Doing a Speed Test is Important

When it comes to your broadband its crucial that you understand the level of connection you are actually attaining. If youre not getting the level of connection you bought, there could be a number of reasons for the problem. By doing a speed test online, or through software that you download to your computer, you can ensure that you have a full and frank discussion with your internet service provider about the speeds youre achieving and also make sure that you go through a proper troubleshooting process to get to the bottom of any issues.

How To Do Speed Test
A speedtest is very easy to do. All you need to do is jump online and in one of the search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, pop in the term ‘speedtest, ‘test my broadband speed, ‘how fast is my broadband, or something similar to these. Youll be brought up a number of websites where you can either do a test online or download software to find out what the speed of your internet is. Most of these tests will send a file to a server and then back to your computer. In this way they will judge your upload speed and your download speed.

What is the upload speed?
The upload speed of your broadband is the velocity at which you can send information upstream. Upload speeds on residential broadband tend to be much slower than on business broadband and much slower than the download speed. This is because internet service providers perceive that youll spend more time browsing the internet and receiving data than sending data. Its often the case that the download speed is ten times, or even more, faster than the upload speed.

If you spend a lot of time doing high intensity upload speeds related activities, such as sending images to Facebook, sending large files over e-mail, or uploading files to a remote server, such as a Cloud Storage Service, you may well need a better upload speed and there are often add-ons you can buy from your internet service provider that will achieve this. Alternatively you could go for a business broadband package that offers better upload speeds.

What is download speed?
The download speed you see will be the speed at which you can pull information downstream. Everything that you view on your computer is downloaded from the internet when you are going through your browser. So for example, pages that you watch movies on are downloading information from the internet. You of course will be using your data limits of your broadband package when you are uploading and downloading.

The Third Result
The third result you get when you do a speed test is the ping or latency speed. Rather than the speed at which data is sent, this could be conceived of as the speed of reactions. Essentially, it is the time it takes for a response to be received from a server after being sent. The latency speed has a massive impact on your ability to VoIP communicate and also play some online games. If youre latency is more than 50 milliseconds you could well experience jittery performance on these activities.

How to Do a Speed Test Properly
When you do a speed test you shouldnt just do one test and assume that that is the gospel result. You should do several tests so that you can ascertain what the average speed is. This will also pick up whether there is instability in your line that is causing speeds to fluctuate dramatically. If youre getting one speed, then another, then another, then another and the speed test result site is accurate, you may well want to speak to your internet service provider about the stability of your connection.

You should also consider doing test at different times of the day. Some internet service providers will limit your speed at peak periods and this could well impact on the results you get. If youre getting poor performance during peak periods then it could be that the descriptionion ratio, which is the number of people on your line from the telephone exchange, is high causing issues when lots of people are doing high intensity activities. Again, you may want to speak to your internet service provider if youre having issues during peak periods.

Other issues that can cause speed test results to be slow
Of course there are many issues that can cause your speed test results to be slow. It could be that you have really bad wiring in your home that is acting as an antenna and causing interference on your connection. Your hardware, in the form of your router, your wires, or even your connecting devices may not be up to the task. You could have a 100MBps internet speed but if you have a router that can only pass connections at 11MBps, then you will not achieve anywhere near 100MBps. In fact youll be below 11MBps.

You should also consider the software on your system and whether your operating system on your device is up to the task. Older versions of operating systems can have problems dealing with the fastest internet connections. You should also empty your cache, which is your temporary internet files folder which can cause slowing down of browser performance.

Think of it as bottlenecks
Think of problems in your connection as bottlenecks to your speed. If there is a free flow of data where the hardware, the lines and your devices can all handle the top speed and still you have internet service problems, then your internet service provider may well be to blame.

A good way to test what the connection speed coming into your home is, is to test through the main telephone socket in your home. Taking off the front panel is very simple as there will be two screws towards the bottom half of the BT telephone socket. By plugging your filter and then router into this main socket without the impact of your wiring, youll get a true measure of the internet coming into your home. You could then test through your router plugged in through your normal telephone socket and find out what the speed is there, and then test wirelessly. The disparity between the different connection speeds on your device will be a great indication of where your problem lies.

Sam Jones wanted to know more about the broadband service he was getting.  The information was listed on sites like uSwitch along with a speedtest to make sure he was getting value for money.


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