the content of this document.

High packet loss will severely impact media services and online gaming applications.

For most use cases, packet loss above 2% will be noticeable by users.

How do I install my Whitebox?

The Whitebox is easy to install. Please refer to the installation instructions here.

Will the Whitebox fix my internet problems?

The Whitebox can help you diagnose what's happening with your internet connection. It does this by accurately measuring the performance of your internet under a variety of metrics. All of your test results can be viewed in your SamKnows One dashboard. You can export and download these metrics as a report, which you can share with your internet provider to investigate the source of the problem and fix it.

How do I view my test results?

You can view your test results on the SamKnows One dashboard.

When you sign up, you share your email address and create a password. These are your SamKnows One login details.

You will also be emailed a monthly e-report card, which will summarise your internet performance results.

What about my privacy?

The focus of this project is to improve New Zealand's internet performance by shining a light on how different providers, plans, and technologies are performing to help consumers make more informed choices. To do this, we need Whiteboxes in 3,000 homes to help us measure New Zealand's internet performance.

We take privacy seriously. The only things we can see about your internet are its service quality in numbers. Nothing more. All we know about you is the information you provided us when you signed up.

Any personal data that you provide us with - such as your name, email, address, ISP and package - is held in complete confidentiality and is entirely anonymised in any analysis or reports. We will only be using the metrics from your test results.

SamKnows is required to comply with all New Zealand legislation, including the Privacy Act, when handling data from the programme.

Will my monthly data cap be affected?

The faster your broadband connection the more data the testing will use. We have set out the likely data usage in the table below. If you have an unlimited plan, the extra data used will not affect your broadband performance or the bill you pay. For volunteers on ADSL, your connection will not be fast enough to use much data, so the testing should use less than 10% of your monthly cap. If you have a data capped plan for VDSL, Fibre or Cable, you probably won’t be selected for the programme, as we do not want you to get charged for going over your data cap. If you have a Fixed Wireless (4G modem) connection with a data cap, you have the option of selecting a lightweight testing programme, which will test less frequently to keep the data usage down. Both the standard and lightweight testing usage is shown in the table below, so you can select the one you feel most comfortable with. No matter what broadband plan, data cap or technology, the testing will not run when you are using the internet so it will not affect your broadband performance.

Plan or TechnologyTypical Download and Upload speedTypical Test Data usage per month (GB)
ADSL (Copper)6-15 download, 1 upload5 - 10 GB
VDSL (Copper)25-60 download, 5 upload15 - 35 GB
Fibre '100/20'90-100 download, 15 - 20 upload50 - 60 GB
Fibre 'very fast'700-900 download, 300 - 400 upload450 - 600 GB
Cable 'Max'700-900 download, 70-90 upload350 - 450 GB
Fixed Wireless (4G modems)20-60 download, 5 - 10 upload15 - 35 GB (NZ Standard test schedule)
6 - 20 GB (NZ lightweight test schedule)

I’ve changed my retail service provider or the plan I’m on, what do I need to do?

We're always on the lookout for these sorts of changes but if you contact us directly at community@samknows.com we can make sure we get this updated for you and it's reflected in our system really quickly.

Who is SamKnows?

SamKnows is the global leader in internet performance measurement, with a track record in testing broadband and mobile connections around the world. SamKnows believes that access to high-quality internet connectivity is a basic human right and work with governments, academics, RSPs, and the public to understand each aspect of performance and make the internet better for everyone. For more information visit our website.

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