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Broadband Internet Speed - What and Why?

Updated on March 10, 2013

Introduction

There exists many internet speed test websites on the web, some of which are very accurate and some are not. These websites provide free speed test for your broadband internet connection such as speedtest.net and speed.io. Internet speed tests mainly consist of three subtests which are ping, download speed, and upload speed test. In this article I'm going to briefly describe what are these three subtests and discuss why you would (and maybe should) test your broadband internet speed.

Ping Test

Ping tests are usually done to test the reachability of a destination on the internet which is measured in milliseconds. But, in internet speed tests it has a more specific meaning since your computer has already reached the destination (the website). Accordingly, the main purpose of ping tests are to check the quality of your connection pings.

A good quality internet connection should allow your computer to ping most destinations within less than 100ms, figures more than this may indicate a problem in your internet connectivity or may tell that you have a less quality internet connection. Since your computer reaches several nodes on the internet before reaching the destination; slow pings can be caused by one or more nodes along the way, this means that slow pings are not necessarily caused by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the destination itself. A technician could be consulted in such cases to determine the problem cause.

Example speed test result
Example speed test result | Source

Download and Upload Speed Tests

Download and upload speeds are measured in Kilobits per second (Kbps), but nowadays with higher speeds available worldwide it's more commonly now measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). Download speed test measures how fast your computer can receive data, and upload speed test measures how fast it can send data to the destination. Speed test websites usually have several hosts that you can use as a destination to test your internet speed, and it's most likely that the website will automatically choose the best (maybe nearest) host to you to make the test. You need to make sure that no other programs or websites on your computer are downloading or uploading when making a speed test, this makes your test correct.

What is your download speed?

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Internet speeds provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) vary by area, city, or country due to resources availability. For modern web, a minimum of 1 Mbps download speed is recommended for a good internet surfing experience.

Most modern household broadband services are ADSL (Assymetric Digital Subscriber Line). In this type of internet service, the word "Assymetric" suggests why the upload speed is always lower than the download speed, it is something related to the physical design of the service that we will not be discussing here. Again, upload to download speed ratio varies by Internet Service Provider (ISP) due to resources availability.

Why to test the speed?

There are many different reasons for testing a broadband internet speed, some of which you may have already guessed. The most common reason of speed tests is when a user feels that his/her connection is slower than usual. If you're satisfied with your connection speed but still feel that something is slow, you should check your computer for problems and viruses as it may be causing a slower connection, or maybe it is time to invest in a new computer if your computer is too old.

The most important reason for doing the test is to check whether you're getting the promised download and upload speed that you're paying your ISP for. If you're not getting the speed you're paying for, then you should consider reporting the problem to your ISP or call a technician to diagnose the problem. Sometimes changing the ISP would solve big problems.

Furthermore, you may be interested in testing your broadband internet speed to compare it to other people. Speeds are increasing constantly and you may get interested in upgrading your connection after you figure out what the world is using nowadays, or you may be interested in increasing your upload speed only if you're unsatisfied with the upload to download speed ratio; in this case consider asking your ISP whether they offer higher upload speed for your current plan or not. Upload to download speed ratio varies by ISP as mentioned earlier, but some ISPs provide options for upload speed per plan.

3 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of your ISP

Finally, It may be a good idea to figure out and compare how much people do pay for their broadband services worldwide. A good website that provides worldwide statistics about several aspects of broadband services is netindex.com, Statistics include download speed, upload speed, and cost. Please let us know how much you are satisfied with your internet service provider by rating it above.

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    • receivetipstricks profile image

      Mrinal Saha 4 years ago from Jaipur,India

      i also used speedtest it's very accurate,,

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