How do I Test my Broadband Speed?

Jul 11 10:18 2013 SelJones Print This Article

This is an informative guide on how to test your broadband speed and what to expect during the process.

If you're looking to test your broadband speed,Guest Posting a number of things may be your motivation:

  1. You may be looking for a better provider
  2. You may be experiencing issues wirelessly or wired
  3. You may be doing new internet activities and be looking to see what level of performance you can achieve
  4. You may have a new connection and be looking to see whether it stacks up against the advertised speeds
  5. You may be seeing what proportion of the bandwidth you can get on your device when others are connected
  6. You may just be interested in your broadband speed and how you compare with other service offerings in the area.

During A Test

Whatever your reason for deciding “I want to test my broadband speed,” the easiest way to do it is through online tools. There are number of websites that provide the opportunity to simply click begin and you will be presented with your upload, download and ping speeds. These online tools will interact with a server and send a file across and back so that you can simulate an upload and download activity in order to receive accurate figures.

Some Things You Need To Know About Internet Speed

When I test my broadband speed at different times of the day, I tend to get slightly different results. This is because, at peak times, you can get a reduction of speed due to congestion on the line.

On ADSL, you have a certain number of people on a connection that will increase when there are lots of keen customers choosing the same provider. The more people doing high-intensity activities on a line, the more of a struggle the cables from the exchange have to transmit the data as quickly as they should be. In fact, some providers will even traffic-manage.

What is Traffic Management?

Traffic management is where an internet service provider will slow connections on certain activities or at certain times of the day in order to ensure that the overall level of the service provided is good. This may impact less than 5% of consumers but, when it does, it can amount to pretty poor performance of certain activities. For example, peer-to peer-file sharing is often traffic-managed, and may be managed down to speeds of dial-up internet.

Some providers will traffic-manage activities all the time; some, only during peak periods. Different providers will have different peak periods that they use for their networks. When you're choosing broadband, it's important to understand the traffic management policies of different providers, as this will impact your speed. If you don't know whether your provider has a traffic management policy or not, then jump on to their website and look at their terms and conditions - this may be the answer to why, when you test your broadband speed, it is slower than you had hoped.

I Test My Broadband Speed in a Logical Way

When you understand that traffic management can interfere with your connection and that connections can also deteriorate over certain time frames that the internet service provider uses as their fault-detection period, it makes sense to test over a two-week period. If I have issues with my connection, I will test for two weeks, trying to do so at different times of the day.  I note down the three measures of broadband speed so that I can explain to my internet service provider the types of problems I've had and over which period.

I'm on ADSL and, so, the level of connectivity I get is dependent on the performance of the telephone line and the equipment in the exchange. Indeed, to start with, the distance from the telephone exchange itself has a massive impact on the ability that I have to do certain activities.

Distance from the Telephone Exchange

On ADSL, the distance from your telephone exchange will have a massive impact on the level of connectivity that you will receive. The copper cables of the BT infrastructure are not particularly good at carrying broadband signal and, therefore, speed deteriorates over distance. This can happen to the extent that some people with a telephone line can't get ADSL broadband at all. On the other hand, if you are within 200m of your telephone exchange, you'll likely to get extremely good connectivity. Where I am, I'm about 200m from my telephone exchange, and I walk past the exchange every time I take my children to the park. Therefore, I get well over 18mbps connection speeds on my devices.

Testing Wired and Wirelessly

It's important to run the test connected both wired and wirelessly. An Ethernet cable will normally come in your ADSL pack and provide you the opportunity to plug in to your router and plug in to your connecting device and, therefore, have a super-fast connection between the two.

When you connect wirelessly, you’re subject to all sorts of interference and obstructions and, often, your internet connection will not work as fast as with an Ethernet cable - because of the nature of wireless connectivity. By doing the test with both types of connection, you'll be able to ascertain whether issues with your connection are due to the setup and the line, or from wireless reception issues.

If you find that your wireless connectivity is far below your wired connectivity, you should probably look at things such as interference from other devices in your home, where you're connecting from and whether you're getting interference from other wireless connections near you.

It's also the case that physical obstructions can limit your internet speed in certain locations. For example, if you try to get online upstairs, you may find that the ceilings are particularly dense and are blocking the signal. In this case, it may be a good idea to get a repeater at the top of the stairs within line of sight of your downstairs router, in order to relay the signal to the upstairs connecting devices.

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About Article Author

SelJones
SelJones

Sam Jones's daughter asked him 'How do I test my broadband speed?'  This was not difficult as sites like uSwitch had all the information that they needed.

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