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How do internet speed tests work? (and how exactly are they?)

  Speed ​​test with 17 ms ping, 282.55 MBit / s download and 101.88 MBit / s upload.

Speed ​​testing helps you quickly determine how fast your Internet is. ISPs promise "up to" a certain speed under optimal conditions, but a speed test confirms how fast ̵

1; or slowly – your connection is.

What is a speed test?

An Internet speed test is the best way to get an idea of ​​how fast your connection is. The service you connect to often limits your download and upload speeds, based on your chosen plan, local congestion, throttling rules, and more.

The catch is the promises your Internet service provider ( ISP) almost always Add the phrase "up to". This gives ISP leeway – if you've promised to reach "up to 30 Mbps" and you only get 28 Mbps, the company can say it keeps its promise. However, if you see 10 Mbps you will not get what you pay for, and it's time to call your ISP.

A speed test measures your ping and the download and upload speed. Measuring the latter two is important because most ISPs make separate promises for download and upload speeds. Usually, the download speed plays an important role. However, if you study the details in detail, the ISP will typically report a slower upload speed for each layer. For example, our local ISP is offering a plan with a download speed of 500 Mbps, but an upload speed of 125 Mbps.

How a Speed ​​Test Works

<img class = "wp-image-426768 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/ 06 / Speed-Test-stages.png.pagespeed.ce.2KhzZsM17Z.png "alt =" speed test with 14 ms ping, 343.31 Mbit / s download, 96.68 Mbit / s upload. [19659009] After connecting a server Ping, download, and upload tests are pinged.

When you start a speed test, you experience several issues: First, the client determines your location and the nearest test server, which is important For example, Ookla's Speedtest.net offer the ability to change the server, and if the test server is set up, the speed test sends a simple ping to the server and the server responds.The test measures this roundtrip in milliseconds.

After the ping is completed, the download test begins The client opens multiple connections to the server and tries to download a small piece of data. At this point, two things are measured: how long it took to retrieve the data fragment, and how much network resources it consumed.

When the client detects that you have free space, additional connections to the server open and download more data. The general idea is to tax your internet connection and see how much it can afford at the same time.

Think of your Internet service as a highway with a speed limit. Opening additional connections is equivalent to adding more lanes to the highway. The speed limit has not changed, but more cars can drive faster through the same space. In this way, the 50th car arrives earlier on a four-lane highway than on a two-lane highway.

Once the customer finds the right connections to test your Internet service, he downloads additional data blocks and measures the amount and download speed downloaded in the specified time.

Next up is the upload test. This is essentially the same process as the download test, but in the reverse order. Instead of dragging data from the server to your PC, the client uploads data from your PC to the server.

For more technical information, see the Speedtest.net explanation of how it works.

Are speed tests correct?

  An Internet speed test with a download speed of 548 Mbps and an upload speed of 134 Mbps.
This router test shows the actual speeds offered by the ISP while the other Wi-Fi tests are slower due to their connection. [19659010] Speed ​​tests sound simple, but it's a lot harder than it seems, how fast your connection is.

Consider the first step in the process: Selecting a test server. Often the next server is incredibly close – maybe even in the same city. This proximity is an optimal situation, so the data does not have to travel that far. Businesses know proximity makes a difference, and so some, like Netflix, use a content delivery network to bring the data closer to you.

The entire Internet is not in your area. Much of it is on computers a long way away – sometimes across the country or in another country. So while your speed test may show incredibly fast streams, you may find that downloading a program is very slow if the server hosting the data is far away. In this scenario, your results may be faster than the actual usage.

The difference in server locations is the reason why you are likely to see different speed results when you try different tests like Ookla, Netflix, or Google. Your ISP may also offer a speed test such as Comcast, Spectrum or AT & T. However, you probably should not rely on an ISP-generated speed test. Your tests are optimized for ideal conditions and use servers in your area that are often managed on the same ISP network from which you test. This means you get a faster result than a Netflix or Google speed test. It's fine to just say how great your ISP is (that's the idea), but it's bad if you want to get an idea of ​​your real speeds.

In step two of the testing process, the client tries to open additional connections and maximize your network usage. If you're already straining your network, the speed test can not exhaust your resources. For example, if you test while streaming Netflix or download a large update, your results are likely to be lower than tests without them.

  Internet speed test with a ping of more than 1 ms, a download speed of 110.44 Mbit / s and an upload speed of 30.47 Mbit / s.
Of all the tests we performed, this was the slowest result. At this point, an Xbox One has downloaded an operating system update.

How you're connected and what devices you're testing on will also affect the results. A PC connected to an Ethernet should be faster than a WiFi-connected tablet because Wi-Fi is generally slower than Ethernet. It can happen that the results vary on different devices, even if they use the same connection.

How to Get the Most Accurate Results

Getting accurate test results depends on what you want to measure. Would you like to see if your ISP really provides the promised speeds? Then go for optimal conditions. If you are using a device connected to Ethernet, select the nearest test server and stop any activity that could impact the Internet connection (for example, a streaming service).

You may even want to restart your router before running a speed test. If your router has a built-in speed test, use it instead of a browser test. This will remove some of the frames through which the process must jump.

However, use a browser or app test if you want the results to be closer to real performance. By bypassing the router test, you can select a server that is further away. If you regularly use one or two video or audio streams, start them before you start the Internet Speed ​​Test.

Ultimately, you will not get an accurate result, no matter what steps you take or how you measure. However, you can get a good enough result to either satisfy your curiosity or check in on the speeds promised by your ISP.

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