You’re paying for an Internet connection with a certain speed, but sometimes it’s hard to tell how fast your websites are actually loading. A download speed test reports exactly what speed your ISP is delivering. If you have broadband, your download speed could be as slow as 3 megabits per second (Mbps) or as fast as 30 Mbps. Since the higher speeds cost more, you want to be sure you’re getting what you pay for.To get a good idea of your average speed, all you need to go is run a speed test a few times.
Online Speed Tests
A good site for checking your download speed is Bandwidthplace. Simply hit the Start Test button and in 20 seconds you’ll know your actual download speed. The IP-address.com site has a similar test. It’s a good idea to run both, and they should give you results that are about the same. If one is much slower than the other, that’s a good indication there is a problem somewhere. It’s a question your ISP has to answer.
Real World Speeds
Online download speed tests use fast servers with small files to find your maximum speed. You can compare the results to the speed given by your ISP, which is also the top speed you can expect. During downloads, it’s possible you experience slower speeds because of server overloading, slow intermediate links, or local traffic congestion.
Actual Use Download Speed Test
You can calculate the speed you’re actually getting when you download a real file by looking for software, images, music, or other files you usually download. Often, the server tells you how big the file is, or once you start downloading, your browser tells you the total size. These file sizes are in megabytes, or MB. If you time how long the download takes and divide the file size by the number of seconds, you get MB/s.
A byte is 8 bits — a transmission uses additional bits for starting, stopping, and checking. Using 10 bits per byte gives you a rough estimate of your speed. If you downloaded a 16 MB file in 20 seconds, your speed is 0.8 MB/s, or 8 Mbps.
Your real-world download speed is usually much less than your online speed test. Knowing both values lets you estimate how long it will take to download large files, such as HD movies or music collections. You have to carry out both kinds of tests several times to get a true picture of your Internet connection speed since it will sometimes vary.[cf]tracking[/cf]