There are general applications that allow users to check the speed of their internet connection. Some of those applications don’t provide a lot of details in regards to whether the internet connection is fast or slow. This article will explain how you can check the speed of your internet connection with a few simple steps.
- What Does The Internet Speed Test Measure?
- What Does Mbps Mean?
- What is Latency?
- What Determines Your Internet Speed?
- Tips To Get The Most Accurate Speed
- So, What Do My Results Mean?
- Diagnosing Problems
What Does The Internet Speed Test Measure?
Internet speed refers to how quickly your device gets data from the internet and loads web pages. The faster your internet connection, the more quickly pages load, videos stream, and files download.
This is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Downloading large files requires a high-speed connection. If your download speed is too slow, you can’t do anything else online until the file transfers are complete.
For households with multiple devices connected to their network, it may be better to invest in faster speeds. For instance, if you’re planning on streaming Netflix on all of your devices while others are downloading files or streaming music, then a fast internet connection is necessary.
What Does Mbps Mean?
Mbps is used to measure the speed of an internet connection, whereas MBps — with a capital “B” — is used to measure file size. There are 8 megabits in 1 megabyte (MB).
This is how quickly your internet connection can receive data. When you’re streaming video, playing games or using your computer like you normally do, you’re downloading data. Download speed is measured in Mbps.
This is how quickly your internet connection can send data from your computer to the internet. For example, if you use email, upload speed will be important for sending messages with large attachments. Upload speed is also measured in Mbps.
What is Latency?
Latency is the time required for a signal to travel from its source to its destination. Latency can be affected by many factors, and it’s always measured in milliseconds.
The term latency is sometimes used interchangeably with ping and lag. A high ping means a longer time spent processing data. It results in slower gameplay, and in extreme cases, it can render a game unplayable.
Also, keep in mind that lag refers more generally to any kind of delay during gameplay. Lag might affect your internet connection or even your computer’s performance.
High latency can be caused by several factors, but it’s often due to network congestion and poor routing decisions along the way. If you’re playing an online multiplayer game on your PC and getting pings of hundreds or thousands of milliseconds (ms), you’ll probably want to reduce that as much as possible. You should also pay attention if you’re using your PC for VOIP calls or streaming content online.
What Determines Your Internet Speed?
The type of connection you have is the most important factor in determining your internet speed. You can have the fastest router on the market, but if you’re connected to a slow network, your internet speeds won’t be any better than the network’s maximum capacity.
This is the slowest type of internet connection, and it’s only available in rural areas. It uses a regular phone line to connect to the internet, which limits your speed and forces you to use a modem. In most cases, dial-up is too slow for modern internet usage.
Your home receives internet through a satellite dish, usually mounted on the roof. Satellite dishes are expensive and slow, with download speeds up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds up to 3 Mbps. You might get slower speeds if there’s bad weather.
The next fastest option is DSL, an acronym that stands for Digital Subscriber Line. This type of internet access uses telephone lines installed on power poles or directly above the ground. DSL is fast enough for surfing the web and streaming video. You could also use DSL for voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls or gaming, but it wouldn’t be reliable unless you have a dedicated line. Most homes don’t require a dedicated line because they don’t need consistent high speeds all day long.
Cable is one of the most popular types of home internet connections and it uses coaxial cables (the same cables used for cable TV) to deliver high-speed internet to homes. The speed of a cable connection will depend on how many people are sharing the line, whether you’re using a cable modem or router, and how far away from your nearest Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are. Cable internet has a wide variety of plan options and prices so it’s fairly easy to find something that fits your needs for a reasonable price.
Fiber is an up-and-coming internet option that delivers high-speed internet through fiber optic cables, which use light pulses to transmit data. Fiber is faster and more reliable than cable and DSL, but it’s also typically more expensive. However, as fiber becomes more widespread, prices are likely to drop.
Tips To Get The Most Accurate Speed
Pause automatic downloads.
Your upload speed is also affected by background uploads from programs like Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive and Google Drive. To prevent these programs from slowing down your speed test, we recommend temporarily pausing their activity before running a speed test.
Get rid of freeloaders.
If you live in a home with others who use the internet, make sure they’re not download files or streaming video while you’re testing your connection. The more devices that are using your connection at once, the slower your speeds will be.
Check for wireless router issues.
If you’re getting close to the maximum bandwidth of your broadband plan, try connecting to your Wi-Fi router directly with an Ethernet cable instead of over Wi-Fi to see if it improves your speed test results.
So, What Do My Results Mean?
Interpreting download speeds
Download speeds are the most important measurement of broadband quality. They measure how quickly data is transferred to your computer or mobile device. The higher the number, the better.
If you have a slow connection, you’ll need to wait longer for pages to load and it may not be possible to stream video or audio. If you’re getting less than 2Mb then it’s time to look for a new provider. Take a look at our tips on choosing the right broadband package for more information about comparing providers and their services.
Checking your latency
Latency is another vital measurement of broadband quality. It measures the time it takes for data from one computer to reach another, usually measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the latency, the faster your connection will be and the better your performance will be when playing online games or using applications like VoIP (voice over internet protocol) that require high-speed communication between computers. Latency below 100 ms is considered good and anything above 300 ms may cause problems with some applications.
Malware is a generic term for “software designed to cause damage,” such as viruses, adware, spyware, worms and ransomware. Some of these forms of software can hijack your browser, redirecting you to sites you didn’t intend to visit. Others can install themselves on your computer without permission and interfere with your Internet connection by generating traffic.
You don’t have to be an expert in malware to spot it — if your browser is suddenly taking you to strange places or your computer performance is unusually slow, you could well be infected.
Check the programs that are running on your computer against the list of those that are supposed to be running (this varies depending on your operating system). If there’s anything unusual there, it could be malware.
If you’ve had your computer for a while and haven’t upgraded any of its internal components, they may no longer be up-to-date enough to handle the requirements of today’s complex websites and applications. Outdated hardware can cause all sorts of problems with modern web browsing.
internet service providers (ISP) receive many complaints about slow Internet connections. If you are experiencing a slow connection, contact your ISP for assistance. They might send a technician to your house or offer setup suggestions over the phone. If you have switched your ISP recently, there could be a delay in service activation. ISPs also have policies on how quickly they will activate new accounts and transfer between ISPs. IfI a tech support person tells you that your problems are related to your ISP, make sure to follow up with them before returning to the library for assistance.
If you are experiencing a problem with your equipment, first determine what is causing the problem, and then try to fix it yourself by making adjustments or by doing planned maintenance on the machine. If you cannot solve the problem yourself, contact technical support for further advice.
Now that we have covered the basics of how to check your internet connection speed, we can conclude that using a speed test site is a good way to find out if the problem with your internet service is the provider or the service itself.